Using a credit card to invest

Using money that's not yours to invest in anything involving risk is hugely irresponsible – in fact, most investment companies won't allow you to deposit funds with a credit card. But is it possible and are there alternative options?

Investing can be a great way to boost your income and if you don’t have the spare money to buy stocks and shares, using a credit card could seem like a viable alternative. However, it’s not something experts recommend.

If you could get approved for a suitable card, if you had a guaranteed investment you could cash in before a credit card started charging you interest and if you knew it would earn you more than you’d pay in fees, that would be one thing. But more often than not, investments can go down as well as up and because of that, require you to be flexible about when you cash in.

Credit cards can be a useful way to borrow in the short term. However, investing is usually safer when it’s long term and therefore it’s not something that works well with credit cards. Sooner or later, you’ll be charged fees and/or interest on the money you’re borrowing.

How could I invest with a credit card?

Most investment companies won’t allow you to deposit funds with a credit card but there are some roundabout ways of doing it. It’s not advisable, but if you were thinking about it you could do the following:

  • Use a money transfer credit card. A money transfer credit card allows you to move money from a credit card into a bank account and pay no interest on it for a set period. This can be useful if you have a large payment to make from your bank or if you want to clear other more expensive debts such as an overdraft. However, if you’re thinking about going down this route, be aware you’ll incur an initial transfer fee (usually a percentage of the amount being transferred) and if you don’t repay it during the 0% period, you’ll start being charged interest, usually at quite an uncompetitive rate.
  • Take out cash with a credit card. It’s normally possible to take out cash with a credit card, but because of the fees involved, it’s best avoided (whatever the purpose). If you were to do this, as well as the cash advance fee, you would be charged interest on the money and the cash advance would be visible on your credit record. This is less than ideal as taking out cash on a credit card implies to lenders you aren’t handling your money well and may not be able to repay the debt.
  • Deposit funds with a credit card, or PayPal. Depending on the investment company, it might be possible to deposit money to your account using a credit card. Technically if the card allows you to do this for 0% interest you could then use the money to invest. However, investing is not a short-term solution and it can take five years or more to grow your money, if you’re able to grow it at all.

What’s a smarter option?

If you don’t have the money to spare, investing isn’t going to be a good option. There are alternative ways to make money with a credit card, which we’ve listed here.

  • Earn interest with credit card “Stoozing”. The credit card market is full of long 0% interest deals, although not as long as they once were. If you can get approved for a decent 0% card which will let you take out money and pay no interest for say, two years, you could effectively put this money into a fixed rate savings account and make a small amount of money from it. Stoozing is only for those who know what they’re doing and have the time to keep an eye on all the different accounts involved. In order for it to work, you’ll need a credit card with a long 0% interest deal and a decent credit limit, as well as a bank account paying a decent return (which is tricky, with interest rates at their current levels).
  • Invest your spare change. The app Moneybox works by rounding up any purchases you make and investing this spare money into a stocks and shares ISA. The idea behind it is you don’t notice the extra money being transferred into the account and could end up with a nice bonus you didn’t realise you had.
  • Cashback or reward points credit cards. OK, so you want your credit card to work a little harder. Cashback and reward credit cards give you a bonus every time you use them, either in the form of a percentage of the money you’ve just spent or perks like discounts and freebies off days out and restaurants. This is an easy way to stack up a little extra cash and rewards without having to put much effort in, but they only work if you’re able to clear the balance on the card each month, otherwise what you’ll pay in interest will outweigh what you’ll earn in rewards.

Frequently asked questions

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