Best and worst credit card providers

Features of the worst credit cards and how to avoid them.

Whether it’s your first time applying for a credit card or you’re looking to level-up your credit card provider, here are a few things to be mindful of when in the market for a new credit card.

Features found in the worst credit cards

Read the fine print to find the things to watch out for. Here are some red flags:

1. Cards with high rates of interest

Credit cards are frequently used as a form of borrowing, and paying interest on repayments is normal in such cases. However, some credit card providers’ interest rates are much higher than others. Those with good credit scores might have a broader range of cards to choose from but it pays to shop around, regardless of your credit score.

2. Credit cards that don’t offer any rewards

Many people use credit cards not because they are looking to borrow money but to earn rewards when spending. For example, certain providers reward their users with cashback or points that can be redeemed as vouchers. Other standard rewards include airport lounge access and travel insurance.

3. Cards with a high annual fee

Certain credit cards charge their users an annual fee, ranging anywhere from £50 to £600. Typically, these are the cards that offer the types of rewards mentioned above and the fee is often waived for the first year. You should check to ensure the rewards you’re interested in are worth more than the annual fee you are due to pay.

4. Cards frequently not accepted

Certain credit card schemes are less broadly accepted than others. There is nothing worse than when you’re at the till about to purchase something, only to be told the retailer doesn’t take your card. Indeed, smaller stores might not support certain credit cards due to the high processing fees they would incur as a merchant.

5. Cards charging excessive fees when used abroad

Currency conversion fees are not uncommon when using your card overseas, and this is true of debit as well as credit cards. However, certain credit card providers charge eye-watering fees when it comes to transacting abroad. If you are likely to want to use your credit card whilst on holiday, then check what fees your provider would charge first.

How to find the best credit cards

Once you have decided what you want out of your credit card, whether that’s rewards or balance transfers, you can start comparing to find the card that best meets your needs.

Use our comparison guide to start comparing what’s already available on the market or use our table below to find out which UK credit card providers offer the best service, according to their customers.

Top credit card providers for customer satisfaction 2024

Card issuerWould recommendAboutOverall satisfactionRange and review
American Express93%Say what you like about the Yanks, but they’re getting the customer service right. Amex offers perk-laden cards (all with access to the exclusive “Experiences” programme) to cater to credit-newcomers through to ageing CEOs.★★★★★See range
M&S Bank88%A subsidiary of HSBC, M&S Bank offers cards that rack up M&S points on every card transaction. M&S also offers preferential travel money exchange rates to cardholders.★★★★★See range
Sainsbury’s83%The UK’s second-biggest supermarket brand, Sainsbury’s, offers table-topping cards that earn Nectar points on all transactions, with welcome bonus points for new customers.★★★★★See range
NatWest94%The highest-ranking high street bank in our survey, NatWest offers specialised rewards, balance transfer and student cards. Until recently, its cards were for existing customers only, but now everybody’s welcome.★★★★★See range
Lloyds Bank87%As you might expect, old faithful Lloyds has a wide variety of credit cards, including rewards and 0% deals. In our survey, Lloyds cardholders commended the bank’s easy-to-use app.★★★★★See range

How many of us would recommend our credit card provider to friends/family?

Although there are some less-appealing cards out there, nine out of ten credit-card-holding Brits would happily recommend their card issuer to friends or family.

Response% of respondents
Don't know4.20%
Source: Finder survey by OnePoll of 750 Brits

See the full table

Customer satisfaction ratings methodology

We asked credit card users to rate their card issuer (using a 1-5 star rating) and tell us whether they’d recommend it to a friend. We’ve shown both in the table below, which is ordered by the percentage of customers who said they’d recommend the brand to a friend. Our independent survey of 750 card customers was carried out in December 2023.

You can get a full breakdown of our ratings methodology for credit cards here.

Frequently asked questions

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