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 2022

Overall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendProviderReview


90%American Express logoAmerican ExpressAmerican ExpressAmex offers a range of credit cards to suit all types of customers, as well as the exclusive Experiences rewards program.See the range


88%Picture not describedm&s bank home insuranceM&S BankSimilar to other credit cards operated by retailers, M&S lets you earn M&S points on every credit card transaction, and offers preferential foreign exchange rates to card holders.See the range


88%Amazon logoAmazonA new entrant for 2022, the ecommerce giant allows customers to earn rewards points on their spending on the range


87%Picture not describedLloyds BankLloyds has a wide variety of credit card products, with rewards, cashback and even specialised cards for large purchases.See the range


87%Picture not describedNatWestNatWestNatWest offers specialised rewards and balance transfer cards, as well as a student credit card.See the range


87%SantanderThe Spanish banking giant offers generous cashback benefits and credit cards for those looking to travel abroad.See the range


87%Picture not describedVirgin MoneyVirgin Money provides a number of bonus credit card programs, such as Virgin Red, and offers discounts across the entire Virgin Group. With a Virgin Atlantic credit card, you can also collect air miles to spend on flights and upgrades.See the range


85%HalifaxHalifax lets you combine 0% balance transfers and purchases on one card, as well as the low-rate FlexiCard.See the range


84%Picture not describedBarclaycardBarclaycardBarclaycard has some of the longest balance transfer periods on the market and also offers rewards and everyday cards.See the range


83%Picture not describedtesco bank pet insuranceTesco BankTesco has a wide range of credit card products and lets you earn Tesco Clubcard points on every transaction you make using your card.See the range


83%HSBCOne of the world’s largest banks, HSBC has an extensive credit card product range, with 24/7 customer service and global reward systems.See the range


81%Picture not describedaqua logoAquaAqua credit cards are specifically designed for those looking to build their credit score. Unlike other credit-builder cards, Aqua also lets customers earn rewards for using their card.See the range


81%Picture not describedSainsbury’sThe UK’s second-biggest supermarket brand, Sainsbury’s lets you earn Nectar points on all credit card transactions, with bonus points for new customers.See the range


81%Picture not describedCapital-One-logoCapital OneCapital One offers credit-builder cards for those looking to improve their credit score, and also lets you check your credit history without affecting your score.See the range


77%Picture not describedMBNAMBNA is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and offers a range of credit cards with extended 0% balance transfer and purchase periods.See the range

Customer satisfaction ratings methodology

In December 2021, we ran a customer satisfaction survey on credit cards. 2,155 people responded and gave us their opinion on their current provider.

The survey asked respondents how satisfied they are with their credit card (using a 1-5 rating) and whether they would recommend the brand to a friend. We converted the responses into customer satisfaction star ratings and used these results to decide our award winner. If there was a draw, we used the recommendation score as a tie-breaker.

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

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