Which credit card is best for me?

Commentators are quick to knock credit cards for their reputation for tempting people into expensive debt, but in reality credit cards offer an ultra convenient and secure payment method as well as a flexible and adaptable borrowing facility.  UK credit cards offer very high levels of consumer protection; there simply isn’t a safer way to shop online.

We want you to get the best out of our site, so let’s examine what kind of credit card user you are, we can then suggest which type of card may suit you best.

Which of these descriptions looks most like your user profile?

I can never afford to repay my credit card balance in full:-

If you need your credit card to help make ends meet, but can’t afford to clear your balance in full every month, there’s a number of options. Remember it’s not good financial planning to use a credit card to overcome shortages in your income. The money always needs to be paid back, and will you be able to afford to repay the money in the future if you’re short of cash now?

If you’re considering any kind of credit card, make sure you have a realistic budget and timescale for clearing the debt, preferably before the end of any promotional 0% interest period ends.

0% interest on purchases credit cards work well, however once the interest free period ends, you’ll be charged the standard rate of interest. You need to ensure you have cleared the debt by that time, or make a balance transfer and move any outstanding balance to a new interest free offer.

If you’ve got a long standing high balance on an existing credit card, also consider a balance transfer credit card, the best deals are currently offering 20 months of interest free borrowing.

If you don’t want the hassle of having to compare credit cards every six to twelve months, take a look at the best low interest credit card deals.

I regularly travel overseas, and I want to pay the minimum in fees:-

It used to be that a credit card was the most cost affective way to finance your holiday or business travel expenses, but recently the credit card issuers have introduced a raft of new charges that have changed the picture. With most credit card companies charging an overseas transaction levy of between 1% and 3%, as well as maybe 2% to 3% on cash withdrawals these costs can seriously affect your budgeting.

All is not lost however, as we review and list every month credit cards that have the best deal on overseas transactions, there’s usually at least one new promotional offer a month from card issuers with reduced or no charges. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of applying for a new credit card, take advantage of the overseas prepaid cards, just load money in the relevant currency and avoid the charges.

We list these cards in our overseas credit cards section.

I always clear my credit card balance in full:-

If you’re able to clear your balance every month you’re in the fortunate position of being able to take advantage of cash back credit cards. Consider also rewards credit cards. These cards will give you something back if you’re a disciplined credit card user, but watch out for cards with annual fees, they can take away the advantage.

I’ve got a poor credit history, but I need the convenience of a credit card:-

If you’ve had a couple of small issues with your credit history, but still want to take advantage of the flexibility and protection that credit cards offer, take a look at bad credit cards, and also credit builder credit cards.

If you’ve had some more significant credit problems, and feel it’s unlikely that you’d get any kind of credit, you can still get the functionality of a real credit card with a prepaid card. You just load what money you have, and then you can spend online or shop in the ordinary way.

I’ve got an outstanding credit card debt I want to be rid of:-

If you’ve got outstanding balances on credit cards, always pay off as much monthly as you can as the interest rates are often high (unless you’re currently benefiting from an interest free offer). The credit card issuer’s compulsory minimum payment won’t be enough to significantly reduce the debt over time.

If you’re paying an uncompetitive rate of interest on your card balance, the best way to reduce your debt is to consider a balance transfer of your credit card debt to a new 0% interest balance transfer offer. This will at least give you a break from paying the interest, meaning you can be focus your monthly payments on clearing the remaining balance. If the debt is substantial you may need to balance transfer more than once to give you the time to get the balance to zero.

One thing to watch is whichever card you choose, remember that any new spending on these cards will incur interest at the standard rate.

I use my personal credit card for work expenses; it gets paid off by my employer:-

Many people have a separate credit card which they keep purely for work or business expenses which gets paid off by their employer at the end of month. Due to the nature of these expenses, this can often mean a monthly bill of several thousand pounds. If this is you, are you making the best of the potential cashback or rewards you could be making from this arrangement?

Remember cashback and rewards schemes on credit cards only make you better off if you clear your balance in full every month. If you end up paying interest, it will cancel out an benefits you may get from the rewards!

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