Guide to Credit Cards |
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Guide to Credit Cards

Whether you’re looking to make a big purchase, earn rewards, add some security to your online shopping, or try and build up your credit rating, there are many benefits of having a credit card. Each provider will offer their own deals and their products will come with different perks.

But, as with any type of borrowing, credit cards come with risks and it’s often difficult to see what they are through the mist of information when you’re applying for credit so that’s where we come in.


Cutting through the confusion

Credit cards can be quite confusing. With a huge array of options out there it’s often difficult to determine what card is right for you. Are you looking to transfer a balance from your existing card? Perhaps you’re looking for 0% on your purchases? Maybe you’re even angling for some cashback on your bills? Either way your options are a plenty and it doesn’t get any less confusing when it comes to finding a provider and a set of T&C’s that suit you. 

Guide to Credit Cards

Making it simple

We like to make things simple so if you’re tired of trying to wade through the small print to find the important information, why not take a look at our crib sheet below? We’ve pulled together some easy to digest bites of wisdom to help you get to grips with your credit card search.

Introductory rates

Introductory rates always look pretty but they can be dangerous. Whether you’ve gone for a 0% balance transfer, 0% on purchases card, or both, it’s inevitable that your 0% period will come to an end and when it does you need to be ready to act. If, for example, you’ve got 12 months interest-free then be sure to make a note in your diary ready to review your credit in a year’s time.

Avoiding charges

There are a number of ways that credit card companies can make charges. E.g. if you don’t make the minimum payment or you go over your agreed balance limit. To avoid these charges, you’ll need to make a note of when your payment date is (this should be on your monthly statement) and keep an eye on your balance regularly. You may find that setting up a direct debit could help you avoid missing payments and reduce the likelihood of incurring any charges.

Added security

According to statistics released by ONS last October, 77% of men and 75% of women are now buying goods and services online. With that in mind, there is now greater importance on shopping smart and staying safe when you’re purchasing anything over the internet. Credit cards are the better option when it comes to buying online, as they’re often covered by ‘section 75’ of the Consumer Credit Act. They are also monitored more closely so suspicious activity is more likely to be noticed.

Credit rating queries

There’s two things you need to know about your credit rating when it comes to credit cards. Firstly, your credit rating is likely to affect the types of credit card offers you can get. So just because a provider is advertising a particular offer or APR, doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be offered that if your credit score doesn’t meet their requirements. Secondly, any credit card applications will leave a ‘footprint’ on your report for one year (although it won’t show the outcome of that application). So be careful about the number of applications you make in a short period of time as multiple applications can be viewed negatively by anyone you are applying for further credit with.

Control the cash

Whilst you can use your credit card to withdraw cash, it’s not necessarily the wisest idea. Most cards will charge you for taking money out at a cash point and the interest rates on cash withdrawals tend to be higher too. 

A note from our experts…

Jody Baker, our Head of Money, says;

“When shopping for a credit card you need to remember why you need the card and ensure you pick the best one to suit your needs – not necessarily the one that is sitting at the top of the comparison table. Make sure you’re aware of all of the T&Cs and read our tips section to help you make sure you get the best card for you. Remember you can switch providers whenever you want to and you don’t have to stay with your bank just because you have your current account there. Switch, secure the best deal and save money!

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