10 of the best credit cards
Which type of card is the most advantageous for you will depend on your individual circumstances, though. Here, we scour the market for the best offers - whatever your situation.
If you want to avoid paying interest on your debts, the best bet is a 0% balance transfer credit card.
The Barclaycard Platinum Card with Extended Balance Transfer, for example, offers an incredible 22 months at 0%, subject to a fee of 2.9%. The standard APR is 17.9%, while new customers (who must not be transferring debts from another Barclaycard) also get three months at 0% on purchases.
If, on the other hand, you want to avoid paying a large balance transfer fee, check out the Virgin Low Fee Balance Transfer Credit Card, which offers 0% for nine months subject to a one-off charge of 1.5% (as long as you transfer the debts within the first 60 days).
Other features of the deal include three months at 0% on purchases, plus a standard APR of 16.8%.
I want to make a large purchase. Which card should I choose?
If you are planning a spending spree, then a credit card offering 0% on purchases is the most sensible choice.
The M&S credit card offers 15 months at 0%, and allows you to collect M&S points on all your spending. It is important to clear your balance within the 15-month introductory period, though, as the standard APR is 15.9%.
The Tesco Clubcard Credit Card, meanwhile, also offers 15 months at 0% on purchases, nine months at 0% on balance transfers (subject to a fee of 2.9%) and a reward scheme. However, it comes with a slightly higher standard APR of 16.9%.
I pay off my balance every month. What card offers the best deal for me?
If you clear your credit card debts in full each month, you might as well benefit from cashback on your spending.
Santander's 123 Cashback Card, for example, gives you 3% back on fuel purchases (up to a maximum of £300 a month), 2% back on department store spending and 1% back on supermarket shopping.
Don't forget to pay your balance off though as the standard APR is a hefty 18.9%, while there is also an annual fee of £24.
The American Express Platinum Cashback card also comes with a relatively high APR of 18.5% as well as an annual fee of £25.
However, its cashback rate of up to 2.5% (or 5% in the first three months) can be earned on virtually all purchases, making it a better choice if you do not have a car, for example.
I spend a lot of time overseas. Which card should I use?
The huge majority of credit cards impose fees for overseas usage. There are exceptions to this rule, though.
The Nationwide Building Society Select Card, for example, does not charge a foreign purchase fee no matter where you are in the world. It also has a competitive APR of 12.9% and offers 0% on purchases for the first 18 months.
The main downside if you are not already a Nationwide customer, though, is that the card is only available to current account holders.
If that does not appeal, the Post office Platinum Card also waives foreign purchase fees both in Europe and further afield.
However, it has a higher APR of 16.9% and offers a less generous three months interest free on purchases.
I have a poor credit score. Which cards are suitable for me?
There are cards specifically designed for people whose low credit scores often prevent them being accepted as customers elsewhere.
Capital One's Classic card and the Aqua Card are two examples. These cards can be a great way to rebuild your credit file by sticking to the repayment terms.
However, they are not suitable for long-term borrowing, however, due to their huge APRs. Capital One charges 34.9%, while Aqua customers pay 29.8%.
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