The best Christmas credit cards

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card swipeThere may still be three months to go, but for savvy shoppers planning to fund festive fun with a flexible friend, or take advantage of cashback to keep costs down, now is the time to apply for Christmas credit cards.

After all, card companies can often take up to 10 days just to contact you to let you know whether or not your application has been accepted. But which card should you be applying for?

I want to spread the cost of Christmas using a credit card
If your aim is to reduce the pressure on your finances over the festive season by using a credit card, then the best option is a card offering 0% on purchases.

And the best introductory deal on purchases available at the moment is from Marks & Spencer. Its Credit Card offers 15 months at 0%, as well as the chance to earn M&S points on Christmas presents, decorations and food.

You will need to clear any balance built up during the 15-month interest-free period before interest charges come into play, however, or the standard rate of 15.9% will cost you dear.

Other options include the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card, which also offers 15 months at 0% on purchases, plus nine months at 0% on balance transfers (subject to a 2.9% fee), but has a slightly higher standard rate of 16.9%.

The Barclaycard Platinum with Purchase card, which offers 14 months at 0% on both purchases and balance transfers, again subject to a 2.9% fee, is also worth a look. It comes with a reward scheme, but has an even higher standard rate of 18.9%.

I would like to receive cashback on my Christmas spending
If you are confident that you will be able to pay off your Christmas bill in full before interest chargers kick in, a cashback card can be a great way to get more for your money.

The best cashback card on the market at the moment is Santander 123 Cashback, which offers 3% cashback on fuel purchases, 2% on department store transactions and 1% on supermarket spending. However, the card has a £24 annual fee.

Consequently, Christmas shoppers will probably be better off with Capital One's fee-free World Mastercard, which pays a massive 5% cashback on all purchases made in the first three months up to a maximum of £100.

After this point, the cashback rate drops to between 0.5% and 1.25%, depending on how much you spend.

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