Countdown to Christmas: Best credit cards revealed

The best credit cards for spending this Christmas

If you want to spread the cost of Christmas, or get rewarded for your spending and enjoy extra protection, then a credit card is a great way to pay, providing you can afford to repay your balance in full before interest charges kick in. And now is a good time to apply, as you will have plenty of time to get hold of your card before the festive season.

We've taken a look at the very best credit cards to use for your Christmas spending.

0% purchase credit cards

If you haven't set aside some cash to help cope with the cost of Christmas a 0% purchase credit card is a great tool to have in your wallet.

These cards don't charge any interest on purchases for a set period, allowing you to pay off your debt in more manageable chunks.

The table below shows the longest lasting 0% cards on offer right now.

Credit card

0% period for purchases

Representative APR

Sainsbury's Bank Purchase Credit Card Mastercard

32 months


Halifax Online 30 Month Purchase Credit Card Mastercard

30 months18.9%

Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard

30 months


AA Dual Credit Card Mastercard

30 months


Post Office Money Matched Mastercard

30 months


Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit for Purchases Mastercard

30 months


Santander Everyday Credit Card Mastercard

30 months


MBNA All Round 30/30 Credit Card Visa

30 months


As you can see, Sainsbury's Bank has just pipped its competitors to the post by offering the longest-lasting deal with 32 months to clear what you spend over the festive period before interest kicks in.

However, while the length of the 0% period is important it's worth investigating what other benefits a 0% purchase card has, as sacrificing a month or two could get you a better offer overall. For example, on the Santander Everyday Credit Card you'll get Retailer Offers. This gives you five welcome cashback offers ranging from 5% to 25% at a range of popular retailers, which will be tailored to you once you sign up.

The Sainsbury's cards offer up Nectar points, but if you're not a regular shopper at Sainsbury's you can earn Clubcard points with the Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card for Purchases. You'll collect one point for every £4 spent in Tesco (£4 minimum spend) and one point for every £8 spent elsewhere (minimum £8 spend).

Cashback credit cards

With a cashback credit card you get a percentage of what you spend back in the form of cashback.

The Asda Cashback Plus Credit Card can nab you 2% cashback on all your spending at Asda including petrol and What's more, you'll earn 1% cashback on all other purchases and 10% cashback on selected Asda Money insurance products. If you incur a spot of debt over the festive season, you've got 15 months of interest-free balance transfers too. This one is better for you if you're planning on doing a lot of shopping at Asda as the card has a £3 monthly fee.

If you want to forego the fee, the Asda Cashback Credit Card. It gives you a lower 1% on Asda shopping and 0.5% everywhere else, but you can still get that 10% on Asda insurance products.

Cashback credit cards tend to be reserved for those with good credit ratings, but if yours doesn't hit the mark you could try the aqua Reward Credit Card, which allows you to earn 0.5% on all purchases with no annual fee. However, you'll want to make sure you can repay what you spend each month as the representative APR is 34.9%.

Reward credit cards

Reward credit cards allow you to boost or build up points as you spend which convert into all manner of treats.

If you collect Clubcard points, your best bet is to go with the Tesco Bank Premium Credit Card which gives you one point for every £1 spent (£1 minimum) in Tesco and one point for every £4 spent (£4 minimum) outside Tesco in each transaction.

For all of the other cards you'll get one point for evert £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and one point for every £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each transaction.

For those that collect Nectar points, Sainsbury's Bank offers two Nectar points for every £1 spent in stores and fuel or one Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere on all of its cards including the Sainsbury's Bank Purchase Credit Card.

Those that would prefer to build up Avios for flights and holidays can use the British Airways American Express Credit Card to collect one Avios for virtually every £1 spent. At the moment you can get 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 within the first three months. The representative APR is 22.9%.

Alternatively you could go for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card. You'll earn 25,000 bonus Avios when spending £3,000 within the first three months and 1.5 Avios for virtually every £1 spent. The representative APR is 22.9% but watch out for the mammoth £195 annual fee.

With the Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Amex/Mastercard you can earn 1.25 Avios for evey £1 spent on the Amex card and 1.25 Avious for every £5 spent on the Mastercard. You can also earn earn double Avios for the first six months of account opening using the Amex card (capped at £2,500 a month), and 1.25 Avios for every £5 balance transferred from a single provider. APR is 23.7%.

If you collect Virgin's Flying Club Miles the Virgin Atlantic White Credit Card can boost your balance. It also comes with two cards on the same account. With the American Express card you earn one Flying Club Mile for every £1 spent, while you get one Flying Club Mile for every £2 spent on the Visa card. At the moment you can get 3,000 bonus miles with your first card purchase within 90 days of opening the account. The representative APR is 17.9%.

Or you could upgrade to the Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card which gives you two Flying Club miles for every £1 spent with your Amex credit card and one Flying Club mile for every £1 spent on your Visa credit card. Even better, you can bag a whopping 18,500 bonus miles if you make your first card purchase within 90 days of opening the account. The representative APR is a higher 22.9% and there's a £140 annual fee.

Play your cards right

Watch out for reward and cashback cards that don't come with a 0% purchase period. With these cards you should aim to pay back your bill in full each month to avoid interest eating into your cashback or rewards.

With cards that do come with a 0% introductory period make sure you have a plan on how to repay what you spend before the interest kicks in.

Vintage money-saving tips
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Vintage money-saving tips
Back then there was no choice, because the mass-produced microwaveable meal was just a glint in a marketing guru's eye, but now, cooking from scratch can save substantial sums.
The older generation learned that there were meat-free days of the week to save money, and that if you had meat you''d stretch mince with breadcrumbs, or buy cheaper joints and use every scrap.
Perfect fruit and vegetables and top-of-the-range brands are a new phenomenon. Buy generic non-branded food and fruit and vegetables in whatever size and shape is most affordable

Nowadays we rush around the supermarket grabbing things we like the look of - with little idea of what we're going to do with it. Making a list and thinking about what you buy can save you thousands of pounds over the course of a year.

There's no such thing as 'left-overs' there's just the ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. The remains of the meat can be stir-fried the next day, the vegetables blended into  soup, and the potatoes saved for bubble and squeak.

Try an experiment and eliminate everything from your life with the word disposable in the title. Not only will you save money, but your bin will take far longer to fill too.

Before you bin anything, think twice about whether you can give it a second life. Think carefully, does your granny have her tried and tested tips that she has a habit of mentioning, for instance, washing out freezer bags? If you mock, you're missing a trick and wasting money and resources.
Cutting out draughts and insulating your home properly can cut 10% off your heating bill.
Back in the 1940s when no-one had central heating, people got used to wearing another layer at home. Try lowering your thermostat gradually, and only stop when those around you start to notice - you'll be surprised how much you can save.
If you save your washing and dish washing until you have a full load every time you'll save energy and save money.
Over the generations we have been sucked into believing the hype. In the days when adverts were few-and-far between, we managed without many of the things we consider essential nowadays. Re-consider what you buy, and why. Without advertising, would you buy any of it?
It's always cheaper to save in advance and plan a purchase than to rush in and borrow - which could end up costing you hundreds of pounds more in interest.
Older generations typically withdraw what they can afford to spend in cash and then leave their debit card at home or deep in their wallets. This has the advantage that they don't tend to reach for a debit or credit card and spend more than they can afford.
Because the older generations couldn't borrow their way out of trouble, they tended to plan more. Give your family a financial safety and a nest egg for the future.
Back when there were only a finite number of items of clothing to go around in a neighbourhood, people borrowed from each other for special occasions. Nowadays swapping and sharing can save substantial sums
Back in the 1940s when no-one had central heating, people got used to wearing another layer at home. Try lowering your thermostat gradually, and only stop when those around you start to notice - you'll be surprised how much you can save.
There was a time not so long ago when no-one could actually remember anyone who had actually bought a bike. They were passed through the siblings, then across family and friends networks, so that decades later, children were still learning to ride a bike for free. Of course it helps if you buy something gender-neutral, then you can hand it down, and reap the benefits as others hand expensive toys on to you.
In previous generations, neighbours would think nothing of asking each other to babysit, walk their dog, or to borrow a ladder. Nowadays we pay handsomely for babysitters and dog walkers, and each have an expensive ladder gathering dust in the shed.
The army of people who come to our homes to do odd jobs is a new phenomenon for all but the very wealthy. You may well have the skills required to complete these jobs, so get stuck in.

Ditch going out for dinner or browsing round the shops for taking a walk, visiting the beach with a picnic, or holding a family DVD night.

Nowadays we're constantly striving for a bigger TV, a flashier car and a better kitchen. Generations ago people never considered that they would ever be able to afford bigger, flashier and better, so they got on with the business of enjoying what they had.

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