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Credit Cards - buyer's guide

How to get the best credit card for you

Credit cards are seen as an essential item today, but there is a huge range of cards on the market and it can be confusing to know which one to choose. With card fees, introductory offers, rewards and typical APR all to sift through how do you know which is the best credit card?

  • Think about what you want a credit card to do. If you are going to spend large amounts on your plastic find a credit card offering 0% on purchases – ideally one offering along introductory 0% period, which reverts to a reasonable rate of annual interest thereafter.
  • If you already have some debt, you might want to find the best credit card for balance transfer deals – preferably one charging 0% on balance transfers. But when looking for the best credit cards for balance transfers, don't forget to look out for the fees too. These should be around the 3% mark but some cards will also charge a minimum cash spend of £3–5 per transfer, if this is greater than the percentage fee. Depending on the size of your balance transfers, this minimum cash amount could take off some of the sheen of the 0% period.
  • If your debt is so large you won't be able to clear it during the 0% periods on offer then find a credit card with a low-rate. These can sometimes work out cheaper than paying repeated balance transfer fees as you shuffle your debt around. Some charge as little as 6.9% APR.
  • Are you interested in rewards and cashback? The best credit card for rewards will differ widely, depending on your spending habits and personal taste. Supermarket-linked cards, for example, offer loyalty points, while others offer Avios points.
  • Foreign usage. If you go away a lot then look for a credit card that doesn't charge for overseas use.