Choosing the right card can be a difficult task so Moneywise has sifted through the plastic to find the very best credit cards that reward you for your spending.
If you are going to spend large amounts and don't plan to clear the balance each month, any rewards will quickly be undone by interest payments. Instead, a credit card offering 0% interest on purchases is likely to be cheaper in the long run.
If you already have credit card debt, you might want to find the best credit card for balance transfer deals - preferably one charging 0% on balance transfers. But don't forget to look out for the fees too.
In this article we highlight our Moneywise Best Buys - the top credit cards for rewards and cashback.
Best credit cards for rewards
Unlike most financial products, these cards reward you for spending with one specific retailer. They also pay out points and vouchers rather than cold, hard cash. The card that's best for you will depend on where you usually shop.
Debenhams Credit Card
Earn points as you spend, representative 24.9% APR variable
This account offers rewards points on spending at Debenhams and elsewhere. You’ll earn three points for every £1 spent in Debenhams and one point for every £2 spent elsewhere.
Collect 200 points and you’ll earn a £2 voucher. This means an annual spend of £6,000 in Debenhams will earn £180 in vouchers, an effective 3% return. Spending in other shops would generate a 0.5% return.
M&S Bank Reward Plus
Earn vouchers as you spend plus up to £25 in vouchers when you sign up, representative 19.9% APR variable
Regular shoppers in M&S can earn vouchers as they spend using the Marks & Spencer Reward Plus Credit Card. Users earn two points for every £1 spent in store during the first year then one point for every £1 thereafter. Cardholders also earn one point per £5 spent elsewhere.
So, spend £6,000 a year in M&S on your card you'll earn vouchers worth £120 in the first year.
You can also earn up to £25 in vouchers when you open an account. You'll receive 2,000 M&S points (equivalent to £20 M&S voucher) when you spend on your card within 90 days of opening.
Also, a bonus 500 M&S points - worth £5 - will be credited to your points account when you spend on food, clothing or home at M&S, meaning potential rewards of £25.
Tesco Bank Purchases Credit Card
Earn points as you spend, representative 19.9% APR variable
This offers one point for every £4 you spend in Tesco (a point is worth a penny), and one point for every £8 you spend elsewhere. Representative APR is 19.9% (variable) if you don’t pay the card off in full. Also no interest to pay on purchases up to 26 months. Points are available on all Tesco credit cards.
John Lewis Partnership Card
Earn points as you spend, representative 18.9% APR variable
John Lewis and Waitrose shoppers can take advantage of the Partnership Card which offers one point per £1 spent in both shops, plus a point for every £2 spent elsewhere. This would earn £60 in vouchers based on a £6,000 yearly spend in either John Lewis or Waitrose, an effective 1% return.
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Purchase Credit Card
Earn points as you spend, representative 20.9% APR variable
If you shop in Sainsbury’s then this card will give you two Nectar points for every £1 spent in Sainsbury’s and one point for every £5 spent elsewhere. If you spend £6,000 a year on your card in Sainsbury's then you'll earn the equivalent of £60 (500 points = £2.50).
Asda Money Cashback Credit Card
Earn vouchers as you spend, representative 19.9% APR variable
Despite the name, you’ll earn vouchers when you spend using this card – rather than cash. You earn 1% on shopping at Asda plus 0.2% when you shop elsewhere.
Once you have accrued £2.50 you can convert this to a voucher to spend in Asda.
If you spend £6,000 a year in Asda using this card you'll earn the equivalent of £60 in vouchers.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
Earn points while you spend, 22.9% variable on purchases, 57.6% APR representative after factoring in fees (£140)
This card from Amex was formerly a charge card but is now a credit card. The card comes with an annual fee of £140 but this is waived in the first year. If you don't want to pay the fee remember to cancel before the 12 months is up.
While the card has a high 57.6% APR, this is accounted for mostly by the fee as the effective purchase rate is 22.9% (variable).
Earn one point for every £1 spent on this card and spend the points at a wide variety of retailers. If you spend £3,000 in the first three months you'll get a 10,000 point bonus, which is worth more than £50 in vouchers at retailers such as Amazon or House of Fraser.
The cashback equivalent on spending on this card is 1%.
Earn vouchers as you spend, representative 21.9% APR variable
Offers 1.5 Amazon reward points for each £2 you spend at Amazon, and one point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Once you’ve earned 1,000 reward points, a £15 gift voucher will be credited to your Amazon account. There is no annual fee and new customers will also receive a £10 Amazon gift voucher when they first sign up.
This card has an effective cashback rate of 0.75% for Amazon purchases and 0.5% on other spending. Spend £6,000 a year on your card at Amazon then you'll earn the equivalent of £45.
Subscribers to Amazon Prime will earn a higher rate of three points for every £2 spent.
Best credit cards for cashback
If you're not a member of any retailer's loyalty scheme then a cashback deal could work out better for you. These cards pay out cash on all spending.
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday
Earn cashback as you spend, representative 22.9% APR variable
This card has no annual fee and has an introductory offer of 5% cashback on spending for the first three months, up to a £100 limit. After that cardholders will earn 1% cashback on spending over £5,001 per year and 0.5% on spending below this amount.
Bear in mind that American Express is less widely accepted than other types of credit card.
Earn cashback as you spend plus no fees on worldwide spending or cash withdrawals, representative 18.9% APR variable
The Tandem Cashback credit card offers 0.5% cashback on your spending, both at home and abroad, with no limit on your earnings. You'll also pay no fees on spending or cash machine withdrawals around the world. Interest is charged on cash withdrawals from the day of the transaction.
Earn cashback as you spend, representative 34.9% APR variable
Customers will receive 0.5% cashback on all spending up to a limit of £100 per year. This card is designed for those with a poor credit history (although anyone can apply) so beware of the high interest rate. Pay this card off in full every month to avoid paying a high rate of interest on your balance.
American Express Platinum Cashback
Earn cashback as you spend, representative 28.2% APR variable
Bigger spenders should consider this £25-a-year Amex card. It pays 5% cashback, up to a £125 limit, in your first three months. After the first three months, you’ll get 1.25% cashback on spending over £10,001 a year and 1% on spending below that amount. There is no cap on cashback earnings.
How are Moneywise Best Buys selected?
We look across as much of the market as possible to find the best deals using industry data from Defaqto.
All our picks are nationally available - online, by post or by phone. We try and pick products that are available to both new and existing customers, but we’ll highlight some offers for existing customers if they’re much better than what else is on offer.
Our top picks are based on you spending £6,000 a year on the card, equivalent to £500 per month. Only cards from mainstream providers will be considered. We prioritise cards that do not charge a monthly fee.
We reserve the right to use our discretion at all times.