Compare the Best UK Credit Cards | moneyfacts.co.uk
Show

Barclaycard Logo
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa
Intro Rate For Purchases
0.0% for 3 months.
APR
33.9%
Additional Information
0% on purchases for 3 months
No zero% balance transfer offer
Start with a low credit limit that may later increase
Go To Provider's Site
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 33.9% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 33.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income £3000.00
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 2.5% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.462%
APR 33.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.462%
Annual 33.90%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.462%
Annual 33.90%
For money transfers
Monthly Money transfer not available
Annual Money transfer not available

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee 2.50% - No minimum charge
Cash withdrawal fee 2.99% - Min £2.99
Money transfer fee Money transfer not available
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.99%
Worldwide 2.99%

Additional Information

-
Marbles Logo
Marbles Classic Mastercard
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
34.9%
Additional Information
Can help improve your credit rating
Rates dependent on credit rating
Manage your card online
Go To Provider's Site
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 34.95% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 34.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income No minimum income
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 1.0% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.529%
APR 34.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.840%
Annual 39.94%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.529%
Annual 34.95%
For money transfers
Monthly Money transfer not available
Annual Money transfer not available

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Cash withdrawal fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Money transfer fee Money transfer not available
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.95%
Worldwide 2.95%

Additional Information

-
Tesco Bank Logo
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
27.5%
Additional Information
Earn Tesco Clubcard points for spending on your card
Rates dependent on credit rating
Available to help rebuild your credit
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 27.542% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 27.5% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income £5000.00
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 1.0% or £25.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance plus any arrears.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.048%
APR 27.5%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.840%
Annual 39.94%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.048%
Annual 27.54%
For money transfers
Monthly 2.840%
Annual 39.94%

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee 3.99% - No minimum charge
Cash withdrawal fee 3.99% - Min £3.00
Money transfer fee 3.99% - No minimum charge
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.75%
Worldwide 2.75%

Additional Information

1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Barclaycard Logo
Barclaycard (Branch) Better Together 28.9pc Initial Visa
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
28.9%
Additional Information
For customers new to credit
Available in branches of Barclays
Start with a low credit limit that Barclaycard may later increase
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 28.9% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 28.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income £3000.00
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 2.3% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.138%
APR 28.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.138%
Annual 28.90%
For balance transfers
Monthly Balance transfer not available
Annual Balance transfer not available
For money transfers
Monthly Money transfer not available
Annual Money transfer not available

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee Balance transfer not available
Cash withdrawal fee 2.99% - Min £2.99
Money transfer fee Money transfer not available
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.99%
Worldwide 2.99%

Additional Information

-
Vanquis Bank Logo
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card Visa
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
29.5%
Additional Information
Can help improve your credit rating
Rates dependent on credit rating
£1,000 max limit on opening (may be increased later)
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £250.00 charged at 29.5% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 29.5% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income No minimum income
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 2.5% or £10.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 2.5% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.180%
APR 29.5%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.180%
Annual 29.50%
For balance transfers
Monthly Balance transfer not available
Annual Balance transfer not available
For money transfers
Monthly 2.180%
Annual 29.50%

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee Balance transfer not available
Cash withdrawal fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Money transfer fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.99%
Worldwide 2.99%

Additional Information

-
HSBC Logo
HSBC Classic Credit Card Visa
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
29.9%
Additional Information
Contactless payments up to £45
High APR of 29.9%
Manage your card online
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 29.9% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 29.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income £6800.00
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 2.5% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.207%
APR 29.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.207%
Annual 29.90%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.207%
Annual 29.90%
For money transfers
Monthly Money transfer not available
Annual Money transfer not available

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee 2.90% - Min £5.00
Cash withdrawal fee 2.99% - Min £3.00
Money transfer fee Money transfer not available
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.99%
Worldwide 2.99%

Additional Information

-
NewDay Ltd Logo
NewDay Ltd Amazon Classic Mastercard
Intro Rate For Purchases
0.0% for 3 months.
APR
29.9%
Additional Information
0% for 3 months on purchases
Rates dependent on credit rating
Manage your card online
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 29.95% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 29.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income No minimum income
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 1.0% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.207%
APR 29.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.840%
Annual 39.94%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.207%
Annual 29.95%
For money transfers
Monthly Money transfer not available
Annual Money transfer not available

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee 5.00% - No minimum charge
Cash withdrawal fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Money transfer fee Money transfer not available
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.75%
Worldwide 2.75%

Additional Information

-
Barclaycard Logo
Barclaycard (Branch) Better Together 33.9pc Initial Visa
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
33.9%
Additional Information
For customers new to credit
Available in branches of Barclays
Start with a low credit limit that Barclaycard may later increase
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 33.9% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 33.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income £3000.00
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 2.3% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.463%
APR 33.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.463%
Annual 33.90%
For balance transfers
Monthly Balance transfer not available
Annual Balance transfer not available
For money transfers
Monthly Money transfer not available
Annual Money transfer not available

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 56
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee Balance transfer not available
Cash withdrawal fee 2.99% - Min £2.99
Money transfer fee Money transfer not available
Using a card abroad
European Union 2.99%
Worldwide 2.99%

Additional Information

-
118 118 Money Logo
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card Mastercard
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
34.0%
Additional Information
No fees payable
High interest rates
Credit repair card
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 34.0% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 34.0% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income £8400.00
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 3.5% or £10.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 3.5% of the outstanding balance plus any arrears.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.469%
APR 34.0%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 2.469%
Annual 34.00%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.469%
Annual 34.00%
For money transfers
Monthly 2.469%
Annual 34.00%

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 51
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available
Minimum payment £0.01
Maximum payment £45.00

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee No charge
Cash withdrawal fee No charge
Money transfer fee No charge
Using a card abroad
European Union 0.00%
Worldwide 0.00%

Additional Information

-
NewDay Ltd Logo
NewDay Ltd aqua Advance Mastercard
Intro Rate For Purchases
No introductory rate for purchases
APR
34.9%
Additional Information
Possible rate reduction of 5% a year for 3 years
High rate for cash withdrawals
Low credit limit. For people who've had credit problems in the past
Representative Example: Based on a credit limit of £1200.00 charged at 34.95% variable per annum for purchases. Representative 34.9% APR variable.
Application Criteria
Bill Payment
Standard Interest Rates
Benefits and Features
Charges
Additional Information

Application Criteria

Existing customers only
Invitation only
Minimum age 18 years
Minimum income No minimum income
Credit repair card
Apply for this card
Internet
In branch
Post
Telephone

Bill Payment

Standing order (fixed amount)
Direct debit (minimum payment)
Direct debit (fixed monthly amount)
Direct debit (fixed % of balance)
Direct debit (full amount)
Minimum monthly payment
Greater of 1.0% or £5.00 each month. or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.

Standard Interest Rates

For purchase
Monthly 2.529%
APR 34.9%
For cash withdrawals
Monthly 3.142%
Annual 44.95%
For balance transfers
Monthly 2.529%
Annual 34.95%
For money transfers
Monthly 2.529%
Annual 34.95%

Benefits and Features

Interest free days (purchase) 48
Rewards earned on
Purchases
Balance transfers
Money transfers
Cash transfers
Money transfer available
Contactless payment
Available

Charges

Card fee N/A
Balance transfer fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Cash withdrawal fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Money transfer fee 3.00% - Min £3.00
Using a card abroad
European Union 0.00%
Worldwide 0.00%

Additional Information

-
Note

Moneyfacts.co.uk Limited is an independent credit broker not a lender. We will receive a payment from credit providers where customers link to them from Moneyfacts.co.uk. None of these arrangements affects our independence.

Quick Links

Quick links are where we have an arrangement with a provider so you can move directly from our site to theirs to view more information and apply for a product. We also use quick links where we have an arrangement with a preferred broker to move you directly to their site. Depending on the arrangement we may receive a modest commission either when you press a 'Go to Provider' or 'Speak to a Broker' button, when you call an advertised number or when you complete an application.

A guide to credit cards

nigel woollsey

Nigel Woollsey

Online Writer

At a glance

  • A credit card enables you to pay for goods and services up to an agreed credit limit.
  • Unless you can pay off the whole amount owed every month, you will be charged interest on the money you’ve borrowed. Check carefully to find out what a credit card provider’s interest rates are.
  • Some credit cards may offer you additional rewards and/or cashback for using them.
  • Credit cards are an example of unsecured debt – i.e. you have not put up your home or car as security against the loan. 

How do credit cards work?

A lender must agree to give you credit before they hand over one of their coveted cards, on the understanding that you will be paying them back the funds you spend, as well as any previously agreed charges and fees. The lender will want to know your credit history – if you have or have had any debt in the past, and how you've handled it – before they can decide whether you're trustworthy, and what interest rate they would be willing to offer you.

Once you've got the card, you can use it in any way that you like (though beware that there will be different charges depending on the kind of card and how you use it, explained further below). Just remember to pay back at least the minimum required every month, and more if you can, otherwise your debt may get out of control.

How to apply for a credit card

Credit card applications are now mostly made online, but it’s still perfectly possible to apply for a bank credit card in branch, by post or over the phone. You’ll need all your usual details to hand as well as some of your financial details. If you’ve lived at your current address for less than five years, then you’ll need to provide details of all your previous addresses.

In addition, if you’ve changed your name (through marriage, divorce or by deed poll), then you will have to supply this as well. The card provider will also want details of your employment (if you are currently working full or part-time), your salary and an idea of your current outgoings and debts – so expect to be asked how much you pay a month for rent/mortgages, utility bills, groceries, any child support payments and, of course, details of any loans, credit cards or other credit arrangements you have.

Before you apply for a credit card, it’s always a good idea to check your credit score. This will not only determine if your application is accepted, but also what your credit limit will be set at. For more information, read our How to improve your credit score and your chances of getting a credit card.

Sometimes you will be told instantly at the end of the application if you have been successful or if the credit card provider needs a day or two to assess your suitability. You may also receive an acknowledgement and further information by email, but the physical card and any new PIN numbers will be sent separately and will arrive up to 10 days later in the post. 

Should I get a credit card?

Having the use of a credit card can be very handy in many ways. However, for all their good points, there are equally things that you must be careful of when you are thinking of applying for a credit card. They are, as the old saying goes, “a double-edged sword”.

Firstly, think carefully about why you want a credit card. Is it as an emergency back-up if you have a sudden expense that you can’t cover any other way? Is it to repay debts you’ve accumulated? Or do you intend to use it to spread the cost of a big purchase in the near future? All of these are valid reasons and knowing its intended purpose will help you choose the credit card that is right for you.

Which credit card is right for me?

To know which card will work best for you, you'll need to know what different types are available, and what they do:

  • If you want to consolidate debt

    0% balance transfer cards can be ideal for consolidating debt, as they give you a certain number of months (or even years) interest-free to pay off the balance you put on the card. Although they usually come with a balance transfer fee, it is likely to be cheaper than leaving your balance on a typical card paying your purchase rate (though note that there are interest-charging cards that may charge no fee, which could turn out to be more suitable for your needs). Similarly, you can also find cards that offer 0% money transfer deals, which can be used to transfer funds to your current account to pay off overdrafts as well.

 

  • If you want to make purchases

    0% purchase cards allow you to make purchases for a certain number of months without paying interest. If you're looking to make a big purchase with a credit card at a low rate or want to take advantage of (online) purchase protection, these cards could be for you. As with balance transfer cards, it's recommended you pay off what you owe on these cards before the introductory period ends, so you can avoid paying interest altogether, and remember to pay at least the minimum amount each month otherwise the introductory offer might be withdrawn.

 

  • If you want to consolidate debt and make purchases

    0% interest cards combine the above, giving a certain number of months interest-free on balance transfers, purchases and sometimes also money transfers, in case you've got both debt and more purchases you need to make. These cards will probably be less generous than the single-purpose cards, with shorter interest-free terms, so always compare to find the best credit card deals.

 

  • If you want to be rewarded for making purchases

    Cashback credit cards give you a certain percentage of cashback every time you use the card to make a purchase, which means you could actually make money shopping if you manage to pay off the balance and avoid interest every month. In the same vein, reward cards allow you to get certain non-monetary rewards for using them.

 

  • If you're going abroad

    Travel credit cards are designed to be specifically used abroad – unlike other credit cards, which tend to charge high fees for any use outside of the UK. So, if you're going away and would rather not rely on travel money or a prepaid travel card, or you would prefer to pay off the balance after the holiday rather than save up in advance, one of these cards may be for you.

 

  • If you need to repair your credit score

    Credit repair cards, if used responsibly, allow you to repair a credit rating that has been damaged by debt accrued in the past, or can help you build a rating if you've never had credit before. Make sure you don't have any other credit cards or debts that could undo all the good work of using these cards, and remember to repay them every month, and you should be able to get your credit score back up to scratch over time.

 

Whatever you need, make sure you compare credit cards to find the best credit card deals. Also, check that you are eligible before you apply for credit, and that doesn’t just mean having a good credit rating. Are you old enough? Have you been a UK resident for long enough? Some lenders may insist you earn a certain amount per year, or that you already have an account with them, so check that it’s a good fit before you apply, otherwise you may jeopardise your credit score for no reason!

What makes one credit card better than another?

Aside from considering which introductory offer is more generous, the main thing to look out for when you compare credit cards is the APR (annual percentage rate) that is charged. Credit cards are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which requires a clearly indicated APR that allows easy comparison between cards. This relates to the interest that at least 51% of customers will be offered on standard purchases per year. This makes it easy to compare credit card rates at a glance but remember that you may not get this rate; bear in mind too that if you're looking to use the card solely for transferring debt, you may want to look at the interest charged on that instead.

Next to interest rates and introductory offers, you may also want to look at eligibility criteria and how you can apply for and manage the card. A card that is appropriate for most people might not be the right fit for you, which is why it's so important to always compare the best credit card offers to find the one that's best for you.

What charges and fees will I have to pay?

You'll have to pay interest based on the rate that your lender has set unless you manage to pay off the balance each month before interest can be charged or you are benefitting from an interest-free period. Additionally, most providers charge fees for balance and money transfers, as well as for taking out money.

Unless you're getting a travel credit card, you will likely pay fees on withdrawals or any spending made abroad, and even travel cards might still charge something. Last, but certainly not least, be careful as some lenders charge an annual fee for having the card, even if you don't use it.

What will my credit limit be?

Your credit limit will depend on your credit score and other criteria, so there is no way to know until you've applied. That's why it's important to make sure you choose a competitive card and have your finances under control before you apply. Check your credit score for free today. 

How long does it take to apply for a credit card?

After you've chosen the best credit card offer for your needs, you will have to supply the provider with personal details so that they can run a credit check. If you apply online, this process can take as little as 15 minutes, whereas applying in branch or by post can take somewhat longer.

How long until I get my credit card?

Different lenders will take different amounts of time to approve your application (this will again depend on how you apply) and send over the card. Generally, however, you can expect your plastic friend around 10 days after you've been approved. Still, if you need it for a specific purpose, apply for a credit card a month in advance to be sure you get it on time.

Are credit cards unsecured debt?

As you are not required to put your property or possessions up as security when taking out a credit card, they can be considered unsecured debt. However, if the situation gets so bad that you are unable to pay back what you've lent without selling your car or house, these possessions could still be at risk.

How do credit cards affect mortgage applications?

Mortgage applications require credit checks, to make sure you're a safe bet for the mortgage provider. Since your credit rating is affected by owning a credit card – positively if you've managed to pay the balance off every month, negatively if you've accumulated debt on it and/or missed payments – your credit card will most certainly affect the success of the application. For that reason, it's a good idea to check your credit score before you apply for either a card or a mortgage.

Can purchases on credit cards be refunded?

As mentioned above, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 you may be refunded for a purchase that is faulty, substandard or has gone missing.

Are credit cards contactless?

This depends on the provider, but there is certainly an increasing number of credit cards available that allow contactless payments.

Can credit cards be used to withdraw cash at ATMs?

Yes, but due to the high charges usually associated with this it is not advisable to use a card for cash withdrawals.

Can credit cards be in joint names?

While it is possible to have multiple cards tied to the same account, there is always one person solely responsible for the debt that is accrued on the account. So, while you can arrange for your partner (for instance) to get a credit card on the same account, you would be responsible for ensuring that the balance gets paid off.

Can credit cards be used for direct debits?

In the UK, credit cards cannot be used for direct debits. However, you may want to consider setting up a direct debit from your bank account to pay off (a certain percentage of) your credit card debt each month.

Can you transfer money from a credit card?

To transfer money from your credit card to a bank account, you’ll need a money transfer card or one that has this ability. Transferring money is quite simple and can be done online or by phone. You’ll have to provide the sort code and account number and the transfer can take as little as two hours up to a couple of days, depending on who you bank with, your credit card provider and anti-fraud checks.

Depending on your credit card and any special deal that might apply, you will likely have to pay a fee on top of whatever sum you transfer. In addition, make sure you are aware of what, if any, interest will be charged and if you have any 0% interest-free periods that you can take advantage of.

If you cannot transfer money directly from your card to your bank account, you might be tempted to withdraw cash from an ATM on your credit card to deposit in your account. However, before you do, make sure you read our Beware of credit card cash advances guide.

How many credit cards can I have?

Theoretically, there’s no limit to how many credit cards you can have. So long as you have a decent credit score and can convince the provider that you can afford this new line of credit, you should experience few problems.

However, in practice, you may find that credit card providers may be wary of issuing you with a credit card if you have several already – even if these are not carrying any outstanding balances. While this might not be a ‘deal-breaker’, you should expect that they may ask a few more questions and take a bit longer to consider your application.

Also, bear in mind that applying for a new credit card will show on your credit record and may cause your credit score to temporarily drop. Therefore, it’ not wise to apply for several cards in a short amount of time.

Can you buy a car with a credit card?

Yes, if you are buying from a dealership or motor trader then they will be happy to accept your credit card as payment.

This may be a good idea if you have a 0% interest offer on purchases with your card as this can allow you to spread the payments over a longer period without incurring any interest.

However, pay careful attention to the APR you’ll be paying once this interest-free period ends as, if you can’t repay the whole amount during this period, the interest charges could soon start to mount up. You might also want to compare the cost of credit between your credit card or using a loan instead, which could be cheaper over the long-term.

To find out about alternatives to buying a car with a credit card, take a look at our guide to car finance and leasing or unsecured car loans.

How to cancel a credit card

There may be a time when you’d like to cancel your credit card. Doing this is straightforward but remember that you’ll need to pay any outstanding balance back, along with any interest due, before the card provider can close your credit card account. You can find out more about cancelling your credit card by reading our Want to cancel your credit card? guide.

What happens to credit card debt when you die?

Credit card debts unfortunately remain after you die. Any outstanding balances will have to be settled by any remaining assets you have left, including savings accounts, property or life insurance pay-outs. If it is a joint credit card, then the surviving partner will become liable for the outstanding debt.

The only exception to the above is if you have valid payment protection insurance for the credit card. This will settle the outstanding debt in total or up to a certain limit if this is a limited policy.

Pros and cons of credit cards

  • Can help you spread the cost of a large purchase over multiple months. If you’re successful applying for a credit card deal with an introductory 0% interest offer on purchases, you wouldn't even have to worry about interest adding to your debt for specified introductory period.
  • If you get paid on an inconvenient day of the month, you could use a credit card to pay for purchases/bills and then pay that off as soon as you can to avoid interest adding to the balance.
  • Credit card purchases are protected under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. So, if you buy something between £100 and £30,000 in value using a credit card that turns out faulty, substandard or undelivered, you can get your money back from your lender if not from the supplier. This may apply even if you've only used the credit card for your deposit and to online purchases as well.
  • Some cards offer cashback or other rewards that could make them quite lucrative, if used responsibly.
  • Some providers allow you to consolidate your debts onto one card, known as a balance transfer card.
  • Using a credit card can result in an increasing amount of debt if you don't pay back the funds within a reasonable timeframe. Always search the market for the most suitable deal or you could end up owing a lot more money than you've used due to high monthly interest rates being charged.
  • It's always a good idea to look out for hidden costs or other extra charges that could make using credit costlier than it needs to be.

Moneyfacts tip

Moneyfacts tip nigel woollsey

When shopping online, always make sure you're on a legitimate website before typing in your credit card details, and never give the long number on the front of the card out to someone in the street or knocking on your door, no matter how legitimate they may sound.

Compare Credit Cards

Get our weekly newsletter

Weekend Moneyfacts is available free by email to all Moneyfacts.co.uk users.

Please send me Weekend Moneyfacts, Savers Friend and selected third-party offers.

How Moneyfacts works

  • blue money scales

    BALANCED. Moneyfacts.co.uk is entirely independent and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority for mortgage, credit and insurance products.

  • free label

    FREE. There is no cost to you. Our service is entirely free and you don't need to share any personal data to access our comparison tables.

  • drawing of pound sign and arrow

    TRANSPARENT. We only receive payment from product providers and intermediaries for quick/direct links and adverts through to their websites.

  • blue binoculars

    COMPREHENSIVE. We research the whole market and scour the small print so you can find the best products for your needs.

Top credit card guides

Read all credit card guides
guides icon
Should you take out a store card?

This guide runs through the pros and cons of getting a store card.

Read More
guides icon
Beware of credit card cash advances!

Beware of credit card cash advances! Our guide explains why with drawing cash using your credit card should be absolutely your last resort.

Read More
guides icon
Guide to the Consumer Credit Act

Confused about your rights under the Consumer Credit Act? Our guide makes things clear.

Confused about your rights under the Consumer Credit Act? Our guide makes things clear.

Read More
guides icon
How to improve your credit score and your chances of getting a credit card

This guide explains what you can do to help improve your credit score.

Read More

Ask us anything

Cookies

Moneyfacts.co.uk will, like most other websites, place cookies onto your device. This includes tracking cookies.

I accept. Read our Cookie Policy