How to find the best credit card deals
APPLYING for a credit card can be confusing with so many options on the market.
Here, we explain where to look for the best credit card deals and how you go about getting the one that’s right for you.
Unfortunately, getting a credit card isn’t as easy as getting a card that will meet all of your needs.
There are several different types depending on what you need to do with the card, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Remember, however, that the best credit card deals will go to customers with the best credit scores and who pass affordability checks.
We explain how to apply, why you might want to choose a different card for your situation, and what the best deals on credit cards are right now.
What is a credit card?
A credit card is like a loan from a bank or a building society.
Instead of getting a load of money in your own bank account, you get a line of credit based on your finances and your credit rating.
This can be used on a credit card in a number of ways, such as paying off old balances, spending, or transferring money.
You will receive an invoice each month that you need to reimburse, and there will likely be a charge if you don’t pay it in full.
What can you use a credit card for?
There are several types of credit cards depending on how you spend or use the money.
- An acquisition card allows you to spend without interest
- A balance transfer card allows you to erase your old debts
- A money transfer card can reimburse overdrafts
- A reimbursement card can pay rewards on your spending
- A travel credit card can allow for interest-free purchases and cash withdrawals when you are abroad.
Some cards will offer a combination such as interest-free spending and balance transfers.
What type of credit card is the best?
The best credit card for you will depend on your needs.
An interest-free credit card can be a great way to spread the cost of a big purchase, like a vacation or a new kitchen.
If you get a card with a long interest-free period, you can spread your payments out gradually without having to pay large interest charges.
The trick is to try to clear your balance before the end of the 0% interest period to avoid charges.
A cash back credit card can also be an effective way to earn money while you spend.
It rewards you for your daily expenses – and you can get a good boost to your bank balance.
These cards offer cash back when you spend with the card, but be aware that companies are offering these cards because they want you to spend.
If you don’t pay off your balance in full each month, you’ll wipe out all the cashback you’ve earned very quickly.
We have a guide to cashback credit cards and where to find the best deals here.
If you’re trying to erase existing debt, you might consider getting a balance transfer credit card.
These cards allow you to go for long periods without paying interest on what you owe.
So you can transfer your existing debt to a balance transfer card and pay it off without any interest.
You can potentially save thousands of dollars if you use a balance transfer card correctly.
But be careful, as soon as the 0% period is over you will have to pay high rates again, so be sure to pay off your debt within the interest-free period.
Some of these cards will also charge you for transferring your debt.
For more information on balance transfer cards, you can read our guide here.
You can also clear your overdraft using an interest-free money transfer credit card.
This allows you to avoid overdraft fees, credit yourself back to your checking account provider, and pay off the debt without interest.
If you go on vacation or travel internationally regularly, a travel credit card can help you save money while you sunbathe.
Banks will often charge you a fee for spending or withdrawing money abroad, a travel credit card will not charge you for your spending while on vacation.
Although these cards usually charge for cash withdrawal when you are out of the country.
Just because you use your plastic on vacation doesn’t mean the usual rules don’t apply.
Always make sure to clear your balance every month – if you don’t, the interest charges you incur will outweigh any savings you make by using it in the first place.
And don’t be tempted to overdo your spending just because you’re having fun in the sun.
For more of the best deals on travel credit cards, you can read our guide here.
How do I get a credit card?
You can find the best credit card deals either directly from a bank or mortgage company, or search and review the deals using a comparison website.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what type of card you will need, such as if you need the best credit cards for your spending, or if you need to pay off debts with a balance transfer.
Your credit score determines how reliable you are when it comes to borrowing.
The better your credit score, the more likely it is that banks will accept you for the best deals because they only need to provide their best credit card deals to 51% of applicants.
When you apply for a credit card, your bank will check your credit score to see if you match the offer they are offering.
If you have a bad credit rating, the bank may not want to lend you money in case you can’t pay it back.
Avoid applying for many different offers as each application marks your credit report and can end up hurting your chances of getting the best credit card deals.
Comparison websites can often do an indirect search that won’t affect your credit rating, but will tell you which offers you are most likely to be approved for.
Once you have chosen the card you are looking for, simply complete the online form on the website of the credit card company.
Try to be as honest as possible with your credit information.
If your application is denied, it may be worth asking the bank for a copy of your credit report, to see why you weren’t accepted for the credit card.
If you are accepted, it may take a week or two for your card to arrive.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards?
A credit card can be an effective way to write off debt or make a big purchase and spread out repayments.
You can consolidate multiple credit card debts into one monthly payment using a balance transfer, giving you more time to focus on clearing the balance without worrying about interest charges.
Alternatively, an interest-free acquisition card is actually like a loan to pay for a large item like a new kitchen or a new car.
Tracking repayments can also improve your credit score, as it gives you a history of debt management.
This requires discipline, because if you miss payments or don’t pay the full balance, you could end up paying high interest rates known as the Annual Percentage Rate (APR).
The APR can be as high as 20% or more if you are considered to be at credit risk.
Even if you have an interest-free credit card, it may be worth making more than the minimum repayment and clearing the balance each month – as all of the debt will be owed at the end of the term of the agreement. , which could leave you with a higher invoice amount.
Additionally, an interest-free card will switch to an expensive APR after the transaction period is over, so it’s important to clear your balance first.
An easy way to do this is to set up a direct debit that pays off your credit card bill every month.
Remember that the APR will also be charged on missed payments, even during an interest-free period.
Check what you can use your card for, as there may be high fees for spending abroad or cash withdrawals.
Some cards may also have fees, such as balance transfers or cash back cards often come with an annual fee.
Also, avoid a lot of applications at once and do a gentle search through a comparison site or directly from a vendor to check your chances of being accepted.
This is because many requests and rejections can hurt your credit score and make it more difficult to obtain loans and credit cards in the future.
What’s the easiest credit card to get approved for?
The better your credit rating, the more likely you are to be approved for the best credit cards.
You can find the best credit card deals for your situation by searching on comparison sites or directly from a provider.
Use gentle search and eligibility checkers to see which products you’re most likely to be accepted for.
You might not always get the advertised offer and instead you might be offered a shorter interest free period.
There is no obligation to accept what is offered and you are free to shop, but remember that too many requests can damage your credit score.
If you can wait, it may help to take steps to improve your credit score so that you can get a lower rate, larger balances, or a longer interest-free period at another time.
There are also cards for those with low credit that can help you increase your score.