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Looking for a credit card?
AutoSergei's credit card eligibility checker takes the hassle out of finding a new credit card. Just enter a few details and see the cards you're most likely to be accepted for, all without affecting your credit score.Check now
Why should I use the credit card eligibility checker?
Use our eligibility checker if you want to see how likely it is that you’ll qualify for a card before you apply for it, without impacting your credit score. On average, it takes under 1 minute to do**. The results can help you to avoid applying for any credit cards that you’re likely to be turned down for. Applying for multiple credit cards and having the applications denied will impact your credit score, and this is likely to make it harder for you to borrow money in the future. So, seeing what cards you’re likely to be accepted for makes sense.
To use the eligibility checker, you just need to give us a few details, including:
- your personal details
- UK address history
- annual salary and other income
**On average it can take less than 1 minute to complete a credit card eligibility check through Compare the Market based on data in September 2020.
We understand that the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused financial difficulty for some of you. If you have a credit card and you’re worried about making repayments due to coronavirus, we’re here to help you understand the options available.Find out more
How do credit cards work?
Credit cards let you buy things on credit – online and in-store – so the money you spend on them is a debt. You’ll be given a limit as to how much you can spend on the card by the card provider. Depending on how big a risk they think you are for paying back what you borrow, the limit may vary from a few hundred pounds to thousands.
When deciding if they’ll give you a card, how much you can borrow and your rate of interest, providers take into account details such as:
- your income
- your credit score
- the amount of debt you have
If you use your card to make cash withdrawals, you’ll have to pay interest from the day you borrow the money. You may also have to pay additional charges for borrowing cash.
If you pay your bill in full every month, you won’t pay any interest for any purchases. But if you pay only the minimum payment, you could end up paying more in interest, fees and charges than you originally borrowed. It’s advisable, if you can afford it, to pay more than the minimum payment as this will help you pay off your debt sooner and make your borrowing cheaper.
Each month, your card provider will send you a statement (online or by post) telling you how much you owe. It will also show:
- any fees charged
- how much available credit you have left
- the minimum payment required and the date it’s due
You can make sure your payment always reaches your card provider in time by setting up a Direct Debit from your bank account. Late payments and non-payment will affect your credit rating.
A few cards also charge you a monthly or annual fee. Every credit card is different and so charges and fees will differ – always read your terms and conditions with care.
What are the different types of credit cards in the market?
There are several types of credit card available, to suit different situations. So you’ll need to consider which is right for you.
0% on balance transfers - These cards let you move debt from an existing credit card (or cards) onto a new credit card, and you pay no interest on the balance you transfer for a set period of time. You could, however, be charged a balance transfer fee for moving money onto these cards – often a percentage of the amount of money you want to move. You must pay off at least the minimum amount each month and the entire outstanding amount before the 0% deal expires to avoid being charged interest. The advantage of this type of card is that once the fee is paid, all the money you pay goes toward reducing the debt you owe rather than paying off interest.
Find out more or see what you can save on.0% on balance transfers credit cards
0% on new purchases - Useful if you’re planning to buy more expensive items, these cards allow you to spread the payment over a number of months without paying interest. As long as you pay off at least the minimum amount each month and the whole of the outstanding amount before the 0% deal expires.
Find out more or see what you can save on0% on purchases credit cards
0% on balance transfer and purchases - These offer interest-free periods for new purchases and interest-free balance transfers from other credit cards. You could be charged a fee for transferring your balance, and you need to make sure you pay off the minimum amount each month and the outstanding amount before the 0% deal expires.
Find out more or see what you can save on0% on balance transfer and purchases credit cards
Reward cards - With these cards you can earn cashback, points, air miles or another reward as you spend. The perks for exclusive high-end cards can include airport lounges and lifestyle management services too.
Each card will have its own terms and conditions, however, so be clear on what you’re signing up for. This kind of card can be suited to people who pay off their balance in full every month. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up paying interest charges that offset the rewards.
Find out more or compare deals now onRewards credit cards
Credit building cards – If you have a low credit score, these types of cards – also known as bad-credit cards – could help you out. They might give you access to funds and, when used in the right way, could help you build up your credit rating. If you haven’t had a card before, this could be a potential option as you begin to build up your credit rating. These cards can have a higher interest rate.
Find out more or find a deal onCredit building cards
Money transfer credit cards - These cards allow you to transfer cash from your credit card directly into your current account. You can repay the balance, often interest-free, over a set period of time. But watch out, there’s usually a money transfer fee, and if you don’t pay the minimum amount each month interest will be charged.
Find out more or see how much you can save onMoney transfer credit cards
Cashback cards - A cashback reward card gives you a percentage of the amount you spend on the card back as an incentive to use it. Check to see where you can earn cashback to make sure it’s a worthwhile choice. Cashback cards are ideal for people who pay off their balance in full each month, otherwise any cashback gains will be wiped out by interest costs. Some cards may have an annual fee.
Find out more or compare Cashback credit cards.Cashback credit cards
Which type of credit card is right for me?
Used wisely, a credit card can be great for life’s little emergencies, big purchases and to reduce monthly outgoings by consolidating debt. Different cards are designed for different kinds of use. The right credit card deal for you will depend on what you want to use the card for, your personal financial history and credit rating, and which cards you’re eligible for.
Think about how you want to use the card. For example, if you want to spread the cost of a big purchase, then a card that has a 0% introductory interest rate might be suitable. On the other hand, if you have debt on another card, you might want to transfer it to a card with 0% on balance transfers. But remember, if you don’t pay back what you borrow in the introductory period for both these types of card, you’ll end up paying interest on any outstanding balance. Ideally, make sure you can clear them within the introductory period.
If you’re happy to pay back what you owe in full every month, you might want to see what rewards cards you can get. These offer rewards such as points and air miles.
If you’ve had bad debts in the past or have a low credit score. Then a credit building card could be right for you.
Make sure you understand any promotional offers on a card you’re considering – for example, the window available for balance transfers – and what happens once the offer has run out, for example, the interest rate increasing. And make sure you know what happens if you miss a payment or make a late payment.
You can also use our credit card eligibility checker to see in less than 2 minutes** those cards you’d be likely to qualify for to help you decide.
**On average it can take less than 2 minutes to complete a credit card eligibility check through Compare the Market based on data in May 2020.
Do I need a credit card?
You don’t have to have a credit card, but they can:
- be useful for emergencies
- offer some protection on purchases
- give you some financial flexibility
- reward you with freebies, air miles or cashback
- be used abroad
- help build your credit score if you use them well.
For example, if you face a sudden emergency, such as needing a new boiler or an expensive car repair, you could pay on your card then spread the repayments over a few months to make it more affordable – but you will pay interest on top.
Credit cards are protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If you make a purchase between £100 and £30,000, you can get the money back from a card issuer if either the seller goes bust or your item is faulty.
Credit cards are easy to use and are accepted in more places than prepaid cards and charge cards. Some cards also offer rewards like air miles, cashback and reward points for your spending.
They can be safer than cash, because if your card is stolen you can cancel it with the provider. If it’s used fraudulently you might be able to get your money back too, unlike stolen cash.
On the downside, people can get into serious debt when it comes to the misuse of credit cards. You should use them carefully, not spending more than you can afford to pay back.
They can also be expensive to use - with high rates of interest that can make purchases much more expensive if you only make the minimum repayment - and it’s important to be aware of fees and charges. Find out more about some of the charges that can affect credit card users.
Depending on how much you want to borrow and for how long, a personal loan can be a cheaper option as the interest rate can be lower than a credit card, depending on your credit rating. See more on personal loans.
What are the minimum requirements for applying for a credit card?
You must be 18 years old or over. For some credit cards, you might need to be 21 to apply. You also need to be a UK resident with full rights to live in the UK. Some cards or providers will set a minimum income too.
Frequently asked questions
What does APR mean?
The annual percentage rate (APR) lets you know how much interest you’ll pay for borrowing money on a credit card. This is typically stated as a yearly interest rate.
For most cards, you can avoid interest payments on transactions if you pay your balance in full each month by the due date. Learn more about APR, including the difference between personal and representative APR.
Why should I pay off more than the minimum fee each month?
It sounds obvious, but the more you pay the faster your debt will disappear, so always aim to pay more than the minimum payment due. The minimum payment is the lowest amount you need to pay in order to avoid potential penalties. The minimum fee is usually calculated as a percentage of your balance.
Don’t think of it as a fixed amount as it’s not. The amount you need to repay each month as a minimum will fall as your balance reduces. See how this works in the table, and how paying more than just the minimum can reduce the time to clear the debt and the overall interest paid. This table assumes spending no more money on the card and the interest staying the same for the whole period.
|£1,000 balance on card||Interest paid||Total paid||Time to clear debt|
|Minimum repayment only (starting at £25 and decreasing as the debt goes down)||£1,336||£2,336||18 years and 7 months|
|£25 every month until debt cleared||£559||£1,559||5 years and 3 months|
|£40 a month||£270||£1,270||2 years and 8 months|
|£100 a month||£94||£1,094||11 months|
How can I check my credit score?
The three main credit reference agencies are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit). These all have information about you that lenders can see before making a decision on offering you credit. Ideally you should check your score with all three to check that the information they have about you is correct, as different lenders use different agencies. Since May 2018 and with the introduction of new GDPR regulations, it remains free to check your credit score online. You may have to pay a fee for additional services, such as credit monitoring.
See more about building your credit score.
Why might I be rejected for a credit card?
Your credit history, also known as your credit report or score, is a major factor in determining if you’ll be accepted for a credit card. Lenders will take your score and use it to judge how likely they think you’ll be able to repay debt on a card. Learn more about credit building cards.
It’s worth knowing that you may be asked to pay higher interest rates if a lender sees you as a higher risk. Each lender will have their own reasons for the rates they set and so understanding what’s in your credit file is a good place to start.
If you’ve been rejected for a card, wait at least three months before you apply again. In the interim, do what you can to improve your credit score. When you apply again, use our eligibility checker to see which cards you’re likely to be accepted for.
What can I use a credit card for?
You can use a credit card to pay for bills and services. If you use a card to make cash withdrawals, you’ll start paying interest right away.
However you use your card, it’s important to be financially sensible. It can be good to use a credit card for purchases over £100 to get the additional financial protection a card offers, especially if you can pay the amount back in full.
It’s wise to avoid paying for things like your mortgage and bills on your card, unless you’re sure you can pay the money back each month, as this can lead to a spiral of debt.
Can I get a joint credit card?
In the UK, there’s no equivalent of a joint bank account for credit cards, because just one person has to sign the credit agreement for a card. What you can do instead is add another cardholder to your card – known as an additional cardholder. They’ll get their own card, but you’ll be fully responsible for any debt on that card and all the administration involved, so there are risks involved. You can get an additional card for a partner, family member or friend. It’s important that you trust your additional cardholder not to run up big debts.
What happens when a car hire company or hotel asks for my card up front?
Some companies ask for pre-authorisations, so they can be sure they can collect the money owed to them if you don’t pay up – for example, if you use the mini-bar in a hotel or leave a car at the hire company without paying the bill at the time. The company puts a hold on some of your credit limit and while that’s in place you won’t be able to spend that money elsewhere. For example, if your credit limit is £1,000 and a car hire company puts a pre-authorisation of £500 on your card, you’ll only be able to spend £500 more on your card.
Does Compare the Market compare all the credit cards on the market?
We have many credit cards for you to compare, from major banks and leading credit card providers. But we don’t compare every single credit card available in the UK.
That’s because some credit card providers have exclusives through their own branches or websites, or on other price comparison websites – in the same way that we sometimes do. Also, there are credit cards which are only available to people in clubs or membership organisations.
Why compare credit cards with us?
We let you compare credit card deals quickly, so that you can find one most suited to your needs. It’s super-easy to filter your choices by card type, so when it comes to finding great credit card deals for you it won’t take long at all.
Why use Compare the Market?
1 minute** to see which cards you could be eligible for
Check without harming your credit score
Filter by type of card you are comparing
**On average it can take less than 1 minute to compare credit cards through Compare the Market based on data in September 2020.