[]   Your account

Compare credit cards

Find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score

Find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score

Find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score

Find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score

Find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score

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

How do credit cards work?

Credit cards let you buy things on credit – online and instore – 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.
 
Providers take into account things like your income, credit score and amount of debt to decide if they’ll give you a card, how much you can borrow and your rate of interest.
 
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. But if you pay your bill in full every month, you won’t pay any interest for any purchases. If you choose to pay just the minimum amount and not the statement in full, you may incur interest charges on the outstanding balance. A few cards also charge you a monthly or annual fee.
 
Each month, your card provider will send you a statement (online or by post) telling you how much you owe. It will show:

  • any new transactions
  • any payments you have made
  • any fees charged
  • the outstanding balance you owe
  • the maximum amount you can borrow on your card
  • how much available credit you have left
  • the minimum payment required
  • the date payment should be made by
  • if your card offers rewards, these may also be shown.

You can make sure your payment always reaches your card company in time by setting up a Direct Debit from your bank account. Late payments and non-payment will affect your credit rating.

Every credit card is different and so charges and fees will differ – always read your terms and conditions with care.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), some providers have decided to temporarily stop offering credit cards through Compare the Market. As a result, we'll only be able to show you credit cards from providers still available, meaning you may see a reduced number of cards on our panel.
 
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

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 some 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.

Using a credit card responsibly can build your credit score, as you’ll be showing that you can handle money well by paying back your debt on time.

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 so you have to 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. There can also be fees for late payments, going over your credit limit, missing payments and for using your card abroad. 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.

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.

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.

See the list of types of card available and consider which is right for you.

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 February 2020.

Why should I use a 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 2 minutes 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.
 
To use the eligibility checker you just need to give a few details, including

  • your personal details
  • UK address history
  • annual salary and other income.

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, and have at least three years of UK address history. Some cards or providers will set a minimum income too.

Prefer to see what types of credit cards are in the market?

Without checking your eligibility you can still see what types of credit cards are in the market and go and apply.

See credit cards

0% on balance transfers - These cards let you move debt from an existing credit card (or cards) onto a new credit card and pay no interest on the balance you transfer for a period of time. You could however be charged a balance transfer fee for moving money onto these cards and you must pay off the minimum amount each month and the outstanding amount before the 0% deal expires to avoid being charged interest.

Find out more or see what you could save on

Balance transfer credit cards

0% on 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. That’s assuming 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 on

0% 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. Again, 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 on

0% on balance transfer and purchases credit cards

Reward cards - Some credit cards offer a feature whereby you can earn cashback, points, air miles or another reward as you spend. Each card will have its own terms and conditions, however, so be clear on what you’re signing up for. Don’t forget, you’ll need to pay off the balance in full each month to avoid charges.

Find out more or compare deals now on

Rewards 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.

Find out more or find a deal on

Credit building cards

Use abroad - Designed specifically to use while you’re travelling or on holiday, these cards usually have low or 0% fees for foreign usage charges. They may also come with favourable exchange rates while you spend abroad.

Find out more or compare deals on

Abroad credit 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 on

Money 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

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. 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. 

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.

comparethemarket.com uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacy & cookie policy.