Choosing a credit card

Credit cards can be a great help. Whether you want to buy something expensive and pay for it later, or for the convenience of spreading the cost over a few months. They can also be useful as a back-up in an emergency.

But because they can charge high interest rates, credit cards can also be an expensive way to spend. That’s why some people end up with a debt that’s hard to pay back. And it’s one of the reasons why it’s important to spend time deciding which credit card is right for you.

At comparethemarket.com we offer many types of credit card. Here are some points to consider if you’re thinking about a card that offers zero interest on purchases.

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What’s the best interest free purchase credit card?

These cards offer zero interest on your spending, for a set period of time. They can be a real help if you need to pay for expensive items, such as a wedding dress, a new kitchen or perhaps a holiday. Typically, you can expect to be offered interest free spending for a year or two – but when that period ends you’ll be charged interest on whatever you buy, so it’s important to try to pay off any debt before the interest-free period comes to an end - or you could pay a high rate of interest. Also, don’t forget you will have to pay off the minimum amount each month, as is the usual procedure for outstanding balances.

Additionally, it's very important to take note of the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) before committing to any credit card in the first place, as this is what you'll be charged once your interest free period expires. For example, if the APR on a card is 17 per cent and you spend £1,000 (and don’t pay any of this off), the interest charged for a 12 month period will be £170 on top of your debt - so you’ll pay back £1,170. There could also be other types of fees to take into account, such as late payment charges, if you don’t follow the terms and conditions.

What else should I consider?

If you’ve previously been turned down for a credit card, there are special cards that can help you become a more appealing customer to lenders. These are known as credit builder cards. They typically offer low spend limits, but as long as you stay within the limit and make full repayments regularly, you’ll build up your credit rating for the future. We have lots of information to offer you if you’re concerned about bad credit.

Which credit card is right for me?

Along with interest free purchase credit cards, other types of cards are available, including cashback cards, rewards cards and cards issued from your own bank. Why not start a comparison today to help you find the card that’s best suited to your needs.

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