Best credit cards deals and how to apply
APPLYING for a credit card can be confusing with so many options on the market.
Here, we explain where to look to get the best deals and how you go about getting the right one for you.
Unfortunately getting a credit card isn't just as simple as getting one card that will suit all your needs.
There are several different types depending on what you need the card to do, each one with its own benefits and downsides.
Remember though, the best deals will be offered to customers with the best credit ratings and who pass the affordability checks.
We explain how to apply, why you might want to choose a different card for your situation and what the best deals are on credit cards at the moment.
Need to make a big purchase?
An interest free credit card can be a great way to spread the cost of a big purchases, such as a holiday or a new kitchen.
If you get a card with a long interest free period you can space out your payments gradually without having to pay any hefty interest charges.
The trick is to try and clear your balance before the 0% interest period ends so that you can avoid any fees.
Last year, some of the longest deals on the market stretched to nearly three years but since then they've shrunk.
Now, the longest deals on the market last 20 months, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk, bringing the time you have to pay back the debt down by a year.
Rachel Springall from Moneyfacts.co.uk put the "disappointing" cuts down to new rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority in February 2018, which are aimed at helping borrowers get out of debt.
Under the guidelines, lenders must offer borrowers a way to repay balances when they've been in persistent debt for 36 months or more, including potentially reducing, waiving or cancelling any extra charges.
Rachel explains that banks and building societies would likely argue that shorter interest-free terms discourages borrowers from being in constant debt.
These cards should not be used to plug gaps in your monthly income as you will just end up in more debt.
Always make sure you can pay back whatever you can borrow.
For more information on the best deals on interest free credit card you can check out our guide here
How to apply for a credit card
HERE is everything you need to know about applying for a credit card:
Which card do you need: The first thing you need to do if figure out what kind card you are going to need.
Luckily for you, you are in the right place as this article will explain what kind of card you need for your situation.
Check your credit score: Your credit score determines how reliable you are when it comes to borrowing money.
The better your credit score the more likely it is that banks will accept you for the best deals.
When you apply for a credit card your bank will check your credit score to see if you suitable for the deal 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.
You can find out how to check your credit score here
Don't apply all over the place:If you just apply for loads of different deals you may end up hurting your chances of getting the best deals.
If you apply and your application gets refused it will leave a mark on your credit file which means that providers might be less likely to lend to you.
Always check using an eligibility such as MoneySuperMarket's Smart Search to see how likely you are to be accepted for a credit card.
Don't believe everything you see: Just because you see a credit card advertised with a great rate online, it doesn't mean that that is the rate you will end up getting.
By law credit card companies have to give the rate they advertise to the 51% of the people who successfully apply for a credit card.
But, depending on your credit score you might get a different interest rate or a shorter 0% period.
You don't have to accept the rate you are offered and you can always shop around for a better deal.
Fill in your application form: Once you have decided on the card you are after just fill in the online form on the credit card company's website.
Try to be as honest as possible with your credit details.
If your application is declined it might be worth asking the bank for a copy of your credit file to see why it is that you weren't accepted for the credit card.
If you are accepted can take a week or two for your card to arrive.
Want to earn while you spend?
If used properly, cashback credit cards can reward you for your everyday spending – and you can get a tidy boost to your bank balance.
These cards offer cashback when you spend using the card, but be warned companies offer these cards because they want you to spend.
If you don't repay your balance in full every month you will very quickly wipe away any of the cashback you have earned.
We have a guide on cashback credit cards and where to get the best deals here.
Getting rid of debt?
If you are trying to clear an existing debt you could consider getting a balance transfer credit card.
These cards allow you to go for long periods with out paying interest on what you owe.
So you can transfer over your existing debt onto a balance transfer card and pay it off without any interest.
You can save potentially thousands of pounds if you use a balance transfer card properly.
But be careful, as soon as the 0% period is over you will have to pay high rates again, so make sure to pay off your debt in the interest free period.
Some of these cards will also charge you for transferring over your debt.
For more information on balance transfer cards, you can read our guide here.
If you are going on holiday or travelling abroad regularly a travel credit card can help you save while you get a bit of sun.
Banks will often charge you fees for spending or withdrawing money abroad, a travel credit card won't charge you for spending while you are on holiday.
Though these cards will usually charge for withdrawing money when you are out of the country.
Just because you're using your plastic on holiday – doesn't mean the usual rules don't apply.
Always make sure you clear your balance each month – if you don't, the interest charges you'll incur will outweigh any savings you make by using it in the first place.
And don't be tempted to go overboard with 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.
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