MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker - this means that we'll show you products offered by lenders. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident.
A higher credit score means you’ll have a better chance of being accepted for a wider range of credit cards, with more competitive deals. So growing your score could give you more offers to choose from.
Check your score with Credit Monitor, then get regular updates and personalised tips to help it grow – all for free.
If you’ve had some money troubles in the past, like missed payments, your credit score may be lower than you’d like. These cards can help you build your score up again – they tend to have lower limits and higher interest rates, but using them sensibly can help to grow your credit score over time.
When you’re pre-approved, the interest rate, interest-free period and fee (if there is one) are all confirmed – the only thing not guaranteed is your credit limit.
You’ll see your unique, personalised chance of being approved for all credit cards, so you can easily compare all your options at a glance.
Knowing all this upfront puts you in the driving seat. You’re less likely to be turned down when you apply, so your credit score is protected.
A credit card lets you borrow money from a bank or building society which you can use to pay for goods or services upfront.
You then pay the money you’ve spent on the credit card – known as the balance – on a monthly basis. If you pay back your balance in full each month, you won’t pay any interest on what you borrowed. If you can’t afford to pay the whole balance back, you make monthly repayments, but you will often be charged interest on the outstanding balance.
There are different types of credit cards, and each is designed for different spending needs.
There are many different types of credit cards. Some of the most popular include
0% purchase cards – which let you buy large purchases up front and you pay back what you’ve borrowed without incurring interest over a set period.
Balance transfer cards – so you can transfer the outstanding balance from one card to a new card at either a lower or no interest rate for a set period. There is often an upfront fee pay for the transfer.
Credit cards are useful to pay for goods and services, and you can use them in a similar way to an interest-free loan as you can in essence borrow money for free, providing you pay it back in full each month. Using a credit card for purchases will mean you’re covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which means you can get your money back if a product you buy is faulty or doesn’t arrive.
However, it is easy to rack up a large debt with a credit card, especially if you make only the minimum repayment each month as interest will be charged on what’s left. If you miss a payment, make a late payment, or go over your credit limit, you will often be charged a penalty fee.
Choosing the right credit card depends on many factors including what you are using the card for, how likely you are to pay off your balance in full, and your credit rating.
Our Eligibility Checker will ask questions to determine which type of card suits your needs, and because it uses a ‘soft search’, it won’t affect your credit report. There are hundreds of different credit card deals, but you can compare our leading offers quickly and easily with MoneySuperMarket.
MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker – this means we’ll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this service. Instead we are usually paid a fee by the lenders, but the size of that payment doesn’t affect how we show products to customers.
It’s best to pay off your entire credit card balance every month if you can afford to – this way you won’t pay interest and you can avoid building up debt. If you can’t afford to pay off the full balance, you must pay off at least the minimum monthly payment – ideally more.
Avoid missing credit card payments – credit card providers will often charge a penalty if you miss a payment and you also risk harming your credit score.
Setting up a direct debit could be a good way to ensure you pay off at least the minimum amount of your credit balance each month.
Each time you make an application for a credit card, it leaves a record – known as a ‘hard search’ - on your credit report. Too many applications can make lenders think you are in desperate need for credit and your application may be rejected.
Some credit cards have extra benefits that reward you when you use them a certain way. While some of them can be tempting, it’s better to get a credit card that will give you rewards for the way you spend already. For example, an airmiles credit card is only going to be useful if you’re a regular flyer, but if you’re a regular shopper at a particular high street store, there might be a credit card that gives you cashback for shopping there.
If you’re planning to use your credit card overseas, check whether or not you’ll be charged for doing so. Many credit cards charge fees for foreign transactions, so it can be a good idea to look for a card that won’t charge you for using it abroad.
Some credit cards will charge a fee if you use them to take cash out of a cash machine, and on top of that you’ll be charged interest from the moment you receive your money. Avoid using your credit card for cash withdrawals unless it’s an emergency.
Credit card fraud, like any fraud, is serious – you should always take care when using your credit card and be careful where you keep it. Never tell anyone your PIN and regularly check your statements every month – or if your credit card has an app, check that regularly - to make sure there are no surprises.
APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and it represents how much it’ll cost to borrow money on a particular credit card. It’s calculated by taking into account:
However, you might see the term ‘representative APR’ on adverts for credit cards – this means that the interest rate quoted only has to be offered to at least 51% of successful applicants, so it may not be the actual rate you get when you apply.
Credit card providers can change interest rates at any time, so it’s always a good idea to stay on top of your credit balance. If you have a 0% offer on your credit card, this will only be for a set number of months so you should make sure you clear your balance before it ends, or transfer your remaining balance to another 0% card.
You can apply for credit cards online, either using MoneySuperMarket or going directly to the provider, or by calling them up or through the post. You can also stop by your bank or building society branch and apply in person.
First consider what you want to use the credit card for – cards come with different features that are useful for different purposes.
If you have a large purchase coming up, you might want to spread the cost with a 0% purchase card, if you fly a lot you might want an airmiles card, and if you want to transfer a balance to avoid interest payments, a balance transfer card could be ideal.
By comparing on MoneySuperMarket, you’ll be able to see a list of credit cards, so you can browse at will and choose which one suits you best.
You’ll get a cooling off period of two weeks from when you receive your card, and you’ll have 30 days to pay off your balance. You can cancel by contacting your provider, either by post, phone, online, or in-branch.
However, if you want to cancel your credit card after the cooling off period, your account balance generally must be zero.
Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness to credit lenders, based on an analysis of your credit history (your history of borrowing and paying back credit).
The higher your score, the more likely you are to be accepted for future credit applications. If your score is low, there are ways to improve it. MoneySuperMarket’s Credit Monitor lets you check your credit score for free and gives you tips on how to improve it.
A soft credit search is a way of finding out which credit cards you’re most likely to be accepted for without your credit score being affected. This is usually done via a website such as MoneySuperMarket.
A hard search on your credit report is a mark left by a lender who has assessed your credit rating after you have applied for a credit card. Too many hard searches (often through multiple applications) may make lenders think you are desperate for credit so it’s best to limit your applications for credit in a short space of time.
If you have a bad credit rating or you don’t have a credit history because you’ve never borrowed before, you might not qualify for the very best credit card deals. However, some credit cards are designed specifically for those who need to build up their credit score. Just be aware they often come with low credit limits and high interest rates.
However, if you use this type of card sensibly and always pay off your balance in full, you can improve your credit score so you’ll eventually be eligible for better credit cards.
If you miss a repayment on your credit card balance, you likely have to pay a penalty fee. What’s more, if you have any type of promotional offer with your card, such as an interest-free deal, this may be cancelled, and a missed payment may have a negative effect on your credit score.
If you get rejected for a credit card, this will leave a mark on your credit report and could lead to further rejections in the future. It’s a good idea to use MoneySuperMarket’s Eligibility Checker to see how likely you are to be accepted for a card before applying to get it, and it won’t affect your credit score.
You might be able to get more credit from your provider if you prove yourself to be a responsible borrower by repaying on time and never missing payments. Once you’ve established a good credit history, you might be successful when asking for a higher credit limit.
Unlike many loans and mortgages, you generally won’t be charged for making early repayments on your credit card – which means it’s a good way to get ahead of your balance.
You can’t get joint credit cards in the same way as bank accounts and mortgages, but you can add additional users to your own credit cards. However, you should remember that it’s still the primary cardholder’s responsibility to pay off the balance.
The Consumer Credit Act was established in 1974, and under Section 75 the credit card lender is jointly responsible with the retailer or supplier for any goods or services you purchase with your credit card.
This means if those products are faulty, or if there was any contract breach or misrepresentation on the retailer’s part, you can claim from your credit card company as well as the retailer.
However, you can’t recover money from both sides, so it’s useful for when the retailer has gone bust or they won’t respond to your communication. You should be aware the purchase value must be more than £100 and not more than £30,000 for you to be able to claim.
You can cancel your credit card by contacting your lender, by phone, email, online, post, or in person if they have a local branch.
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If you’re applying for a credit card, you might be able to find a better deal if you look through offers from different providers before taking one out. With MoneySuperMarket you’ll be able to search through multiple credit cards and compare them by a range of factors, including their interest rates and any benefits and rewards they come with.
All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your financial situation, and our Eligibility Checker will show your chances of being accepted for different credit cards. This won’t affect your credit score, so you can run a check without any worries.
Once you know which card you want, you can normally apply by phone, online, or in person if the provider has a high street branch. However, when you do apply, the provider will usually run a hard credit check – which will show up on your credit report – to confirm whether they’ll give you the card. If you’re accepted they’ll tell you your credit limit and interest rate, and soon you’ll be ready to start using your credit card.
MoneySuperMarket gives you lots of clever ways to save a lot, by doing very little.
So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.
But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?
We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.