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with a credit card1

Representative 21.9% APR

Representative example: transferring £2,000, 2.89% balance transfer fee, 0% over 30 months then 21.9%p.a (variable).

Compare credit cards from over 20 providers

Shopping around is always important, especially when it comes to credit cards. We help you compare deals from leading providers across the market so you can be confident to pick the best deal for your needs.

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1Annual saving based on 51% of customers transferring from a 22% card, with a 5% monthly repayment (August 22). Representative example: transferring £2,000, 2.89% balance transfer fee, 0% over 30 months then 21.9%p.a (variable). Representative 21.9% APR. MSM is a credit broker not a lender. 18+. Subject to status.

How do credit cards work?

Credit cards let you borrow money from a bank, a building society or another lender to pay for goods and services up front. The credit card-provider will give you a bill each month, and you must pay back the money you borrowed with interest added on top.

The minimum payment is set by the provider, but is typically at least 1% of the outstanding balance, as well as interest and the annual fee. You'll pay extra charges if you default on your payments.

Your credit history is assessed when you apply – and this will have a big impact on the terms you’re offered. 


Types of credit card

There are a range of different types of credit card on the market, and while they all work in a broadly similar way, there are some important differences. Not every credit card will suit every person’s needs – and some are quite niche.

  • 1

    Balance transfer credit card

    Switch an existing card balance to a lower rate or 0% interest balance transfer card to clear your debts more quickly. The best balance transfer cards offer 0% interest for more than two and a half years. There will usually be a balance transfer fee.

    Learn more

  • 2

    Credit-builder credit card

    You’ll start with a low credit limit. But with careful use you can build up your credit score – and credit limit - over time. Improving your credit score can help with other credit applications in the future, such as for a loan or mortgage.

    Learn more

  • 3

    Rewards credit card

    Earn loyalty points or Air Miles with purchases you make using the card. Can suit those who spend a lot on their credit card but always clear the balance in full each month, as interest rates can be high.

    Learn more

  • 4

    Money transfer credit card

    Allows you to consolidate other debts and pay a lower interest rate. Typically they are used to transfer cash to a current account so you can pay off an overdraft. Transfer fees usually apply.

    Learn more

  • 5

    Purchase credit card

    Offers a low or 0% interest rate on what you buy on the credit card for an extended offer period. This time period will vary depending on the deal, but it could be up to two years – great if you need to make a big purchase.

    Learn more

  • 6

    Cashback credit card

    Gives you a percentage back in on certain purchases made on the card. Suits spenders who know they can clear their card balance every month as interest rates can be high. There may be an annual fee but cashback can be generous.

    Learn more

  • 7

    Balance transfer and purchase credit card

    A combined card for those who have an existing card balance to switch to a lower or 0% rate, but who also need to spend on the card. The best deals offer 0% interest on transfers and new spending for a time.

    Learn more

  • 8

    Travel credit card

    This type of credit card is ideal for taking abroad because the fees and charges for overseas use are much lower than those on standard credit cards. You should also get competitive exchange rates.

    Learn more

Know where you stand with a pre-approved credit card

Applying for a credit card can sometimes feel daunting, because it’s not always clear what deal you’ll get, or if you’ll be accepted. But when you’re pre-approved for a credit card you can relax, because you know the deal you see is the deal you’ll get. You’ll know where you stand, with the facts at your fingertips to help you make the right choice for you.

  • Apply with confidence

    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.

  • Tailored to you

    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.

  • You’re in safe hands

    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.

How to choose the best credit card for you

With so many types of credit card to choose from it can be tricky to decide which might be best for you. Luckily, there are few simple rules you can follow to make sure you pick the right card for your needs:

  • Tick

    Do you need to pay off debts?

    If you have several credit cards, you may be repaying more money on the balance than you need. Balance transfer credit cards can be very useful for consolidating these debts: for a small fee, you transfer all your existing credit card debts onto the new card, which will come with a hefty period of low or even zero interest. This should make it cheaper to repay what you owe. Money transfer credit cards let you do this with other types of debt.

  • Tick

    Do you have a low credit score?

    People can end up struggling to maintain a high credit score for all sorts of reasons. You might have had difficulties with debt in the past, or perhaps you’ve not got much of a credit history at all because you’ve only just turn 18 or recently moved to the UK. Whatever your situation, a credit-builder card lets you spend small amounts of money in a responsible manner in order to show lenders that you can be trusted to borrow more

  • Tick

    Do you want to make a large purchase?

    Of course, many people like to use credit cards for a very simple reason: spending money. Because credit cards are in effect a small loan you take out on any purchase, they’re great for spreading out the cost of a larger item - or maybe a big purchase like a holiday. And many credit cards will give you 0% interest on any purchase made within three months or so, saving you the usual cost of borrowing – provided that you’re diligent about making your repayments on time.

  • Tick

    Do you want rewards for everyday spending?

    There are many types of credit card that offer rewards on your spending. From airline credit cards that offer you points to put towards the cost of flights to store cards that give you benefits when you shop at your favourite brands, there are many rewards on offer – as well as some cards that simply give you a bit of cash back on what you buy. These cards only suit people who are very disciplined and on top of their finances, however.

How to apply for a credit card

Applying for a credit card is very straightforward and won't take long at all. Here’s how to apply and everything you need to know...

  • 1

    Choose the type of card you'd like

    If you have no credit rating or a poor credit rating, you may want a credit-builder card. If you’re looking to consolidate and pay off your debt, your best bet is probably a 0% balance transfer card.

  • 2

    Gather information for your application

    Lenders will typically ask for personal details, proof of ID and UK residential status, as well as your salary, any dependants you have, and your bank account number and sort code.

  • 3

    Check your eligibility

    At MoneySuperMarket, we’ll show you your chances of being accepted for each card. So you know which ones to apply for.

  • 4

    Pick a card and apply

    Pay close attention to the lenders with the cheapest rates, the longest periods for 0% balance transfers and any other benefits that would suit you or save you money.

  • 5

    Wait for your card to arrive

    Assuming you’re accepted, you’ll get your card in the post. Generally, it’ll take a maximum of two weeks for your card to be delivered.

Grow your credit score for even better offers

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.


Can I get a credit card with bad credit?

Even if your credit score isn’t where you want it to be, there are credit cards available to you.

Bad-credit credit cards are specifically designed to boost the scores of people who’ve struggled with debt in the past, or people who don’t have much credit history at all (either because they’re young, or because they’ve just moved to the UK).

You’re offered a low credit limit and a high APR, but if you make regular small purchases and pay the balance off in full every month, your credit score will begin to improve after a few months – allowing you to qualify for better credit cards or other borrowing products.

Representative 34.9% APR


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Pros: Found a good balance transfer deal, accurate info and so easy to complete
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Victoria Russell

Our expert says


Credit cards can be an excellent way of giving flexibility to your finances and if used correctly can help cut debt, spread and protect payments or even earn rewards. But as with any form of credit it’s important to apply for the right product. Know your reason for wanting a credit card and then understand the different types of credit cards available to make the right choice.

- Victoria Russell, Personal Finance Expert

How to compare credit cards with MoneySupermarket

Comparing credit cards couldn’t be easier with MoneySuperMarket. Our eligibility checker tool will show you the cards you’re most likely to be approved for – so you can protect your credit score.

  • Tell us about yourself

    We'll ask you a handful of simple questions about you and your financial circumstances, and what you need from a credit card

  • We browse the market

    We'll sift through dozens of credit cards offers from across the market, and show you the cards we think will suit you best

  • Pick the card you want

    You'll be shown a range of credit cards, which you'll be able to sort according to APR, features and your chances of being approved

Find everything you need to know about credit cards

Provided you’re over 18 and a UK resident, you are probably eligible a credit card. Most card providers also require a minimum income – but that doesn’t usually have to be high to qualify. You also need a credit score of reasonable standing, but there are credit cards available to people with fairly low scores or limited credit history. They won’t have the best terms and interest rates, however.

The best way to check whether you’re eligible for a credit card is with MoneySuperMarket’s eligibility checker tool.

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.

  • Balance transfer credit card: transfer an existing balance to lower interest rates on your repayments.

  • 0% purchase credit card: low and interest free spending to spread the cost of a large purchase over a longer period.

  • All-rounder credit card: transfer an existing balance and spend interest free for lower interest rates and interest free spending for a specified period.

  • Credit cards for bad credit: improve your credit rating by meeting monthly credit card repayments and building your credit score.

  • Rewards and airmiles credit cards: earn rewards on your spending such as cashback, airmiles, and vouchers.

  • Travel credit card: a credit card to avoid overseas charges when you use your card abroad.

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.

Reward cards offer cashback, loyalty points or Air Miles if you pay off your balance each month. The interest rates are higher but if you can spend responsibly you can earn decent savings.

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.

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.

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:

  • Your interest rate

  • Additional fees and charges.

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 a credit card 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 with us 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. 

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.

Once you make an application for a credit card the card provider will conduct a hard credit check on you before offering you the deal. They will need to be sure the card is affordable for you. If you’re accepted the card provider will set your credit limit. Your credit card should arrive in the post within a few days. Your PIN code will arrive separately. Then you’ll just need to activate your card and it will be ready to use. 

In most cases your credit card provider will set your credit limit after you’ve been accepted for a credit card. So you will not be able to ‘apply’ or request a certain spending limit. Your credit limit will be based on your income, financial circumstances and your credit score as well as the individual policy of the card provider. Card issuers will want to be satisfied that the limit is affordable for you. You’ll be told your credit limit once your application is approved and your credit card account is open. 

Whether you're approved for a credit card will depend on your personal circumstances. There's no universal standard applied by lenders. But factors that will influence a credit-card provider's decision will include: Your income, age (you must be over 18 in most cases), your financial history and your credit score.

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.

  • Take control of your credit score by checking and improving it for free with Credit Monitor

  • Never overpay again with Energy Monitor, our energy monitoring service

  • Over 50 ways to Get Money Calm

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.