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The Importance of Credit Cards

Credit cards play a huge role in the lives of households across the UK. With 71% of all UK adults owning at least one credit card1 the UK has the highest proportion of credit card owners in the world2, and credit card spending reached £174 billion in 2015 with over 3.1 billion transactions taking place3.

With our credit cards permanently in our pockets and bags, we spend more of our waking life with them than we do at work, or with our friends and family. But given the important role they play in our lives, do we pay our flexible friends the attention they deserve?

Choosing and Managing Your Credit Card

Choosing and managing a credit card requires attention and care, and without a sufficient level of understanding it can be easy to make the wrong decision and fall in debt. By the end of 2015, total credit card debt stood at £63.1 billion - or £2,336 for every household in the UK4 – and as the results of our latest survey show, there is a significant knowledge and awareness gap which needs to be addressed.

You can find the results of our credit card survey below, along with a selection of guides to help you select the right credit card for your needs, and manage it wisely.


Never switched

With so many options available, it can be confusing making credit card comparisons, and many make their choice for the wrong reason or without sufficient information. Our interactive decision tree may help you better understand if you have the best credit card for your needs, or you can view our full guide to choosing a credit card here.

On average a fifth (21%) of credit card owners had a limited/poor understanding of these important terms when they last signed up for a card (7 million people);

  1. Annual fee
  2. APR
  3. Balance transfer credit card
  4. Balance transfer fee
  5. Cashback credit card
  6. Credit builder card
  7. Credit limit
  8. Credit rating
  9. Default
  10. Foreign purchase fee
  11. Interest-free
  12. Minimum monthly repayment
  13. Money transfer card
  14. Purchase credit card
  15. Promotional rate
  16. Reward credit card

One of the main issues when choosing a credit card is the numbers of terms you need to understand to make an informed decision. Our credit card glossary explains all of the key concepts to help you fully understand the types of credit card available, and what each individual deal is offering you.

Credit score

After going through the process of choosing the best credit card it can be easy to neglect the status of your account, and the impact your card is having upon your wider financial situation. Your credit score in particular can have a huge effect on your future, limiting your options for acquiring a new card, taking out a loan or securing a mortgage for your family home. If you are unsure how credit scoring works you can take a look at what makes a good credit score or read our guide on how to rebuild a poor credit score.