If you’re looking for a new credit card via MoneySuperMarket, your first step should be to think about which sort of card is right for you.
For example, are you looking for a purchase card offering a 0% introductory rate on new spending, or do you perhaps have existing credit card debts which you’re looking to move across to a balance transfer card?
You might want a card for both these purposes, in which case a combined balance transfer and purchase card may be your best bet.
Other options include reward cards, which let you earn cashback, loyalty points or airmiles every time you spend on them, and credit builder cards.
These can help you build up your credit rating if you’ve never borrowed before, or have failed to make repayments in the past which has damaged your credit score.
Once you’ve decided which type of card you want, your next step should be to find out which cards you’re eligible for.
Smart Search can tell you which cards you’re likely to qualify for
Applying for lots of different credit cards in the hope you’ll be accepted for one of them can do some serious damage to your credit score.
Using our Smart Search before you apply can help ensure you only go for the cards you’re likely to be accepted for.
All you need to do is enter a few personal details, and you’ll get a list of cards with traffic light colour coding. The ones shown in green are the ones you’re likely to qualify for, while those shown in red you probably won’t be eligible for.
Check the APR and fees
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of cards, look carefully at how much each card will cost you, so you can choose the most cost-effective option.
To do this, you’ll need to look at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which includes the cost of borrowing and any associated fees. For example, a card might have a low interest rate, but if it charges a monthly fee, this can substantially bump up the APR.
Of course, the APR is less important if you plan to clear your credit card balance in full each month.
Understand the charges
Before applying for a card, you should also check the charges you might have to pay. For example, if you don’t pay back at least the minimum on time each month, you’ll usually be charged a late payment fee.
Many credit cards also impose steep charges when you use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, or for going over your credit limit, so make sure you understand all these charges before you apply to avoid any nasty surprises later on.
Applying for a card
Once you’ve picked the card you want to apply for, you simply click on ‘Go to site’. This will take you through to the credit card provider’s site and the application form for the card, which you can complete online.
You will be asked to enter personal details when you apply, including your name, address, date of birth, employment details, annual income, and your bank details.
Once you’ve applied online, providers will usually tell you whether you’ve been approved for the card a minute or two later.
Receiving your card
When your application is approved, it typically takes around 10 days to a fortnight to receive your card. If you’re applying for a card for a specific purpose, make sure you apply well in advance to be sure that it will reach you in time.
You won’t be able to use your credit card until you have received a PIN for it, which is the four-digit code you need to enter when you make a purchase in a shop or withdraw cash from an ATM. This will be sent separately from your card, but should arrive within a day or two of the card itself.
You will usually have to activate the card too before you can use it, which you can either do online, by telephone, at a cash machine, or by visiting a branch.