Cracking credit cards for your Christmas shopping

Dare we say it, but Christmas is less than two months away. And that means it’s time to get organised.

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If you’re thinking of applying for a credit card to help cover some of your Christmas expenditure, whether that’s gifts, food or travel costs, it’s worth doing so sooner rather than later.

Although you’ll usually receive your credit card between 10 and 14 days after you’ve been accepted, it can take up to six weeks for your card to arrive.

So applying for your plastic now, rather than closer to December, means you’re more likely to be able to take advantage of some great deals – and you’ll be less likely to end up relying on an uncompetitive credit card to see you through.

Here are some of the best credit card options depending on your circumstances:

Spread the cost and pay no interest

Earn cashback on your Christmas shopping

Earn reward points on your supermarket spending

Low credit score? You don’t have to miss out

Spread the cost and pay no interest

If you know you won’t be able to pay off your credit card balance in full each month, a 0% purchase credit card is a great choice.

This type of credit card allows you to spread the cost of your Christmas spending over several months without paying interest.

The MBNA 0% Transfers and Purchases credit card for example offers  a long 0% purchase deal at  26 months, providing you spend in the first 60 days. Once the interest-free deal ends you’ll pay 20.93% pa (variable).

The card has a representative rate of 20.9% APR (variable)*.

Earn cashback on your Christmas shopping

If you clear your credit card balance each month, it can still be worth using a credit card – particularly if it earns you cashback.

The American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, for example, offers 5% cashback on spending in the first three months up to £100, making it ideal in the run-up to Christmas.

After that you’ll receive 0.5% cashback on all purchases up to £5,000 and 1% cashback on purchases above £5,001 as long as you spend £3,000 a year on your card.

Be aware that the card has a representative rate of 22.9% APR (variable)**, so only use this card if you are certain you can pay off your balance in full each month.

Earn reward points on your supermarket spending

If you’d prefer to rack up points at your favourite supermarket or retailer, take a look at these options:

The M&S Shopping Plus Offer Credit Card allows you to earn one point per £1 spent on the card in store or online at M&S, and one point for every £5 spent everywhere else.

You’ll also receive a 500 M&S points voucher as a welcome bonus to spend on food, clothes or homeware at M&S when you use your new credit card. T&Cs apply.

You’ll also get 0% on purchases for 20 months, after which you’ll pay 19.9% pa (variable). The card has a representative rate of 19.9% APR (variable).***

Sainsbury’s Dual Offer Credit Card allows you to earn two Nectar points for every £1 you spend on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel, plus one Nectar point per £5 spent elsewhere. You can also earn up to 7,500 bonus points as you'll receive 750 points each time you spend £35 or more at Sainsbury's, up to 10 times in the first two months. T&Cs apply.

The card also offers 0% on purchases for up to 25 months after which you’ll pay 20.95% pa (variable). You may be offered 0% for 21 months or 17 months depending on your individual circumstances.

 The card has a representative rate of 20.9% APR (variable).****

Low credit score? You don’t have to miss out

Low credit score? You don’t have to miss out

Better credit card deals are reserved for those with a good credit score. But if yours isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out completely.

The Tesco Foundation Clubcard Credit Card allows you to earn one Clubcard point for every £4 you spend at Tesco stores and on Tesco fuel, plus one Clubcard point for every £8 spent elsewhere.

Credit limits start between £250 and  £1,500, but you can choose to have regular credit limit increases if you manage your account well, which will also mean your credit score could improve.

It has a representative rate of 27.5% APR (variable).*****

The Capital One Classic Complete credit card is also designed for those with a less-than-perfect credit score, and offers 0% on purchases for four months and an initial credit limit of between £200 and £1,500.

The card also offers 0% on balance transfers for six months, with a 3% fee, but it’s best not to use the card for both balance transfers and purchases.

Be aware that once the interest-free deal is up you’ll pay 34.94% APR (variable) so make sure you clear your balance before then.

The card will also help you to rebuild your credit score, giving you a greater chance of being accepted for a more competitive card in the future.

The card has a representative rate of 34.9% APR (variable)******.

*Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 20.93% p.a. (variable), your representative rate will be 20.9% APR (variable).

** Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 22.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 22.9% APR (variable).

*** Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 19.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 19.9% APR (variable).

**** Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 20.95% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 20.9% APR (variable).

*****Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 27.5% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 27.5% APR (variable).

******Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 34.94% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 34.9% APR (variable).

All credit cards are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See MoneySuperMarket.com for further information.

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker - this means we'll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a commission by the lenders - though the size of that payment doesn't affect how we show products to customers.

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