Introduction: Credit cards in the UK
There are countless credit card offers in the UK today which makes it hard for consumers to choose the best credit cards. Furthermore, credit card companies in the UK have aggressive marketing strategies. UK consumers get many credit card offers every day from new and existing companies most of which aren’t great. Furthermore, credit card debt is a huge problem in the UK, so it’s important to think twice before you get a credit card.
The typical UK household accumulates approximately £2,500 in credit card debt every month as of April 2017 statistics. Credit card usage stands at roughly £2 billion every day. Considering most credit cards come with hidden terms and conditions and costly fees in case of late payments, excessive usage, etc., it’s important to choose credit cards carefully. Although there are other suitable sources of short-term debt like payday loans, here’s what you need to know if you choose to get a credit card.
What are your reasons for getting a credit card?
Credit cards should be taken by people who need them. Receiving a credit card offer isn’t, therefore, a good reason for getting a credit card. In fact, credit cards which you don’t need are bad for you. People need credit cards for different reasons. You may want to buy things online, pay bills conveniently, buy things when you travel abroad, etc. There has to be a pressing need for a credit otherwise there is no need to apply for one. The need should revolve around convenience since credit cards hardly save you significant amounts of money or make you any money as many people have been led to believe.
Check the charges
Credit cards come with many charges if you don’t pay off what you have borrowed within a month. The best credit card for you is one that has reasonable charges. Credit card charges range from annual percentage rate (APR) and annual fees to minimum repayment and introductory interest charges. The annual percentage rate is simply the cost of borrowing money using the card if you are unable to settle the debt in a month. Different credit card companies have different APR charges. You should choose the company that has the cheapest charges.
The minimum repayment charge also applies if you don’t pay off the debt in a month. The charge is approximately 3% of the debt due or £5 (whichever is higher). Some credit cards also come with annual fees for using the card. The fees can also attract interest if you don’t pay your debt in full every month. The fee can also vary depending on your spending on the card. Introductory interest rate charges apply when you are paying a lower interest rate or no interest at all.
Credit card charges are usually highlighted in the credit agreement. You must compare the credit agreement of different cards to be able to choose the card that comes with the best charges. There are many other charges that apply to most credit cards today so be sure to check and compare what different cards charge to be able to choose the best credit card.
The best credit cards come with low charges as well as incentives. Credit card incentives come in two main ways namely; cash backs and loyalty points or rewards. The best credit cards reward you for using them. You should choose a credit card that offers the most loyalty points for every pound spent. The card should also reward you for shopping in most (if not all) your favourite shopping stores. It’s also important to select a card that offers loyalty points or rewards that can be redeemed conveniently. You should also check if you qualify for cash backs (refunds) since such incentives are based on your spending. Most credit card incentives are valid when you pay all your debt in full every month so, choose a suitable credit card with this in mind.
Use a credit card comparison website
Lastly, you need to consider using a credit card comparison website. After doing your own comparison, you should compare the information offered by credit card comparison websites. There are many credit card comparison websites in the UK. You just need to search on Google and compare the results offered by different websites against your own analysis. The websites are fast and easy to use. They also give detailed comparisons based on your needs and all the important parameters you need to consider.
It takes time and effort to choose the best credit card for you. You can’t afford to jump at every credit card offer you receive before doing your own due diligence. You should first have a valid reason for getting a credit card. The card you choose should also have the lowest charges. You should also be able to take advantage of the incentives. Lastly, consider using a credit card comparison website just to confirm that you are choosing the best credit card.
There are better alternatives to credit cards today, you can apply for payday loans if you have short term loan needs. Payday loans are faster and cheaper. You can get them online, and their charges have been capped by the FCA.