Looking for a credit card but not sure which type to get?
The simplest way to decide is to look at what kind of spender you are. If you already have substantial credit card debt, you might want to consider a balance transfer card to cut interest costs, or if you are a serious shopper you may be better off with a zero per cent deal on purchases.
On the other hand, you may just want a long term low interest rate deal or a credit card offering freebies for the summer holidays.
Here are some of the best deals currently on the market aimed at different types of credit card spenders.
If you are looking to pay off your existing credit card debt, switching to a zero per cent balance transfer card could slash the bill significantly, enabling you to pay off the outstanding debt without racking up interest. One thing to bear in mind is that the new card will normally charge a transfer fee of around three per cent, so remember to factor that in when choosing your product.
Fortunately, balance transfer deals are getting longer and longer, but it’s always best if you can repay your full debt within the zero per cent timeframe offered to avoid being charged the card provider’s APR. Alternatively, you could always switch to another zero per cent deal when your current one ends.
Top three 0 per cent balance transfer credit cards
1 Barclaycard Platinum Extended Balance Transfer Visa
For the month of May, Barclays is offering a table topping 22 month balance transfer and £30 fee refund. The fee is 2.9 per cent of the balance transferred, but you also get three months interest free on purchases. At the end of the zero per cent balance transfer deal, the rate reverts to 17.9 per cent representative APR.
The cash advance fee is 2.5 per cent and cash withdrawals are charged at 27.9 per cent interest. This card is not available to existing customers, so Barclaycard holders who want a balance transfer deal will have to look elsewhere. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and with a minimum income of £20,000.
Also worth a mention is the Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer Visa offering zero per cent for 21 months and interest free purchases for three months, with a slightly lower transfer fee of 2.6 per cent.
2 Halifax Balance Transfer Mastercard
The Halifax is offering another generous 22 months at zero per cent, but with a 3.5 transfer fee. It’s also giving zero per cent on purchases for the first three months. At the end of the deal the APR representative variable rate goes up to 17.9 per cent.
The cash advance fee is three per cent and interest on cash withdrawals is charged at 27.95 per cent. Again, this deal is not available to existing customers, but new applicants must earn at least £20,000 and be aged 18 or above.
3 NatWest Platinum Credit Card Mastercard
NatWest’s zero per cent balance transfer deal lasts for 20 months with a fee of 2.9 per cent and zero per cent on purchases for six months. At the end of the interest free deals, the APR reverts to 17.9 per cent representative variable. Cash advances have a three per cent fee and withdrawals are charged at 27.95 per cent interest. The Platinum deal is not available to existing customers. New applicants must be at least 18 years old and earn a minimum of £10,000.
Read more: Personal loans - Six of the best
Top three cards with 0 per cent on purchases
1 Nationwide Select Credit Card Visa
Not only does the Select credit card offer zero per cent on purchases for 18 months, but it also includes an interest free balance transfer for 17 months with a 2.95 per cent fee. When the deals end the APR is a reasonable 12.9 per cent representative variable. On top of that, the card offers rewards bonuses on major brands such as Holiday Inn, Wickes and Kwik Fit (deals vary). The cash advance fee is 2.5 per cent and withdrawals are charged at 27.9 per cent interest. This card is available to existing Nationwide customers aged 18-plus, who earn a minimum of £5,000.
2 Barclaycard Platinum with Purchase Visa
This Barclaycard offers 15 months zero per cent on both purchases and balance transfers with a 2.90 per cent fee. At the end of 15 months, the APR is 18.9 per cent. The cash advance fee is 2.5 per cent and withdrawals are charged at 27.9 per cent interest. Again with Barclaycard, this deal is for new customers only, who must be aged at least 21 with a minimum income of £20,000.
3 Tesco Clubcard credit card and M&S credit card
The Tesco credit card offers zero per cent on purchases for 15 months, after which the APR rises to 16.9 per cent representative variable. Applications are open to all those earning more than £5,000. In addition, cardholders build up Clubcard points every time they spend. M&S does a similar 15 month deal with a 0.5 per cent reward scheme. The M&S card rate reverts to 15.9 per cent APR at the end of the interest free period.
Top two rewards and cashback credit cards
1 American Express Platinum Cashback Card
Amex Platinum offers five per cent cashback for the first three months, on up to £2,000 of purchases. The card’s APR is 18.5 per cent, with a cash advance fee of three per cent and interest on withdrawals of 27.9 per cent. It’s available to new customers only, aged 18-plus and a minimum income of £20,000.
2 Capital One Aspire World Mastercard
This credit card also offers five per cent cashback, capped at £100, on all purchases for three months. The APR is 19.9 per cent with a cash advance fee of three per cent and withdrawal rate of 19.94 per cent. It is only available to new customers aged at least 21 who earn a minimum of £20,000.
Best credit card for a long term low rate
Sainsbury’s Low Rate Mastercard
Available to active Nectar card holders, the supermarket bank’s credit card rate is just 6.9 per cent APR representative. This is a variable rate but card regulations mean that the rate will not rise within the first 12 months. However, some applicants with a lower credit rating may be offered a higher APR. The cash advance fee is three per cent and cash withdrawals are charged at 24.93 per cent interest. The card is not available to existing customers. Applicants must be aged 18 and above, but there are no minimum income criteria.
Best credit cards for holiday freebies
1 BMI American Express card
The BMI Amex, with a rate of 16.9 per cent APR, offers 20,000 Avios or BMI destination miles if you spend a minimum of £250 in the first 90 days. The card also includes a reasonable zero per cent balance transfer deal for 12 months with a three per cent fee.
2 American Express Nectar
This credit card, with a rate of 19.9 per cent, offers 5,000 free Nectar points if you spend £500 within the first three months. The points are worth £25 which may be spent on items in the Nectar catalogue, but can be worth up to £50 on selected holiday deals including theme park tickets for Legoland, Warwick Castle, and Madame Tussauds among others.
Sign up to the Myfinances.co.uk newsletter to receive the latest financial news direct to your inbox.