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UK Credit Card Tips & General Advice

Aug 17, 2007
As Christmas approaches, many of us in the UK will be considering taking out a new credit card to purchases those all essential gifts. With a plethora of card offers out there, deciding which card,if any, is best for you can seem a little daunting

What follows are some useful tips and advice that hopefully will help make your decision a little easier and clearer.

Loyalty/Bonus Cards

As people's circumstances vary so do the credit card deals on offer. If you intend to clear your bill each month, the interest rate on your card becomes irrelevant as you won't have to pay it. Therefore you should consider going for a card that offers some form of loyalty bonus such as redeemable points, cashback or air miles.

Interest-Free Offers

These cards are particularly useful for those don't clear their balance each month. Shop around for cards that offer 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases. The length of these offers tend to vary, so choose one that is appropriate to you needs i.e whether you intend to use the card mainly for purchases or a balance transfer.

Some cards allow you up to 59 days to pay for purchases before being charged interest on them, thus giving you some breathing space to pay for your goods or/and services.

Special Offers

One way to save money on your card debt is to take advantage of the many debt-transfer offers available from most banks. These offers are usually exclusive to new customers and allow you to pay off your debt from a more expensive card at a lower rate for a limited period.


Although you can withdraw cash from ATM's with your credit card, it is best left as a last resort as, although convenient, you will pay for the privillage through a steep interest rate.

Plus Points

Using the plastic to pay for expensive items such as jewellery, electrical goods or goods bought online, gives you the piece of mind of consumer protection i.e under the Consumer Credit Act, the card company are liable ( as is the seller of said goods or services) if there is a breach of contract.

This is especially handy if the goods either arrive faulty/damaged or don't arrive at all due to the supplier, for example, going bust. If any of these scenarios were to arise, you should have the money spent redeemed to your credit card.


Most cards will levvy a charge against you if you fail to pay your monthly repayment on time, with penalties usually around 20. You will also incurr a charge if you go over your set credit limit. Setting up a direct debit to make your monthly payment will eliminate the possibility of being late with your monthly payment and thus avoid that nasty charge.

What Card Then?

Deciding what credit card to apply for really depends on your personal circumstances and requirements.

If, for example, you intend to do some serious short-term shopping, a card that offers, say six month interest free on purchases, would be more suitable.

If you know in advance you wil be unable to clear the balance in the short term, then a card that offers a low rate for the lifetime of the balance, would be suitable as you will save a graet deal in interest paymnets compared with a card that resorts to a higher rate after any offers expire.

If you are able to clear your balance each month, then going for a card that offers rewards, such as cashback on purchases, would be most prudent.
About the Author
Joe Kenny writes for the Credit Card Guide, offering views on credit cards in the UK, visit them today for some great 0% balance transfer offers and start clearing credit card debt today.
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