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What are the Most Common Credit Card FAQs

Aug 17, 2007
Finding the right credit card for you can be a difficult choice that throws up many question. We've captured those below all in one place.

1. What is a credit card?
A credit card is a small plastic card with a magnetic strip that is issued by a bank or other financial institution. It authorises card holders to purchase services and goods on credit.

2. What kinds of credit cards are available?
There are many kinds of credit cards available, but they break down into two different main kinds. Charge cards allow you to charge items to your account but expect that you will pay off your full balance each month, Credit cards also allow you to charge items to your account, but let you pay for your purchases over time and charge you interest on the outstanding balance.

3. What's the best kind of credit card?
There's no single answer to that question, because it depends entirely on your circumstances. Only you can decide whether you're better off with a low interest card, one that offers cashback or rewards, or some combination of those. In general, most people prefer a credit card that offers a low APR - but that may not be the best choice for someone who pays their balance in full each month.

4. What is an APR?
APR stands for annual percentage rate. Credit card companies make their money in many different ways. One of those ways is by charging you interest on the money that you borrow to buy things. The annual percentage rate is the percentage of your outstanding balance that you'll be charged in interest charges. If your APR is 12%, for instance, you'll pay 12% interest per year on 100.

5. How do I get a lower APR?
The APR that you're offered is completely dependent on your credit score, the higher your credit score, the lower rate of interest you'll be offered. If you have a record of paying your bills on time, you'll be offered a credit card with a low APR. If you pay you bills on time and keep your accounts up to date, you'll qualify for a lower APR in time.

6. What's a secured credit card?
If you can't qualify for a regular credit card because of low or no credit, a secured credit card may be the solution that you need. You simply deposit a sum of money into a bank account with the bank that issues your card. Your spending limit will be a portion of that deposit. That money will remain in the account as security in case you don't pay your account. If you make regular payments when they're due, the issuing company will eventually approve a regular credit card for you.

7. How do I compare credit cards to decide which one is best for me?
There are many different standards of comparison when you're choosing a credit card - interest rates, annual fees, finance charges, penalties and late fees - even how your interest charge is determined. You can compare credit cards against each another at comparison websites where you'll find all the information you need to compare credit offers from dozens of UK companies.

8. How do I apply for a credit card?
Applying for a credit card online is easy, too. From the comparison websites you can just click on the offer that you've chosen to fill out a short application. In many cases, you can have an answer within minutes.
About the Author
Jon Francis has been involved with finance for many years! With an in-depth knowledge of the credit card UK market help helps others get the best from a credit card.
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