Which are the best credit cards? Find out below.
Best Credit Cards
Have you been searching for a convenient way to make purchases immediately, without waiting until payday, or build a credit history?
A credit card could potentially be one of the best options to help you achieve these goals, but selecting from the best credit cards is not simple.
If your goal is to make your credit rating better, a credit card can help you with this. Still, it helps to be aware of different factors such as credit card limits, the minimum monthly payment or annual fee you must pay, and the fact that you must pay interest with a credit card.
Considering all of these factors isn’t easy, but it pays to compare credit cards and review them against your personal requirements.
To simplify this comparison, we looked closely at the best credit cards for making purchases and building a UK credit history. Which are the best credit cards? Find out below.
|1. Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|2. NatWest Longer Balance Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|3. American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|4. Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|5. British Airways American Express Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|6. Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|7. HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|8. Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|9. Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
|10. MBNA Purchase Credit Card||★★★★★||Click Here|
What are Best Credit Cards?
Credit cards are small cards that credit card provider companies offer to permit cardholders to borrow money from them. Usually, cardholders borrow the funds to make payments for services or goods with compatible merchants who accept credit card transactions.
If you have examined a credit card closely, you will see that it features a chip and card number, an expiration date, and your name on the front side. On the back, you will see a magnetic strip, CVC code and a space for your signature.
A credit card will have a credit limit, which your provider will establish. The credit limit refers to the highest amount of money you are allowed to owe the credit card provider, and it is subject to change depending on how you manage your allowance.
Now, credit card providers expect you to repay the borrowed amount each month plus any interest you have accumulated. It makes sense to pay off a credit card balance each month in timely payments, in full, if you want to avoid paying interest or accumulating debt. Sometimes, you may have established some agreed-upon debt with the credit card provider, which you should also ensure you pay in full.
Best Credit Cards Pros and Cons
We can see that credit cards have many specific features. But if you're interested in obtaining a credit card, it helps to know the pros and cons before you apply for one. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards? We explored them in detail.
✔️ You can use credit cards if you need to build a credit history — You will need a credit history to prove that you have a good financial track record and prove to lenders that you are not a risk of defaulting on loans, and credit cards can help you build one. With each credit card account you open, your provider will record the activity on the card. The result is a credit history that mortgage companies and banks often use to determine whether they can lend you money.
49% of UK adults have never looked at their credit history, but it is still crucial if you want to borrow money from the bank. Your lender can refuse to offer you the funds if you have a low credit score or high credit card debt.
✔️ Using credit cards is convenient — If you don't have the finances in your savings account or bank account, using credit cards can be a convenient way to make a purchase. It will not matter if you currently do not have the funds. You can pay with your credit card and pay the borrowed amount when payday arrives. There is no need to wait until you receive funds or a monthly salary. You can purchase goods with a credit card straight away.
✔️ Credit card providers offer rewards — If you register for a reward credit card, you may receive extra perks and rewards programs from the provider. For example, loyalty points with credit cards enable you to build up rewards and use them to make other purchases, while cashback credit cards allow you to earn cash depending on how much you spend.
✔️ Split purchase costs evenly — You might want to purchase a costly item, which usually requires a significant sum of money in one payment. However, with credit cards, you can split purchase costs evenly and pay monthly instalments until you have fully purchased the item.
✔️ Credit cards protect your purchases in specific circumstances — With some credit card purchases, the Consumer Credit Act will cover your purchase, even if you have only made a partial credit card purchase. In practical terms, if you make a deposit for a hotel using your credit card, and there is a fault with the purchase, your credit card provider also bears responsibility.
❌️ Credit card debt can affect your cash flow management — If you cannot make timely, monthly repayments for your credit card balance, you may have high debt. Credit card debt and existing credit card debt can include high-interest rates. It is always best to pay credit card debt early to preserve an excellent credit report history.
❌️ Credit histories can be negatively affected — Just as you can build a good credit history with a credit card, your credit report can be negatively affected if you do not make timely repayments.
In practical terms, defaulted payments or arrears are both factors that can negatively affect your credit history. It is easier than you might think to become overindebted. During the pandemic, the number of overindebted people increased from 10.7 million to 14.2 million, so it is essential to manage credit cards efficiently to avoid this.
❌️ Extra charges may apply — It isn't only interest you need to consider if you apply for a credit card. Extra charges may apply, such as missed payment fees or fees for exceeding your established credit limit. In this case, you may pay significantly more even if you already have credit card debt.
❌️ Credit card limitations might apply — You may be unable to use a credit card for every transaction you hope due to certain extra credit card fees. In a real case example, if you want to make an offshore purchase, make credit card transactions or withdraw cash from an offshore location, your credit card provider can charge you additional fees for such transactions. This factor might prevent you from using your credit card, despite some of the credit card deals you may receive.
❌️ Some credit card options are not possible — Although you can get rewards programs with some credit cards, balance transfer credit cards, student credit card options and even multiple credit cards, opening a joint credit card account in the UK is impossible. The only method you can use to achieve a similar outcome is adding an extra cardholder to your account, but the principal cardholder will have to pay all the fees and debts.
Best Credit Cards UK — Reviews
Nonetheless, the optimum credit cards will provide financial benefits, such as cash flow management via online apps, that can benefit credit card holders differently. So if you are looking for the best credit cards, from rewards credit cards to balance transfer credit card options, here are our reviews.
1. Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 29.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 29.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
If you are an individual with bad credit or a credit record that is not favourable, the Tesco Foundation credit card is the ideal option for you. Your starting low credit limits will range between £250 – £1,500 with monthly repayments of £25.
For three years, you will also be able to track your credit score using Tesco Bank CreditView via TransUnion, which is ideal if you need to apply for a mortgage and want to monitor your creditworthiness.
You can use the Tesco Foundation credit card's jargon guide to fully understand the technical terms related to credit card use. Plus, a simple way to check your eligibility for this credit card via the Tesco Foundation credit card website.
If you use this service, it does not affect your credit record. This benefit is ideal because although the average UK credit score reached 797 points in 2020, many individuals have a lower credit score.
If you are also looking for a representative example, if you spend £1,200 and your purchase rate is 29.9%, your representative rate is 29.9%. This means your interest rate when you purchase something with your credit card will be 29.9% if you don't pay your complete credit card balance every month.
One factor to consider before selecting the Tesco Foundation credit card is its high interest rates.
Despite the potential to receive reward points on your Club Card from your Tesco Foundation credit card, if you do not pay the balance on time every month, you may find additional expenses to cover in added fees. In fact, you must pay £12 in added fees for late payments of your credit card balance and £12 for exceeding the credit limit on your card.
The Tesco Foundation credit card has received awards from the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards, in which it received the number one spot. It's possible to apply for this credit card online in a few minutes. If you need to check your availability, you must provide this credit card provider with information about your place of residence for the past three years and your annual and monthly income.
2. NatWest Longer Balance Credit Card
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 23.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 23.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
If you select the NatWest Longer Balance credit card, you will not have a fee for transferring your balances. In a real case representative example, if you borrow £1,200, you will receive an annual fee of 0% but a purchase rate of 23.9%, which applies annually when you use your NatWest Longer Balance credit card to make a purchase. The purchase rate is variable, so and vary based on different factors.
Remember that your credit limit can vary depending on NatWest's assessment, so it's possible to receive a larger or smaller credit limit based on their findings. This money transfer credit card provides 0% interest on your purchases in the initial three months, which applies to the purchases you make and pay off within this time.
Remember that late payment fees can still apply. It is easy to pay your balance — simply set up a direct debit with NatWest.
With this balance transfer credit card, you can transfer several balances from one existing credit card or up to five cards and use a maximum of 95% of your credit limit. NatWest will try to process your transfer within 24 hours.
To evaluate your eligibility for the Natwest Longer Balance credit card, this credit card provider will ask you to complete an assessment, which you can access via the Natwest website. The evaluation process will not affect your credit score, but it might if you decide to proceed with your application.
3. American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card
American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card
Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first three months of Cardmembership.
Enjoy carefully selected offers from our range of retail and travel partners.
Annual fee £25.
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 30.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 35.6% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
The American Express Platinum card is an optimum cashback option. If you make purchases of goods worth up to £125, you can receive 5% cashback. This rate applies to the first three months of being an American Express Platinum cardholder. If you spend up to £10,000, you can receive 75% cashback; for purchases of more than £10,001, you can receive 1.25% cashback.
The annual percentage rate is 35.6%. This rate is variable, meaning different factors can affect it, such as the Bank of England base rate fluctuations, which increased by 0.50% in 2023.
An annual fee of £25 applies to cardholders, but you can also receive a refer-a-friend bonus, with which you can earn £30 for each person you refer. This bonus is applicable for up to £150 per year, which is a good incentive to select this credit card.
You have the choice of paying your balance in full over a few months or all at once with the American Express Platinum card, and there are also travel benefits, such as a fraud guarantee and American Express offers. With the fraud guarantee, the credit card provider will investigate unfamiliar purchases and remove them from your account.
You won't have a cap on the cashback you can earn with the American Express Platinum Cashback credit card. With supplementary card options, you can add family members to your account (but you will still be the main cardholder). The number of complementary cards you can add to your account is five, which will help you earn cashback faster.
In a few minutes, you can check your eligibility for the American Express Platinum Cashback credit card in a process that doesn't impact your credit score. Complete the online form with your financial and personal details to complete this process.
4. Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 25.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 25.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
Some of the main benefits of the Barclays credit card include a cashback percentage on your everyday spending, amounting to 0.25%, plus currency conversion that demands no fees. You can also receive fee-free cash withdrawals abroad, ideal for frequent travellers requiring non-sterling currency. A 0% grace period for interest rates applies to the Barclay credit card when you make overseas withdrawals.
With the Barclays credit card, you can manage your cash flow abroad with a competitive exchange rate, plus protection for any purchases exceeding £100.
In a real case example, if you borrowed £1,200 over one year, you would receive an annual interest rate of 25.9%, but you will not pay interest if you pay the balance in full every month. You will receive a variable interest rate with the Barclays credit card, meaning the rate can change depending on specific circumstances. It's possible to have a greater credit card limit with Barclays, which will depend on your application.
Some unique benefits you can also receive with the Barclays credit card include Apple News+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+ access for five months without any cost.
However, it's important to remember that if you make multiple withdrawals with your Barclays credit card, your credit score might get negatively impacted. There are also late payment default fees to consider in the amount of £12 if you fail to pay your balance on time.
If you need to evaluate your eligibility for this credit card, select the card on the Barclays website and fill in the form to enable the credit card providers to evaluate your credit history. You must provide them with your name and place of residence for the past five years.
5. British Airways American Express Credit Card
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 30.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 30.0% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
You can select the British Airways American Express credit card to receive rewards programs for frequent travel. This is a travel rewards credit card that offers bonus points for new cardholders.
If you spend £1,000 in your initial three months, you can collect up to 5,000 Avios points. In real case examples, British Airways American Express cardholders can spend their Avios points on flights with British Airways (the UK's second-largest airline according to statistics), hotel stays and vehicle hire.
Multiple benefits are available with this credit card. You are eligible for a fraud guarantee, meaning this credit card provider will flag and remove any unrecognised purchases in line with potential fraud issues. This credit card also comes with music, theatre and film ticket options and refund and purchase protection.
If you require travel accident insurance, you can receive up to £75,000 cover for public transport as a British Airways American Express cardholder. To receive this cover, you must make your purchase with this credit card.
What this credit card also offers is no annual fee. This advantage will reduce the cost of your credit, help you earn more points and avoid high-interest fees. You will be able to collect rewards more easily, which is beneficial if you intend to collect air miles with British Airways American Express.
Checking your eligibility takes a few quick steps. You can fill in the online form, select the submit button and wait until your card provider to respond with your eligibility.
6. Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Credit Card
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Credit Card
0% interest on balance transfers for up to 6 months.
No annual fee.
Collect up to 3 points per £2 spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos, Habitat & Tu clothing when you pay with a Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Card & scan your Nectar card or app. And you’ll get 1 point per £5 elsewhere.
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 22.95% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 22.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
You can receive reward points with the Sainsbury's Bank Nectar credit card, which is just one of the many advantages cardholders are eligible for. In terms of the reward points, it's possible to earn Nectar points each time you make a purchase with this credit card. For every £2 you spend, you can receive three Nectar points to spend in stores.
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar credit card also provides a credit card app that enables you to manage your account. It is possible to make payments and monitor the amounts you spend whenever you need to complete expense tracking.
In a representative example, Sainsbury's Bank Nectar credit card holders who spend £1,200 can expect an annual interest rate of 22.95%. Under a variable rate, your annual percentage rate can change according to many factors.
There are some specific fees that apply to Sainsbury's Bank Nectar credit card holders, such as late payment fees, over-limit fees, return payment charges and changing statement dates. A £12 fee will apply for late payment fees, over-limit fees and return payments, and a £5 fee will apply if you change statement dates upward of two times within six months.
For cash withdrawals, a 3% charge applies or £3, depending on which is greater, and you are not in an interest-free period on your cash. What this means is that until you pay off the balance, your credit card provider will apply interest for the withdrawal.
If you make money or balance transfers, a balance transfer fee may apply. This fee will depend on your agreement with your credit card provider. It's also possible that your credit card provider will charge you for overseas credit card payments, which may include a fee worth 2.75% of the transaction's value.
A few eligibility criteria apply if you are considering Sainsbury's Bank Nectar credit card. You should be over 18 years old, a UK resident and have a regular income.
7. HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 23.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 23.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
The HSBC Purchase Plus credit card offers 20 months of purchases that are interest-free. If you want to receive interest-free balance transfers, this is also possible if you make the transfer within the first 60 days after you open the account. This option only applies for 17 months, and there is a 2.99% fee that applies for every balance you transfer.
Some of the other advantages of the HSBC Purchase Plus credit card include purchase protection and the fact that you can use it abroad. What these advantages mean is that your purchases are protected if a supplier breaches a contract.
Although cash machines that are not HSBC may charge a fee, you can use the card in any region that supports VISA, which assists overseas cashflow management and reduces foreign transaction fees when you use an HSBC machine.
HSBC's representative example for their Purchase Plus credit card states that if you have a credit limit of £1,200, you can expect a 23.9% variable purchase rate.
Offers and discounts are also available, such as shopping and travel offers, so we recommend that you consult the HSBC website to find up-to-date information about these discounts.
Eligibility for the HSBC Purchase Plus credit card will depend on specific factors. You must be a UK resident over 18 with a £6,800 annual pension income before tax. You will also be eligible if you don't hold a basic bank account with HSBC.
8. Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in your first three months of Cardmembership.
Priority Pass airport lounge access.
Annual fee £160 (£0 for the first year).
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 30.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 74.2% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
With the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold credit card, cardholders can receive membership reward points for spending specific amounts within certain timeframes. It's best to consult the American Express website for more information on these membership reward points, which can ensure you offset any purchases you make with your credit card.
To give you a real case representation of what the reward points will get you, if you have 35,000 membership points on your credit card balance, you can get £150 worth of gift vouchers or £135 in Amazon purchases, statement credit or flights and hotels with Amex Preferred Rewards.
You will pay £0 in terms of your annual fee within the first year, but this will increase to £160 in the second year of being an Amex Preferred Rewards Gold credit cardholder, which your provider will automatically charge to your account.
In a real case example that shows the interest rates you will receive with this credit card, with a credit limit of £1,200, you will pay interest of 30.0% on purchases you make if you do not pay off the full balance every month. This variable interest rate can change depending on several factors, such as the frequently fluctuating Bank of England base rate.
Purchase protection applies with this credit card provider. If you purchase an item worth up to £2,500 that gets damaged or stolen, your card provider will cover the repair amounts or replacement costs. This advantage applies if your item gets stolen or damaged in the 90-days period after the purchase.
Amex Preferred Rewards Gold credit cardholders also receive refund protection.
If you purchase an eligible item and would like to return it, but the retailer won't issue a refund, your card provider will provide the refund on the items. The refund limit is a maximum of £300.
Personalised offers are also available with this credit card. You can receive offers for your favourite restaurants and retailers by selecting the offers you want to receive via the American Express app and saving them on your card.
9. Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card
Barclaycard Platinum Credit Card
0% interest on purchases for up to 23 months from the date you open your account.
0% interest for up to 22 months on balance transfers from the date you open your account. Transfers must be made within 60 days to benefit from the 0% offer.
2.99% balance transfer fee (terms apply).
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 24.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 24.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
Select the Barclaycard Platinum credit card, and you will receive several financial benefits. You will not have to pay any interest on your purchases during the 23 months from when you open your account, and although this might not be the best for building a credit history, it is a good deal.
With this credit card, you will also avoid interest for 22 months on money transfers, which applies to your transactions within the first 60 days. 15% cashback rewards apply if you spend money with participating retailers with the Barclaycard Platinum credit card.
Some additional advantages of the Barclaycard Platinum credit card include fraud protection and adding a cardholder for free. These advantages mean you are less likely to be a victim of fraud and will be able to share your card with someone you trust for emergencies.
There are a few eligibility specifications to be aware of if you want to apply for the Barclaycard Platinum credit card.
You must be over 21 years old and have managed credit for at least four years. Among other specifications, it's also a requirement that you have a personal income of £20,000 per year and have not declared yourself bankrupt in the previous six years.
You will receive Barclaycard entertainment savings with this credit card. In practical terms, you can attend festival presales and live events, plus many more unique advantages for customers only.
10. MBNA Purchase Credit Card
MBNA Purchase Credit Card
You could earn cashback with MBNA Smart Rewards.
Add it to your smartphone or digital wallets.
Section 75 protection on most purchases over £100 but not more than £30,000.
Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 22.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 22.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.
Expense tracking and financial management are less difficult than you may think with the MBNA Purchase credit card. You can complete online card management to review transactions and credit card balances using a tablet, computer or phone.
One advantage of the MBNA credit card is that if you have not authorised a transaction, it will be subject to fraud protection when you inform your credit card provider that you do not recognise a purchase. This protection also applies if you lose your credit card.
Under the consumer credit act, your purchases also get protected with this credit card. This protection means that if you purchase an item that costs more than £100 and less than £30,000, your legal rights are protected if the items do not arrive as expected.
As per the representative example, MBNA Purchase credit cardholders with a £1,200 credit limit will have a 22.9% APR rate if they do not pay their balance in the interest-free period.
Cashback is another advantage of MBNA Purchase credit cards. You can receive this with the MBNA smart rewards when you make purchases from selected retailers, which means you can earn cash for buying items. Check the MBNA Purchase credit card website to learn more about cashback and smart rewards.
Compare Credit Cards: The Verdict
Selecting the optimum credit card for your use is not easy, but comparing credit cards and finding an option that matches your needs is important. Compare Banks has all the up-to-date facts you require to make comparisons and easily navigate the credit card market.
Whether you are a frequent traveller, an individual hoping to build a credit score or are looking for money transfer cards, credit card comparison doesn't have to be difficult. Check the best credit card deals on offer, late payment fees, limits, and interest rates to find the best credit cards.
Best Credit Cards: FAQs
What are Annual Fees for Credit Cards?
Annual fees for credit cards are costs you receive from credit card providers for having an active account with them. With annual fees, you will also cover the costs of rewards you get from your credit card provider, and, as indicated by the name, you must pay these fees every year. Some providers waive this fee, while others offset them with perks.
What are Credit Builder Cards?
Credit builder credit cards are specifically for individuals who aim to build a credit history and a good credit score for various reasons. You can use a credit builder card to reestablish a good credit history, even if a financial company has refused to give you a loan or credit, or even build one without any previous credit score.
What are Balance Transfer Cards?
A balance transfer credit card is a card that allows a cardholder to transfer debts from one account to another. Financial planning and saving money are possible with this card, with which you can move debt linked to high-interest providers to a credit card with low interest.
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