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Compare Our Top-Rated Credit Cards of 2021

Updated: 5th May 2021

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Discover a list of credit cards you may be eligible for. Only takes a few minutes and will not affect your credit score.

See MyWalletHero's list of top-rated credit cards of 2021

Credit card offers from our affiliate partners appear first and are ordered from highest rating to lowest, followed by other top-rated offers. You can read more about our ratings and page sort here. Offers from affiliate partners are marked with *.

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Great for: Everyday cash back with no fee
5 stars question mark
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card *
Apply Now!

On American Express's Secure Website

    Check Eligibility

Completely free and
will not affect your credit score.

* Affiliate partner

Cashback rewards are hard to come by these days, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the American Express Cashback Everyday Credit Card may be a good bet. The standard cashback yield is 0.5%, but for those that spend more than £5,000, that bumps up to 1% (from 4th August 2021, that £5k figure will change to £10k). New cardholders also get a bonus of 5% cashback over the first three months, which maxes out at £100. Its sister card offers a bigger welcome bonus and higher cashback, but the Everyday Credit Card has the advantage of no fee.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 5% cashback for first 3 months (up to £100, subject to eligibility)
  • 0.5% cashback after first 3 months (if you spend £1 to £5,000/£10k from 4 August ’21))
  • 1% cashback after first 3 months with spending above £5,000 (above £10k from 4 August)
  • Note that you must spend at least £3,000 to earn any cashback
  • No annual fee
  • No cap on cashback earned
  • Travel accident insurance (subject to enrolment) and global assist services
  • Access to special offers from American Express offers

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative APR 22.2% APR variable
Annual fee Based on £0
Credit Limit Assumed credit limit of £1,200
Purchase Rate 22.2% variable for purchases

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

what we like

  • 5% cashback for first 3 months (up to £100, subject to eligibility)
  • 0.5% – 1% cashback after first 3 months, depending on spend
  • No annual fee
  • No cap on cashback earned
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    22.2%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    5% cashback for first 3 months (up to £100)

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 5% cashback for first 3 months (up to £100, subject to eligibility)
  • 0.5% cashback after first 3 months (if you spend £1 to £5,000/£10k from 4 August ’21))
  • 1% cashback after first 3 months with spending above £5,000 (above £10k from 4 August)
  • Note that you must spend at least £3,000 to earn any cashback
  • No annual fee
  • No cap on cashback earned
  • Travel accident insurance (subject to enrolment) and global assist services
  • Access to special offers from American Express offers

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative APR 22.2% APR variable
Annual fee Based on £0
Credit Limit Assumed credit limit of £1,200
Purchase Rate 22.2% variable for purchases

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Great for: Attractive rewards with no annual fee
4.5 stars question mark
American Express Rewards Credit Card *
Apply Now!

On American Express's Secure Website

    Check Eligibility

Completely free and
will not affect your credit score.

* Affiliate partner

The American Express Rewards Credit Card gives you access to a popular reward scheme and leaves out the price tag. With no annual fee, you can immediately start feeling the benefit of one Membership Rewards point for every £1 you spend. The real selling point is for new cardmembers, who, if eligible, could earn themselves a windfall of 5,000 bonus points if they spend £2,000 in the first three months. And did we mention no annual fee?

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point per £1 spent
  • 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend £2,000 in first three months (subject to eligibility)
  • No annual fee
  • Refund protection up to £200 when a UK retailer won’t refund an eligible item within 90 days of purchase (subject to enrolment)
  • Purchase protection up to £2,500 when an item is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase (subject to enrolment)
  • Travel accident insurance up to £150,000 (subject to enrolment), plus 24/7 access emergency assistance

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative 22.2% APR variable
Purchase rate 22.2% variable for purchases
Credit limit Assumed credit limit of £1,200
Annual fee No annual fee

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

what we like

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point per £1 spent
  • 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend £2,000 in first three months (subject to eligibility)
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    22.2%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    5,000 Membership points if you spend £2,000 in the first three months (subject to eligibility)

KEY SCORES:

  • 4.5/5 Perks
  • 4.5/5Fees
  • 3.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point per £1 spent
  • 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend £2,000 in first three months (subject to eligibility)
  • No annual fee
  • Refund protection up to £200 when a UK retailer won’t refund an eligible item within 90 days of purchase (subject to enrolment)
  • Purchase protection up to £2,500 when an item is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase (subject to enrolment)
  • Travel accident insurance up to £150,000 (subject to enrolment), plus 24/7 access emergency assistance

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative 22.2% APR variable
Purchase rate 22.2% variable for purchases
Credit limit Assumed credit limit of £1,200
Annual fee No annual fee

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Great for: Long 0% purchase and balance transfer, plus points
4.5 stars question mark
M&S Shopping Plus Credit Card *
Apply Now!

On M&S Bank's Secure Website

    Check Eligibility

Completely free and
will not affect your credit score.

* Affiliate partner

The M&S Shopping Plus credit card ticks a lot of the boxes to make a great credit card. For starters, there’s a long 20-month 0% period on new purchases. But you can add to that a 18-month, 0% period for balance transfers made in the first 90 days and the M&S points programme. It is worth noting that there’s a 2.9% fee on balance transfers.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • Bonus points voucher for 500 M&S points (worth £5 at M&S) mailed with new card

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (2.9% fee applies)
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    21.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest on purchases for 20 months
    0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • Bonus points voucher for 500 M&S points (worth £5 at M&S) mailed with new card

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Great for: 0% offers, cashback and travel benefits in one card
4.5 stars question mark
Santander All In One Credit Card *
Read full review     Check Eligibility

Completely free and
will not affect your credit score.

* Affiliate partner

A highly multi-functional card that should serve a wide variety of users. The All in One card offers 26-month 0% periods on balance transfers and 20 months 0% on purchases. During the promotional period, there’s no balance transfer fee – a very nice benefit.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 26 months from account opening on balance transfers
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest for 20 months from account opening on purchases
  • 0.5% cashback on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (if you pay in local currency)
  • Special cashback offers of up to 15% with Retailer Offers (you must sign up for this)
  • ** The fee for this card is £3 per month, charged monthly (£36 in total annually)
  • Note: You can apply for a credit card if you’re a permanent UK resident aged 18 years or over, have a guaranteed annual income of £7,500 or more (before tax), have a good credit record and have not been declared bankrupt, had a CCJ or an IVA within the last 6 years.

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

17.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 23.7% APR representative (variable) based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200. Monthly fee: £3.

 

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

what we like

  • 0% interest for 26 months from account opening on balance transfers
  • 0% interest for 20 months from account opening on purchases
  • 0.5% cashback on all purchases
  • No balance transfer fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £36**
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    23.7%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 26 months from account opening on balance transfers

    0% interest for 20 months from account opening on purchases

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 2/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 26 months from account opening on balance transfers
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% interest for 20 months from account opening on purchases
  • 0.5% cashback on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (if you pay in local currency)
  • Special cashback offers of up to 15% with Retailer Offers (you must sign up for this)
  • ** The fee for this card is £3 per month, charged monthly (£36 in total annually)
  • Note: You can apply for a credit card if you’re a permanent UK resident aged 18 years or over, have a guaranteed annual income of £7,500 or more (before tax), have a good credit record and have not been declared bankrupt, had a CCJ or an IVA within the last 6 years.

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

17.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 23.7% APR representative (variable) based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200. Monthly fee: £3.

 

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Great for: Really long balance transfer period
4 stars question mark
M&S Transfer Plus Credit Card *
Apply Now!

On M&S Bank's Secure Website

    Check Eligibility

Completely free and
will not affect your credit score.

* Affiliate partner

The M&S Transfer Plus card gives you a very long 29 months of 0% interest on balances transferred in the first 90 days. Users will have to cough up a balance-transfer fee of 2.75% though. Balancing that out, the M&S Transfer Plus also offers 0% for 3 months on purchases and M&S points on all purchases.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 29 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.75% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 3 months
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

what we like

  • 0% interest for 29 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.75% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 3 months
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    21.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on balance transfers for 29 months, available for 90 days from account opening
    0% on purchases for 3 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 4/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 29 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.75% fee applies)
  • 0% interest on purchases for 3 months
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Great for: Lowering your APR while building credit
4.5 stars question mark

The Aqua Advance Credit Card includes many of the features that make other Aqua cards great for those looking to build or rebuild credit. As an added bonus though, users of the Advance Card that stay on time with their payments will see their APR go down by 5% per year. Over time, this could bring the APR down to 19.9%.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stay on time with payments and APR reduces 5% per year
  • Keeping on time with payments could reduce APR to 19.9%
  • Free Aqua Credit Checker
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Interest rate for purchases 34.95% p.a. variable
Representative rate 34.9% APR variable
Based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months

what we like

  • Stay on time with payments and APR reduces 5% per year
  • Keeping on time with payments could reduce APR to 19.9%
  • Free Aqua Credit Checker
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    34.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stay on time with payments and APR reduces 5% per year
  • Keeping on time with payments could reduce APR to 19.9%
  • Free Aqua Credit Checker
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Interest rate for purchases 34.95% p.a. variable
Representative rate 34.9% APR variable
Based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months
Great for: Rewards, balance transfers and 0% purchases
4.5 stars question mark

The John Lewis Partnership Credit Card is an appealing rewards card for consumers who shop regularly at  John Lewis or Waitrose. Cardholders get 5 points for every £4 in spend at John Lewis and Waitrose and 1 point for every £4 spent elsewhere. It also has an 18-month balance transfer offer and a 9-month 0% introductory interest rate on new purchases, and you get all of this without having to dole out an annual fee.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 5 points for every £4 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose, 1 point for every £4 spent elsewhere
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers
  • 0% interest for 9 months on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Special offers to boost your rewards points

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 18.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 18.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 5 points for every £4 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose, 1 point for every £4 spent elsewhere
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers
  • 0% interest for 9 months on purchases
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    18.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    18 months 0% on balance transfers
    9 months 0% on purchases

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 4/5Fees
  • 4.5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 5 points for every £4 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose, 1 point for every £4 spent elsewhere
  • 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers
  • 0% interest for 9 months on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Special offers to boost your rewards points

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 18.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 18.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: 0% on purchases and balance transfers, no balance-transfer fee
4.5 stars question mark

The Tesco Bank 12 Month All Round Credit Card succeeds by being just what the name says: a good all-round option. You can find longer 0% interest periods elsewhere, but 12 months of 0% on purchases, balance transfers, and money transfers is a nice combination. No balance transfer fee adds to the appeal, as does the ability to earn Clubcard points.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and money transfers made in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee (3.94% money transfer fee)
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £1 spent at Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and money transfers made in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest for 12 months on purchases, balance transfers and money transfers

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 3/5Fees
  • 4/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and money transfers made in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee (3.94% money transfer fee)
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £1 spent at Tesco and for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Low APR and no foreign transaction fees
4 stars question mark

Where the NatWest Credit Card excels is being that solid, take-everywhere card. With a low standard APR and no foreign transaction fees, this card can find a place in many peoples’ wallets. However, if you’re looking for rewards, cashback or a sign-up bonus, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Low APR of 9.9% for qualified applicants
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • No balance-transfer fees
  • Even lower balance-transfer rate of 6.9% for qualified applicants
  • No annual fee
  • To apply, you must be 18+, earning at least £10,000 per year and a UK resident

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate 9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 9.9% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £0

what we like

  • Low standard APR
  • No foreign-transaction fees
  • No balance-transfer fees
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    9.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Low APR of 9.9% for qualified applicants
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • No balance-transfer fees
  • Even lower balance-transfer rate of 6.9% for qualified applicants
  • No annual fee
  • To apply, you must be 18+, earning at least £10,000 per year and a UK resident

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate 9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 9.9% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £0
Great for: Low APR and no foreign transaction fees
4 stars question mark

The Royal Bank Credit Card loses some ratings points because of what’s not there — rewards, 0% offers, etc. But thanks to the low standard APR and no foreign transaction fees, this is still a very solid card, especially for travelers.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Low APR of 9.9% for qualified applicants
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • No balance transfer fees
  • Even lower balance transfer rate of 6.9% for qualified applicants
  • No annual fee
  • To apply, you must be 18+, earning at least £10,000 per year and a UK resident

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate 9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 9.9% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £0

what we like

  • Low standard APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No balance transfer fees
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    9.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Low APR of 9.9% for qualified applicants
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • No balance transfer fees
  • Even lower balance transfer rate of 6.9% for qualified applicants
  • No annual fee
  • To apply, you must be 18+, earning at least £10,000 per year and a UK resident

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate 9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 9.9% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £0

Credit card basics

What is a credit card?

Credit cards are issued by credit lenders like banks or building societies and let you buy goods and services on credit. When you pay for items with a credit card, the card issuer is essentially lending you the money and agreeing to pay for those goods on your behalf. This amount becomes the balance of your credit card. 

How do you get a credit card?

You’ll need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit score – this essentially tells lenders how good you are at paying back what you owe. You should only apply for cards when you know what your score is and what you might qualify for. If your score isn’t great, you might be better served by a credit-builder card which slowly builds up your credit rating. 

What will my credit limit be?

Credit limits are at the discretion of your card issuer and will vary. Your credit score can also influence the limit set. Credit limits can also be increased and decreased after a period of time depending on how you use it and how reliable you are at paying back the balance.

About our credit card comparison

With so much choice when it comes to credit cards, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one. The team at MyWalletHero have made it easy for you by rating our cards on a five-star scale. We compare cards across many different areas and focus on the key things that make a difference when choosing the right credit card:

  • Introductory interest-free periods – These are offers that give you 0% interest on purchases or balance transfers (or both!). They help to give you breathing room to pay off your debts faster or spread the cost of large purchases. In general, the longer the interest-free period the better, but expect longer 0% balance transfer periods to come with a balance transfer fee.
  • Annual fees – We look to see if you will be charged an annual fee on a credit card. While most of the time you want to avoid your card costing you money, there are times when an annual fee means you can unlock great features.
  • Interest rates – Knowing how much interest you will pay on your credit card is key. So we look for Representative APRs as low as possible.
  • Rewards and cashback – Credit cards like these allow you to earn rewards or cashback just by using your card. On some of the best credit cards around, these even combine with 0% offers.
  • Sign-up bonuses – These give you an extra boost at the beginning. Be it extra reward points or a one-off cashback offer, they are a little something to help sweeten the deal.
  • Tools and extra perks – This could be anything from access to your credit score to fee-free cash withdrawals. They are the things that help you manage your finances better or save you money.

Check out our new credit card repayment calculator

Types of credit cards

Different credit cards come with different super powers, just like superheroes. Because there are so many different types, it’s important to understand these differences and then figure out which type is best for you.

Let’s take a look at those main types of credit cards:

  • 0% balance transfer credit cardsWith a balance transfer card, you’re able to transfer debt from another credit card to the new one, and then benefit from an extended period of 0% interest on that balance. The top cards in this category can give you more than two years of 0%. The benefit can be great in terms of savings on interest.
  • 0% purchase credit cardsLike balance transfer cards, 0% purchase cards provide a period of 0% interest on your balance. The difference is, instead of offering that 0% on an existing balance that you transfer, you get 0% on new debt that you accrue through purchases on the card. The 0% periods for these cards can reach two years or more as well.
  • Cashback cardsMost of these cards are structured to give you a certain percentage of your spending back in cold, hard cash and getting a 1% or higher cashback rate is good. While lower than 1% is very common, and although not great, it can still add up. Cashback card offers sometimes get a boost from introductory offers that put near-immediate cash in your pocket. Be aware that some cards which call themselves “cashback” don’t truly give you cash, but rather vouchers that often have to be spent in certain stores. 
  • Rewards cardsRewards cards typically accrue rewards in terms of points or miles for every £1 you spend and can be redeemed for spending vouchers, flights, hotels, and more. Points-based rewards cards are often tied to specific retailers, making them a great choice for shoppers who frequent that retailer. Travel-focused rewards cards also often have other benefits (such as no foreign transaction fees when used abroad or access to no-fee Travel Money) that 0% APR cards and cashback cards are less likely to have.
  • Travel cardsIf you’re a frequent traveller, you may already know how costly non-sterling transaction fees can be. A non-sterling transaction fee (or foreign transaction fee) is a fee that gets tacked on to your purchase when you swipe your credit card abroad. These fees can often be as much as 3%. Travel cards do away with non-sterling transaction fees, so travellers can swipe without those extra costs.
  • Credit-building cardsThere are two primary circumstances that might have you looking at credit-building cards. You may be brand new to credit and not have a credit history. Or you may have hit a pothole on the great financial highway and are trying to rebuild your credit. Credit-building cards also usually don’t come bundled with benefits like 0% intro APRs or rewards. The biggest benefit of all with these cards is right in the name: credit building. For those that use these cards responsibly, the result could be an increased credit score that can help them score a great 0% credit card or a fun rewards card. Student cards could be considered part of this category, since students typically have little to no credit history.
  • Business cardsNo surprise that these cards are aimed at business owners. Generally, they have higher credit limits to support usage in high-spending business contexts. For business owners that want to draw a clear line between their business and personal spending, these cards can be a good choice. Business credit cards can also be a way for businesses to start a financial relationship with a bank that may be able to help the business with other financing needs as the business grows.

Tips for finding the right credit card

Are you ready to hear the secret formula for finding the perfect credit card?

We’re kidding, of course. There’s no secret formula, and, to be frank, there’s not even one ‘best’ credit card. The reason is that everyone has their own particular financial circumstances. So what may be a great card for you, may be terrible for someone else.

Figuring out ‘best’ for yourself goes back to what we talked about earlier — understanding the different types of cards, and deciding which type of card (which primary feature) best fits your circumstances.

Here are a few examples of how you can find the card that’ll be the best fit for you:

  • If you have great credit and want to take advantage of the benefits of credit cards, then… Consider rewards or cashback cards. You generally need a good credit score to qualify for worthwhile rewards and cashback cards, and if you clear that hurdle, you can start banking points, miles or cash, often for doing the spending you’d be doing anyway.
  • If you have good credit and are paying high interest on a credit-card balance, then… A balance transfer card might be right up your alley. For qualified applicants, balance transfer cards can offer multiple years of no interest payments. An average APR these days is around 19%, so you can imagine the savings can be steep when swapping that out for 0%!
  • If you’re about to make a big purchase, then… Take a look at 0% purchases cards. These cards typically offer a year or more of 0% interest on new purchases and can help spread the cost of a large purchase (or a series of purchases) over a longer period of time.
  • If you just got through a tough financial patch, but are trying to get back on track, then… A credit-builder card may fit your needs. Issuers of credit-builder cards accept applicants with less-than-stellar credit (often, much less than stellar). In return, cardholders have the chance to showcase their financial responsibility and potentially see their credit score start to heal.
  • If you’re a frequent traveller, then… Look at travel-oriented cards. Many credit cards on the market charge as much as 3% on non-sterling transactions. Ouch! Cards aimed at travellers don’t have this fee. You may also find special deals on Travel Money or rewards that are oriented towards travel — like travel reward points.

Again, ‘best’ lies in the context that it’s used. For someone ideally looking for a cashback credit card, even the ‘best’ balance transfer card is unlikely to be a good match. And as great as the ‘best’ traveller credit card might be, if someone has poor credit, getting approved would be unlikely.

Quick tips for comparing credit cards

We get it. There are a lot of credit cards out there, and trying to decide can be challenging. Here are a few things that you can consider when trying to choose between cards.

Should you pay an annual fee for a credit card?

All things held equal: avoid an annual fee.This is money that comes out of your pocket, and whether the card is giving you points, rewards, or other benefits, paying an annual fee reduces your benefit.

But things aren’t always equal, and cards with an annual fee may give you more points or more cashback. By doing some easy maths, you can figure out whether a higher-earning card with an annual fee may be a better deal for you. If your plan is to spend heavily on a particular card and really rack up points or cashback, then an annual fee may well be worth it. If you ask us though, rarely does it make sense to carry two cards that sport an annual fee.

0% cards: balance transfer or 0% purchases?

With a balance transfer card, the 0% interest only applies to balances from other credit cards that you transfer to your new card.

But, unless the card also has a 0% purchases offer, the 0% interest will not apply to new spending on that card.

That makes deciding between 0% balance transfer and 0% purchases relatively easy. If you have an existing balance on a card that you’re paying high interest on, you’re probably better off with a balance transfer card. If you’re more concerned with paying 0% interest for a period of time on new spend, then think 0% purchases.

There are cards that have both a 0% balance transfer and 0% purchases offer. These can be a good option if you have an existing credit card balance and you’d like a period of time with 0% interest on new spend.

Check out our new balance transfer calculator

Better bet: cashback or points?

If you’re looking for a safe choice between cashback and points, cashback will always be more flexible.

But if you’re a frequent shopper at a particular retailer or retail group (like Tesco or Sainsbury’s), then earning and using points wisely could yield you even more than you could get with a cashback card. We just talked about annual fees above, but that’s worth noting here too. When comparing cashback or points cards, be sure to deduct that annual fee from any rewards you’re expecting.

Cards for poor credit and credit-building cards

When you’re in the process of building or rebuilding your credit rating there’s a better chance that you’re a bit skint. For that reason, we prefer credit-building cards that don’t carry extra fees. 

Expect that most credit cards available to those with poor or no credit will have much higher representative APRs than those for people with good or excellent credit. Even so, looking for the lowest APR that you can find is a good idea. Better still is to look for a card that offers a 0% introductory period for purchases or balance transfers.

Cards for those with bad credit are also likely to have a lower credit limit. A high credit limit could encourage excessive spending, which is exactly what you want to avoid when rebuilding your credit rating.

Bottom line: should you be using a credit card?

Though around 60% of adults in the UK have a credit card, they aren’t for everyone. As we’ve discussed here, there are some great benefits for using a credit card. It’s an easy way to pay for things. And you can rack up points or even get straight-up cash just for making purchases. But, if used irresponsibly, credit cards are also an easy way to get stuck under a big pile of debt.

Using the list below as a guide will help you keep debt in check.

  • Use your credit card responsibly.For some people, the urge to spend can be overwhelming. If you’re thinking about taking out a credit card, be sure you can trust yourself to stay within reasonable spending limits.
  • Stay current on your bills.  Most credit-card companies don’t take kindly to being paid late. To be sure, there are grace periods for cardholders that pay on time most of the time. But if you have a habit of missing due dates on bills, then having a credit card could mean aggravating fees and extra interest.
  • Make sure your income is reliable. — One of the reasons that a lot of people end up falling into debt is that they experience big swings in their income. Having predictable sources of income makes it much easier to consistently pay off your credit card and stay out of trouble.
  • Clear your calendar of big purchases. Applying for credit cards has the potential to ding your credit score, at least temporarily, so if you’re hoping to borrow to buy a car or finance a house in the near future, you may want to hold off on new cards.

Why you can trust us

We love sniffing out the top credit card deals on the market and bringing them to our readers. For more than two decades, our parent company, The Motley Fool, has been helping people around the world improve their financial lives. And that’s exactly what MyWalletHero aims to further. Together with our colleagues in the US, we’ve collectively analysed hundreds of card offers on more than 6,000 data points, reading through the small print to find the top credit cards the market has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do credit cards work?

The bank that issues the card makes the payment to the merchant on your behalf, and tallies a debt balance for you. You have the option at the end of each month to pay off your entire balance, or pay less than that and accrue interest on the remaining balance. In order to attract customers, many credit card issuers attach attractive offers to cards, such as long periods of 0% interest or rewards for everyday spend.

How do you cancel a credit card?

Normally, cancelling a credit card is a relatively simple process. The specifics vary from bank to bank, but you will usually have to call the credit card customer service line and tell them that you'd like to cancel your card. Often there is also an option to send a letter by post to inform the issuer that you'd like to close the account. Bear in mind that any balance which is still due on the account will need to be paid off prior to closing the account. Closing a credit card can also hurt your credit score, so be sure to take that in consideration before closing your account.

Can you withdraw cash from a credit card?

In most cases, the answer is 'yes'. But though you usually can withdraw cash from a credit card, the better question may be: Should you withdraw cash from a credit card? The answer to that is usually 'no'. That's because most cards not only charge a cash advance fee (typically 3%), but you'll be charged interest starting from the day you take out the cash -- as opposed to having until the end of the month, as is the case with most new purchases. This makes a cash advance on a credit card a fairly poor proposition. And introductory 0% periods usually don't apply to cash advances.

What if my credit card application is turned down?

Most importantly, don’t re-apply immediately, as multiple applications in close proximity will likely dent your credit score further. Instead, check your credit record to see whether something linked to your financial history is negatively affecting your application. Additionally, reach out to the issuer for the reason behind your application being declined, who should be able to tell you in broad terms.

How do I get a lower interest rate?

You’re entitled to request a reduction in the interest rate from your credit card’s issuer, though their answer will depend on certain criteria. This includes whether you’ve historically paid your balance in full and on time, and how high your credit score is.

Additionally, if you have personal circumstances that are impacting your ability to pay your balance (e.g. unemployment), the issuer will take that into account.

What is a credit card minimum payment?

Calculated from your most recent statement balance, this is the lowest amount of money that you have to pay towards credit card debt each month in order to avoid additional charges and to stay in good standing with the card issuer.

What are the different types of credit cards?

Where to begin! There are cards for balance transfers, 0% purchases (interest-free) cards, credit cards for bad credit, cards that offer rewards or cashback, cards designed for travel, business-specific credit cards, low-rate credit cards, prepaid and charge cards… Chances are, there’s a credit card tailored for your own personal situation!

Learn more about credit cards and your credit score

More ways to compare credit cards

Top-rated credit card picks by category

Top-rated credit card picks by issuer


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