Best Credit Card Offers

The following 'best credit cards' are our most popular cards from across our entire range. They comprise a variety of cards from bad credit credit cards to the leading balance transfer. With other deals and offers in between, find the card that suits your circumstances and needs from the list below

  • 0% on balance transfers for 41 months from account opening on balance transfers made within the first 90 days - 2.29% fee (3% is initially applied, then 0.71% is refunded) - 3% after this time
  • 0% for 3 months from account opening on purchases
  • Apple Pay enabled payments
  • APR & promotional offer length are dependent on your circumstances
  • Must be a UK resident, aged 18 years or over, have a regular income, not subject to an IVA or currently bankrupt
  • Purchases
    Intro
    0%
    3 Months
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    0%
    41 Months
    2.29% Fee
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    18.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 18.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Excellent
  • 0% on purchases for 28 months
  • 0% on balance transfers for 18 months (2% fee)
  • 0% on money transfers for 18 months (3% fee)
  • Use Virgin's Card Checker to see if you will be accepted without affecting your credit rating
  • Earn cashback when you shop online with over 250 top brands with Virgin Money Back and enjoy exclusive offers and rewards from our family with the Virgin Red app
  • Must be aged 18 or over, UK resident with a bank account, and have a good credit rating
  • Purchases
    Intro
    0%
    28 Months
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    0%
    18 Months
    2.00% Fee
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    19.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 19.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 19.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Good
  • 0% on balance transfers for 40 months from account opening
  • 2.69% balance transfer fee applies
  • The 0% offer is applied to any balances transferred within the first 90 days of opening your account
  • The APR, length of promotional offer, and credit limit may vary as they are dependent on your personal circumstances
  • You must not have applied for a Tesco Bank Credit Card in the last month or have an application currently in progress
  • You must be a UK resident, have a good credit history, and an annual income of at least £5,000
  • Purchases
    Intro
    0%
    3 Months
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    0%
    40 Months
    2.69% Fee
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    18.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 18.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Bad
  • Free Aqua credit checker - £250 - £1,200 Credit limit
  • Aqua accept people who have had CCJs or are on a low income
  • Aqua has said YES to over 750,000 customers in the UK
  • Text reminders, so you need never miss a payment
  • You must be a UK resident, without CCJs in the past 12 months
  • Must not have taken out a Marbles card in the past 12 months
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    29.7%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 29.7% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 29.75% p.a. (variable)

  • Features a QuickCheck service that tells you before you apply if you will be accepted. This does not harm your credit score
  • Credit Limits up to £1,500
  • One simple interest rate for all transactions
  • Free text alerts to help you stay in control
  • Contactless payment up to £30
  • Must be a UK resident on the electoral roll, and have some history of managing credit
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    34.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 34.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 34.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Good
  • 5,000 bonus Avios when spending £1,000 within the first 3 months of Cardmembership
  • Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend
  • Companion Voucher when you spend £20,000 per anniversary year
  • Automatic enrolment to the British Airways Executive Club
  • Apple Pay enabled payments
  • You must be a UK resident, aged 18 years or over and have no history of bad debt
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    22.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 22.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 22.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Bad
  • Great for people with bad credit or who are looking to improve their current rating - even if they have had problems with credit in the past
  • Credit limit from £200 to £1,500
  • Online response in 60 seconds
  • Pay contactlessly up to £30
  • Must be a UK resident, aged 18 years or over
  • You must have had credit in the UK before
  • You must not have been declared Bankrupt in the last 12 months
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    29.8%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 29.8% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 29.84% p.a. (variable)

  • 0% on purchases for the first 29 months
  • 0% on balance transfers for up to 29 months - 2.95% fee for the first 60 days (20.9% APR and 5% fee thereafter) plus 0% interest for up to 29 months on money transfers - 4% fee for the first 60 days (22.9% APR and 5% fee thereafter)
  • Find out if you are eligible before applying for this card
  • Apple and Android Pay enabled
  • Must be aged 18 or over, hold a UK bank account and must have been a permanent UK resident for at least 3 years
  • Purchases
    Intro
    0%
    29 Months
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    0%
    29 Months
    2.95% Fee
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    18.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 18.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Fair
  • 0% interest on purchases for 3 months
  • A starting credit limit between £150 and £1,200
  • Free ongoing access to your Experian Credit Score
  • Stay on top of your spending with free text reminders
  • You must be an employed UK resident, aged 18 years or over, earning at least £3,000 per year, you must not currently be bankrupt or undergoing an IVA and do not have more than one CCJ
  • Purchases
    Intro
    0%
    3 Months
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    Invalid Type
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    34.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 34.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 34.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Fair
  • FastCheck your eligibility for an instant response before you apply - without affecting your credit score
  • Choose your repayment date and receive text alerts when you are approaching your credit limit
  • Start with an easy-to-manage credit limit of £100-£1,200
  • Credit limit review after 3 months, so you could get an increase on your 4th statement
  • You must be a UK resident, aged 18 years or over, with no CCJs or bankruptcy in the past 12 months
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    24.8%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 24.8% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 24.84% p.a. (variable)

  • 0% interest for the first 29 months on balance transfers (2.5% fee applies for the first 90 days, then 3% applies thereafter)
  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 29 months
  • Cover against online fraud with Halifax Secure
  • Easy to manage your card online
  • Apple Pay enabled payments
  • APR & promotional offer length are dependent on your circumstances
  • You must be a UK resident, aged 18 years or over, have a regular income, not be subject to an IVA, not be currently bankrupt, or have any outstanding CCJs
  • Purchases
    Intro
    0%
    29 Months
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    0%
    29 Months
    2.50% Fee
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    18.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 18.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Good
  • 3,000 miles with your first card purchase within 90 days of account opening, plus an additional 7,000 bonus miles if applied for before 28 June 2017 and spend a total of £1,000 in the first 90 days
  • 1 Flying Club mile for every £1 spent with the Virgin Atlantic White American Express Credit Card from MBNA and 1 Flying Club mile for every £2 spent with the Virgin Atlantic White Visa Credit Card
  • 0% on balance transfers for 6 months, with a 3% handling fee
  • Eligibility check: Find out if you are eligible before applying for this card
  • Must be aged 18 or over, UK resident with a bank account, and have a good credit rating
  • Virgin Money plc is a credit broker/intermediary for Virgin Atlantic Credit Cards. MBNA Limited is the lender

*When you use either card and spend £1,000 within 90 days of account opening and supply your Flying Club number
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    0%
    6 Months
    3.00% Fee
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    22.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 22.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 22.9% p.a. (variable)

 APPLY ONLINE

Credit Needed
Bad
  • Check your eligibility with absolutely no risk to your credit file
  • You'll start with an easy to manage credit limit up to £1,000, but you could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement up to £4,000
  • Free fraud monitoring
  • Good for applicants who want to build or rebuild their credit rating
  • Must be a UK resident, aged 18 or over
  • Not available to applicants who already hold a Vanquis Bank issued credit card (Vanquis, Aquis, NEO, Black Diamond, Chrome)
  • Purchases
    Intro
    n/a
    Balance Transfers
    Intro
    n/a
    Annual Fee
    £0
    Representative
    APR (variable)
    39.9%
    APR

Representative Example: Representative 39.9% APR (variable). Based on a credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 39.94% p.a. (variable)

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What is the best credit card to get?

The “best credit card” is a phrase that permeates discussions around credit cards. In online forums, phone-ins, and other places, people seek guidance in their search for the “best credit card”. Although there are many good credit card products available, the best credit card means a completely different thing from one person to the next.

Here in the UK, we are fortunate to enjoy one of the most diverse and competitive credit card markets in the world. This means people wanting a credit card have a great deal of choice, but this choice also adds a certain amount of complexity when deciding which credit card is the best. In many instances, people will know of particular types of credit cards that are of interest to them, but the choice (and potential pitfalls of holding a card) can seem daunting for those who are new to the credit card market. Perhaps because there is no “one size fits all” answer, the best credit card depends as much on an individual’s circumstances as it does the features and functionality they desire.

However, there are sound financial reasons for obtaining a credit card, almost regardless of the particular type. Given the over-arching benefits of holding a card, it makes sense to ensure that the card in question is as good as possible.

What benefits do all credit cards bring their holders?

All credit cards are different. Even the same card applied for by two different people is likely to offer different interest rates and credit limits (based on their particular circumstances), but they all have some common features, characteristics and offer the same legal benefits. These common benefits include:

Free borrowing

The exact timings differ slightly from card to card (plus or minus a day or two), but all credit cards offer their holders an interest free grace period of up to 56 days on purchases. This is because purchases made within the billing period (around 28 days) do not appear on the credit card statement until the end of that period. Users then get around another 28 days to pay off their credit card balance. If the balance is paid in full (and on time), no interest is ever charged on the purchases.

This does not mean that each and every purchase gets its own grace period. It is only purchases made on the first day of the billing period that get the maximum grace period, but even purchases made at the end of the period get around 28 days of effective free credit.

Remember: This grace period only applies to purchases. If you withdraw money from an ATM, use your card to purchase cash (foreign currency or Travellers Cheques), or use it to top-up a prepaid credit card, you will usually start paying interest from the point the transaction took place.

Convenience

Payment cards have become ubiquitous in the modern world. The value of transactions completed using them now outstrips the value of cash transactions, and this trend is only likely to increase as online shopping continues to expand and smartphones offer the basic infrastructure required to those wanting to accept cards in the physical world.

Of course, mass adoption would have been impossible if payment cards were not an improvement on cash, but they are. No longer do people have to queue in banks or at ATMs in the rain to withdraw their money. No more do people need to walk around with coins rattling in their trousers, purses or wallets. No more do we need to ensure that we have withdrawn enough money or return to the bank if purchases cost pennies more than we have. No more do we have to meet the bank manager to get a bankers draft for high value purchases.

When we go abroad credit cards really come into their own. No longer do we need travellers cheques and a hunt around an unfamiliar town for somewhere to exchange them (or grudgingly accept a horrendous exchange rate at the hotel), or take cash that we try to hide in a broken safe or under the bed. We take our credit cards, safe in the knowledge that they are pin protected and if lost our issuer is likely to rapidly courier us a new one.

So whether a particular card uses Visa (accepted by around 29 million merchants internationally), MasterCard (accepted in 24 million places), or American Express (accepted in 130 countries), the user should easily find a place to eat and a comfy bed that they can pay for with their card.

Security

Credit cards have obvious security advantages over cash. For instance, if a card is lost the card holder does not lose all of their money (assuming they reported its disappearance promptly, they are likely to be protected against any loses).

Of course there are often news stories about credit card fraud which sound very worrying, but these stories belie the fact that credit card fraud is at an all-time low, thanks to chip and pin and other security enhancements.

Even online shopping, which was once considered a risky option, is far more secure than ever before with the introduction of “Verified by Visa”, “MasterCard® SecureCode™” and Amex’s “3D Secure”. System that require additional authentication before a transaction can proceed.

Consumer Protection & Section 75

Perhaps the biggest advantage in using a credit card is the protection it offers user through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which means that if something goes wrong with goods or services purchased using the card, costing between £100 and £30,000, the credit card issuer is ultimately liable for the customers redress (i.e. they must refund any monies paid).

Section 75 is perhaps the most powerful consumer protection legislation in the UK and it is only available when goods and services are directly purchased with credit (e.g. an instore credit agreement linked to a product or with a credit card).

Credit history

This benefit, which all credit cards offer their holders, is often overlooked until an individual is looking to borrow with other types of high value personal finance products, like mortgages.

Those who have no track record of managing credit are likely to struggle with applications for these products. However, people who have used a credit card are likely to discover that it offers a great vehicle for building credit history. Assuming they used it wisely, their credit card can help to open doors to other credit products that would otherwise have remained firmly closed.

What features do the best credit cards offer in addition?

Beyond the benefits detailed above that are common to all credit card products, some cards also offer additional features to attract the best customers, and it is additional features that people look to when assessing which credit card is best.

These additional features are numerous and ever changing, but some of the most common include:

0% Balance Transfers

0% balance transfer products are amongst the most popular credit card products available in the UK. They enable users to switch a credit card balance held at a high interest rate on one card to a new credit card which charges no interest on the transferred balance for an introductory period.

Balance transfer card holders do incur fees on the balances that they transfer, but these tend to be one off costs in the region of 3% of their total balance, which is often considerably lower than the ongoing interest of around 20% that most individuals would be paying annually on that same balance.

0% Purchases

0% purchases are similar to balance transfer deals in that they offer their holders an interest free introductory period. What is different about purchase credit cards is that the 0% introductory period applies to new purchases rather than existing balances.

Individuals seeking to make large purchases might find these products best suited to their needs, since they enable them to split the cost of a purchase over a number of months, rather than having to find the money all at once. They also give these individuals the freedom to shop around, rather than having to make purchases where store credit is available, and of course holders also benefit from Section 75 on purchases of over £100 (which they would not with a personal loan).

Rewards

Credit card rewards come in many different forms. Some offer air mile points towards popular frequent flyer programs, some offer points for supermarket loyalty schemes, whilst others have bespoke reward programs.

Selecting the best rewards credit card is a personal and emotive decision. Certainly the earn rate of point per pound spent and the rewards the points can be redeemed for will be of interest, but these might be useless if the supermarket offering them is not present in one’s home town, or the frequent flyer program offering them does not fly to desirable destinations.

Money transfers

Money transfers credit cards are similar to balance transfers, but instead of clearing an existing credit card balance, the card’s credit is available to be transferred as cash directly into a bank account. This money can then be used for whatever the holder desires.

As with balance transfer products, there is a fee associated with making a transfer, but given that transfer fees are payable once, these products often offer effective loans at a lower APR than standard personal loan products.

Travel Credit Cards

Individuals who frequently travel abroad, especially those who use budget airlines that do not offer frequent flyer programs, often find that credit cards designed for foreign travel are a useful tool (even if they do not use them as their primary credit card while in the UK).

The specific features of these cards vary from issuer to issuer, but they tend to be centred on foreign exchange, commission free (or discounted commission) foreign purchases, or both. That said, some standard reward cards that offer travel based rewards, like air miles, hotel rewards or discounted train fare might equally be classified as a travel credit card depending on which solution is best for a particular individual.

The best credit cards for particular circumstances

Though the features detailed above tend to be considered amongst the best that people with good credit should search for a credit card by, they are by no means available to everyone.

Depending on an individual’s particular financial circumstances, they might need to focus their search on the “best credit card” for their situation, rather than the credit card that is most desirable to them.

Younger people (who have yet to build an adequate credit history) and those with “bad credit” (people who have a history of mismanaging credit) will have considerably fewer options available them. Given that multiple credit applications can be harmful to one’s credit score, they should consider cards that offer them the best chance of a successful application.

Bad Credit/Credit Building Cards

“Bad Credit” and “Credit Building” cards are credit cards specifically designed to be available to people with limited or poor credit histories. To ensure they are widely available, the interest rates charged to their customers are higher than those available on more mass market credit cards, but it is these high interest rates (and low credit limits) that enable issuers to mitigate the risk of lending to people with a bad track record (or no track record) of managing credit.

How eligibility checkers help people get the best credit card?

Eligibility checkers are a useful way for people to ensure that they get the best possible credit card deal they might.

They are available from a number of credit card issuers (offering prime and subprime products) and enable people to check their chances of getting accepted for a particular card, before they make a full application (which can be seen on their credit file by other prospective lenders, and could impact their ability to get accepted for other credit). They do this by making what is called a ‘soft search’ on a credit file. This is the type of search that individuals complete when checking their own credit file, and is not the full “hard” search that is required when applying for credit. As credit checkers use an individual own credit file, they can be incredibly accurate in assessing an individual’s chances of success. If used well, they can even help reveal products that individuals thought they had little chance of acceptance for.

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