Credit Card Guide
Credit cards have become a part of everyday life; they are probably one of the most useful things you will carry. They provide many benefits for their owner such as the ability to pay for online and in store purchases quickly and without the need to carry cash.
Credit cards are a convenient form of borrowing; you don't have to pay for your purchases immediately. Credit cards work like this:
- First you need to choose a card you would like to apply for. The best way to do this is to compare credit cards and pick one that meets your requirements best.
- You are issued a card from a bank or credit card company if your application is successful. Your bank will also notify you what your credit limit (spending limit) is.
- Use your card to pay for purchases; your bank will pay the retailer on your behalf.
- Every month your bank will send you a statement that shows all the purchases you have made and the outstanding balance owed.
- You can either pay the full balance or at least the minimum amount shown on the statement. Your bank will charge you interest on any outstanding balance.
What type of credit card is best for me?
There are a huge variety of cards on the market. There isn't any one 'best' credit card, they all offer their benefits and rewards. This guide introduces you to the different types of credit cards available so you can pick the one that will be most beneficial to you.
If you have existing credit card debt you could save money on interest by transferring the debt to new card that offers 0% interest on balance transfers for the duration of the promotion period, which can be up to 2 years. Alternatively low interest balance transfer deals usually last for the life of the balance.Credit Builder
If you are new to credit or have had a poor credit history then a credit builder credit card is ideal. You will have a greater chance being approved for one of these cards. These cards were specifically designed to give you the opportunity to improve your credit rating.Low APR
Low APR credit cards are perfect for short and long term lending. Their low rate means you will pay much less interest compared to other cards. They will save you lots of money on interest charges in the long term. You can't really go wrong with these cards, however you will need a good credit history if you wish to apply for a low APR card.Cashback
These cards reward you with cashback for using your credit card. They typically offer a percentage of the amount you spend. The percentage varies between cards but is typically between 0.5 to 1.5%, and during promotional periods can be as high as 5%. Unlike other reward cards that restrict where you can use your collected points, you can spend your cash back any where you choose.Platinum & Gold
Platinum & gold cards are available to those with a good credit rating. Apart from the prestige of owning a platinum or gold card they offer many bonuses. Some of the benefits may include a higher credit limit, free travel insurance, extra purchase protection, rewards program and discounts.
0% purchase credit cards offer a promotional period during which you will not have to pay any interest on new purchases. The duration of the promotional period can vary from a few months up to 18 months. After the promotion period the interest rate will revert to the standard rate.Bad Credit
Credit cards for people with bad credit offer the best chance to get a card even if you have had debt problems in the past. These cards typically have high interest rates but they give you the opportunity to improve your credit rating so you can apply for other cards in future.Rewards
These credit cards offer rewards for using them. Rewards are normally collected in the form of points every time you use your card. The points can be redeemed towards purchases, holidays, leisure, eating out and much more. The type of rewards will vary between cards, so shop around to find the one that benefits you the most.Airmiles
Airmile credit cards are tailored to offer travellers the most benefits. Like other reward schemes you are awarded points (or 'miles' in this case) for using your card. You can use your miles towards flights, airline upgrades, hotels and many other products and services. Some cards also offer other benefits like free travel insurance, free access to VIP airport lounge areas and discounts on holidays.Premium
These exclusive credit cards are available to high-end consumers. Some of the exclusive perks you can expect are concierge service, comprehensive travel insurance, access to VIP areas and much more. These cards typically have an annual fee and high minimum income or wealth requirements.