Should I use a credit card?
They can be a handy way to borrow if you use them right - but get it wrong and you could find that your debts spiral out of control. Luckily, with a bit of common sense, anyone can use a card safelyThe Money Advice Service
What are the benefits?
You can enjoy the privilege of being able to borrow money for up to 59 days without paying any interest. Also, when you make a purchase with a credit card, you automatically get certain legal rights that debit cards don't offerLovemoney.com
Should I switch cards?
Switching card debts to a 0% balance transfer deal is an effective way of reducing the amount you owe. Alternatively, switching to a card with a low interest rate for the lifetime of the balance transferred may be a better option for people who are unlikely to pay off a significant part of their debt during a 0% interest-free periodGocompare.com
Do your maths before switching cards
There are literally loads of 0% balance transfer cards with varying lengths of interest-free periods for you to pay off what you owe. You'll usually have to pay a fee to switch, so do your sums to make sure it's worth your whileKristian Dando, Gocompare.com
Respect your credit limit
When you apply for the card you'll be given a credit limit which will reflect your credit record, so it may be quite low to start with. Respect your limit! Maxing out your card can result in hefty fines, as will late paymentsRachel England, journalist
Are credit builder cards worth considering?
Credit builder cards can come with horrendously high interest rates... But if you spend a manageable amount on the card and pay off your full balance every month, you won't be stung by any interest charges. You'll also demonstrate to the banks that you're now a prudent money manager and your credit rating will gradually improveEd Bowsher, Lovemoney.com
Attack your debts
Don't forget that the longer you take to repay the debt, the more money you will owe as card issuers add interest to any outstanding balance. So, try to pay more than the minimum repayment each month and you will be debt free sooner rather than laterJeremy Cryer, Gocompare.com
How can we help you with credit cards today?
Our partners LoveMoney make it quick and easy for you to compare credit cards and apply online, including options if you're looking for balance transfer cards, cashback, rewards, air miles, charity cards, low APR cards, lifetime balance transfers, 0% transfers or 0% purchase cards.
We can help you find the right card for using abroad or to search for offers from your bank, and we offer a comparison of premium and business cards.
At the other end of the scale, if you've got a bad credit rating you may want to take a look at the specialist products on offer such as credit builder cards, and there are low balance transfer fee options available, too.
When you click on the 'Get Rates' button you'll be presented with an easy-to-use best-buy table that lets you compare all the cards on offer, or to narrow the options according to the specific type of product you're looking for.
The table presents the key card information - the name of the provider, balance transfer rates and period, new purchases rate and period, the representative APR, and a quick rating/review of the product.
When you see a card you like the look of, there's the option of clicking the tab for more detailed product information, or of applying online.
Did you know...?
- 18% of UK consumers have never switched their credit card
- Rejected card applications can impact on your credit score
Rejected card applications can impact on your credit rating, so it's important to know the facts and to be realistic about the cards you are likely to be accepted for.
Try our guides for more information, where you'll also find the answers to frequently asked questions.
Our guides tell you the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards and can help you to understand more about the particular types of card available, including cashback, balance transfer, purchase, interest free, prepaid and store cards, and what product may be suitable for a particular occasion, such as Christmas or holiday spending.
You can read about the protection offered to card users under section 75 of the 1974 Consumer Credit Act, and learn more about charges, managing debt, cash withdrawals, interest rates, APR, protection insurance and how to find the right card to suit your needs.