Credit cards

Credit Cards

Credit Cards are a form of credit which is now widely accepted for many purchases and services. In a store you would enter your card into a payment machine and enter your pin number, enter your card details when shopping on line or provide your card details if making a payment over the phone. However the way you are charged is very different to that of a Debit Card. Read on for more details on What's Different About Credit Cards?.

How is Your Credit Card Limit Set?

Your credit limit will be set by the credit card provider and is influenced by your personal circumstances and credit rating. You may be offered a Classic, Gold, Platinum or Black Credit Card dependent on the decision made by the credit card provider. These names usually signify a higher credit limit as to be accepted for one your income and disposable income will need to be higher then that needed on a standard credit card. Read more on Credit Card Limits.

How To Get Accepted for a Credit Card

To be accepted for a credit card, you would normally have to go through an application and acceptance process and this would usually include a credit check, and you may need to provide a declaration of income.
If you have a poor credit history there are Credit Card Providers who specialise in credit cards for people who might not have the best credit record, but be aware that you may not be offered the most competitive Interest Rates or Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

You may also have wondered about the difference between credit cards, the most common names being Visa and Mastercard. The difference is that they are owned by different companies, these companies are referred to as retail electronic payment networks and they provide not only credit cards, but debit cards and pre paid cards as well.

Flexible Credit

Credit Cards could be classed as a form of flexible credit, and are different to loans in the sense that with a loan you apply for a set amount and once you are accepted you are given the loan in full. You then chip away at your balance with regular set payments each month, but once you have made a payment to your loan there is not an amount made available for you to take back at a later date. Read more about Flexible Credit.

Credit Card Fees

Do keep in mind that it is wise to use your credit card with caution as if your payment is late then not only would you incur a late fee, you will also have the interest charged on to your next statement. The key is use your credit card to your advantage and always try to pay on time and not overspend resulting in you not being able to clear your balance in full.

Many credit card companies run promotions such as 0% Balance Transfers and Cash Back Credit Cards as an incentive to choose their card over other providers. We have provided two more sections to advise in more detail the advantages and disadvantages of these types of credit cards, cash back credit cards and balance transfer credit cards.

A list of Credit Card providers

The following is a list of credit card providers. Other providers may be available, and reading through our guides should help you decide which provider is best for your needs.

Barclaycard
American Express
Virgin Money
Halifax
MBNA Europe
Capital One
Bank of Scotland
Natwest
Alliance and Leicester
Abbey
Citi
HSBC
Nationwide BS
Royal Bank of Scotland
Virgin Money
Yorkshire Bank
The Co-operative

In addition to the more popular providers listed above there are also less well known providers that may be more suitable for your needs. These include: BT, Post Office Ltd, MINT, SAGA, AA, Sainsburys Finance, Thomas Cook Personal Finance and Egg. This is by no means an exhaustive list covering all providers, rather an indication of the different options available and the opportunities that this provides to find a provider which best meets your needs.

Where to now? Balance Transfers Cashback Credit Cards Bookmark and Share

Updated on 29th February, 2012

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