Choosing the best credit card for you
Credit cards can be a convenient addition to any wallet or purse. They can be used to spread the cost of a one-off purchase like a holiday, or for everyday expenses like online shopping and groceries.
There are many different credit card providers to choose from. Each with their own interest rates, offers and benefits. But sometimes all this choice can make choosing the right credit card confusing.
The most important thing to remember when deciding, is that the best card for you is one with features designed to meet your specific needs. For example, if you don't travel very often then a card that focusses on travel rewards might not be much help.
Here's a breakdown of some of the most common credit card deals you see:
Credit cards for bad credit or to build credit
Some lenders, like Capital One, offer credit cards for bad credit that are specially designed to help people improve their credit health.
Credit building cards usually come with a smaller credit limit to start off with, but can increase as you show you can manage the credit offered to you responsibly month after month.
Balance transfer cards
Balance transfer credit cards charge low interest rates, sometimes as low as 0%, on balances you transfer from other cards.
If you have debt on a credit card or store card, transferring the debt to a balance transfer card can be a great way to save money on interest and simplify your debt repayments.
There is often a one-off fee to make a balance transfer, and you'll need to make sure you never miss a payment - otherwise the 0% offer could be taken away.
0% APR purchase cards
Some credit cards offer 0% on purchases for the first few months you use them. These offers are sometimes called 'teaser' rates. With 0% interest you can essentially borrow money for free - as long as you clear the balance before the offer ends.
Just make sure you never miss a payment, as this could cancel your 0% offer.
Cashback and reward cards
Credit card providers sometimes offer 'rewards' when you use their cards to make purchases. These can include things like cashback (where a small percentage of the purchase is refunded to you) and air mile offers.
Reward cards are best for people who are able to pay their total balance off each month, as otherwise the cost of the interest charged could outweigh the benefit.
Fee-free foreign usage cards
Some credit card providers will charge you for using your credit card abroad. Fee-free foreign usage cards are specifically designed for people who travel often and frequently use their card overseas.
Useful tips when applying for a credit card
Always use an eligibility checker
An eligibility checker lets you know if you'll be accepted for a credit card without affecting your credit score. Some eligibility checkers tell you how likely you are to be accepted.
Capital One's QuickCheck tool gives you a definite yes or no in 60 seconds. So you can be 100% certain if you'll be accepted for one of our credit cards before you apply.
Check your credit score
A healthy credit score can improve your chances of being accepted for a credit card, and could widen the range of different deals you're eligible for. The only way to know your credit score is to actually check.
You can check your credit report by visiting the three main credit reference agencies; Equifax opens in a new tab , Experian opens in a new tab and TransUnion opens in a new tab .
Check the APR
Credit Card APR is short for Annual Percentage Rate. Credit card providers calculate the APR based on the interest rate for purchases with the addition of any fees, such as annual fees. Checking the APR is a useful way to compare credit cards, as it's a quick way of checking how much the card might cost you in the long run.
It's a good idea to double check your APR when applying, as some credit card providers do 'range pricing'. This means that you're not guaranteed to get the APR you see on their adverts. To check if the card you're applying for uses range pricing, check the summary box and Terms and Conditions.
At Capital One, the APR you see when you apply, is always the APR you get.