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What are the best credit cards in the UK?

There is no single answer to this question. To find the best UK credit card for you, you need to carefully consider your needs, spending habits, and credit score.

Credit cards come in many flavours. Some offer cashback and others offer specific store rewards or travel perks. Some focus on providing low interest rates, and others help you rebuild your credit history. Each category is meant for different needs.

Also, before applying for any credit card, consider using a tool that provides a “soft search” to see your approval chances without hurting your credit score.

Which is the best credit card for me?

Choosing the right credit card can be tricky because there are many kinds, each with its benefits. To find the best card for you, try to answer these questions:

  • Do you already have a few credit cards that charge high interest? Look for a 0% balance transfer card.
  • Do you always pay your credit card bill in full? Get a reward credit card that pays you back.
  • Do you sometimes struggle to pay your credit card bill in full? Get a 0% spending card.
  • Do you travel abroad or shop online in other currencies? Use a specialist travel card for good exchange rates.
  • Do you have bad credit or struggle to get approved for a mortgage? A credit building card might help.

Many cards serve more than one purpose. We’ve seen credit cards offering a promotional period of 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases. We’ve also seen credit-building cards that offer rewards and cashback. But usually, one feature will be the main one, so it’s really important to be clear why you’re getting a new credit card.

Let’s look at these categories one by one.

Which credit cards have the lowest APR?

A low-interest credit card has a relatively low interest rate on purchases and/or balance transfers for as long as you have the card. The average credit card APR is 35.1%, but the best low-interest deals charge as little as 10.9% APR, making it cheaper to borrow or shift debt whenever needed. The advantage is you don’t have to switch cards when an introductory deal expires.

The Tesco Bank Low APR Credit Card offers a 10.9% representative APR on purchases (assuming £1200 annual spend). You can also collect Clubcard points almost every time you spend, with 100 points equaling £1 in vouchers. If you don’t shop often at Tesco, other cards with the same 10.9% purchase APR include:

  • Bank of Scotland Platinum Low Rate Mastercard
  • Halifax Credit Card Mastercard
  • Lloyds Bank Credit Card Mastercard
  • The key benefits of these low-interest cards are the consistently low APR, no need to switch when intro deals end, and the ability to borrow or transfer balances at a cheaper rate than the average credit card.

What are the best credit cards for balance transfer?

We found two very interesting balance transfer credit cards:

  • For the longest interest-free period, consider Barclaycard Platinum. It offers 28 months of interest-free payments but has a 3.45% balance transfer fee.
  • If you don’t want to pay a balance transfer fee, look into NatWest’s no-fee transfer card. It offers 13 months of interest-free payments but doesn’t charge a fee for transferring your balance.

These cards are some of the best for a balance transfer in different ways. If saving as much money as possible is your priority, NatWest is best. If you need as much time as possible to pay down your credit card debt, then Barclaycard Platinum is better.

The key is finding the right balance between the interest-free period and balance transfer fees based on your financial situation and ability to repay the balance within the 0% interest period.

What are the best credit cards for rewards and cashback?

Cashback credit cards can be great if you spend regularly and pay your balance in full each month. Here are some of the best options we found:

  • The Santander Edge Credit Card offers 2% cashback in the first year and 1% in the second year. For example, if you spend £100 weekly, you could earn £52 in cashback per year. However, it also comes with a £36 annual fee and a high APR of 29.8%. It is only available to customers with a current account at the bank.
  • The American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card and its free version, the American Express Platinum Everyday Cashback Credit Card, offer the highest cashback rates due to their generous promotional offers. However, these rates drop significantly after the typical three-month introductory period.

Also, we need to mention Asda Money Select, Barclaycard Forward, and Tesco Foundation Card. These are the few credit builder cards we found that offer rewards and cashback. If you have bad credit, you might want to look into them.

What are the best credit cards for interest-free purchases?

The best UK credit cards for interest-free purchases offer long 0% introductory periods, allowing you to spread out large expenses without paying interest.

Some of the best examples we found:

  • Barclaycard Platinum with up to 21 months interest-free;
  • HSBC Purchase Plus with 18 months;
  • M&S Bank Shopping Plus with 18 months;
  • and Tesco Bank Clubcard with up to 24 months.

These cards also offer various rewards, such as discounts, reward points, and vouchers. When choosing a 0% purchase card, consider the interest-free period length, revert rate after the promo period, fees, and rewards.

Also, do your best to pay off the balance before the 0% period ends to avoid interest charges. If you can’t repay in full, look into 0% balance transfer cards to shift the debt and avoid the high interest rates from accumulating. The main point is to use these cards responsibly by making all timely payments and staying within your credit limit. This way, you’ll shop interest-free and keep your credit score in tip-top shape.

What are the best credit cards for travelling often?

These travel credit cards offer benefits like:

  • Fee-free spending abroad;
  • Great exchange rates;
  • Additional perks aimed at frequent travellers.

The best credit cards for travelling, based on our search, are:

  • Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card. It offers fee-free spending abroad and also great exchange rates.
  • Halifax Clarity Credit Card. Besides fee-free spending abroad, it also gives you £20 cashback on the first purchase.
  • Metro Bank Credit Card. Its fee-free spending is limited to Europe; however, it lets you print the card in-store. This can be a useful perk if you lose it or have it stolen while travelling.

All these let you save money when travelling abroad – which can add up, as regular credit cards usually charge about 2.5-3.5% on every foreign currency exchange (and sometimes on cash advance when abroad, too).

What are the best credit cards for building credit?

Any credit card can help you build credit if you pay the bill in full and on time. The difference between credit-building cards and regular ones is that credit-building ones have more flexible eligibility criteria. This means you can apply for them even if you have poor credit and sometimes no credit. The downside? High APR (sometimes as high as 40%) and low credit limit (usually £200-£1,000).

Our top picks are:

  • If you want a lower APR, consider the Amazon Platinum Mastercard. It has an APR of 21.9% and comes with a £20 Amazon voucher and 0% interest on purchases for three months.
  • If you want a higher credit limit, use Chrome by Vanquis Bank. The limit starts between £250 and £1,500, but it can increase after only five on-time payments. The APR is higher, though, at 29.5% per year.
  • If you want more rewards and credit-building features, consider the Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card. Not only does it let you earn Tesco Clubcard points (which you can redeem in-store), but it also lets you check your TransUnion credit report and score for free straight from the app. The APR is also lower than most credit-building cards, at 29.9%.

However, credit building cards are still credit cards. This means that they come with the same risks:

  • You can fall even deeper into debt.
  • If you only pay the minimum amount, interest charges and debt can spiral out of control to levels you can no longer afford.
  • And if you miss a payment or even run into something as common as maxing out your credit card limit, it can wreck your credit score for years.

Credit-building apps are a safer alternative - one such app is Wollit.

Unlike a credit builder card, Wollit doesn’t require you to make additional purchases—it reports your monthly fixed-fee subscription as a loan repayment instead.

This directly builds your credit history and lets you improve your credit score while keeping you safe from high-interest charges and maxed-out credit card limits. As your credit score improves, you will eventually be eligible for better cards, loans, and deals.

Wollit, no stress, no hassle - just a clear path to better credit

Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.

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Feel better about your credit score

Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.