Best credit cards for Christmas
- Which? Money experts reveal the best credit card deals for Christmas
- Find out the best ways to spend and save this Christmas
- Learn how to deal with your Christmas debts
From food to fun-filled festivities, wrapping paper to presents - the cost of Christmas soon adds up. We've rounded up the best credit cards that'll help you spread the cost of Christmas and save as you spend in the sales.
If you have a question about your finances in the run-up to Christmas, call our qualified team on the Which? Money Helpline. Sign up to Which? for just £1 to speak to one of our experts.
Best credit cards for spending
Best type of card: 0%-on-purchases credit card
Who they're good for: These credit cards don't charge interest on new purchases for up to 17 months, so they can be useful if you want to spread the cost of large purchases over the course of a year or more.
Best credit card deals: Halifax has the market-leading 17-month 0% deal on new purchases but the APR and length of the promotional offer are dependent on your personal circumstances. The best 0% deal from a Which? Recommended Provider is for 15 months from Marks & Spencer.
What to watch for: The 0% deal on purchases usually starts on the date the card is issued, and may not coincide with your usual repayment date. Make a note of the date your 0% deal runs out to avoid being charged interest in the final month. Always set up a direct debit for at least the minimum payment because if you miss a payment, you could lose the whole 0% deal.
See our full list of 0%-on-purchases credit card deals for more information.
Best credit cards for cashback and rewards
Who they're good for: If you can afford to pay off your outstanding balance in full each month, it's worth considering taking out a cashback or reward credit card. You'll receive a percentage of your spending back, either as cash knocked off your balance once a year, or as vouchers to spend in-store.
What to watch for: Interest rates (APRs) tend to be high on cashback and reward credit cards, so make sure you pay off your outstanding balance in full every month, otherwise you're effectively losing the benefit of any cashback earned.
Best cashback credit card deals: American Express offers an introductory rate of 5% for the first three months on spending up to £125, followed by a standard rate of 1.25%, on its Platinum Cashback Card. Bear in mind that if you choose this card you'll have to pay an annual charge of £25.
If you want to avoid paying an annual fee and are willing to accept a slightly less generous reward than those offered by the cards mentioned above, American Express' Platinum Cashback Everyday Card has the best deal.
See our table of the best cashback credit cards for more information.
Best reward credit card deals: If you do a lot of your shopping with one retailer, you could earn higher rewards with a retailer-branded reward card.
For example, House of Fraser and Debenhams pay 3% rewards on in-store and online shopping. House of Fraser also offers 1% on purchases you make elsewhere.
Debenhams will pay out 0.5% when you shop at other stores and give you a 500 point bonus (equivalent to a £5 voucher) in your first statement, provided you've used the card.
See our reward credit card reviews for details of more retailer cards.
DIY cashback credit card deal
If you currently pay off your balance in full every month, you could earn a higher cashback rate by building your own deal.
Start by taking out a 0%-on-purchases credit card and set up a direct debit for the minimum monthly repayment. Each month, put the rest of the money you would have used to pay off your monthly credit card bill into a Best Rate instant-access savings account instead.
A month before your 0% deal expires, take the money out of the savings account and repay the outstanding balance on the credit card. You'll have paid no interest on the credit card, and will have earned interest on your savings.
Best credit cards for paying off last Christmas
Best type of card: Balance transfer credit card
Who they're good for: If you overstretched your bank account as well as your waistline last Christmas, a balance transfer credit card can help. If you've got existing debt but think you're likely to pay off the bill relatively soon, or are willing to switch again, then these cards can be a good way to ‘park’ some debt while you focus on repaying other, more expensive debts.
Best balance transfer credit card deals: Barclaycard currently offers a deal where you will not be charged interest for 29 months. It also offers a 28-month deal, as do Halifax, NatWest, RBS, and Tesco.
What to watch for: The 0% deal on balance transfer cards usually starts on the date the card is issued, so make sure you transfer as soon as you get the card in order to get the longest 0% period. Also, balance transfer fees vary and can go above 3% with some providers, so make sure you know how much you'll have to pay before you switch. Generally speaking, the longer the deal, the higher the fee so consider how long it'll take you to pay off your balance and look for a deal that charges the lowest fee for the appropriate 0% period.
See our full round-up of the best balance transfer credit card deals.
Best of the rest: more ways to spend and save at Christmas
Look out for offers at this time of year linked to your loyalty cards as they can help boost your present-buying power. It might also be worth checking cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback to see if you could earn money on products, goods and services you plan to buy.
Meanwhile, put a stop to the stress of wondering how you can afford Christmas by starting to save for next year now.
If you're still repaying your credit card bill from last Christmas, or having difficulty in dealing with your debts, follow our top tips for dealing with debt and seek free independent advice.