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The 11 best credit cards in the UK

Which? experts hunt out the best credit card deals
Row of credit cards

What is the best credit card in the UK? The Which? Money credit card experts go in search of ‘the one’

The number of competitive credit card deals on the market has been increasing steadily over recent months. Which? Money’s credit card expert Martyn Saville goes in search of the best credit cards available right now, looking for ‘the one’ that offers a great all-round deal.

We regularly recommend that you choose a credit card based on how you use it. But what if you don’t want to carry one card for purchases, one for medium-term borrowing, one for use abroad etc.? Is there a single card that, while not necessarily the best in every category, offers great value across the board? 

We investigate, taking the top two cards in each of our Best Rate tables, plus a card that doesn’t qualify for our Best Rates, but deserves consideration. Cards are listed in no particular order.

1. Barclaycard Platinum with Balance Transfer Visa

  • Great for: 0% balance transfers of existing debt – Barclaycard offers a market-leading interest-free period of 20 months. Rewards under Barclaycard’s Freedom Rewards scheme at participating retailers.
  • OK for: A market-average APR of 17.5%.
  • Not good for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a below-average 55%. Using abroad due to 2.75% fee on overseas transactions.

2. MBNA Balance Transfer Credit Visa

  • Great for: 0% balance transfers of existing debt, with an excellent 0% balance transfer period of 18 months.
  • OK for: Purchases, with a mid-table standard APR of 16.7%.
  • Not good for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a near-bottom 49%. Foreign currency transactions, due to the extra 2.99% charge.

3. Marks & Spencer Money MasterCard

  • Great for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a strong 76%. Also excellent for its 15-month 0% deal on new purchases and a popular rewards scheme.
  • OK for: A fairly average standard APR of 15.9%.
  • Not good for: Balance transfers, which are charged at 15.9% plus a 3% handling fee. Foreign currency transactions, due to the extra 2.99% charge.

4. Tesco Bank Clubcard MasterCard

  • Great for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a strong 72%. Also very good for its 13-month 0% deal on new purchases.
  • OK for: A fairly average rewards scheme, paying just one point for every £4 spent on the card. Purchases, with a mid-range standard APR of 16.9%. Balance transfers, with a 0% offer of nine months.
  • Not good for: Using abroad or to buy currency, due to 2.75% fee.

5. American Express Platinum Cashback Card

  • Great for: Still the best credit card for cashback, particularly for big spenders. Offers 5% cashback for the first three months.
  • OK for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a fairly average 67%. The six-month introductory 0%-on-purchases deal.
  • Not good for: Borrowing, with an above-average APR of 19.9%. Using abroad.

6. Capital One World MasterCard

  • Great for: Cashback, offering 1% on all purchases.
  • OK for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a mid-table 67%.
  • Not good for: Anyone who isn’t a homeowner. Consumers looking for a fee-free card – the World MasterCard comes with an £18 annual fee, although it does pay customers a £10 bonus every January. Using abroad, due to the 2.75% foreign transaction fee.

7. Barclaycard Platinum Simplicity Visa

  • Great for: A low rate for borrowing of just 7.9%. Rewards under Barclaycard’s Freedom Rewards scheme at participating retailers.
  • OK for: Balance transfers charged at the same standard APR of 7.9% with no transfer fees.
  • Not good for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a below-average 55%. Using abroad, due to 2.75% fee on overseas purchases.

8. Capital One Bank One Rate MasterCard

  • Great for: A low rate for borrowing of just 9.9%.
  • OK for: Customer satisfaction, scoring 67%. Balance transfers charged at the same standard APR of 9.9% with no transfer fees.
  • Not good for: Anyone who isn’t a homeowner. Using abroad, due to the 2.75% foreign transaction fee. Cash withdrawals – despite the low 9.9% APR being applied to cash withdrawals, they still don’t attract any interest-free period and there’s a 3% withdrawal fee.

9. Saga Platinum Visa

  • Great for: Customer satisfaction, scoring a very good 75%. Low standard APR of 11.9%. Using for purchases abroad, as there are no extra foreign exchange fees.
  • OK for: 0% on purchases and balance transfers, both of which are offered for the first nine months.
  • Not good for: Anyone under 50.

10. Halifax Clarity MasterCard

  • Great for: Transparency and simplicity – there are no extra fees with this card, so you won’t be hit with hidden fees for overseas transactions, balance transfers, annual fees or cash withdrawals (although there is no interest-free period for cash withdrawals). Everything is charged at a standard rate of 12.9%.
  • OK for: Borrowing, with a below-average standard APR of 12.9%.
  • Not good for: Customer satisfaction, scoring just 56%.

The outsider: Metro Bank credit card

  • Great for: As with the Halifax card above, the Metro Bank credit card is great for transparency and simplicity. There are no extra fees with this card, including fees for overseas transactions, balance transfers, annual fees or cash withdrawals (although there is no interest-free period for cash withdrawals). Everything is charged at a standard rate of 13%. Metro Bank also doesn’t use risk-based pricing – every customer who is accepted for the card is offered an APR of 13%, removing the risk that you won’t get the advertised rate when you apply.
  • OK for: Borrowing, with a below-average standard APR of 13%.
  • Not good for: Anyone who doesn’t have a Metro Bank current account. Metro Bank is still largely London-based and the credit card is tied to the current account. This is why it doesn’t appear in our Best Rate tables.

The verdict – is there one credit card that’s great across the board?

Martyn Saville commented: ‘It’s nearly impossible to choose one credit card that stands out across the board. If pushed, for me it’s a two-horse race between Halifax Clarity and Metro Bank purely because neither has any sneaky charges hidden away and both come with a fair interest rate of around 13%.

‘Halifax comes with much wider availability, but suffers from a low customer satisfaction score. Metro Bank, meanwhile, impresses with its emphasis on excellent customer service, but suffers from the tied nature of the product. Both offer an excellent all-round deal though, so I declare it a tie.’

pound coins

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