60 second guide to choosing a credit cardWhich? experts help you find the best credit card
02 September 2011
There are hundreds of different credit cards out there, but, thankfully, only six basic types. Which? Money experts help you choose the right one for you.
0% on balance transfers
If you owe money on your existing credit card, switching to a 0% balance transfer deal can save you interest. The best deals currently offer at least 20 months at 0%.
Try to pay off the bill within the 0% period or switch again at the end of the promotional deal. Set up a direct direct for at least the minimum monthly repayment - if you miss a payment, or pay less than the minimum, your 0% deal could be withdrawn.
Low-rate life of balance
If you owe money on your existing card, but don't want to switch more than once, these cards guarantee the same low rate on transfers until the balance is paid off. They are great if you're unlikely to pay off your debt within the 12-18 months that most 0% balance transfer cards offer.
Cashback and reward cards
Cashback and reward credit cards pay you cash or give points, vouchers or Airmiles each time you use them. They're an excellent choice if you pay your bill off in full every month. Make sure you check both the rate at which you earn points and also the value of those points when you come to spend them - reward rates vary significantly and the value is not always obvious.
Cards for use abroad
Most cards charge extra fees for purchases abroad. These cards don't, so are good if you travel overseas a lot. Try to pay off your bill every month, though, as some charge high interest rates.
0% on purchases deals
These cards charge no interest on new purchases for up to 15 months. They are suitable if you're disciplined enough to put money aside (for example in a Best Rate savings account) to pay off the bill at the end of the period, or if you use the cash you're saving to pay off other debts.
Low standard borrowing rate
Credit cards with a low standard interest rate (a low APR) can be great if you use them infrequently and don't always pay off your monthly bill in full. They're also good if you don't want to keep switching cards regularly.
How do I switch credit card?
Once you've decided which type of card is right for you, check out our Best Rate credit card reviews to find the best deal. Follow the link next to your chosen card and simply fill out the online application form.
If you want to transfer a balance from another card, you can either fill in the details on the application form, or contact your new provider directly once you've been approved.
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