With hundreds of credit cards on the market today, how do you know which one to choose?
In a recent Which? survey, we asked 5,600 people to tell us how they picked their cards – and the results showed many people aren’t shopping around.
One in five said they chose their card because they had another financial product with the provider, while one in six said it was because the brand had a good reputation.
Without research, it’s hard to know whether you’re getting the best deal, or how satisfied you’ll be with the provider you choose.
In our survey, we asked people to tell us about their experiences of different companies. Combined with our in-depth deal analysis, we came up with the best credit card companies in the UK today.
Find out which providers topped the tables and get tips on how to choose your next credit card.
The best credit card providers 2019
In May 2019, we surveyed more than 5,600 people about their credit card providers to find out how they rated them across 10 categories, such as ease of applying, customer service, online management, overseas charges and the mobile app, and how likely they would be to recommend them.
Of the 29 brands we asked customers about, 11 scored above average in our survey.
|Nationwide Building Society||79%|
|John Lewis Finance||76%|
Want to find out who didn’t score so well, or how your brand was ranked?
What do the Which? Recommended Providers offer?
Only a provider that combines high customer satisfaction with products that meet our standards can become a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP).
This year, just three brands have been awarded WRP status: American Express, Nationwide and Tesco Bank.
In order to qualify a brand must:
- have a customer score of at least 75% in our latest customer satisfaction survey.
- have at least one top 10 card in one of the seven main categories available on the market.
- have an average or above average product analysis score.
- not have a representative APR of more than 24% on any of its mainstream cards.
Below we explain a bit more about what makes the new WRPs stand out and what credit cards they offer.
American Express received the joint-highest customer score in our survey (79%), with customers praising its management facilities, customer service and statement clarity.
It’s well-known for its cashback and reward-generating offers, which are among the most generous on the market.
The American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, for example, offers 5% cashback on spending up to £2,000 in your first three months and up to 1% thereafter. There is no annual fee and a representative APR of 22.9%.
However, keep in mind that some American Express cards charge relatively high fees and above-average APRs – so make sure you check carefully whether a card will suit your circumstances.
Nationwide also achieved an impressive 79% score, making it joint-top. Customers were particularly happy with the overseas charges, customer service and online functionality.
Nationwide offers two credit cards that are competitive for overseas spending, but you need to be an existing customer to take out a deal.
Nationwide’s Select credit card offers 12-month 0% balance transfers and 0% on purchases but is only available to Nationwide current account holders. It has a representative APR of 15.9% and no fee on balance transfers.
The Nationwide Credit Card offers the same deal – a year of interest-free balance transfers and spending – and is available to any Nationwide customer. However, the representative APR is slightly more expensive, at 17.9%.
Tesco Bank came joint-fifth in our survey with an above-average score of 76%. Its customers liked the application process, customer service and mobile banking.
Its impressive range of products and robust customer rating has secured the brand WRP status for the second year running.
The Tesco Bank Purchase Card, for example, offers 26 months 0% on any purchases, plus three months 0% on balance transfers, with a competitive APR of 19.9%.
How to choose the best credit card for you
Before you start shopping around for a credit card, it’s worth thinking about what you need and which benefits you’ll use most.
If you travel abroad regularly, for example, you might consider applying for a credit card that charges low fees on overseas spending. If you’re trying to manage an existing debt, you might opt for a 0% balance transfer card. And if you want to earn points as you spend, a rewards card might be best for you.
You can use the tool below to quickly find out which credit card is the right one for your circumstances.
Aside from the type of card, you should also consider the terms being offered by the deal. It’s worth asking yourself the following questions:
- If there’s a 0% interest period, how long does it last? And what types of transactions will it apply to?
- How much is the APR on purchases?
- What is the APR for cash withdrawals? And will interest start being accrued immediately?
- Can you transfer over an existing credit card balance?
- How large do you need your card limit to be?
Using Which? Money Compare, you can search the best deals and get a unique look at what customers think of the brand before you apply.
When you’ve chosen a card that appeals to you, it’s worth thinking about how likely you are to be accepted. A rejected application can bring down your credit score, and may make it harder to be get credit in future.
Some credit card companies offer an eligibility checker, which will do a soft search on your record and tell you how good your chances are of being accepted. We identify which companies offer an eligibility check on our brand review pages.
Alternatively, you can check your credit score with all three credit reference agencies before making an application.
Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.