Thursday, 18 April 2013

Comparing credit cards - What to look for

Although I am as thrifty as I can be, due to being unwell in the past and MadDad having to take unpaid time off work we do have debts, specifically credit card debts.  Although we have not added to these debts for the last three years we still haven't managed to pay them all off.

Learning to live within our means due to still paying off these outstanding balances is hard and every so often we make sure we compare credit cards to ensure that we have the best type of card for us.

In order to decide what is the best card for you firstly you need to understand what you use a credit card for.  Are you like us and have an outstanding balance on it that you are trying to pay off without adding to it?  Perhaps you want a card that you can use for your purchases on a month to month basis and will always clear the outstanding amount.

Transferring a debt to pay off - Balance transfer cards

For us we look for a long term balance transfer with the smallest interest rate for the longest period.  In addition to this we need to know what the amount is that they will charge us for transferring our debt to them.

Making a purchase and paying it off over a set period - Borrow money for free

You can get credit cards that offer a set interest free term, these are great if you are going to pay off the whole amount before the end of the term, but can have high interest rates after this period.

Pay your balance in full each month - Reward cards

These cards are perfect for people who can pay off a balance each month and reward you for using your card often with rewards, which are often points.  I know people who have used the points from their reward credit card to pay for their cross channel ferry, which meant that it was three times cheaper.

A credit card to use abroad - Frequent traveller

Many people never use a credit card, but would like one to use on foreign holidays or trips.  If this is the case it pays to look out for one that doesn't charge you for overseas use.  

What to do if you are already in debt and need help.  

If you are reading this and looking at adding to debt that you already have and can not afford to pay back, then stop now.  Do not look at getting an additional card.  There are organisations that offer free debt counselling, including Citizens Advice Bureau,  Consumer Credit Counselling Service, now called Step Change Debt Charity   and National Debtline (

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