Beat the card firms at their own game
Filed under: Credit Cards
So here are our solutions to five of the most common cardholder gripes.
If you have debts built up on a credit card then paying the standard rate can be hugely expensive.
But if you have a good credit score, you can avoid this by switching to one of the many interest-free balance transfer deals offering the chance to pay 0% for up to 22 months.
Both the Barclaycard Platinum Card with Extended Balance Transfer, which has a standard rate of 17.5%, and the Halifax Balance Transfer Card, at a standard rate of 17.9%, offer 22 months interest-free, subject to balance transfer fees of between 2.9% and 3.5%.
2. I am sick of changing my card
While the introductory deals described above can prove very beneficial, taking advantage of them does mean changing your credit card on a regular basis.
For those sick of switching, a card offering a long-term low rate of interest may therefore prove a better bet.
Sainsbury's Low Rate Card, for example, offers Nectar customers a rate of just 6.9%, while Barclaycard Platinum Simplicity charges 7.9% and offers access to the Freedom reward scheme.
3. I am constantly rejected by lenders
Most of the market-leading credit card deals are reserved for borrowers with excellent credit scores.
There are, however, some cards that are aimed specifically at consumers with poor credit ratings.
The Capital One Classic card, for example, is even an option for those who have had County Court Judgements against them in the past.
It charges a massive 34.9%, so should not be used for long-term borrowing. It could, however, prove very useful for rebuilding your credit score so that you can qualify for better deals in the future - as long as you stay up to date with your payments.
The majority of credit and debit cards charge fees of up to £1.50 for every overseas transaction.
However, the Nationwide Credit Card allows you to earn the right to fee-free overseas spending by using the card in the UK. If you spend £2,500 in the UK, you can spend £500 abroad without paying commission or overseas usage fees.
What's more, even if you don't use the card that much in the UK, it still has one of the lowest commission charges at just 2% (compared to an industry average of about 3%). The card has a standard rate of 15.9%.
5. I get nothing back from my card provider
If you are the kind of person who always pays off your credit card debt in full every month, you may well be tempted to use a debit card instead.
However, under to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit card purchases are better protected than those carried out with a debit card. What's more, you can cut your costs by taking advantage of cashback and reward schemes.
With the Marks & Spencer Credit Card, for example, you can earn one point for every £1 spent at M&S, and one point for every £2 spent elsewhere.
The Santander123 Cashback Card, meanwhile, offers 3% cashback on fuel spending (capped at £300 per month), 2% cashback on department store purchases and 1% cashback on supermarket shopping.
But beware: Including its £24 annual fee, the Santander card has a representative APR of 22.8%. And there is no cashback or reward scheme available that will still be beneficial if you fail to clear your balance in full every month.