Know if you're accepted before you apply with QuickCheck

  • Get credit - up to £1,500
  • QuickCheck won’t affect your credit rating
  • Get a fast response in 60 seconds
Check Now 34.9% APR Representative (variable)
Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender

Convenience

A credit card, like a debit card, can be far more convenient than carrying a wad of cash around with you. Not only is it smaller and lighter but it’s safer too – after all, if someone steals your cash it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get it back.

When you have a credit card on you, you should have the peace of mind that you’re prepared for whatever happens. You don’t have to worry about queuing to withdraw more money as you can pay for what you need on plastic – providing you’ve not exceeded your maximum balance.

And because credit cards are accepted worldwide, they can be more convenient if you travel regularly too (although extra charges may apply for overseas and foreign currency transactions).

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"If your credit card is stolen, you should be protected by your provider."

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Security

If your cash is stolen while you’re out and about, there’s often very little you can do to reclaim it. However, if your credit card is stolen, you should be protected by your provider. Get in touch with them as soon as possible to let them know that your card is missing. That way they know that any transactions made subsequent to this should not have been made by you.

Should you notice an unauthorised transaction on your account and report it as soon as possible, you shouldn’t be liable to pay – providing your lender doesn’t find you’ve acted fraudulently or been negligent. Because of this, it’s vital that you keep your PIN private and safe.

Protection

As well as keeping your money safe if your card is lost or stolen, a credit card also offers protection when shopping.

If you buy an item in cash or with a debit card and discover it’s faulty or not what you expected, you must rely on the seller to provide you with a refund. If you use a credit card, however, you have the added protection of your lender

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, purchases made on credit cards and worth between £100 and £30,000 are protected by your credit card provider, which means that if you buy something you then have to return, your lender and the seller are both liable for providing you with a refund.

This is particularly useful if you regularly shop online, as debit cards do not offer the same level of protection. And even if the company you have bought from goes bust and your item never arrives, you’re protected under Section 75.

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Rewards

Some credit cards offer additional benefits and rewards. These can include cashback, the option to collect air miles, or to accumulate points for money off fuel or shopping.

These cards are often quite popular but they are not available to everyone. As with any credit card, the lender is looking for a customer who fits the criteria they’re after.

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"Ideally, you should only spend money you know you have available on your credit card."

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Emergencies

Ideally, you should only spend money you know you have available on your credit card. However, it can be useful to have a card in the event of an emergency if you don’t have the money to hand – perhaps because you’re a couple of days off payday.

In these events, you can use your credit card to afford the item or service you need – just make sure you prioritise paying it back as soon as you have the necessary funds.

Bookings

Some businesses like hotels and concert promoters may ask for your credit card number when you make reservations or bookings. Having one in your wallet makes this much more convenient.

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Credit rating

Your credit rating is one of the main factors that can affect whether or not you’re accepted for a credit card, loan or any other type of borrowing. All lenders look at an applicant’s credit rating when deciding whether or not to lend to them, but each one is looking for something different.

For instance, people with a long history of responsible borrowing may be more likely to be accepted for a credit card with a high spending limit, lower interest rate or multiple benefits attached to it. Those with a more limited credit history may not qualify for this, but could be accepted for a credit card with a slightly higher interest rate, lower spending limit or fewer rewards.

If you have no credit history to speak of because you’ve never borrowed, it can be more difficult to get accepted. However, there are credit-builder credit cards such as the Ocean Credit Card, available that may help. These usually come with a higher interest rate attached, but providing you borrow responsibly and pay it off – ideally in full – every month, you could improve your credit score. This may open you up to more competitive deals in the future. Failure to do so could harm your credit rating.

Should you have a poor credit rating because you’ve missed repayments on credit cards or loans in the past, you’ll probably find it difficult to successfully apply for credit. Although these notes do not stay on your credit file forever, while they are there they can act as a warning to lenders, who may not see you as a suitable customer. Ensuring you have a positive credit rating is vital if you want to get the best deals with your borrowing, so make sure you only ever borrow what you can afford to pay back, and do this on time every month.

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Is there a downside?

Of course, as with any form of borrowing it pays to be cautious if you’re thinking of taking out a credit card. The most economical way to use it is to pay off the balance in full every month, so that you avoid paying interest. That way you can enjoy the convenience and any rewards without paying extra.

However, if you can only afford the minimum repayment each month, you’ll find it takes a long time to clear the debt, and you could also end up spending a large amount in interest. And if you are unable to meet your repayments at all, you could fall into arrears, which may lead to the interest mounting up; your lender charging you penalty fees and your credit rating being affected negatively.

If you’re thinking of taking out a credit card, carefully consider whether it’s the best choice for you and then take the time to search the market and see what’s out there so you can find the card that’s right for you.

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Know if you're accepted before you apply with QuickCheck

  • Get credit - up to £1,500
  • QuickCheck won’t affect your credit rating
  • Get a fast response in 60 seconds
Check Now 34.9% APR Representative (variable)
Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender

Know if you're accepted before you apply with QuickCheck

  • Get credit - up to £1,500
  • QuickCheck won’t affect your credit rating
  • Get a fast response in 60 seconds
Check Now 34.9% APR Representative (variable)
Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender