A CREDIT card can help you clear debts or spread the cost of a big purchase.
Here is how to choose the best deals.
There are a few different types of credit card.
You could get a credit card that offers interest-free purchases.
This means you are given credit that you can spend each month and you don’t have to pay any interest on your repayments for a set period.
There are also balance transfer cards that will clear old credit card debts and move them onto a new product where you make interest-free monthly repayments.
What’s a good credit score?
FICO, the most widely known credit scoring system, and its rival VantageScore both use a range of 300-850 points.
Below we list what’s considered a good and bad credit score, according to both systems.
- Poor: 300-579
- Fair: 580-669
- Good: 670-739
- Very good: 740-799
- Exceptional: 800 or above
- Very poor: 300-499
- Poor: 500-600
- Fair: 601-660
- Good: 661-780
- Excellent: 781-850
You could even earn cashback or other perks when you spend by using a rewards credit card.
It is important to make your monthly repayments each month or you will be charged interest.
This is known as the annual percentage rate (APR) and ranges from 14% to 25%.
It may also be tempting to only make the minimum repayment if you are in an interest-free period, but make sure your balance is cleared by the end of the deal term or you will be charged interest on what is owed.
You won’t definitely be offered the advertised credit limit or rate and some applicants may be rejected as providers will consider your credit score before approving a card.
Missing payments can damage your score and make it harder to access the best deals.
Here are some of the best credit card offers.
Best for balance transfers
A balance transfer card lets you clear debts on an old card and focus on repaying them interest-free on a new one for a set period.
You usually have to pay a transfer fee to move your money to a new provider.
This clears your old debt and you can focus on making interest-free repayments on your new card.
You won’t pay any interest as long as the debt is cleared by the end of the interest-free period.
Citi’s Diamond Preferred Card has an interest-free balance transfer period of 18 months.
There is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, whichever is larger.
You also get interest-free purchases for the same period.
The rate charged at the end of the term is 13.74% to 23.74% depending on your credit score.
Discover also has an 18-month interest-free balance transfer product but it pays 1% to 5% cashback on your spending as well.
The APR moves to between 11.99% and 22.99% at the end of the term.
Best for spending
A purchase credit card lets you spread the cost of your big spending.
You can use your credit limit to make a purchase and then spread the cost over a few months.
Using an interest-free purchase credit card means you only focus on repaying what you spent.
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months.
You can also earn 6% cashback at supermarkets on spending of up to $6,000 per year, 3% at gas stations and 1% on other purchases.
There is no fee for the first year and it then increases to $95.
Its APR ranges from 13.99% to 23.99%.
Alternatively, the Citi Custom Cash Card has no fee and offers interest-free spending and balance transfers for 15 months as well as 5% cashback on the first $500 that you spend.
Best for rewards
A rewards credit card can either pay you cashback when you spend or give you points that go towards special offers and exclusive deals.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards card gives you 5% cashback on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
You can also earn unlimited 1.5% cashback on all other purchases.
Purchases can also be made interest-free for 15 months after which it moves to an APR ranging from 14.99% to 23.74%.
Similarly, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card pays 2% cashback and has an interest-free spending period of 15 months.
The APR move to between 4.99% and 24.99% after this.
The Bank or America Customized Cash Rewards card will let you choose the categories that you earn cashback for, giving you 3% back.
Users also earn 2% on grocery store spending of up to $2,500 each quarter.
Its APR ranges from 13.99% to 23.99%.
Best for bad credit
It can be harder to access the best credit card deals if you have a history of bad debts.
Missed payments and bankruptcies will show up on your credit file and will reduce your score, making providers nervous about giving you the best deal.
You can boost your score by showing you are a reliable borrowers and making repayments on time.
A credit builder card can help with this.
These provide basic credit cards with lower limits that help build your credit score as long as you make the monthly repayments on time.
The Discover it Secured Credit Card will let you do a six month balance transfer for a relatively low APR of 10.99%.
You can also earn 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants as well as 1% elsewhere.
Users need to put down a security deposit of at least $200.
The APR is 22.99% if you miss payments.
Alternatively, the First Progress Platinum Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer cashback but has a low APR of 9.99%, which means the interest will be lower if you do miss repayments.
You can secure a credit line with a deposit ranging from $200 to $2,000.
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