Credit cards are issued by credit card providers. When you are accepted for one you will be given a credit limit which is a form of borrowing. This limit, set by the provider, is the total amount you have available to spend with the card. Please note that this credit limit is subject to change at any time. Credit cards are an easy way of financing purchases and they can be used to buy goods in shops, over the phone or online. You can also withdraw money from cash machines, known as a ‘cash advance’. The main advantage of a credit card is that you can make purchases without necessarily having the money to do so because you can spread the cost over a period of time. With most card you will be given a choice of ways to manage your account, either by phone, at a branch or online. Online banking is a really useful tool because you can get up to date balances, view transactions online and make payments easily. Some cards also come with free email and text alerts which are reminders of your balance and when payments are due. This will help you budget and manage your money.
You can use your credit card at home or aboard with worldwide acceptance. They are a more convenient, not to mention safer alternative to carrying around large amounts of cash. Additional security also comes with the chip and pin device as well as the benefit of protection when you make purchases. Purchase protection covers good paid for with the card against loss, theft or accidental damage. To apply for a credit card your application will be based on a number of aspects. In general you have to be at least 18 years old but you should always check the eligibility criteria. The most important aspect that providers will look at is your credit history. Generally, the better your credit history, the more likely you are to be accepted for a credit card and the more credit you will be given. You will also find that if you have a poor financial past you will be given higher interest rates.
Each month your card issuer will send you a statement detailing all the transactions you have made as well as the minimum amount you must pay and the date this must be paid by. You have to make sure you pay off at least the minimum amount on the card statement each month. If you do not pay off your balance each month, you will be charged interest on the amount remaining in your account. The rate of interest, indicated by the APR or Annual Percentage Rate can be very high. If you fail to meet the terms of the card and make the payments on time this will be added to the balance on your credit cards and you could be faced with having to pay interest on the late payment fee. To avoid this happening set up a direct debt that will always pay the minimum amount.
You should also watch out for hidden charges with credit cards. Some providers may charge you an application fee for issuing the card. Many cards also come with an annual fee which you have to pay simply for having the card. Lastly you may be charged for withdrawing money from cash machines so bear this in mind when comparing products. Every customer is different and will have specific requirements. As such there are many different types of credit cards available in the UK. Because all credit card providers will vary slightly, it is worth taking the time to find the one that best suits you. This will also alert you to some great introductory offers but make sure you are aware of what happens when this period ends. Comparing credit cards online is a really useful way of weighing up the main features and pros and cons of different cards.
As well as standard credit cards that are a variety of credit cards that appeal to different circumstances. If you are at university while being a student is an exciting time unfortunately you will have to think about money. Being a student can be expensive, you will have to think about accommodation and travel costs, books and equipment, not to mention general day to day living expenses. Students will find it difficult to acquire a standard credit card but there are student credit cards which are designed especially for students and the way they live their lives. These cards come with certain features exclusively for students. Also whether you are just starting out or you are already an established business you might want to think about obtaining a business credit card. Regardless of the size of your business these cards are a great way to manage your corporate finances more effectively because you can stay in better control of your business expenditure and see all your monthly outgoings. Another type of credit card is a reward credit card. These cards work exactly the same as traditional credit cards but the providers offer incentives just for using them.
If you have a bad credit rating then you will struggle to get the card that you want. However, there are now bad rating credit cards which are especially designed for people with a damaged credit score.Not only do these cards give people who have been refused elsewhere the financial freedom that they want but these cards can also be used to help rebuild or establish your credit rating. However, this will only happen if you use the card correctly and bear in mind this can take some time. So long as you are responsible you will rebuild your credit rating which will result in better credit card conditions in the future.