Using credit cards in the UK could be a way for you to shop more. Even better, it could be a way for you to earn cashback and get rewards or pay debts.
But, which credit cards should you choose and which fill your requirements best? That’s what this guide is all about. So, keep reading to get the best out of it.
About Credit Cards in the UK
People in the UK use credit cards, debit cards, and contactless payment methods a lot. That’s because they are the easiest ways to pay for things. Visa and Mastercard are the most common kinds of cards. American Express and Diners Club cards are accepted less often, but they can still be used.
When used well, a credit card is a flexible and convenient way to borrow money and/or keep track of expenditures. But there is no one size that fits everyone. There are a lot of different kinds of credit cards. Picking the best one for your needs can make a big difference in your finances and life.
Types of credit cards in the UK
Cards that give loyalty points
If you make a big purchase in the first few months, using the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card would get you some extra bonuses.
If you spend £3,000 or more in the first three months, you get 23,000 points. You can trade these in for £100 in Amex membership rewards uk, 23,000 air miles, or a whopping £184 in Nectar points.
To get the latter, you’ll need to trade your Amex points for Avios. You could do that at the British Airways Executive Club official site. Note: you’ll need to register if you don’t already have an account.
Then, you’ll need to link your Nectar account to your British Airways Executive Club account. You can do this on the BA site.
You’ll need to register for a Nectar account first if you don’t already have one. Then, on the BA website, you can trade your 23,000 Avios for 36,800 Nectar points, which are worth £184.
You can spend Nectar points at Sainsbury’s, eBay, Argos, and a lot of other stores. You’ll always get one point for every £1 you spend.
AMEX metal card uk is free of charge for the first year. After that, you will be charged £140 every year to keep it. Make sure you deactivate it before the fee starts. Amex UK gold also has a rep APR of 25.7 % if the full amount is not paid back monthly.
Another good choice is the American Express Nectar card. You can get two Nectar points for every £1 you spend with it, and three points for every £1 you spend when you use it with a Nectar card at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay, or other Nectar partners.
Also, if you spend £2,000 in the first three months, you’ll get an extra 20,000 Nectar points, which are worth £100. Each Nectar point is worth half a penny.
If you’ve had an Amex card in the past two years, you won’t be able to get the welcome bonus. So, the other Nectar credit card is a better choice.
This card is free of charge for the first year, but then you have to pay £25 a year to keep it. If you don’t want to keep using it, remember to cancel before the year is up. This card charges a 25.7% rep APR if the balance isn’t paid off in full every month.
AMEX’s Platinum Card UK, as the name suggests, is an ultra-premium card for heavy spenders. It comes loaded with benefits and opportunities to earn American Express membership rewards UK points.
From lounge access to hotel perks and more, the Platinum Card comes with a lot of benefits that help to make up for the expensive $575 annual fee. One of these benefits is a new £300 dining credit that you can use every year.
If you don’t mind paying a big annual fee and want to make a lot of money and get a lot of travel benefits and protections, this is the card for you.
Even though UK platinum Amex is aimed at people with deep pockets and a spending power, it requires no basic wage.
This is a debit card, not a credit card, so there is no limit on how much you can spend or an annual percentage rate (APR). However, you must pay off the full balance each month.
The annual fee of £575 is the largest of any personal American Express card that is advertised in the U.K. This fee isn’t waived the first year or any other years after that. But there are a lot of things that make up for this high fee.
However, considering how much this card costs, the rate of earning isn’t very good. For every £1 you spend, you’ll only get 1 Membership Reward point. Furthermore, for a card with such an elevated annual fee, there is only one bonus spend category. For every £1 you spend with American Express Travel Online, you’ll get two Membership Rewards points.
You’ll still get 1 Membership Reward point for every £1 (or its equivalent) you spend in foreign currencies. However, you’ll also have to pay a 2.99% foreign transaction fee.
In addition, you’ll pay about twice as much for the non-Sterling transaction fee as you would for the Membership Rewards points. Due to the foreign transaction fee that comes with this card and most other American Express UK cards, you might not want to use this card abroad just to earn points.
Moreover,the Amex Platinum credit card for business uk is relatively convenient. You must be a UK-registered business to qualify for business credit cards uk eligibility check, which even sole proprietors frequently have to do. Nevertheless, it’s not of the best business credit cards for startups uk.
If you shop at the store chain a lot, the M&S Reward Offer card is a good choice. You can upgrade M&S Club Rewards for £10 per month, but the basic card comes with no additional rewards.
The card gives you two points for every £1 you spend at M&S for the first year. This goes down to one point for every £1 spent at M&S after the first year. For every £5 you spend elsewhere, you’ll get one point. One M&S voucher is worth one point.
Cards that gives miles
Virgin gives rewards in the form of Virgin Points. With the Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card, for every £1 you spend on the card, you get 0.75 Virgin Points and for every £1 you spend at Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays, you get 1.5 Virgin Points.
As an example, Virgin says that you’ll get 5,850 points a year if you spend £650 a month on your Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card. You only need 3,000 points in your account to start getting rewards. You can use your points to pay for part of a flight ticket and pay the rest in cash.
This Virgin Atlantic Reward card could be thought of as a low-cost air miles credit card that doesn’t require much of you. It doesn’t give bonus points after the first purchase, but it also doesn’t charge an annual fee. If you have a credit limit of £1,200, the APR is 22.9%.
If you spend £20,000 in a year, you can get either an update to a Premium seat or a second ticket for a friend or family member.
The British Airways AMEX Premium Plus credit card gives you Avios points, which are miles that can only be redeemed for flights on British Airways.
For every £1 you spend on things, you get 1.5 Avios points. For every £1 you spend with BA Holidays or British Airways, you get 3 Avios points. As a welcome bonus, you get 25,000 Avios points if you spend £3,000 on the card in the first three months.
If you spend £10,000 on the card in a year, you get a 2 for 1 Companion Voucher that lets you bring a friend with you when you use your points to buy a flight with British Airways. The voucher is good for two years, and you still have to pay the rest of your friend’s fees, taxes, and charges.
This card has a low annual fee of £195, but the representative APR is 74.7 percent variable and the purchase rate is 22.2 percent variable. This is based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
When you sign up for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card and spend £3,000 in the first three months, you get 20,000 Membership Rewards points.
For every £1 you spend on the card, you get 1 Membership Rewards point. For every £1 you spend directly with an airline, you get 2 Membership Rewards points, and for every £1 you spend at American Express Travel, you get 3 Membership Rewards points.
This card doesn’t have an annual fee for the first year, but after that, it costs £140 per year. With an assumed credit limit of £1,200, the representative APR is 56.6 percent variable and the purchase rate APR is 22.2 percent variable.
Cards Without fees
- Halifax Clarity Credit Card
When you use the Halifax Clarity Credit Card abroad, you won’t have to pay a fee for transactions made in a currency other than sterling (e.g., purchases and cash withdrawals).
Even though there is no fee for ATM withdrawals, interest will start to be added from the date of the withdrawal. At 18.9% variable APR, this card’s interest rate on cash withdrawals is lower than average. Since interest starts to be charged right away on cash transactions, it’s necessary to pay back any ATM debts as soon as you can.
Documents for getting a credit card in the UK
Most credit card companies now electronically check your ID and address through a credit reference agency (CRA) like Experian or Equifax when you apply for a credit card online.
Even though you may be asked to provide some personal information, there will be no requirement for any ID to be retrieved. This check on your identity won’t hurt your credit score.
Sometimes, the CRA won’t have enough data about you on file (or in the databases it can access) to be sure that your ID is real.
When this happens, you might be asked to show a picture of yourself and a picture of the page of your passport that says your name. Again, the provider will use technology from a CRA and the photos you’ve given to check your ID.
If the provider doesn’t have this option, you may be asked to bring your ID to a branch or mail a “certified copy,” which is a copy that has been signed off as real by a bank employee, lawyer, accountant, doctor, etc.
You shouldn’t send the originals of your passport or driver’s license, which are both very important forms of ID.
When you go to a branch to apply for a credit card, you have to follow the old rules, which say you need to bring two forms of ID: one to prove your identity and one to prove your address. You can’t use the same document to do both. Most of the time, you’ll need a passport or driver’s license and a bill or bank statement.
To prove who you are
Each provider will tell you what kinds of documents it will affirm, but you can usually use one of the following:
- License to drive
- Passport Blue disabled driver’s pass
- UK armed forces ID card
- Biometric residence permit
To prove where you live
Each provider will tell you what kinds of documents it will accept, but you can usually use one of the following:
- Driving license
- Benefits entitlement letter
- Benefits entitlement letter
- Tax bill from the local government for the present year
- A recent bill for a service
- A recent report from a UK bank, building society, or credit union
- A recent rental agreement from a lawyer, housing group, or local government
Best credit cards in the UK
In our opinion, Amex ultra-premium charge cards are full of benefits, especially for people who travel a lot. But you’ll have to use all of them often to make up for the card’s high annual fee.
The American Express U.K. Platinum Card has the most features of any personal card in the U.K. If you just recently applied for this card, you can immediately start using its benefits.
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