Credit Cards in UK [Things You Need to Know]

  1. Types of Credit Cards: When it comes to credit cards in the UK, you’ve got plenty of options! There are different types of cards to suit various needs. You’ll find balance transfer cards, which can help you consolidate and manage existing credit card debt; rewards cards that let you earn points, cashback, or other goodies on your purchases; and low-interest or 0% purchase cards, which can give you a break on interest for a specific period.
  2. Major Credit Card Providers: Some of the big names in the UK credit card scene include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). You’ll also come across popular international brands like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Each provider offers a range of cards with different perks, rewards programs, and eligibility requirements, so there’s something for everyone.
  3. Interest Rates and Fees: Ah, interest rates and fees – not the most exciting topics, but important nonetheless! When it comes to interest rates, they can vary depending on factors like your creditworthiness and the type of card you choose. It’s worth keeping an eye on the representative APR (Annual Percentage Rate), which gives you an idea of the typical interest rate. And don’t forget to check the terms and conditions for any annual fees, balance transfer fees, or foreign transaction fees that might apply.
  4. Credit Limits and Eligibility: Wondering how credit limits are determined? Well, they depend on factors like your income, credit history, and existing debts. The credit card provider will consider these factors when setting your limit. And remember, each provider has its own eligibility criteria, which may consider your age, income, employment status, and residential situation. As long as you meet these criteria, you’re good to go!
  5. Credit Card Protections: Good news! When you make a purchase between £100 and £30,000 using a credit card in the UK, you’re covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if the goods or services you purchased are faulty, not delivered, or misrepresented, you have legal protection. You can potentially claim a refund from the credit card provider. It’s always nice to have that extra peace of mind!
  6. Contactless Payments and Mobile Wallets: Tap, tap, payment done! Contactless payments are super popular in the UK. You can simply tap your credit card on the reader to make quick and secure payments. Many credit cards come with contactless technology, making life easier when you’re on the go. Plus, if you’re into mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay, you can link your credit card to your smartphone and make payments with a simple wave of your hand.
  7. Credit Building and Credit Scores: Hey, did you know that using a credit card responsibly can actually help build your credit history and improve your credit score? It’s true! Making your payments on time, keeping your credit utilization in check, and avoiding excessive debt can all contribute to a positive credit profile. That can come in handy when you’re looking to get a mortgage or other loans down the line.




  • Q: What is a credit card and how does it work? A: A credit card is a payment card that allows you to borrow money from a card issuer up to a certain credit limit. You can use it to make purchases, both in-store and online. At the end of each billing cycle, you receive a statement with the amount you owe. If you pay the balance in full, no interest is charged. If you carry a balance, interest is applied on the remaining amount.
  • Q: How do I apply for a credit card in the UK? A: Applying for a credit card in the UK is typically done online. You’ll need to provide personal and financial information, such as your name, address, income, and employment details. The card issuer will assess your application and creditworthiness before approving or declining it.
  • Q: What is the minimum age requirement to get a credit card in the UK? A: The minimum age to apply for a credit card in the UK is usually 18 years old. Some card issuers may have additional age restrictions, such as 21 or older, depending on the type of card and eligibility criteria.
  • Q: How is the credit limit determined? A: The credit limit on a credit card is determined by the card issuer based on factors such as your income, credit history, and existing debts. Generally, higher incomes and good credit scores can result in higher credit limits.
  • Q: What is APR? A: APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. It represents the cost of borrowing on a yearly basis, including both the interest rate and any applicable fees. The APR allows you to compare the costs of different credit cards. It’s important to understand the APR associated with a card, as it can impact the total cost of any outstanding balances.
  • Q: What are credit card rewards? A: Credit card rewards are incentives offered by card issuers to encourage card usage. These rewards can include cashback, points, miles, or other benefits. You earn rewards based on your spending, and they can be redeemed for various things like statement credits, merchandise, travel, or gift cards.
  • Q: How can I build my credit score using a credit card? A: Using a credit card responsibly can help build a positive credit history and improve your credit score. Make timely payments, keep your credit utilization ratio low (ideally below 30%), and avoid maxing out your credit limit. These habits demonstrate your ability to manage credit responsibly and can positively impact your creditworthiness.
  • Q: How can I protect myself from credit card fraud? A: To protect yourself from credit card fraud, ensure you keep your card details safe and secure. Be cautious when sharing your card information online and only use trusted websites. Regularly review your card statements for any unauthorized transactions, and report any suspicious activity to your card issuer immediately.
  • Q: What should I do if I’m struggling to make credit card payments? A: If you’re facing difficulties making credit card payments, it’s important to contact your card issuer right away. They may be able to provide options like payment plans or temporary relief. Ignoring the situation can lead to late fees, penalty interest rates, and damage to your credit score.
  • Q: Can I use my UK credit card abroad? A: Yes, most UK credit cards can be used internationally. However, it’s essential to check with your card issuer regarding any foreign transaction fees or currency conversion charges that may apply.


Here are some popular credit cards in the UK:

Barclaycard Platinum Cashback Plus: This card offers cashback on eligible purchases, with higher cashback rates for the first three months. It also has no foreign transaction fees, making it a good option for those who frequently travel.

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card: With this card, you can earn cashback on your everyday spending, including groceries, fuel, and dining. It has no annual fee and offers a welcome bonus for new cardholders.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard: This premium credit card provides various benefits, including airport lounge access, travel insurance, and rewards points that can be redeemed for flights and hotel stays. It’s designed for HSBC Premier customers and comes with a significant annual fee.

NatWest Reward Credit Card: This card allows you to earn cashback on eligible purchases at select retailers. It also offers other perks, such as no foreign transaction fees and a competitive interest-free period on purchases.

Lloyds Bank Platinum Low Rate Credit Card: If you’re looking for a card with a low-interest rate, this one might be a good fit. It offers a longer 0% interest period on balance transfers and purchases, along with other benefits like contactless payments and mobile banking services.

Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card: This card is affiliated with Tesco, one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK. It allows you to earn Tesco Clubcard points on your spending, which can be used for discounts on shopping, dining, or converted into vouchers.

Santander All in One Credit Card: This card offers a range of features, including cashback on eligible spending, interest-free periods, and no foreign transaction fees. It also provides access to Santander’s exclusive offers and discounts.