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"Your Rough Guide to UK Credit Cards"

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Types of UK credit card

Gold / Platinum / Status cards

Charity Donation Cards / Affinity Cards

Store cards

Debit cards

Charge cards

Student Cards


Gold / Platinum / Status Cards

If you're an above average earner you could get a gold or platinum or other type of "status card".

Besides the snob value and pulling power of waving these cards around, they usually come with extras, which may make them worthwhile getting, such as:

- Higher credit limits
- Card protection
- Bigger cash withdrawals
- Medical / Travel insurance
- Special deals on airlines /hotels

NB You may be paying extra for some of these on a normal card when you could get them free.

How to get one

The card issuer will be looking at your salary and credit history.

The average UK salary is about £17,500 so anything over £20,000 may be acceptable.

Some issuers charge annual fees for the privilege of having one of these special status cards.


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Charity Donation Cards / Affinity Cards

Some card issuers run schemes with selected charities. Every time you buy something with the card, the charity gets a donation..

Often the charity gets a payment when you sign up for the card as well.

While it's a truly wunnerful gesture by the issuers, don't forget that the bottom line for them is it's really just a marketing exercise ie the card issuer can advertise to several thousand people on a charity's mailing list - all of whom are more likely to respond positively.

However they are a good thing for the charities so why not get one?

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How to choose a charity card

Besides checking for the usual basic checklist / things to watch out for, shop around for cards which offer the charity more eg a bigger percentage or signing up fee.

If you want to support a particular charity, call their fundraising dept to see if they've got more than one card supplier and which one brings them the most benefit.

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Store cards

Some shops offer their own credit cards, which can only be used at their shops (or within a consortium).

You probably only want one of these if you frequent a particular shop which doesn't accept other credit cards - or want the status of a brand name. (Surely you're not that sad?)

However watch out for the usual particularly for higher interest charges. These can be more than double the norm.

And check when the interest charges kick in ie from the time of purchase (bad) or after you get your statement (better).

You may get access to various perks like viewings, events and discounts on particular items. But will you save money when the incredibly high interest charge is taken into account?

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Debit cards

These may look like credit cards but they're really the same as paying by cheque in that the money is taken direct from your current account.

The advantage of debit cards is you don't need to carry cash around all the time. Also you're less likely to go crazy and get a nasty shock at the end of the month - as you might with a credit card.

The drawback is that you may go into the red and get charged by your bank - just like a chequebook.


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Charge cards

This is where you have to pay off the amount you owe in full ie you can't get away with paying the minimum amount requested every month forever.

They're called charge cards because you usually pay an annual fee for the privilege.

The benefits are that the issuer offers you various special deals for insurance etc.

The most famous and probably best charge card is Diners Club.

Most banks offer charge card schemes for their customers.


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Student Credit Cards

These are cards aimed at Students (doh!) but also often intended to meant to attract any young people.

They're really a bit of a marketing scam in that the banks know that if they can get you young, you're unlikely to leave them for years (it's called consumer inertia and yes it works. I mean look at the hassle of getting a credit card. Who needs it...).

The thinking is that you'll stay with whoever suckers you in and probably get other financial "products" from them over the years, such as mortgages, loans, pensions etc.

The good news is that all this means that there may be some very attractive "loss leaders" out there.

So-called Student Credit Cards will be offering the usual inducements particularly good rewards, low introductory interest rate

deals or whatever it currently takes to con students and the yoof.


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Credit Card Guide

What is a credit card... The usual terms... How to apply for a creditcard

Interest and Credit Cards... Low interest credit cards... When does the interest charge start... How interest is calculated.. How to get interest-free credit... The APR and Credit Cards...

Introductory deals / special offers... Crad Introductory interest rates...

Card Purchase protection... Faulty goods... Anti fraud guarantees... Emergency cards / cash... CreditCard Protection... Stolen cards / Fraud... Internet crad fraud...

Reward schemes... Cashbacks... Cash withdrawals... Holidays and your card... Free Travel Insurance...

Never heard of the card issuer?...

Minimum payment amounts... Credit Card Statements... Annual Fee... Late Credit Card payments... Credit Limit...




All material UK Credit Card Guide and Information © Moneysorter Ltd 1999 - 2013 | Author: By Ed Parry