With so much choice out there, it can be overwhelming applying for a new credit card. Getting credit should be an easy and hassle free experience, which is why we've put together a few tips that should guide you in the right direction.
- Check your credit score. By using credit checking sites, you can find out what your approval odds are. This estimate can tell you what credit card you're likely to have approved. It's not guaranteed, but it can help to focus the search.
- Read reviews. If you've found a credit card you'd like to apply for, it's always useful to have an insight into what other customers have experienced, especially if the credit card isn't from your bank. Money comparison sites and blogs are best for this.
- Consider the reason for the card. Why do you need a credit card? Is it to improve your credit score for a mortgage? Is it to move debts to a 0% interest card? Or perhaps need a card for bigger purchases. Whatever the reason, if you pick one and stick to it, that will help reduce the number of credit cards to research and apply for.
- Get a cashback/reward card. If you pay off your credit card in full every month, then it's worth getting a card that rewards you for your spending. There are plenty of credit cards out there that offer points, miles and a variety of cashback amounts.
- Miss a payment. When you apply for a credit card, it's better to set up a direct debit so you avoid late fees or any missed payments. Otherwise, the penalties you pay can add up and create more debt in the long run.
- Apply for the first credit card you see. Try to avoid applying for the first credit card you see. Not only could you miss out on a good offer from a competitor, but the card may not suit your needs and it could be a higher APR than other cards on the market.
- Repay all cards equally. Make sure you pay off the highest APR interest credit card first, and once that credit card has been paid off (and if you have more than one credit card), you can then work your way down the APR* scale. This will help you save money in the long run.
- Max out your credit cards. This will lower your credit score and make it more difficult for you to pay off balances. It will also be harder to apply for other products such as loans, mortgages, or even moving current accounts.
*APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and takes into account all the costs of a loan - giving you the overall cost for comparison.