The cost of living is soaring and a large number of Brits are turning to credit cards to cover everyday expenses. Credit cards are not just for smaller everyday purchases though. They can be incredibly useful for making larger purchases as well, ultimately saving you money and providing a financial safety net.
Recent figures from the UK Credit Card Association found that credit card fraud hit the lowest levels for ten years. In the last three years alone, credit card fraud has fallen by 45% as technological advances have made payments more secure and easier for consumers to manage.
Whether youíre looking for your first credit card or just a better deal, there are hundreds on the market available to you. Here are just a few of the new cards which you could be enjoying.
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Balance transfer credit cards can be incredibly useful for those who have mounting debt in other places and would like to put them all in an ëeasy to manageí account.
HSBC are currently offering the longest 0% interest balance transfer credit card on the market. However, it is only available to existing HSBC current account customers. If you are lucky enough to already bank with HSBC, you could enjoy the delights of 23 months without paying any interest on your balance transfers. There is a 3.3% transfer fee and representative 17.9% APR variable rate.
There are no freebies with this card and the only other benefit is that cardholders can have online access and 0% interest on purchases for three months.
Next in line is the Barclaycard Platinum card, offering 22 months at 0% interest. Barclaycard is often producing the market-leading card on 0% balance transfer cards as it also offers a card with 21 months 0% interest. Both come with a 1.9% representative variable rate and 0% interest on purchases for the first three months. The only difference is the handling fee, which is 2.9% and 2.6% respectively. However, the 21month card with a 2.6% fee is only for a limited period of time.
According to figures from the car industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Brits will spend around £5 billion on new cards in March. March is said to be one of the busiest months of the year for the car industry, with thousands looking to buy a new car. Car finance is one option, but using your credit card is another. If youíre looking to make a large purchase over the next few months, it could be well worth taking out a credit card. Not only will you be able to take home your goods when you want to instead of saving tirelessly, you can also feel safe in the fact that you are protected under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 should anything go wrong.
The best card on the market at the moment for 0% interest on purchases is the Halifax ëAll in Oneí MasterCard. With 15 months of 0% interest, you can make purchases to your heartís content, thereafter there is a fee of 3%.
In addition to this, cardholders could also enjoy 15 months of 0% interest on balance transfers. The majority of customers are offered the best rate of 17.9% APR representative rate and others could be offered an introductory rate of either 13 or 11 months.
If that doesnít tickle your fancy, the Tesco Bank credit card also offers 15 months at 0% for purchases, as well as a cheaper representative variable rate of 16.9%. This handy card is great for those who do their weekly shop at Tesco, as you can collect a clubcard point for every £4 you spend on the credit card.
If youíre looking to get a bit more out of your credit card you could always opt for a rewards based card. These help you to accumulate points and collect rewards for using the card frequently. There are a number of rewards available to suit different needs such as shopping rewards, Air Miles and point schemes.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is the latest lender to offer a scheme which allows you to collect points, which can subsequently be transferred over to flights, holiday vouchers and high street vouchers. For example, if you spend £500 a month on the credit card, after six months you could have a £10 M&S voucher.
The card also offers 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months, with an annual rate of 17.9%.
Getting a credit card can be hard if you have a poor credit history, but there are some credit-building cards available to you. The Capital One balance transfer card is ideal for this as it allows you to transfer existing debts onto the card until 1st October 2012.
It has a high representative variable rate of 34.9% APR, but this might not be too much of a problem providing you can make the monthly repayments.