Make the most of Christmas cards

With the weather turning distinctly seasonal over the last few days it’s hard to avoid the sense of imminent Christmas cheer. But as the mercury continues to plummet, our bank balances may be heading the same way.

For many of us the demands on our finances through December are going to be testing, and the refuge of the January pay-day can seem a long way off. If that’s the case then a credit card of some sort may be the way to see you into the New Year.

However, cards can offer more than just some Christmas credit. MoneyExpert can give some top tips on what’s hot and what’s not.

Purchasing power

Despite the turbulent financial run up to Christmas it seems that we’re set for another bumper year, with experts predicting that we’re likely to spend £33 billion. That means some serious spending and if you’re considering using a credit card to bear the brunt of it then it’s important to look around for the most suitable deal.

The credit card market’s currently awash with deals on balance transfers, but those offering cheap credit for new purchases are rather rarer. Many cards, such as Virgin Credit Card, and Barclaycard are offering 0% for 3 months, but if it’s just cheap purchases you’re after you’d do better to look at the Halifax One Card offering 0% for 12 months. It also offers you 0% on balance transfers for the same period so if you’re planning on staggering your repayments then it’s a good bet.

Get something back

With spending being high on the agenda you may as well make the most of it and get what you can. With so many card companies now competing for your business there’s a large number out there offering rewards in one form or another.

Many cards, such as the American Express Nectar Card and the MBNA Sonycard offer a variety of shopping rewards schemes, points programmes, and air miles. The Lloyds TSB Airmiles card, and the MBNA Platinum card offer all three. Obviously the quality of the deals vary and it may be a little late to save enough points for flights to Aspen this year, but it’s certainly worth a look. Compare reward cards here.

All for charity

If you’re feeling somewhat guilty over the indulgence of Christmas, but still can’t stop yourself, then perhaps a credit card that has links to a charity may ease your conscience.

The Co-operative Bank’s Think Credit Card gives 25p from every £100 spent to Cool Earth, a charitable organisation devoted to buying and saving the rainforest. There are also cards that donate to charities such as the British Heart Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and the NSPCC. You’re unlikely to find headline making rates with most of these cards but may well be surprised at the how good a deal you can get whilst helping a valuable cause. Compare charity cards here.

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