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You Are Here: Home > Personal Finance > Credit Cards > 4 good Credit Cards
Why these 4 Credit Card deals are great
It's all too easy to choose the wrong Credit Card, especially as there are at least 60 on the market at any one time.

So check out the following 4 deals as they're all excellent. So much so that we personally use 3 of them.

American Express Platinum Cash Back Card - Great for everyday use
  • Double Cashback (2.5%) for the first 3 months (up to £100)
  • Double Cashback (2.5%) for 1 month every year
  • An ongoing 1.25% cashback for the year
  • Travel and shopping protection
  • Manage your account online and on the go
  • Online fraud guarantee
  • Travel Accident benefit
  • More information
Comments:

I use this for everyday shopping and with 2.5% cash back for the first 3 months (maximum £100) it's hard to beat. The cash back then reverts to 1.25% (with no limit).

Cash Back cards work as their name suggests - every time the card is used it pays your account a percentage of the transaction. Nobody of course will get rich from using a cash back card but getting a cash bonus once a year is always welcome.

The downside to this card is that not everyone accepts Amex. Most of the big retailers do but it's still a good idea to carry a backup card/debit card.

Amex's website is good for managing the account, and I particularly like the emails its sends as a reminder to pay the bill.

Virgin - 20 months 0% Balance Transfer
  • 0% on balance transfer for 20 Months* (2.99% fee applies)
  • 0% on card purchases for 3 months**
  • Representative 16.8% APR variable
  • No annual fee
  • More information
Representative example
16.8% p.a (variable) on card purchases. This is the equivalent to 16.8% APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of £1,200.
*From the date your account is opened

**If you have two or more promotional offers at the same rate, we will use your payments to reduce any promotional balance with the lowest standard rate last, even if this offer ends first. This could mean that any such balance may not have been reduced by the time the standard rate applies to it.

Comments:

Yes, you're going to have to pay the 2.99% balance transfer fee (£29.99 per £1,000) however these sorts of fees are standard on all 0% balance transfer cards. That's the bad news.

But the good news is excellent. The fee means you're effectively borrowing money at 2.99% over 20 months. To put that in perspective it's impossible to find a loan these days less than about 8.00% and that's over the year, not 20 months.

Borrowing money via this Virgin card is therefore impossible to beat.

  • I've got one of these cards and am loving the balance transfer facility
  • Virgin's customer service is also very solid via their UK operated call centre, just what you'd expect from the this brand
  • Even better news: With this card you don't even need to transfer a balance from another credit card - cash can be paid directly into your bank account! Got to love this feature

  • More information and To Apply
Capital One Classic - Great for improving your credit rating and/or shopping online
  • Great card for helping to improve a credit rating
  • People with suspect ratings often find it hard to qualify for a credit card - but not this one
  • No annual fee
  • More information
Comments:

This card is designed for people with suspect credit ratings who would normally get refused for a credit card. The limit will be low, around £200 - £500, and the interest rate is not so competitive at around 30%.

Many people use this card, as well as the Vanquis one below, to help rebuild their credit rating. You can read more about this strategy here.

Use the card for online shopping only - Can reduce the risk of serious fraud

Some people are worried about using a credit card online because of possible fraud. Personally I believe most of the scare stories are circulated and fuelled by those with an agenda, ie people selling anti-virus software and the notorious expensive ID Theft insurance.

Nevertheless why not consider using a low-limit credit card just for online shopping?

This is how I use my Capital One Classic card. It's got a £200 limit so in the unlikely case that I am subjected to credit card fraud the thieves can only get hold of a maximum £200. However, even if they did withdraw this maximum amount I wouldn't be held liable by law and the credit card company is legally obliged to refund the money.

Vanquis Credit Card - Another card that can be used to improve a credit rating*
  • It's Visa branded so is accepted across the world
  • Simple online application process
  • More information
*Special note re Vanquis Credit Card application

Although it's normally very easy for people to qualify for this Credit Card there are certain restrictions -

  • You haven't applied for a Vanquis card in the last 6 months
  • You're able to verify your address (e.g. bank statements, utility bills, landline, no mobile phones)
  • You're not in the midst of declaring bankruptcy
  • You're registered on the electoral role - See how do I get on the electoral roll
  • You're 18+

If you fulfill the above then you should have no problems in qualifying for the card.

Comments:

Like the Capital One Classic, the Vanquis card is mainly aimed at people with suspect credit ratings who want to try to improve their score. Read more about the strategy on this link.

The interest rate is high on the card, around 40%, but if you're using it to improve your credit rating this shouldn't matter as using the card to borrow money is not a good idea. Expect a credit limit of between £250 and £500.

One downside to this card is they don't offer the ability to manage it online and to me that's just not good enough in this day and age.

Like Flying Virgin? If so this is a great card
I've flown Virgin a few times to both the US and India and only have good things to say about them. And I know of people that refuse to fly other airlines (if Virgin fly that route).

Virgin also offers their own credit cards and this one offers an unbeatable deal for travellers -

  • 6,000 bonus Flying Club miles on your first purchase
  • Another 12,000 bonus miles when you apply before 31st August and spend £1,500 within 90 days
  • 2 Flying Club points for every £1 spent and 4 points for every £1 spent with the Virgin brand
  • Seat upgrades, complimentary companion flight and complimentary Regus Businessworld Gold membership
  • 0% balance transfers for 6 months (2% fee)

Like I said, if you travel a lot this card is one hell of a deal -

Watch out for the Payment Protection insurance scam - How to buy it at a great price
A major money earner for all the card issuers is the notoriously expensive card protection insurance (often called PPI). Sadly as the banks make a fortune selling it they all try to push it very hard.

But here's a good rule of thumb when it comes to personal finance -

If a bank ever offers help, it's odds they're trying to help themselves at your expense

What to do if you do need protection

On paper an insurance policy which takes care of your debts (or mortgage payments) if you're unable to work or are made redundant is a great idea.

But the banks have ruined it by being greedy and demanding stupid premiums. They can get away with this because most of their customers don't know the true cost of insurance.

But thankfully there are still a few decent companies out there who sell competitively priced insurance, and in the case of PPI usually at a 50% discount to the banks.

So if you are in need of some payment protection insurance, and at a great price, then go to British Insurance. On their site it's easy to get a quick quote without having to enter any personal details.

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