The best credit card market ever!

We can't remember ever seeing such a strong range of cards on the market. There's never been a better time to get a credit card.

In January I wrote an article in which I said that there had never been a better time to get a credit card. The range of cards on offer was better than I could ever remember.

Well, guess what? Things have got even better. We’re in the middle of the best credit card market I’ve ever known.

If you’re carrying a big debt on your credit card, there are some great cards for you. If you’re a big spender, you can get some cracking cashback offers. And if the banks don’t want to lend to you, there are several cards which could help you boost your credit rating.


Cashback

Let’s start with cards that are best for big spenders - cashback credit cards.

If you have a good credit rating and you spend a fair bit on your card, they can be real money-makers.

This week saw the launch of the Barclaycard Cashback card. This card will give you 6% cashback during the first three months you have the card. After that, you can get 2% cashback on your five biggest purchases each month and 0.5% cashback on further transactions. (You’ll have to make at least 15 purchases each month to qualify for the cashback, and there’s a £24 annual fee.)

If you don’t want to pay a fee, you could go for the free aqua Reward MasterCard. It pays 3% cashback on all your spending up to an annual limit of £100 cashback.

The Capital One Aspire World is another good free cashback card. You’ll get 5% for the first three months and then you’ll get up to 1.25% after that, depending on how much you spend.

There are several other excellent cashback cards on the market. I can’t remember so many! Check them out in our cashback card comparison table.


0% balance transfer cards

Over the years, 0% balance transfer cards have always been very popular. That's because they’re great for anyone with a big debt on their credit card.

Right now, there are two cards offering 23-month 0% periods. So if you transfer your credit card debt to one of these cards, you won’t have to pay any interest for 23 months. However, you will have to pay a transfer fee when you shift the debt.

Now I have to admit that we have seen 0% cards with 24-month 0% periods in the past. Indeed back in January Barclaycard was offering a two-year card. Trouble was, the fee was on the high side at 3.2%.

By contrast, Barclaycard is now only charging a 2.8% fee on its current longest card – the Barclaycard 23 Month Platinum Visa.

I think a 23-month card with a 2.8% fee is a way better bet than a 24-month card with a 3.2% fee.

And if you think you can pay off your debt over a shorter period, you can pay even lower fees. For example, the Barclaycard Lowest Balance Transfer Fee card only charges a 1% fee.

If you’re not a Barclaycard fan, you only need pay a 1.5% fee with the Fluid card.

Yes, it’s true that you used to be able to get 0% cards without paying a fee. However, the 0% periods for those cards tended to be relatively short – typically around nine months and never longer than a year. So I think the current 0% market is very attractive for consumers.

Top balance transfer cards

Credit card

0% period

Balance transfer fee

Fee paid on £2000 transfer

Normal APR

Notes

Barclaycard 23 Mth Platinum Visa

23 months

2.8%

£56

17.9%


HSBC Visa

23 months

3.3%

£66

17.9%

HSBC current account customers only

Barclaycard 22 Mth Platinum Visa

22 months

2.6%

£52

17.9%


Tesco Clubcard for Balance Transfers

22 months

2.9%

£58

16.9%

One clubcard reward point for every £4 spent on card

MBNA Platinum Credit card

20 months

2.85%

£57

16.9%


Lloyds TSB Platinum MasterCard

15 months

1.5%

£30

17.9%

50% refund on balance transfers over £1500 before 16th Nov.

Fluid card

15 months

1.5%

£30

15.9%


Barclaycard Lowest Balance Transfer Fee

12 months

1%

£20

19.9%

Initial 1.2% fee is charged, followed by 0.2% refund.



0% purchase cards

There are also several great 0% new purchase cards on the market at the moment. These cards enable you to make a big purchase, and then not pay any interest on the resulting debt for a year or longer.

My favourite card in this category is the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Purchases. It gives a 16-month interest-free period as well as Clubcard points as you spend. Close behind is the M&S Credit Card which gives a 15-month 0% period as well as reward points.


Cards for poor credit

The market for ‘credit builder’ cards is also very strong at the moment. These cards enable folk with poor credit to gradually improve their credit ratings – that’s as long as they use their new cards sensibly.

What’s changed is that we’re now seeing cards that offer more than just help with a credit rating. With the aqua Classic MasterCard, you can get 3% cashback on your spending while you demonstrate that you’ve become a good credit risk. (The cashback is limited to £100 a year.)

I also like the Luma card which gives 0% on purchases until December. However, if you don’t pay off the balance by then, you’ll be hit by a painfully high 35.9% interest rate.


Never been a better time

Overall I think there’s a fantastic range of credit cards on the market at the moment. It’s the best credit card market ever.