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UK Credit Cards Online
- short term borrowing: credit cards can be useful for short term borrowing can be cheaper than a personal loan as interest is only paid on the remaining debt, not the full loan amount.
- flexibility: minimum amount can be paid each month or you can pay up to the total outstanding amount.
- no early redemption penalties: paying off a loan within the term can some times result in an early redemption penalties.
- interest free credit period: depending on the date of purchase you can get up to 56 days interest free credit
- remote purchasing: you can purchase products and services remotely over the phone or over the internet.
- other benefits: some card offer other benefits such as insurance cover on purchases, air miles, cash back and discounts on holidays.
- easier to get into debt: credit cards can encourage buying goods or services that you cannot really afford.
- Minimum payment: It is important to remember that paying the minimum payment on a credit card, which can be as little as 2.5% of the balance, will mean the debt will remain for a long period.
- expensive cash withdrawals: if you withdrawing cash from a cash point there can be very expensive fees and sometimes a higher rate of interest is applied .
- insufficient credit limit: when you apply for a credit card you may not be able to obtain as higher a credit limit as you want.
- open to fraudulent use: using a credit card, can introduces an element of risk, if the card details fall into the wrong hands this may result in fraudulent purchases on the card.
Credit card guide
Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and services either in person
or remotely. They can also be used to withdraw cash from a cash point
machine or via a bank.
buying in person:
The credit card is swiped by the sales assistant through an electronic terminal which prints a sales voucher with the card and transaction details, or reports that the transaction has not been authorised.
Alternatively, the card can be placed in an embossing machine to produce a voucher with card details. Authorization for the transaction can be given over the phone if required.
Most credit cards are chip and pin which require you to enter a four
digit pin number at the point of sale. The pin number is supplied by
your card provider, although you have the ability to change this number
to an easier to remember number.
Some old style cards still require you sign the voucher and the assistant compares it to that on the card.
You can also use a credit card to purchase products or services remotely, via telephone or the internet. All you need to provide is the credit card number, expiry date ,card holder's name and in many cases the security number fro the back of the card. This allows you to make purchases instantly and removes the risk of losing cash or a cheque in the post. However, using you credit card remotely introduces a risk that your card details could be used fraudulently.
A credit card can be used in conjunction with a PIN number to withdraw cash from a cash point or bank against your available credit. There may be a charge for this service and interest is normally charged from the date of withdrawal, even on cards that offer an interest free period. The interest charged on cash withdrawals is higher than interest charged on normal transactions.
When your application for a credit card is accepted you will be told what credit limit you have been given. You can make purchases up to this credit limit. Trying to make further purchases once you have reached your limit will result in the transaction being refused.
Depending on the credit card, interest is calculated either from the date of the transactions you make or from the statement date.
A credit card that charges interest from the transaction date may be worthwhile if you do not intend to pay off the balance at the end of the month and the interest rate offered is low. Holding the card may also entitle you to a particular benefit that outweighs the additional interest charges.
Credit cards which calculate interest from the statement date and only impose the interest if you do not settle the statement in full are preferable. In practice, this means you can get a maximum of 56 days interest free credit; the transaction can be up to 31 days before the statement and the card issuers usually allow a further 25 days for payment to be made.
Some banks are now offering 'offset deals' meaning that credit card debt can be offset against any savings before interest is calculated.
This means if your savings are equal to or greater than your credit card debt you will pay no interest on your credit card at the end of the month. If your savings are less that your credit card debt you will still benefit as the interest charged will be calculated on you credit card balance less your savings balance.
You receive no interest on your savings but as the interest charged for borrowing is greater that the interest gained through saving, you will be better off
types of card guide
gold & platinum cards
These are credit cards offered to those who are considered a good credit risk, with a higher salary usually above £20,000 or £25,000.
They generally offer a higher credit limit, a larger daily cash withdrawal limit and other additional benefits such as travel insurance, extended warranties for household appliances, medical insurance, card protection and hotel savings.
To some they also provide a status symbol but some of these types of cards can have monthly fees.
Each time the card is used the card issuers makes a small donation to a charitable cause, at no additional cost to the card holder.
The 'charitable cause' includes recognised charities such as Oxfam, as well as football clubs, universities and many other organisations.
These cards are issued by a shop/retail chain and can only be used in the shop/retail chain that issued them. In the main they charge a higher rate of interest than credit cards and should be avoided unless you are able to pay off the outstanding balance each month. These type of cards can offer benefits such as discounts exclusive to card holders.
These cards provide an 'account' against which withdrawals can be made to make purchases. The outstanding balance must be paid in full each month or heavy penalties are incurred.
They are a form of credit/debit card hybrid which can be used in the same way as a regular credit card. An annual fee is normally charged which can cost over £100.
American Express and Diners Club are the best known charge cards. In fact, other than these two companies, charge cards are only offered by banks to their existing customers.
Charge cards usually offer additional incentives such as insurance, air miles and/or reward points.
To some they provide a status symbol, especially the American Express Centurion Black Card. This charge card is offered by invitation to the very, very wealthy. It offers unlimited free credit although the outstanding balance must be paid in full each month.
company cards (business cards)
These are charge cards issued to companies. Cards are issued to chosen members of staff and monthly statements are sent to both the card holder and the company. This allows the company to track and analyses company expenditure.
The card can be linked to a current account so that payment is automatically made each month.
Uk Credit Cards
Credit cards can be complicated, we hope that you find the information on credit cards on this site useful. If you feel that there areas of the personal finance market not covered in this site that you would like to see please let us know your thoughts contact us.
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