Is your credit card a one trick pony?

24 Feb, 2016

Two months into the New Year and it feels like deja vu with the credit card companies’ hell bent on pushing interest free cards.

One of the downsides of this strategy is that that some of the more versatile credit cards offering a range of flexible features are often overlooked.

If you’re considering a new credit card, all the adverts continue to try to lure you towards the longest interest free plastic on the market.

For some people these won’t be a good fit and they may be better off with a low rate credit card, with no introductory gimmicks – plastic they can they can stick with for years to come.

While promotional switching offers can cut your interest costs if used wisely, there are too many people simply ‘treading water’ and continually shifting their debt just to keep repayments manageable.

It’s now possible to get up to 40 months on free credit on balance transfers, but watch out for the balance transfer fee – hitting almost 3% in some cases.

Another issue often overlooked in the rush to sign up for an interest free deal is the ‘go to’ rates when the introductory deal finishes. In some cases these are touching 20% APR.

If you’re financially disciplined enough to take advantage of the 0% period and repay your balance at minimal cost that’s fine, but if you’re looking for a card to remain in your wallet for the longer term, there are some alternatives with a wider range of attributes and benefits and a more favourable long term interest rate.

No gimmick low rate cards such as Lloyds Bank Platinum at 6.4% APR, AA Low Rate card at 6.9% APR or Tesco Club card charging 7.8% APR all make a good longer term companion for your wallet.

Other examples of excellent all round cards include the MBNA Everyday Plus at 7.4% APR with no charges for using abroad or ATM charges and the Nationwide Building Society Select at 15.9% APR with 0.5% cashback and commission free purchases overseas (for Nationwide current account customers).

The Halifax Clarity credit card, a long standing holidaymakers favourite is worth a look too, although less of a standout deal since it increased its rate to 18.9% APR in line with the vast majority of cards.

When you weigh up the sum of the component parts of these cards, they deserve to be highlighted in the shop window rather than hidden away under the counter.