Credit Card Decision Tree

Which kind of credit card is right for you?

By Kevin Pratt Friday 4 April 2018
 

Choosing a credit card can be a bit baffling, especially if you’ve never had or needed one before.

Those little plastic cards all look alike and the companies selling them are all keen to sell you their benefits – sometimes making it harder for you to decide.

That’s why we created our credit card decision tree – not to help you decide which credit card to apply for (that comes later), but instead to help you decide which kind of credit card you might need.

Do you need a card for making purchases or for clearing your debt? Just answer a few quick questions like these and our decision tree will tell you simply which kind of card might be right for you.

If you’re struggling with the first question about your credit history, this guide will explain. Broadly speaking, if you’ve borrowed responsibly in the past – paying off what you owed, on time – your history is more likely to be positive. 

If, however, you’ve never really borrowed before, you’ve had problems paying back your debts or you’ve missed payments, you may be rated more negatively.

Still unsure what’s best for you? We have lots of helpful guides in our credit cards shop, which you’ll find here

Do you have a good credit history?

For more information on credit scoring and credit history, read our guide to What is a good credit score?

Do you want to transfer a balance from another credit card?

Consider a Credit Builder Credit Card

If you've had past debt problems, or you've little or no borrowing history, it can be hard to get new credit.

But, getting a credit builder card and using it well (staying within your credit limit and paying on time) can help you improve your credit score, meaning you may be eligible for 'better' cards in the future.

Some of these cards offer rewards or 0% offers on purchases or balance transfers.

If this doesn't sound like you, select "yes" above and continue with the Credit Card Picker.

Check your eligibility now

Will you also spend money on the card?

Will you use the card to make a large purchase?

Consider a Balance Transfer and Purchase Credit Card

With a balance transfer you can transfer debt from old credit cards to a new, interest-free card, though you'll pay a small fee to transfer. But, if you also plan to spend on the card, a combined balance transfer and purchase card might be your best bet, as it means both your transferred balance and your new spending will be at 0%.

Check your eligibility now

Consider a Balance Transfer Credit Card

Balance transfer cards let you shift debt from other credit or store cards, so you owe the new card, but at 0%. Usually, you'll pay a small transfer fee, and - in general - the longer the 0% period, the higher the fee.

If you're transferring a smaller balance, you might be better off taking a shorter 0% interest free period, but with no (or a low) fee.

Our results page has a balance transfer calculator to show you how much you could save with different cards.

Check your eligibility now

Consider a Purchase Credit Card

If you're planning a (few) large one-off purchase(s), a 0% spending card lets you spread the cost interest-free. You get a given number of months at 0%, which you should use to try and pay down the debt.

You may also want one of these cards for regular spending that you won't pay off every month - though this isn't sustainable in the long term, so consider how you'll repay it.

Check your eligibility now

Consider a Cashback & Reward Credit Card

These cards pay cashback or give you other 'rewards', such as loyalty points or air miles, when you spend on them. It's a great way of getting something back every time you spend.

Check your eligibility now

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