If you’re thinking of applying for a credit card to help cover some of your Christmas expenditure, whether that’s gifts, food or travel costs, it’s worth doing so sooner rather than later.
Although you’ll usually receive your credit card between 10 and 14 days after you’ve been accepted, it can take up to six weeks for your card to arrive.
So applying for your plastic now, rather than closer to December, means you’re more likely to be able to take advantage of some great deals – and you’ll be less likely to end up relying on an uncompetitive credit card to see you through.
Spread the cost and pay no interest
If you know you won’t be able to pay off your credit card balance in full each month, a 0% purchase credit card is a great choice.
This type of credit card allows you to spread the cost of your Christmas spending over several months without paying interest.
The Sainsbury’s Bank credit card, for example, offers the longest 0% purchase deal at 29 months. Just be aware you will need a good credit rating to qualify (you may be offered 26 months’ or 23 months' interest-free depending on your credit score) and once the interest-free deal ends you’ll pay 20.95% pa (variable).
The card has a representative rate of 20.9% APR (variable)*.
Earn cashback on your Christmas shopping
If you clear your credit card balance each month, it can still be worth using a credit card – particularly if it earns you cashback.
The American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, for example, offers 5% cashback on spending in the first three months up to £100, making it ideal in the run-up to Christmas.
Be aware that the card has a representative rate of 22.9% APR (variable)**, so only use this card if you are certain you can pay off your balance in full each month.
Earn reward points on your supermarket spending
If you’d prefer to rack up points at your favourite supermarket or retailer, take a look at these options:
The John Lewis Partnership credit card allows you to earn one point per £1 spent on the card instore or online at John Lewis and Waitrose, and one point per £2 spent elsewhere.
Customers applying for the card using the code MSX18 by 31 January 2019, will also receive 3,000 points if they spend at least £250 on the card in John Lewis and Partners or Waitrose and Partners, or transfer a balance of £250 or more to the card within the first 90 days. (Points will be awarded within two months of making the required spend or balance transfer.)
Every 500 points is worth £5 in gift vouchers to spend at either John Lewis or Waitrose.
The card also offers 0% on purchases for nine months, after which you’ll pay 18.9% pa (variable). The card has a representative rate of 18.9% APR (variable).***
The Sainsbury’s card mentioned above also allows you to earn two Nectar points for every £1 you spend on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel, plus one Nectar point per £5 spent elsewhere. You can also earn up to 7,500 bonus points as you'll receive 750 points each time you spend £35 or more at Sainsbury's, up to 10 times in the first two months. T&Cs apply.
Meanwhile, the Tesco Clubcard credit card for purchases allows you to earn one Clubcard point for every £4 you spend at Tesco stores and on Tesco fuel, plus one Clubcard point for every £4 spent elsewhere.
The card also offers 0% on purchases for 28 months and after that it charges a representative rate of 19.9% APR (variable).**** Be aware you may receive 22 or 16 months at 0% instead, depending on your individual circumstances.
Asda also offers a credit card, though this allows you to earn cashback rather than reward points. You’ll earn 1% cashback on your Asda shopping and Asda fuel and 0.2% cashback everywhere else (T&Cs apply). The card has a representative rate of 19.9% APR (variable).****
Low credit score? You don’t have to miss out
Low credit score? You don’t have to miss out
The very best credit card deals are reserved for those with a top-notch credit score. But if yours isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out completely.
The Capital One Classic Complete credit card is designed for those with a less-than-perfect credit score, and offers 0% on purchases for four months and an initial credit limit of between £200 and £1,500.
The card also offers 0% on balance transfers for six months, with a 3% fee, but it’s best not to use the card for both balance transfers and purchases.
Be aware that once the interest-free deal is up you’ll pay 34.94% APR (variable) so make sure you clear your balance before then.
The card will also help you to rebuild your credit score, giving you a greater chance of being accepted for a more competitive card in the future.
The card is exclusive to MoneySuperMarket and has a representative rate of 34.9% APR (variable)*****.
*Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 20.95% p.a. (variable), your representative rate will be 20.9% APR (variable).
** Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 22.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 22.9% APR (variable).
*** Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 18.9% APR (variable).
****Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 19.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 19.9% APR (variable).
*****Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 34.94% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 34.9% APR (variable).
All credit cards are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See MoneySuperMarket.com for further information.
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