If you have never had a credit card before, don't worry. Everybody has to get their first credit card at some point, and while some providers may not accept you if you apply, there are those that will.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment card that does not directly take money from your bank account when you spend. Instead, the credit card company will send you a bill for your spending at the end of the month.

When you apply, the credit card company will check your credit record to help them decide whether to give you the card or not.

If you have never borrowed money before, you will have nothing on your credit record. This means credit card companies will not have any information to work out how well you can handle your finances.

The above comparison table includes credit cards that may accept you even if you have never used one before.

How to choose the best first credit card, UK wide, that suits your needs

For each card the table shows:

If you want to use a card to borrow, you can enter how much you want to spend and how long you need to pay it back. We will then show you how much you would have to pay back in total for each card on the table so you can choose the best one.

Here is a closer look at how to get a first time credit card.

How to check if you will be accepted

You should apply for a card that is likely to accept you instead of applying for several in one go. This is because seeing too many applications on your credit record can put lenders off.

Use an eligibility checker to find out what cards you can get and improve your chances of being accepted when you apply. You can find our credit card eligibility checker here.

Here is some more information on how to find credit cards that could accept you.

Things to do before applying for a card

A credit card can be a smart way to spend, but only if you use it in the right way. Spending on a credit card creates debt, so you could run in to financial difficulty if you are unable to pay it off every month.

Before you apply for your first credit, make sure you understand a few key terms:

  • Representative APR:
    The rate you are actually offered may differ from the representative APR. This is only the advertised rate, which providers must offer to just 51% of successful applicants.
  • Introductory APR:
    Providers will often offer low (or even 0%) interest rates to bring in customers. Bear in mind that these interest rates will not last forever. You will be moved onto the standard interest rate once the introductory period ends.
  • Credit limit:
    The credit limit you end up with will depend on your credit history and financial siuation. Sometimes you won't know the exact details until you have your card, but you may be able to rrequest a higher limit.
  • Fees and charges:
    Missing a payment, exceeding your credit limit, withrawing cash and some overseas spending will likely result in a penalty charge.
  • Minimum repayments:
    This is the minimum amount you must pay off each month, though it is always best to try and pay off your entire balance. Failing to meet the imnimum payment could affect your credit score.

What to look for in a first credit card

What you need from your first credit card will depend on how you plan to use it. You can find out more about some common credit card uses below.

0% on purchases: These cards won't charge any interest on what you spend for a set period. Here is how they work.
 
0% balance transfers: These let you transfer a balance from one card to another so you can cut out interest and pay off your debt cheaply. Find out more about balance transfers here.
 
0% money transfers: These cards let you move cash from your credit card to your bank account. Here's more on how money transfer cards work.
 
Cashback: These cards pay you a percentage of the amount you spend on your card. Here's how to use cashback credit cards.
 
Rewards: These cards give you points that you can exchange for rewards like air miles or supermarket loyalty points. Here is how rewards credit cards work.

How to improved your chances of being accepted for your first credit card

Although you may not have a history of borrowing there are ways you can establish your self as someone who is responsible with their finances. Here are some things you can do:

  • Get on the electoral roll: Registering to vote provides proof of address, which can help improve your credit score

  • Opening a bank account: Managing a current account can help you establish yourself as financially responsible. You can set up direct debits to pay your bills such as you cell phone bill, gym membership, etc, and if you alway have enough money to cover these expenses it can help in showing that you can be trusted with credit.

  • Pay your bills on time: Making payments by the due date goes a long way in showing that you'd be a trustworthy borrower.

  • Get a job and regular income: A regular salary will mean that you'll have the funds to repay any debt you incur, which should help your chances in being approved.

What to watch out for after you've been accepted?

If you've been accepted for your credit card, there are a few things to watch out for to help get a better deal in the future:

A strong credit history will help you get accepted for a wider range of cards in the future, meaning you could get a lower interest rate, a higher credit limit or more tempting extra features like interest free periods or balance transfers.

If you use your starter card sensibly for several months, your credit record will look better to credit card companies. Make sure you always: