Before you apply

You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card, but some cards have a higher minimum age.

Most providers will only let you apply for their credit cards if you live in the UK, are employed and earn more than a certain amount, e.g. 7.500 a year.

You should check your credit record to see what else providers base their decision on. Check for mistakes, like an incorrect address, and get it corrected.

Choosing your first card

The best way to choose a card is to compare them online. Use our comparison to find a card that offers everything you need.

You can find credit cards that offer:

  • 0% on purchases: This means you won't pay interest on what you spend on your card for a fixed period.

  • 0% on balance transfers: If you had another credit card with a balance charging you an APR, you could switch it to a 0% deal to cut out interest.

  • 0% on money transfers: This lets you transfer most of the card balance to your current account. There is usually a transfer charge for this.

  • Air miles: This type of card gives you air miles for spending a certain amount on your credit card.

  • Rewards: You can find rewards like cashback, that give you a percentage back on what you spend, like 0.5%.

  • Credit building features: All credit cards help you build up your credit profile if you keep up with your repayments.

Use our credit card eligibility to check which cards are most likely to say yes when you apply.

How to apply

You can apply for the credit card you choose online, by phone, by post or in person.

It is usually quicker to apply online by completing an application form on the provider's website.

If you'd like someone to talk you through the application, you could apply by phone or in a bank's branch instead.

If your application gets declined

Do not apply again for the same card, as most providers will automatically reject you if you re-apply within six months.

Here is how to get accepted next time you apply by building your credit history, timing your application well and cleaning up your finances.