Credit cards allow you to be flexible with your borrowing. You can use them for short term borrowing, or you can use them to spread the cost of larger purchases.
Ideally, you should pay off your credit card balance in full every month. That way you won't be charged interest on your spending.
For many people that may not always be possible. Here are some rules you need to follow if you want to make the most of your credit card.
Always pay at least the minimum amount: This is set by your provider and is a percentage of what you owe plus interest.
Pay more than the minimum if you can: Paying off as much as you can will save you interest and clear the balance faster.
Pay off your most expensive cards first: If you have several cards, put as much as you can afford towards paying off the card with the highest APR, and make minimum payments on the rest.
Your credit card comes with a credit limit, which is the maximum unpaid balance that you can build up on your card.
You will be charged a fee if you go over this so make sure you pay off enough to stay under your limit. Here is how credit card limits work.
You can set up a direct debit using either your online account or by phoning your provider.
Paying by direct debit is the easiest method because the money will come out of your account every month without the possibility of forgetting to pay.
You can set up your direct debit to pay the full balance, the minimum payment or a fixed amount. You can also pay your bill:
Through your online banking account
By bank transfer using internet banking or in a branch
By cheque sent to your bank when you get your bill
By standing order for a fixed amount to your credit card company
In person with cash if your provider has a local branch
You can check your balance online, on your most recent paper statement, or you can ask for your balance by phone or check it at a cash machine. Some providers also send text messages to confirm your balance and remaining credit limit either any time you text them to request it or once a week or month.
You can find out more about how to repay your credit card here
If your card is lost or stolen, let your provider know immediately because someone else could use it online, over the phone or for contactless purchases.
You should be refunded in full for any transactions that happen after you have lost your card.
Record the time you informed your provider and the last transaction you made yourself. You can contact them by:
Phoning your provider
Logging into your online account
Going into a branch
Using your mobile banking app
Your provider will then cancel your card and send you a new one by post.
If something goes wrong with a purchase, like the company you buy from goes out of business or they fail to supply what you ordered, you may be able to make a claim by using:
Although you can approach your credit card provider for a refund, you should contact the retailer you bought from first.
Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards