How to choose the credit card that’s right for you

1. Work out how much you can afford to pay

It’s important that you review your finances before you apply for a credit card.

Try deducting what you spend every month from the total you earn. Since a credit card is an extra financial commitment, you you need money leftover to pay of part, or ideally all, of your balance.

2. Decide on the most important benefit of your card

Before you apply, you should be clear about what you want from your credit card. All credit cards give you flexibility to manage your cash flow over a month but some cards have other benefits on top of this. Customers with a good credit history are more likely to have access to cards with these extra benefits. Certain credit cards are good for making interest-free balance transfers, making a new interest free purchase or getting rewarded for your everyday spend.

If you want several features, one credit card may not be the best option, so you’d need to focus on the feature that’s most important to you.

3. Check if your application is likely to be approved

Applying for lots of credit in a short space of time could look like you’re struggling to get credit; this could happen even if your applications are successful. Many credit card companies have eligibility checkers that show you the likelihood of being accepted for a card before you apply. These cards run a simple check that won’t affect your credit history.

Just remember, these pre-application checks are guides and not full credit searches, so results may vary when you make a full application.

Try our eligibility checker  where you can see if you’re likely to be accepted for a Barclaycard.

4. Understand the application process and apply in confidence

When you apply we’ll first run a full credit check to make sure your personal details are correct and that you can safely afford to take on extra credit. Here’s what happens next:

  • If you’re successful we use the results of our assessment to decide details like your APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and your credit limit
  • We’ll then regularly review your account and may change the terms of your offer based on how you manage your account – for example we could reduce your interest rate if you manage your account well and stick to the terms of your credit agreement. But remember, if you don’t manage your account well this could have a negative effect on your ability to get a lower APR or a higher credit limit
  • It’s important you understand how your credit card works. If you miss a payment or go over your credit limit you could incur additional costs through interest and charges. So please make sure you’ve read and understood all the information before you apply for a credit card.