New to credit?

Credit cards explained


A credit card is a convenient and flexible way of borrowing money. Credit cards allow you to spread the cost of your purchases over time.

Before you apply for a credit card, it's important that you know about what it could cost you to use it, and that you only borrow what you can afford to pay back. To get the most out of your credit card, it's crucial that you're able to meet your payment dates – and pay what you owe in full every month.

Read more about credit cards
Farzana, a mother of five, tells us why she applied for her first credit card.
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Watch Carly explain to Maya about applying for her first credit card. 
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What is a credit rating and how important is it?

Your credit history gives lenders an idea of how you’ve handled your finances in the past – and helps them assess your application.

So whether you’ve recently been turned down for credit or just want to apply in the future – take a look at how credit reference agencies use your information and how you can help improve your credit rating. 

Read more about credit ratings

How can I improve my credit score?

A good credit history and credit score help to get lenders to say yes to your application. That’s why it’s so important to understand what can affect it.

Read more about improving your credit score

Choosing the credit card that's right for you

If you want to use a credit card to borrow money to buy things, make sure you’ll be able to pay at least the minimum monthly payments. You should always make sure that you understand the fees and interest rates, including the purchase rate.

Learn how to choose a credit card

Bad credit and how you can help avoid it

Having ‘bad credit’ makes it harder for you to get access to the credit you need. So you’re more likely to get turned down for things like mortgages, credit cards and loans.

But what causes bad credit and what should you do if you’re worried about it? 

Learn more about bad credit

Stay on top of your spending

Credit cards are a convenient, flexible way to make purchases when used sensibly, but it’s important you stay on top of your spending – and we offer a range of ways to help you take care of your account. Whether it’s managing your money on the go, or setting up a Direct Debit, we make things simple and straightforward.

Learn more about managing your account

Understanding your credit card costs

Here are some of the costs of credit cards explained. If you’re interested in a particular card, you’ll find more specific charges in its terms and conditions or card summary.

More about credit card costs

What to do if your credit card application is turned down

Your credit history gives lenders an idea of how you’ve handled your finances in the past – and helps them assess your application.
So whether you’ve recently been turned down for credit or just want to apply in the future – take a look at some of the simple ways you could help improve your credit history.

Read about declined applications

Eligibility checker

Before you apply check how likely you are to be accepted, without affecting your credit rating

Jargon buster

A glossary of all the key terms you'll encounter when exploring credit