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Finding your perfect credit card match

It only takes a brief perusal of one of the many credit card comparison websites to realise just how massively competitive the credit card market has become. In such a crowded arena providers have to shout louder and bargain harder to sell you their latest offering, as a result each new card is thrust into the market blaring audacious claims of longer interest free periods and tempting perks. Indeed, such is the competition in the credit card market these days that finding a straightforward no-frills credit card is becoming increasingly difficult.

Ultimately this competition can only be a good thing for the consumer, as credit card providers vie to offer a better deal than their rivals the perks and incentives on offer will, in theory, become increasingly impressive. At the moment the longest interest free period available for balance transfers is 15 months (offered by both Virgin and Egg), the Halifax One card comes with 12 months interest free on purchases and a host of 0% credit cards offer appealing shopping rewards.

In fact we're so spoilt for choice that choosing a credit card is now a complicated and potentially rather confusing prospect - with so many cards offering so many perks deciding on the best one for you isn't that easy. The best advice is to assess your situation and choose accordingly; if you've got credit card debt already then clearly a 0% balance transfer card is the way to go. By cutting those niggling interest costs you can potentially save hundreds of pounds and take a significant step towards clearing your debts - just don't fall into the trap of spending on your balance transfer card if you're serious about eliminating those debts.

If you do want a card to spend on your new card then there are two routes you could go down: Firstly cards like the Halifax One credit card offer an extended introductory period of interest free purchases so you can spend away without fear of being charged extortionate amounts of interest - just keep an eye on the interest free expiry date.

Another option is to get a reward card. There's plenty to choose from but not too many that offer genuinely worthwhile rewards. The American Express Card Platinum is probably the best deal on the market in terms of decent cash rewards offering 1.5% cash back and a three month introductory period of 5% - that's a relatively impressive 5p back on every �1 spent. If you're a frequent flyer another of Amex's best credit cards is the British Airways American Express card. For a start you'll get 1000 bonus BA miles on your first spend followed by pretty much 1 BA mile for every pound spent on the card. You'll also get a free companion ticket if you spend �20,000 on the card within the first year of opening the account.

The big thing to keep in mind with reward cards however is that they're really only right for you if you pay off your balance in full every month; if you don't you'll quickly find out that the amount you're shelling out on interest outweighs any rewards you accumulate.

If you are looking for a credit card then try getting one from a reputable provider such as Alliance & Leicester who, with their sound financial basis, come as recommended for financial products including loans, credit cards and bank accounts.





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