Credit Cards

Looking for your first credit card, or seeking to change to a better one than your existing card? Credit cards are the most popular way to borrow the world over, and provide a useful and simple way to make or guarantee purchases the world over. There are plenty of credit card types to choose from so no matter if you are new to the credit card market or know your way around, it is worth taking some time to compare the options. Using the comparison chart below can make the search for the right card much easier – you can view all the main features of each card in one simple format, and weigh up the products. For those who have trouble with their credit rating, a prepaid card might be worth considering.

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Credit Cards can be extremely useful and are one of the most common forms of credit available in Ireland

Why are credit cards useful?

Credit cards are a form of borrowing used to purchase goods and services and getting cash advances. When you get a credit card you a given a credit limit which will vary depending on the cardholder and their circumstances. Credit cards have universal acceptance unlike debit cards. If you want to rent a car or stay in a hotel many will prefer for you to pay with a credit card.

You will often find when you travel outside of Ireland, merchants will not always accept a debit card as payment. Paying with a credit card also makes it easier to avoid losses from fraud. People use credit cards because they allow you to pay for purchases in small monthly instalments and give you more financial freedom. If you have no credit or are trying to improve your credit score, using a credit card responsibly will help your credit score.

Each month you will be sent a statement listing all the transactions you have made and the minimum amount you must pay of any outstanding balance.

Is the interest on credit cards high?

Credit cards have an interest rate, which is the annual rate you pay for borrowing the credit on your card. Interest rates are usually based on market interest rates, your credit history and the type of credit card you have. You will find that the better your credit history the higher your credit limit and the lower the interest. If you have a poor credit history you will be given considerably higher interest rates.

Credit cards may offer introductory rates that are lower than the standard interest rate for a specified term. This introductory rate is usually for purchases and balance transfers but it may also apply to cash advances.

Credit Cards to carry risk

Some will try to prevent you from taking out a credit card and there can be good reasons. Many people abuse them and end up in debt. Credit cards can be dangerous if you don’t know how to use them properly. There will be severe penalties for late or returned payments or for exceeding any personal credit limit. Late payments can also lower your credit score.

It can be all too easy to build up credit card debt that you cannot afford. The interest rate on credit cards can be expensive which means that they are not necessarily to most cost-effective method of carrying debt on an ongoing basis. You should at least pay the minimum amount due every month and where possible pay charges in full. The credit provided must be paid back.

How to use a Credit Card responsibly

Make sure you check your statement every month make sure you are not being charged for something you shouldn’t be. Also make sure you keep one eye on what rate of interest your card is charging. Although the rate may have been competitive when you first got it there are no guarantees that it will remain so. Often attractive rates are offered on newly launched cards in order to attract business but are then slowly raised over time.

Don’t take out multiple credit cards. More cards mean that it is harder to keep track of how much you have spent and, more importantly, how much you owe. It also makes it easier to forget or decide not to pay one or more off each month. It is much better to have one credit card, offering a competitive rate.

A variety of Credit Cards are available

You can get credit cards that offer a variety of reward programmes to suit your lifestyle. From cash back schemes where you can earn money back on your purchases, to air miles and hundreds of other discounts, you can earn rewards simply for using your card. Many credit cards automatically come with a range of consumer protections that many people do not even realise they have. This can be things like travel insurance and car rental insurance.

Choosing a credit card which suits you

You need to make sure you are getting the best card for your finances. There are many types of credit cards so you need to think about what sort of card you want and what you want to use it for. It is important that you take the time to compare the market. Use the comparison table above to compare some of the different credit cards available. This will save you time and help you find the right card for you.

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