The best cards for debtors and spenders
Ruth Jackson Jul 29, 2011
Interest rates on credit cards may now be at record highs, but that doesn’t mean the debtors aren’t getting something of a good deal from their providers. Barclaycard has just launched a new Platinum credit card with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for an extraordinary two years. So, in return for a one-off fee of 3.2% of the debt, you can shift it on to the card and pay nothing more on it for two years. Assuming you dedicate that time to paying off the debt it is a fabulous offer. But while the credit-card companies fight it out for the custom of those in debt, which credit cards offer the best rewards for those who pay their bill in full each month?
If you always pay off your credit card bill in full and do so on time, transfer rates and new purchase rates are of little relevance to you. But that doesn’t mean that any card will be fine. There are plenty of credit cards that are designed to reward people who don’t run up any debt – you deserve one.
The most famous of the rewards on offer are air miles. Get a card that offers these and you build up points that can then be used to buy flights(and these days all sorts of other things too). The best of these we can find is the BMI American Express card which offers you 10,000 miles for getting the card and a further 20,000 miles when you spend £250 on it after the first 90 days. That alone should give you enough points for two return flights to several destinations in western Europe. BMI is also part of the Star Alliance of airlines. So once you’ve built up more points (you get 1.5 miles for every pound you spend) you can also use the airmiles to fly just about anywhere in the world. However, don’t get carried away with your air-mile collecting: if you don’t pay your bills on time, you’ll pay interest at 16.9% APR.
The other well-known form of reward credit cards are those offered by supermarket giants Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Both allow you to build up extra points with their loyalty schemes – Nectar and Clubcard respectively – by using the cards. Both are perfectly good, so which cardyou take depends on the supermarket you prefer (and the extent to which you mind your supermarket knowing everything there is to know about your shopping habits).
The final, and possibly best, form of reward card is the cash-back credit card. Here you are rewarded for spending by receiving a percentage of your spend back in cash. The big benefit of this is that you aren’t in any way limited by where you can spend your rewards. The best on the market at present is the American Express Platinum card, which offers you 5% cash back for the first three months (capped at £100) and then a tiered percentage of your spending up to 1.25%.