For convenience get yourself a credit card!

For help on choosing the right credit card for you, do some research and find a company that offers free, independent and whole market comparison for all credit cards, plus exclusive offers you can't find elsewhere.

Are you looking for a card to spend on and if so will you be able to clear your balance in full each month? Maybe you've already got an outstanding debt on another card and are looking to make a balance transfer, but do you want to spend on the card as well? These are all vital questions which will help identify the best card for your needs.

There are basically three ways of using a credit card: straightforward purchases, moving an outstanding debt over from another card (known as a balance transfer), and withdrawing money from a cash machine.

Providers tend to charge a different rate of interest for each, and then implement a payment system whereby the cheapest debt is cleared first, leaving you accruing interest at the highest rate.

If you plan to use your credit card for more than one purpose the order of payments is really important - it is also often referred to as the payment hierarchy.

It's a good idea to pay by direct debit - that way you will always pay on time and avoid incurring a late payment fee.

It may be tempting, but try not to use a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM - you'll probably be charged a higher rate of interest than on purchases and be charged a withdrawal fee.

It's well worth using a credit card for purchases of £100 or more because you have greater protection than if you pay with cash or a debit card. Under Section 75 of the 1974 Consumer Credit Act credit card issuers and retailers take joint responsibility for faulty purchases. This applies to purchases between £100 and £30,000. If the retailer goes bust or the goods are faulty when they arrive you can claim a refund from the card provider.

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