Credit cards can be used in order to purchase items and servies, or even to withdraw cash. Each month
you are then provided with a 'credit card statement' that allows you to see how much
you've spent during the previous month.
On receiving that statement, you can then choose how much to pay off. Some people
like to pay it all off in full (maybe because they couldn't afford to pay for an item
in cash originally but now have money in their bank account). Others prefer to pay
off part of the amount. In these circumstances, you pay interest on the unpaid
balance of your account.
Credit cards effectively offer you a short-term loan, although it should be noted
that some of them do have very high interest rates. They can be very useful but you
should use them with care - it's easy to get carried away and think that spending money
on a credit card is not like "paying for things".
Choosing a credit card
How should you go about choosing a credit card that's right for you? We all have different spending habits and requirements. Our article on how to choose a credit card should give you a few pointers, while our information on the best credit cards looks at why credit card comparison tables won't necessarily give you the most comprehensive information.
How can you go about comparing cards? It's always important to take into account all of the various aspects associated with cards, from annual fees and interest rates to benefits and rewards.
We've turned the spotlight on some leading UK credit card providers to take a look at what they are offering. Take a look at our articles for some introductions to some of their cards.
American Express Credit Cards
Cutting credit card costs
As is mentioned above, credit cards can be a relatively expensive way of borrowing money. If you're worried about how much interest you're currently paying then take a look at our ideas for saving on credit card payments.
You can also take a look at our savings regime section, which includes further information on reducing credit card debt levels.
You can find out about all sorts of personal finance subjects by taking a look
at our finance books section.