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There are so many different ways to get credit, it's hard to know where to start. Whichway to pay lists the options and offers reviews, so you can see what your options are. The section below outlines all the credit types available, and explains what they are, how they work and how to get them.


Credit and debit cards look just alike, and are often issued by the same company. The huge difference is that a debit card is used to spend or withdraw money that is already in your account, and credit cards 'lends' you money and then bills you monthly for the amount you have used. Credit and debit cards are available to over 18's only, (although there are some types of debit card available to over 16's without an overdraft facility.)

You are not charged for spending or withdrawing money with a debit card, however, many debit cards offer an overdraft, which is credit, and for which you will be charged a small fee. (overdrafts are not generally automatically added and are dependent on both your bank/building society and your credit status.)

Credit cards charge certain fees for 'lending' you money, these vary from card to card and can range from surprisingly low to dramatically high.

Both credit and debit cards are issued by banks and building societies, and you can apply in the actual branch or online. There are also specialist credit providers that deal solely with credit cards.


Prepaid cards are cards that look like credit or debit cards, and may be used in the same way; however, they need to be 'topped up' before you use them. They are helpful to anyone who is unable to have/ doesn't want to have a bank account, or has a poor credit rating but still wants the convenience of a card. They are also a convenient way to share or transfer money, and may also be available to under 18's.

Prepaid cards are issued by a variety of companies and are available in shops or online.


Travel FX (Foreign Exchange) cards provide another way to spend money abroad; they may also be described as Travel Money Cards or Travel Currency cards.

There are many benefits of using an FX card as opposed to cash, travellers cheques or your regular credit/debit card, these include: better exchange rates (you can buy currency when the exchange rate is favorable), convenience (one card rather than travellers cheques) and security (you can cancel your card if lost or stolen, and you won't risk loosing your regular credit/debit card).They are also free of the charges usually incurred by using 'regular' cards abroad.

The cards work like other prepaid cards, except you top up in a different currency; this is generally done online. You can then use them just like you would a normal card when you're overseas.


Business cards are credit cards that are used by companies or businesses, and can be useful for keeping finances simple. They are basically the same as a classic personal credit card, but may be handy as a way to deal with petty cash and company expenses; many will also include special benefits, such as trade discounts.

Business credit cards are issued by banks, building societies and credit providers, and can be available in branches, online or by post.


Some individuals want a credit card, but have either a poor credit history or no previous credit history so find it difficult to get a card. This can be due to a number of reasons including CCJs (County Court Judgments), failure to pay household bills, mortgage or rent arrears, loan defaults and bankruptcy.

Some companies allow such individuals to have a credit card, and in some cases specialise in offering their cards to those with a poor credit history.

Another positive aspect of having a Poor Credit Rating Credit Car is that the customer will help rebuild his or her credit rating; so in future (if the card payments are paid on time!) will be in a better position to acquire products that require a good rating, such as mortgages and so on.

If you have no or poor credit history and want a card, one of the other options is to get a Prepaid Card. This requires no credit check and funds are preloaded onto the card, so you cannot get in debt.


Even if you are a student you can still apply for a credit card. Even if you have no income from EG a part time job you can still get Student Credit Cards. These cards will generally have their credit rate capped at a low rate (EG 500) so you cannot get into too much debt. The APR rate is usually a bit higher than most cards; but when you get into full time employment you can upgrade to a better rate card.


Charity cards have had a recent spate of popularity as people are becoming more ethically and environmentally aware. These cards are exactly like regular credit cards and should be treated the same way; but they enable you to easily donate to, or support a particular charity. They are appealing to many, as they will donate a percentage at no extra cost to you. Charity Credit Cards are available online or by post.


Football credit cards offer you credit whilst giving another way to support your club. Most of the top clubs now have one, and will generally offer special benefits such as discounts and tickets to customers. They will also donate towards the future success of your team by using a royalty system to support their youth training programmes.

The cards have the same advantages/ disadvantages as 'normal' credit cards, but all come fully branded with your clubs insignia and colours. Football Credit Cards are issued by credit providers and are available online or through your club.


Store cards are credit cards that are linked exclusively with particular retail groups. They will usually be offered at point of sale with the incentive of an 'on the spot' discount for your purchases. They work just like regular credit cards, but you are not able to use them anywhere, only in the specific outlets, and it's worth checking the terms and conditions as their fees can be alot higher than regular credit cards.


Please Note: is not authorised to give advice under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

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