Top credit cards for 2024

If you’re looking for a credit card these are the ones you need.

Credit cards can be good, and they can be bad. It all depends on why you want one and how you use it.

In this guide I’ll take you through each of the main purposes for credit cards and my picks of the best ones available, though as I’ll explain, sometimes you might be better off with a different option (it’ll all become clear).

So whether you need to reduce the cost of existing debt, spread out the cost of a new purchase, earn cashback or rewards, build your credit rating or get some extra consumer protection, these are the top credit cards for 2023.

Watch my video round up

The best credit card for you

The cards listed here are the best of the bunch – but only in an ideal world. There are some essential rules when applying for and using credit cards, and they could mean there are better options for your needs. Check the rules out here.

Why I’ve not listed interest rates

You’ll notice I don’t mention interest rates at all below. And the big reason is I don’t want you to get a credit card if you are going to get charged interest.

That means clearing the balance in full every month, or in the case of 0% interest cards, clearing the balance before that special offer ends.

If you think that you will have to pay interest some or most months then very simply you need to look for the lowest rate you can and ignore things like cashback.

Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

If you’re eligible then the most you’ll make from a credit card is via a welcome bonus. Often you’ll only get it once, unless you go without a card from the same provider for a couple of years, though there are a handful that allow you to get more than one.

Winner: American Express Platinum Cashback credit card

  • Welcome offer: 5% back for the first three months (up to £125)
  • Offer requirement: No minimum spend
  • Card fee: £25 (can get this back via cashback site)
  • Ongoing cashback: 0.75% per £1, then 1.25% after £10,000 spend (resets each year)

You’ll earn 5% on the first £2,500 you spend in the first three months, and then reverts to the underlying 0.75% once you reach that total or the start of the fourth month.

Since this card doesn’t have a minumum spend to trigger the bonus, the Amex Platinum Cashback credit card is the most risk free option. So if you spend less that £2,500 you’ll still earn, though I’d suggest you try to time your application with a period of high spending.

The downside is the bonus and ongoing cashback isn’t paid for 12 months. Be sure to go via a cashback site when you apply to cancel out the first year’s fee.

Choosing this card (or the Nectar Amex) also means you’re eligible for another welcome bonus from the Platinum card, though I’d only consider this when it is boosted. More here.

Runner Up: Boosted offers

Throughout the year some credit cards have boosted welcome offers, and they’re worth looking at when these happen as they can offer some huge bonuses.

Some of the one to look out for are, with the point available on the most recent offer:

  • American Express Platinum – up to 80,000 Amex Reward points with £10,000 spend in six months (details of any deals here)
  • American Express British Airways Premium Plus – Up to 60,000 Avios points with £5,000 spend in three months (details of any deals here)
  • Barclaycard Avios Plus – up to 50,000 Avios points with £3,000 spend in three months (details of any deals here)

Runner Up: American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card

  • Welcome offer: 20,000 Amex Reward Points (worth up to £153 in Nectar points)
  • Offer requirement: Spend £3,000 in three months
  • Card fee: Free in year one (then £195 a year)
  • Ongoing cashback: 1 point per £1 (0.67% if converted to Nectar points, but increasing to 1%)

An alternative is the Amex Gold, though I’d only go for this when the offer is boosted and if you know you won’t be looking at the additional yet harder to get bonuses on the Platinum or BA Amex cards.

If you can, it’s worth waiting for a boosted offer that usually runs a few times in the year (you can see if an offer is running here). These aren’t as good as they used to be, but a 25,000 bonus, plus the 3,000 points earned from spending, are worth £187 if you convert your points first to Avios points and then into Nectar points. If you swap them for gift cards it’s a lower £140.

You need to spend £3,000 in the first three months to trigger the bonus. Anything less and you’ll miss out.

After the three months the cashback rate (if swapped to Avios to Nectar) works out as 0.67%, though as long as you spend more than £5,000 in a year, you’ll actually get between 0.85% and 1.01% back. However, there’s also a huge £195 fee from year two onwards so I’d ditch it before then.

Best Ongoing Reward & Cashback Credit Cards

My top pick for everyday spending is actually a debit card from Chase Bank – you can get 1% back for 12 months. However, if you want a credit card, which can be useful for extra consumer protections, then

Plus it can be handy to earn points on purchases where you want the added consumer protection that credit cards offer.

I’ve got more about all the different cashback cards here, including Visa and Mastercard alternatives.

Winner: American Express Nectar credit card

  • Welcome offer: 20,000 Nectar Points (worth £100)
  • Offer requirement: Spend £2,000 in three months
  • Card fee: Free in year one (then £30 a year)
  • Ongoing cashback: 2 points per £1 (equivalent to 1%)

This is the only Amex card to offer 1% on all your spending – though you will earn your rewards as Nectar points which can largely only be spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos and eBay.

There’s no fee in year one, but it’ll cost you £30 from year two onwards so it might be worth ditching for a free alternative when that happens. Again, cashback sites are worth checking

Runner up: American Express Platinum Cashback credit card

  • Welcome offer: 5% back for the first three months (up to £125)
  • Offer requirement: No minimium spend
  • Card fee: £25 (can get this back via referral link)
  • Ongoing cashback: 0.75% per £1, then 1.25% after £10,000 spend (resets each year)

Where this has the edge over the Nectar and Gold cards is you’ll get the money back as a statement credit, so you’re not tied into using it in certain shops – though you won’t get it until 12 months pass.

You’ll earn 0.75% on the first £10,000 you spend in a year (not including any bonus on the initial spend), and then 1.25% on spending over £10,000.

Watch out too for the £25 annual fee.

Runner Up: Barclaycard Rewards

  • Card fee: £0
  • Cashback: 0.25%

If you want a non-Amex cashback card then I’d go with the Barclaycard Rewards card. Though the Barclaycard Avios will technically earn you more (one Avios per £1 when converted to Nectar gives a cashback rate of 0.67%), this card is fee-free to use abroad which can be really useful as a back up to better paying alternatives.

Best Travel credit card

I think you’re actually better off using a fee-free debit card for overseas spending (here are my top picks). But if you want added credit card protection, or would rather not take your main current account card with you (in case it’s lost or stolen), then a card can still be useful.

Winner: Barclaycard Rewards

  • Spending: Fee-free
  • Cash withdrawals: Fee-free
  • Cashback: 0.25%

This is the best option as not only is it fee free for spending and cash withdrawals, but you’ll also earn 0.25% cashback on all your spending. Only the Chase Bank debit card can beat that.

Best Stoozing/0% Purchase credit card

Assuming that you will clear the balance by the end of the 0% period, the most important factors here are how long you need 0% for, and if you can get bonus cashback or freebies if accepted.

This is the type of card you’ll need if you plan to Stooze rather than earn cashback.

Winner: Barclaycard Platinum

  • 0% length: Up to 21 months
  • Cashback: Check Quidco and TopCashback before applying

This is the longest 0% card right now, though you might not get the full 21 months. There are some decent extras including around £20 back from cashback sites when you apply.

Runner up: Check eligibility

Cards come and go, with the length of time at 0% varying so there’s no point me listing each of these here. What will be most important is your eligibility. Watch out for those “up to” offers as you might not get the full length.

Sadly there are no 0% purchase cards listed on cashback sites right now, but it’s always worth checking once you know your chance of acceptance and before applying.

Best 0% Balance Transfer credit cards

If you have existing credit card debts then a balance transfer credit card allows you to move that money over to a new card where no interest is added for a set time. With some you also pay a transfer fee. Here’s more on how they work and the pitfalls to avoid.

Sometimes longest isn’t best, and going for a fee-free card could be much cheaper. Remember, card offers come and go, so keep an eye on my credit card best buy guide for changes.

Winner: Natwest Balance Transfer card

  • 0% length: 14 months
  • Transfer fee: 0%

This isn’t the longest 0% card right now, but if you can clear your debt in 14 months it’s my winner as there’s no transfer fee.

Runner up: Barclaycard 29 month Balance Transfer card

  • 0% length: Up to 29 months
  • Transfer fee: 3.45%

If you really need as long as you can then this card from Barclaycard can’t currently be beaten, though you might be able to get ones not too much shorter with lower fees.

Until 8 February 2024 you can get £20 cashback when you transfer £2,500, and another £19 from Quidco.

Best 0% Money Transfer credit cards

Similar to Balance Transfer cards, these ones will transfer money from the new card to your bank account, so they’re useful for clearing overdrafts, catalogue debts and other loans. Here’s more on how they work.

Winner: Virgin Money

  • 0% length: 12 months
  • Transfer fee: 4%

Best credit building credit cards

Using any credit card responsibly can boost your credit score, but there are a few designed for those with low credit. As with all the other cards the best bet is the one with the highest score on your eligibility check.

But if you have a few choices these ones come with a bonus or cashback on acceptance. Here’s more on getting a credit building credit card.

Winner: Tesco Bank Foundation

  • Cashback: £25 via TopCashback

I’m putting this top as the cashback rate is higher (though do check).

Runner up: Barclaycard Foward

  • Cashback: £19 via Quidco

You can get this cashback via Quidco. Check your eligibility before applying.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.