Let’s face it, Christmas can be an incredibly expensive time, and often a time that our wage packets are unable to handle. In order to prepare for your purchases over the holiday period, you might be looking to apply for a credit card.
Everyone enjoys doing their Christmas shopping in their own way; you could be incredibly organised and have everything bought and wrapped by November, but most of us do it in early December, and inevitably leave some of it until the last minute.
However, with just 35 days until Christmas Day, you will need to start thinking about applying for your new credit card so that it arrives in time for you to use it for your Christmas shopping.
Of course, there are several different types of credit card available and some take longer than others to arrive due to the way the card application process is handled.
Some credit cards are what’s known as ‘instant decision credit cards’ and they pretty much do what they say on the tin – you apply for the card online and the credit card company comes back to you with its decision within a couple of minutes, unless they need more information from you in order to make the final decision.
Cards that don’t offer an instant decision can take around 7 calendar days to get a decision to you.
Either way, you will still need to sign a credit agreement (some issuers allow you to do this online using a digital credit agreement), and wait for the card and PIN to arrive in the post so it is important that you apply now.
Here are the application deadlines for our top eight Christmas credit cards and have been calculated on the basis that you wish to receive your cards by 5th December, for those organised Christmas shoppers or 18th December 2011, for those who like to leave their festive shopping until the last minute.
It is important that you compare the credit cards available to you before applying to make sure that you choose the one most suitable for your needs (you should only make one application for credit at a time or it will make you look like you are desperate for credit and put off prospective lenders). To ensure that you receive your Christmas credit card in time for you carry out your festive shopping you should apply in plenty of time and account for any potential problems with the application.
Types of credit cards
The way in which you plan to use your Christmas credit card, combined with your credit rating, will affect the credit card you should apply for. Listed below are definitions of the different types of credit cards:
Instant decision credit cards provide many applicants with the result of their application within 60 seconds online. However, these results are not always instant if you do not meet exact criteria. If it is harder for the lender to judge your application, this decision will be delayed. These can be ideal for last minute Christmas shoppers as they are more likely to arrive in the nick of time.
Many credit cards offer customers introductory offers and deals to persuade them to take out their credit card. One of the most common deals for new customers is 0% interest on purchases for a fixed period of time. This is an excellent Christmas credit card because it allows consumers to buy all their festive gifts without having to pay high interest payments too.
0% Balance transfer
This type of credit card is designed to help consumers reduce the cost of their outstanding debt, as they can transfer high interest balances to a cheaper card. This card should not really be used for additional borrowing, but reducing the cost of existing debts. If you are looking for a card to do Christmas shopping a 0% purchases card may be more appropriate.
If you are looking to transfer a balance from another card because your last 0% balance transfer (BT) offer has run out and you need a 0% purchase deal for this year’s Christmas shopping, you can get cards that offer both a 0% BT and 0% purchase interest free period.
If you don’t have a good or excellent credit rating, you might struggle to get accepted for a standard card. Credit building credit cards are designed to help consumers improve their credit score and their ability to access more affordable credit in the future. This credit card should not really be used to borrow money – you should really just use the card to pay for things and then pay the bill off in full each month to demonstrate to future lenders that you can manage credit sensibly. If you don’t pay your bill off in full each month, you will have to pay high interest charges because the interest rates on cards for building credit are higher than standard cards.
These cards reward their customers for spending on their credit cards. Benefits can range from air miles to High Street gift vouchers. The interest rates are usually higher on reward credit cards due to the value of the benefits cardholders can receive. Rewards credit cards are best suited to people who use their credit cards regularly but always pay off the full balance every month. If the balance isn’t paid off in full each month, the interest charged will outweigh the rewards earned.
Christmas credit card tips
- If you have opted for a 0% purchases credit card, make sure you have the ability to repay the outstanding balance before the introductory period expires or you will face interest charges on your remaining balance once the 0% period ends
- Using credit cards for purchases of between £100 and £30,000 will protect you under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, meaning that if a company fails to deliver your items (if it scam you or if it goes bust) you can claim your money back from your credit card company
- Compare credit cards to make sure you are getting the best deal.