If you are looking to spread the cost of Christmas, or gain rewards for your seasonal shopping and extra consumer protection, then a credit card can be a great way to pay - as long as you can afford to repay the full credit balance before the interest charges kick in.
That's why credit cards with long periods of 0% interest are popular with Christmas shoppers. You can also find credit cards which pay you cashback for everything you buy, which can really add up over Christmas.
Below, we identify the best interest-free purchase credit cards, cashback cards and reward credit cards to use for your Christmas shopping in 2019.
The best 0% interest purchase credit cards
A 0% purchase credit card is a great choice to at least have on standby while you are out Christmas shopping.
These types of credit cards don't charge any interest on what you have spent for a set period of time, giving you an opportunity to pay your Christmas debt over time.
The below table shows the best 0% cards currently on offer, based on how long the interest-free period is.
|Credit Card||0% period (months)||APR|
|MBNA All Round 30/30 Credit Card Visa||26||20.93%|
|Sainsbury's Bank Purchase Credit Card Mastercard||25||20.95%|
|Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card||25||20.95%|
|Barclaycard 25 Month Purchase Credit Card||25||19.9%|
|Tesco Purchases Credit Card||24||19.9%|
|M&S Shopping Plus Offer Credit Card||20||19.9%|
|Halifax 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Mastercard||20||19.95%|
|Virgin Money 23 Month All Round Credit Card||20||21.9%|
As the above shows, it is possible to get up to 26 months interest-free on your Christmas shopping this year, with MBNA topping the chart just ahead of Sainsbury's and Barclaycard.
In the case of MBNA, you will only be charged 0% interest on purchases made within 60 days of opening your account – anything bought after this period will be charged at the standard 20.93%.
Most cards also come with a minimum monthly repayment which, if not paid, could result in you losing your 0% interest deal altogether.
Some lenders may accept you for a 0% interest deal but reduce your term – for example, Sainsbury’s say that they could offer 17 or 21 months as opposed to the advertised 25, depending on your personal circumstances (income, previous debt, etc.).
The length of the 0% period is obviously important, but it is worth looking into what other benefits the cards offer. By taking a few months off the 0% period, you could end up with a better deal overall - depending on what else the card provides.
For instance, using the Sainsbury's card can help you pick up more Nectar points and you can earn Clubcard points with the Tesco one, which is very handy for those who regularly shop at Sainsbury's or Tesco.
The best cashback credit cards - How to get cashback with a credit card
Cashback credit cards work by paying you back a certain percentage of what you spend.
If you're already familiar with cashback websites like Quidco then this concept is fairly similar - you are paid back a percentage of what you spend, allowing you to build up cash on the back of your Christmas spending.
It is not uncommon for credit cards that offer cashback to come with a monthly or annual fee, so we have excluded them from the list below.
Here are the best free cashback credit cards:
|American Express Platinum Everyday||5% (0.5-1% after 3 months)||22.9%|
|Asda Cashback Credit Card||1% at Asda (0.2% elsewhere)||19.9%|
|Tandem Cashback Credit Card||0.5%||18.9%|
|Aqua Reward Credit Card||0.5%||34.9%|
This Christmas, the American Express Platinum Everyday credit card might just be your best choice of cashback credit card with no annual fee.
You get a whopping 5% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months up to £2,000 (that’s £100 cashback!) with any spending beyond that accruing 0.5% interest. Once your annual spend on the card exceeds £5,000, you’ll start earning 1% cashback.
To earn any cashback at all on your American Express Platinum cashback card, you must spend a minimum of £3,000. As it is an Amex card (rather than Visa or Mastercard), you might not be able to use it everywhere, particularly in smaller or local stores.
The Asda Cashback Credit Card allows you to gain 1% cashback on everything you spend at Asda - including petrol, groceries and their clothing brand, George. You will earn 0.2% cashback when using the card anywhere other than Asda, and also get 10% back when you spend on selected Asda insurance products.
To make it even more attractive to Christmas shoppers, Asda offers 12 months of interest-free balance transfers for a fee of 3%. Asda's premium cashback credit card, the Asda Cashback Plus Credit Card, is no longer available for new customers.
Another option is to look into getting a Tandem Cashback Credit Card, which offers 0.5% interest on all purchases. You must earn a minimum of £13,000 per year to qualify for one and have a smartphone which is compatible with their app where you make your monthly payments.
You will probably find that most of the cashback credit cards are only for people with good credit ratings. If your credit rating isn't quite high enough then the Aqua Reward Card might be suitable. This gives you 0.5% cashback on everything you spend with no fee. The representative APR on it is 34.9%, so if you choose this option then make sure you only spend what you can repay each month to avoid the interest.