Tips for using your credit card

Choose the right credit card for you

Getting the most from your credit card starts with choosing the right card. Think about how you’re planning to use your credit card, and what features would be useful. Perhaps you’d benefit from an interest free period on purchases if you need to spread the cost of a new washing machine. Or maybe you’re looking for a balance transfer card to help with debt management. Being clear about the perks of each type of card can help you get the most from your money.

Pay more than the minimum

Aim to pay the full balance of your card each month. This is the best way to avoid building up interest on the things you buy. If you can’t make the full payment, it’s still a good idea to pay as much as you can because costs can quickly mount up.

Automate your credit card repayments

You’ll need to make sure you always make at least the minimum payment on time. If you don’t, it can impact your credit score. This might make it difficult to get credit in the future.

The best way to do this is to set up a Direct Debit payment from your current account. You can find out how to do this with our guide on ways to pay your credit card.

Check your credit report regularly

To get the best rates and credit card benefits, you’ll need to have a healthy credit score. Checking your credit rating often can help you spot any unexpected changes, and take action if needs be.

Late payments, missed payments or going over your credit limit will impact your credit score. You’re also likely to be charged a default fee by the card provider.

Knowing how to use your credit card and what you will be charged extra for is the best way to avoid having to make extra payments or getting into debt.

Use the credit card as a budgeting tool

Some credit cards offer an interest free period on your purchases. This can help when it comes to managing your household budget so you can spread the cost of your bills or any big ticket items like holidays.

There’s lots more support and information on how to get the most from your card on our credit card support pages.

Use the card for needs not wants

It’s tempting to put all your spending on your credit card, especially if you find a great deal or interest-free offer. But if you fail to make the repayments you can quickly get into debt.

Keep a close eye on what you are using your credit card for, and keep your payments up to date. Make sure you know what the fees and charges are too. They can quickly add up if you get behind.

Take advantage of credit card rewards

Check if your card offers any rewards or perks. Some cards offer you cashback or rewards points on your spending, so even your everyday grocery shop could help your money go further.

Explore more about M&S Credit Card benefits.

Published August 2023