Low APR credit card or 0% on purchases?

On the newly updated Credit Karma website there are two things that I need to do that will have a high impact on improving my score.

  1. Increase my total credit limit. They say it needs to be £4,000 more.
  2. Use between 1 and 25% credit utilisation. I’m currently at 0%.

I therefore think I need a credit card :-1:

What I want to know is as follows: Is it better to get a low APR card (been pre-appoved for one at 9%) which I can keep forever or should I get a 0% for 28 months on purchases card which I then cut up and get another when the term ends?

Is one more detrimental that the other or does it not really matter? :confused:

If you’re gonna pay in full each statement, then it does not matter really.

I would seek to keep whichever you get, even when you get a second, as account longevity is also a plus to lenders when considering credit history. Not necessarily that you continue to use it.


Are you trying to boost your credit score for any particular reason?

1 Like

No one should worry about their score. Just focus on their credit history.


That was the plan but if I pay it in full each month then I won’t be fulfilling the credit utilisation part will I? :confused:

I typically have two credit cards:

  1. Rewards credit card for regular UK domestic use - for me this is an Amex card as I ike their customer service so trust they will be helpful if I ever need support with a significant issue. I sometimes change the specific Amex card I have.
  2. Credit card with no fees on foreign transactions. Mainly for foreign use but is also a VISA so means I have a Mastercard (Monzo), VISA and Amex in my wallet. I also advocate keeping at least one card long term and this is my long term card having had it for several years.

For those just starting out with credit cards a single card is probably better than two. I think there are at least two cards on the market which provides both rewards and fee free foreign spending in a single card (Aqua Rewards & Barclaycard Rewards).

I only get a long term 0% purchases card (in addition to the above cards) when I have a specific need for a loan - e.g. a car purchase.

1 Like

True. For utilisation then a long term 0% would assist, however, would you be comfortable controlling that?

As Emma asked, what are you focussing on improving your worthiness for? Mortgage? If so, when?

You need a good credit history, but you also don’t want to look like you’re using up a large portion of your credit.

I pay in full on three cards, and have a 0% Barclaycard, so my utilisation at the moment is only 14%

Suits my situation (home owner - no need for a mortgage)

Ooops I missed @Rat_au_van post.

Credit Karma is reporting me as having a ‘fair’ score and Monzo refuse to offer me any loans as a result - I assume others would too? No doubt I’ll need a loan at some point in the future because we’re renovating our home and a kitchen for example would be a good use for this. It’s also good (in my opinion) to know it’s there and available should something unexpected happen.

My thinking was that it’s going to take time to improve my score so the sooner I start the better?

I agree with all @o99 comments.

I have FX fee free VISA credit card. Nil balance as not gone abroad yet.

0% VISA credit card which I used as an advance type feature on funds I was expecting six months later to cover its use.

Mastercard and VISA debit cards. inc Monzo and Starling’s free FX transactions.

Mastercard credit card - nil balance. Oldest card.

Amex - recent acquisition - paid in full each statement

Builds up a clear picture for any future would be lender.

I have a score of 591 with credit karma, it was in the 570’s when i was offered a monzo loan so don’t assume that’s the only factor

Be careful of outgoings, even to external savings accounts for a few months

Ignore the score. It’s fictional.

What I would do, others may have different ideas:

Get one card and make small purchases each month and pay IN FULL each statement

Give that a few months, then apply for a 0% purchase card with a different provider.
Put some normal expenditure on that card, paying at least the minimum payment by DD. This will allow the utilisation to build at no cost to you.

Ensure that I have the statement balance covered, by putting that expenditure in a savings account.

Each payment you make on time will be a positive to your rating.

Don’t let your used credit extend beyond a fifth of your limit. This will also give you plenty of available credit limit for emergencies.

e.g. The money I owe on my Barclaycard is currently in Marcus @1.45%. Don’t need to pay off in full until Sep 2021, so lots of freedom at the moment.


Mine is 598 and has remained that for the last 6 months :confused:

Shocked to see mine is 634 !!

That sounds like a good plan but I was thinking one or the other. Applications remain on your report for 6 months so having two would do more harm that good wouldn’t it?

Monzo don’t use just the credit score, it’s also how you use your Monzo account.

This is so confusing. I’m full Monzo so have all the normal activity that is in their full view and since I have 0% credit utilisation I’m obviously living well within my means. This is supported by having some money set in savings pots too.

That’s why I would start with a credit card that I would pay off in full each month, to give your record the boost it needs for when you try for a 0% credit card.

Have you done eligibility comparison for 0% credit cards yet? How high are your current chan chances?

Are you signed up to Clearscore and MSE Credit Club as well? Access to Equifax and Experian reports and comparison checkers using soft searches.

1 Like

I’m confused, why do you want to build debt?
-customer A: always pays in full the statement
-customer B: 20% credit utilisation
I’d rather be customer A.
Lenders like to see that you use your cc and pay it off in full


You can be both customer A & B

I think they have been swayed by the advice in Credit Karma, which is why I have suggested other sources too.

I am both A and B