The World of Credit Cards – A Complete Guide



Over 60 million credit cards are now in use yet half of Brits still don’t understand how credit cards work. Cashfloat is a payday lender that publishes educational guides to help UK consumers make informed finance decisions. In this guide, you’ll get information, advice and secrets about credit cards that are bound to save you money.

A Guide to Credit Cards in the UK

What you’ll learn:

The guide begins with an introduction to the history of credit cards. You will discover how the first credit cards worked, and then about their transition from the USA to the UK. Finally, we look at how these cards evolved into the contactless transactions that are becoming popular today. The guide then moves on to give details about several different types of cards, as well as offering advice and information about how to avoid credit card debt. There is some discussion over just how secure your credit card is, followed by a look at how businesses use credit cards.

This fascinating guide has something for everyone! Here is a table of contents of all the chapters in the guide, pick one and enjoy!

Table of Contents

Chapter Number Name of Chapter Chapter Number Name of Chapter
1 History Of Credit Cards – How the industry began 2a How American Credit Card Companies Changed Society Forever – Part I
2b How American Credit Card Companies Changed Society Forever – Part II 3a American Express and Diner’s Club: Charge Cards
3b Universal Credit Cards and How They Really Work 4a Barclaycard: The UK’s First Credit Card
4b Credit Cards UK: What’s the story today? 5a Advantages of Credit Cards – and Some Disadvantages
5b Prepaid Cards and Credit Cards: What to Consider 6a How Do Credit Cards Work? Discover the Science Behind Them!
6b Credit Card Security Tips – Protect Yourself from Fraud! 7a Credit Card Definitions – Discover What It All Means
7b How to Compare Credit Cards and Make the Right Choice 8a Credit Card Fraud and How to Prevent It
8b Online Scams: How to Shop Online Safely 9a Credit Card Debt Help – How Did I Get Here?
9b Tackling Credit Card Debt 10a Exploring The World Of Credit Cards
10b Credit Cards for Students, and Beyond 11a Credit Card Problems and how to Fix Them
11b Beat High Interest Rates and other Credit Card Problems 12a Credit Cards And The Importance Of Your Credit Rating
12b Improving Your Credit Rating, And Myths Behind Credit Scores 13a Using Debit Cards and other methods of payment
13b Credit Card Alternatives – Which is Best For You 14 Company Credit Cards And The Benefits They Come With
15 Reviewing The Credit Card Options Available For You    

An Introduction to the World of Credit Cards

How did previous generations manage without using a credit card? A world without Diners Club and American Express seems almost unthinkable in the 21st century, and it would appear that we are simply unable to manage financially without being able to count on our flexible friend, the credit card. However, it’s also true to say that many ordinary people still do not have access to this line of credit. Some people can rely on instant loans for bad credit – but are these a long term solution?


So, how did credit cards become a part of our daily lives? Could we do without this unique financial tool that enables us to purchase what we need, when we need it?

The aim of this comprehensive guide is to cover all the usual and some of the more unusual questions about lines of credit and the different cards that are available as well as highlighting where and under what circumstances they can be used. You can find the answer to any query about using cards by simply following the chapter links.


Find Out the History of Credit Cards

Understanding how and why credit cards became such a vital part of our daily lives is a fascinating read. So, if you want to know more about your Visa card, Mastercard or American Express card, you can have a look at how this form of financial transaction evolved starting in the US as a simple charge card, in Chapter 1.

You can also learn more about the transition and expansion of card services in the UK. As well you can gain an understanding of previous lines of credit and the alternatives on offer today, such as instant text loans, if you do not have a card.


Choosing the Right Credit Card

Modern day technology means that we are constantly inundated with information about all manner of financial products, and it is easy to be swayed by offers of cashback or other perks attached to opening a card account. In Chapter 7, we discuss just how these ‘best buy’ offers work, and give a clearer picture of what would be best for your financial circumstances. Read it to gain an understanding of what is in it for you and what the financial companies will gain out of the deal.

Security when Paying by Card

We have all read about the dangers of credit card abuse when fraudsters have gained access to account information and consequently run up massive debts on a stolen or lost card.

Chapter 8 will help you to understand the possible dangers that go hand in hand with operating a credit card account and will also show you how to avoid the errors which can cause financial loss from fraud or misuse.


Credit Card Accounts and Debt

In Chapter 9, we explore one of the most problematic issues with credit cards. This is when a cardholder is allowed to run up large amounts of debt and is subsequently unable to pay off the balance of the card. Of course, using a card safely and responsibly is down to the card holder. So, in Chapter 10 we will explore how and why debts can build up. We ask some searching questions about the way in which card holders make use of their accounts. However, we also ask about the companies that issue the cards.

Included in this aspect of credit cards is a look at interest rates and annual fees. These can lead to extreme amounts of debt that the cardholder is unaware of until it is too late. Many people are aware that even the best payday loans are quite expensive, but they often don’t think twice before getting into a huge amount of credit card debt. So, we will also look at what to do when problems do arise in Chapter 11.

Chapter 6 will examine the different methods of making the monthly payment on the card. We will also discuss the importance of the monthly statement date, the time frame when interest starts to accrue and the best date in the month to make your payment. We will also look at how companies decide what credit limits to set new and existing card holders.


Benefits of Using a Credit Card

If you have a bank account, you will almost certainly have a debit card attached to your current account. You may be wondering why you need a credit card as well. In Chapter 5, we will look at the benefits of using a credit card. Included in the information will be details of using a card when you are abroad, which cards are best for obtaining cash and which cards are universally acceptable in Europe and the wider world.

Furthermore, we will also address the subject of 0% interest rate cards. You’ll learn how to maximise the benefits of balance transfers from one card to another.

Your Credit Score

You may be unfortunate enough to have a poor credit history. In this day and age that is by no means uncommon. So, you may be interested in how you can get access to a credit card account. How to restore your credit rating and re-establish your financial credentials is explored in detail in Chapter 12. There are also some useful facts about pre-approved card deals and prepaid cards. Learn the best way to prove your financial creditworthiness to finance companies and banks.


Alternative Methods of Payment

What are the alternatives to using a credit card? The guide will give you links to other methods of payment in Chapter 13. It includes the pros and cons of charge cards, electronic wallets and payment platforms like PayPal. Of course, some businesses like car hire companies and some hotels will only accept a credit card when you make a booking. So, we will examine alternative ways of gaining access to these kinds of services.

Included in this part of the guide is advice about using debit cards and payment systems like PayPal and Google Wallet. Some businesses like Amazon run their own payment systems. There are others like Authorize.net which operate throughout Europe.

We will also look at the latest ‘Swish’ payment method (using a mobile phone to make an immediate transfer of money from one bank account to another). This has recently been introduced in Sweden and looks set to be rolled out by banks in The UK and other parts of Europe.

Business Credit Cards

You may be opening your own company and need to use credit cards. In that case, company cards are another aspect of the credit card business about which you may have questions. In Chapter 14, we will discuss how choosing the best credit card for your company and your employees is not easy as there are so many different ones on offer. Benefits like travel insurance, cashback, itemised billing and other so-called perks like air miles are all tempting. However, finding the right one can be difficult.


This guide will point out the benefits and features that are essential and those that are not really needed. As well, it will help you to consider the impact of interest rates and annual or monthly fees.

Credit cards are a big part of the credit business with banks and finance companies hoping to maximise their profits. So, not all cards are suitable for all kinds of businesses. Understanding the ins and outs of the variety of company card offers will help towards getting you the right deal.

An Overview of Credit Card Accounts

There is so much information about credit cards that putting together a guide that encompasses everything there is to know will always be difficult to achieve. However, in this series of articles, we have endeavoured to cover all the answers to questions that are essential so that you can be comfortable having and using a credit card account.

The different aspects of credit card accounts are all listed with easy to access links so you can dip in and out of the guide. Furthermore, if you want to, read it all. Knowledge about financial matters is not something that everyone learns about at school. However, once you enter the world of employment, it is critical to know exactly how all different types of credit work, from credit cards to cash advances, and how to make them beneficial to you.

Use the guide to understand and comprehend all you need to know about the world of credit cards and then make the cards work for you.


Written by: Elizabeth Redfern
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