What is a dual credit card?
So, when is a dual credit card useful? There may come a time in your life when you want, or need, to make a large purchase, but you don’t have the spare cash to make it happen straight away. At the same time, you may want to take advantage of better interest rates, by moving debts from your existing credit card(s) to a new one. Getting a dual credit card could help you achieve both these goals in one fell swoop.
How can a dual credit card benefit me?
- The deals on dual cards can be very attractive. It’s common for them to offer 0% interest rates on both balance transfers and purchases for an introductory period, which could last up to 25 months.
- Are you currently paying interest on your existing credit cards? Transferring those debts to a dual credit card with a balance transfer rate of 0% could reduce the amount you repay each month.
- Making a large purchase on a 0% dual credit card can help you spread the cost over months, or even years, without having to pay interest fees.
- Combining debt from a number of cards can make it easier to see exactly how much you owe, and a 0% interest rate could help you pay it off faster.
- You can kill two birds with one stone. A dual credit card gives you the advantages of both a 0% balance transfer card and a purchase card – but you’ll only have to apply for one card, rather than two. This can help you save time and protect your credit score, since making multiple applications within a short period of time can lower it.
What do I need to be aware of?
- Look out for the balance transfer fee. You’ll be charged a percentage of your balance when you transfer debt from another card (or cards) on to the dual card. For example, if you're transferring a balance of £5,000 on a 2.5% fee, you would pay £125. Look carefully at how long the introductory 0% interest rate lasts and calculate whether you’ll save money on your interest payments or spend more on fees.
- Compare credit cards before applying, as fees on some dual cards are much higher than on others.
- When the promotional offer ends - on both balance transfers and purchases - any outstanding amount will then be charged at the standard APR interest rate, which is often around 18.9%. It makes sense to pay off your balance before then if you can.
- You must make your payments on time each month and stay within your credit limit, just as you would with any credit card. Failure to do so could mean losing the promotional rates and having to pay the standard APR.
- Consider whether taking out a separate balance transfer card and purchase card makes more financial sense. You may be able to get longer term promotional deals with single cards. It's important to note, however, that this will include two applications and two new accounts, which could have a negative impact on your credit score.
- You may want to cut up your other cards when you get a dual card. You don't want to buy something on an old card by mistake, as this could lead to more debt and paying more interest. Learn more about using credit cards here.
Before you apply
Before you apply for a dual credit card, it’s always a good idea to see what deals are on offer. You can find deals from across the UK market when you compare credit cards with Experian – it’s free and it won’t affect your credit score. Remember, we’re a credit broker, not a lender† – that means we can help you find deals, but we don’t provide credit or make lending decisions.
How can I apply for a dual credit card
You can usually apply for a dual credit card online. You’ll typically need to complete an application form, which may ask questions about your personal details and financial circumstances, such as your income. Learn more about applying for a credit card here.
Remember, making multiple credit applications within a short period of time can lower your credit score. So, it’s important to minimise the number of applications you need to make, by only applying for cards you’re likely to be approved for. This can be difficult, because lenders won’t tell you their criteria for approval. However, you can see your eligibility for credit cards – without affecting your score – when you compare cards with us. We’ll calculate your chances of approval by matching your credit information against lenders’ criteria.Compare credit cards with Experian