Your guide to credit cards

Whether you’re looking for a Credit Card for day to day purchases or for something special you might have a few questions.

What features and benefits can I expect?

A credit card is a flexible and convenient way of borrowing money in the short term. It can offer interest-free, short-term credit on purchases, as long as you always pay the balance in full and on time. It’s a safe and versatile way to pay for goods and services and offers protection against fraud. You can only make a credit card balance transfer from non-Halifax credit and some store cards (cards must display a Visa, Mastercard or Amex logo). Find out more about how to do a balance transfer and about our balance transfer credit cards.

Your credit limit is based on an assessment of your income and borrowing commitments. We’ll tell you your limit after your application is accepted and this figure will appear on your monthly statements. If you prefer a lower limit you can decrease your limit at any time after your card has been activated. If you prefer a higher limit, after six months, we’ll be happy to review your credit limit based on an assessment of your ability to pay the new amount.

We offer a variety of credit cards, all with different features and benefits as well as online servicing.

What commitment do I need to make?

Your biggest commitment is to pay back what you borrow plus any interest charged and stay within your credit limit. Each month you must repay at least the minimum payment on time as shown on your statement. Please read your credit card terms and conditions carefully so you understand how your credit card works

Are there any risks?

Even if your card offers an interest-free period on purchases, if you don’t make the minimum payment each month you will be charged interest on your purchases. By only paying the minimum each month, you pay more interest over a longer period and it takes longer to clear your balance. Interest charges will apply on any balance transfers, credit card cheques or cash withdrawals made on your credit card even if you pay your balance in full.

If you miss your payment or we do not receive your payment on time, you will be charged a fee. To help avoid late payment fees, you can pay a fixed amount or the minimum or full amount by Direct Debit each month. It’s also important you keep within your credit limit. Missing a payment could also affect your credit rating which can make it difficult to obtain future credit.

What does APR mean?

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) tells you how much your borrowing will cost over an average year. It takes into account interest charged as well as any additional fees you'll have to pay (such as any annual fees). This figure is given to allow you to make an easy and fair comparison between different credit cards.

What else should I think about before I commit?

If you need to take money out of a cash machine, remember that credit cards are different to debit cards and you’ll be charged interest and a fee. If you withdraw cash overseas, you may also incur an additional fee.

Don’t forget, you can close your credit card account at any time – our products have no tie-ins. However, you must clear any outstanding balance first.

When you apply for a credit card, we'll usually check your credit history with a credit reference agency. If you apply for lots of credit, this could have a negative impact on your credit rating.

Credit cards have many advantages but they may not be for you. If you don’t have the money to pay for what you’re buying and need extra funds, you might pay a lower rate of interest with an arranged overdraft or personal loan.

Already have a Halifax credit card?

Find out about swapping your credit card or applying for a second credit card, in order to take advantage of a new card with different features and benefits to suit your current need and lifestyle.