It’s a case of eeny, meeny, miney, money

We love to moan about our credit cards, but we keep using them as if there were no tomorrow. Personal finance writer ADAM AIKEN looks at how we can use them to our advantage.

We love to moan about our credit cards, but we keep using them as if there were no tomorrow. Personal finance writer ADAM AIKEN looks at how we can use them to our advantage.

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As a nation, we have a love-hate relationship with credit cards.

A study released yesterday suggests that more than a fifth of those who use credit cards are not happy with their providers.


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Almost a year after a clampdown on the industry by the Office of Fair Trading, research by price comparison service Uswitch.com has found that 21pc of customers are still dissatisfied.

At the same time, we seem addicted to spending on plastic, and despite our misgivings over our credit card pro-viders, yesterday's research suggested that cardholders remain with the same firm for an average of six years.

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Used properly, credit cards can be valuable tools, and they can even be used to earn money (see 'Rewards' - panel, right).

But if you take your eye off the ball, you can be stung with high interest charges, so it certainly pays to make sure you have the right card in the first place, and then use it wisely.

The Uswitch research - which involved polling more than 10,000 people - found that Nationwide customers were the most content with their provider, with a satisfaction level of 94pc.

That compares with Capital One, with almost a third of its credit card customers saying they are dissatisfied.

Satisfaction with the level of interest being charged on cards is low across the board, with every provider having at least two out of three customers unhappy with the interest rates.

“Credit card companies are relying on customer lethargy and, with more than half of consumers never comparing their existing deals with the rest of the market, clearly people are playing directly into their hands,” said Mike Naylor, personal finance expert at Uswitch.com.

“Providers have spent the last year constantly introducing 'get-rich-quick' schemes for their own benefit yet

customers are still prepared to stick with them for years.”

The choice of cards available can be mind-boggling, but by asking yourself a few basic questions and following a few simple rules, you can use the plastic to your advantage.

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