Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
118 118 Money Credit Card review 2020
Looking for a card with no nasty surprises? 118 118 Money's Mastercard charges zero fees and gives you a guaranteed credit limit.
Best known for the moustachioed chaps in short shorts at the centre of relentless TV advertising campaigns, 118 118 Money is now a fully-fledged financial services provider. It’s started to make a name for itself serving the non-standard (bad credit) market with personal loans and now this fee-free credit card.
Finder rating: ★★★★★
Doing its job: 4.5/5
In a nutshell:
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction charge
|Issuer||118 118 Money|
|Balance transfer fee||0%|
|Purchases interest-free period||Up to 51 days|
|Min credit limit||£500|
|Max credit limit||Not specified|
|Additional cards available||3|
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.
For most people, credit card rates and fees are an absolute minefield. Your average card issuer charges different interest rates for different types of transaction and dozens of different fees. 118 118 Money’s answer is a card with one simple rate and no fees.
This means that as well as using your card to pay for purchases, you can use it to withdraw cash at cash machines or to transfer money to another account – basically a loan. Yes, some other cards let you do that, but they’ll almost always charge a fee and also apply a different (higher) interest rate to those transactions. Not so 118 118 Money. Plus, provided you clear your balance in full at the end of the month, your purchases, withdrawals and transfers will be interest-free. If you tend to find yourself in overdraft towards the end of the month, or even if you use payday loans, then used correctly, this card could help you make big savings.
You can also use the card abroad without getting hit with non-sterling transactions, and once again, you’ll pay your normal rate of interest. Being a Mastercard, the card will be accepted pretty much anywhere that takes card payments. Bear in mind that if you’re on holiday abroad and a restaurant offers to bill you in sterling rather than in the local currency, for example, you should say no – otherwise it’ll be the merchant’s bank’s currency conversion fee structure that’ll apply, and not 118 118 Money’s.
Despite an APR that’s a little on the high side, if you can manage to pay off your balance each month, you could end up never paying any interest or fees.
So what’s the catch? Well there isn’t really a catch as such. Just that, like any credit card, you can fall into a trap of long-term debt if you only make the minimum required payment each month. You’ve also got to get approved for the card in the first place, obviously, but the good news is the card is designed with people who don’t have excellent credit ratings in mind. Finally, keep in mind that you may still be charged fees by third parties – like ATM fees from a cash machine provider (thankfully these are getting rarer).
Pros and cons
- With a guaranteed rate and a guaranteed credit limit, you know where you stand (most card issuers give personalised rates and limits on application).
- You can use your card abroad just as you would at home, without being hit with currency conversion fees.
- You can manage your account through the respectable mobile app, which lets you freeze/unfreeze your card, review transactions, make payments and, of course, check your balance (among other things).
- Like any credit card, it can help improve your credit score provided you use it sensibly. 118 118 Money communicates details of your repayments to TransUnion (formerly CallCredit) – a credit reference agency.
- There aren’t really any fees (annual/monthly account fees, cash advance fees etc.) to worry about.
- Every six months your account gets reviewed and you could find yourself eligible for a credit limit increase.
- That guaranteed rate is far from market-leading (which is to be expected from a card targeted at bad credit), so carrying a balance and only making the minimum repayment each month would be a very expensive move.
- The minimum income requirement of £8,400 will be prohibitive for some.
- Our trial of 118 118 Money’s customer service wasn’t the best.
How does it compare?
118 118 Money’s card
Other credit builder credit cards
“Credit builder” cards are designed as a stepping stone to cards with better rates. With no fees, the 118 118 Money card could suit those with a less-than-perfect credit history looking to rebuild their credit score.
When it comes to repayments, you can make manual repayments online or over the phone, or alternatively set up a direct debit. A direct debit is a great idea because it protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and damaging your credit score. You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.
Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:
|Minimum amount||Fixed amount||Fixed percentage||Full amount|
How to apply
It’s quick and easy to apply at 118 118 Money site. Firstly you’ll be prompted to check your eligibility – this is a smart way to find out if it’s worth applying without affecting your credit score. If you get the green light a decide to apply, 118 118 Money will then run a credit check which has a small (and usually short-lived) negative effect on your credit score – this is standard stuff.
At this point the vast majority of credit cards will offer you a personalised interest rate and a personalised credit limit. But the 118 card is all about simplicity and transparency: you either don’t get approved, or you get approved and offered a rate of 34% and a limit of £500.
Once your application has been approved, your PIN and card arrive separately in the post within 9-10 days. The first time you use your card at a merchant you’ll need to enter your PIN, and from then on you can go contactless for transactions of up to £30.
Frequently asked questions
What will my credit limit be?
What is a “credit builder” card?
What is my interest-free period?
How does “guaranteed zero fees” work?
So I can make all the late repayments I like?
Is there a monthly account fee?
118 118 Money scrapped this card’s predecessor back in 2019, presumably because (and there’s no nice way of putting this) it was awful. Thankfully, the card issuer’s latest effort is much, much better. In fact it’s a great card… just with a high interest rate. Pay off your balance in full each month and you’ll enjoy all its good bits without it costing you a penny.