aqua Advance credit card review 2020

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A “credit-builder” card with an interest rate that drops every year – provided you use it responsibly.

aqua offers a range of credit cards for those with poor or limited credit histories, who might struggle to get approved for more mainstream cards.

You say: ★★★★★We say: ★★★★★

Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).

£250

Minimum credit limit

Up to 48 days

Interest-free each billing period

34.9%

Representative APR

0%

Foreign transaction charge

Details

IssuerNewDay Ltd
NetworkMastercard
Annual/monthly fees£0
Min credit limit£250
Max credit limitSubject to status: £1,200
Credit limit noteSubject to status
Purchases34.95%
Purchases interest-free period (days)48
Balance transfers34.95%
Additional cards available1

Expert review

Chris Lilly

Review by


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.

Expert review

The aqua Advance Mastercard is a “credit-builder” card with slightly more favourable terms than others in aqua’s range. It may well be designed as a next step from aqua’s other cards, or for applicants with slightly better credit histories (although all aqua’s cards are designed with poor or limited credit histories in mind).

Credit builders tend to have a more lenient application process than other cards, but higher interest rates. As a result they’re often treated as a “stepping stone” product to cards or loans with better rates. If you clear your balance in full each month, however, the rate doesn’t matter – you’ll be able to take advantage of the card’s “grace period” of up to 48 days of 0% interest on your purchases each billing cycle.

With the Advance card, you can work towards bringing your interest rate down over time by showing you can make your payments on time and stay within your limits. Using any credit card in this way can also help you to build or rebuild a positive credit history. Other tools to help you improve your credit include text alerts and a decent mobile app, plus free access to CreditView services.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Responsible card-use gets rewarded with lower rates.
  • Low credit score? You may be eligible.
  • No currency conversion charges when you use the card overseas.
  • No annual fee to worry about.
  • Free access to your credit score and report with CreditView.
  • Set up text alerts so payments don't take you by surprise.

Cons

  • Held an aqua, Marbles, Fluid or Opus card over the past year? Sorry – you'll need to wait before you can apply for this card.
  • At 34.9%, carrying a balance from month to month would be costly.
  • After a sustained period of sing the card responsibly, you may be eligible for lower rates elsewhere.

How does it compare with other credit builders?

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Link
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£500
Not specified
Not specified
26.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
£0
£100
Subject to status
£5000
27.5%
Collect 1 Tesco Clubcard point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.  Must have available credit to collect Clubcard points. Clubcard points are turned into Clubcard vouchers every 3 months or sooner using Faster Vouchers. Clubcard vouchers can be used in Tesco or with Clubcard Reward Partners to get even more value on dining out, hotel stays and travel.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.542% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.5% APR (variable).
More Info
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,500
Not specified
29.5%
Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 29.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.5% APR (variable).
More Info
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
29.8%
You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
More Info
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
£0
£50
Subject to status: £1,200
£3000
33.9%
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
More Info
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
£0
£500
Not specified
£8400
34%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
More Info
aqua Advance Mastercard
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,200
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
More Info
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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

Repayment options

If you can make your monthly repayments on time and stay within your credit limit, your interest rate will drop after a year.

When it comes to repayments, you can make manual repayments online or over the phone (0333 220 2691), 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 either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee or losing any promotional rates as a result. 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

If you’ve compared cards and want to apply, completing the secure online application form takes about 15 minutes. Before you apply, check that you meet the eligibility requirements and have the information and documents you’ll need to make the process as straightforward as possible.

The verdict

Offering reducing rates for each year of responsible card use, the aqua Advance is an admirably innovative credit card. However, you shouldn’t trust that you’ll always be receiving the best rates you’re eligible for – in other words it’s still likely to be beneficial to shop around as your credit score improves.

Don’t forget that as with most credit cards, the interest rate is variable – so if interest rates generally start to rise, the Advance’s rate might follow. In addition, your borrowing activity elsewhere can have a bearing on whether or not you’re able to enjoy those lowering interest rates. For example, if you use the Advance card responsibly but miss a repayment on another card or loan, it’ll damage your credit score and your chances of being awarded a lower rate.

Frequently asked questions

What credit limit will I get with the aqua Advance Mastercard?

If aqua is able to offer you this deal, the offer will specify a personalised credit limit based on aqua's assessment of your situation. The minimum limit offered on the card is £250, while the maximum is £1,200. Once you've had the card for a while and shown aqua that you're reliable, you may wish to apply for a credit limit increase.

Can I withdraw cash using the aqua Advance Mastercard?

Although it's possible, withdrawing cash from a credit card account is generally not a good idea, as "cash-like transactions" (withdrawing cash at an ATM, getting cashback at the till, spending at a casino, buying currency, etc.) often incur steep fees and/or higher rates of interest.

The cash advance fee on the aqua Advance Mastercard is 3% (min. £3). For example, if you withdraw £50, you'll incur a fee of £3.00. Withdraw £250, and you'll incur a fee of £7.50.

The interest rate on this part of your balance will be 44.95%, which is 29% more than the standard purchases rate (chargeable from the day of the transaction – the card's usual "up to 48 days interest-free" grace period won't apply).

What is the minimum payment on the aqua Advance Mastercard?

Each month you must pay at least 1% of your balance at that point or £5.00 – whichever of the two figures is greater. So if you had, say, £450.00 outstanding, you'd pay £5.00, and if you had £2,000.00 outstanding, you'd pay £20.00.

Paying only the minimum required amount each month is generally not advisable as it tends to be a very expensive way to borrow money which can lead to persistent debt.

Can I transfer money from the aqua Advance Mastercard to a bank account?

Yes. That's what's known as a "money transfer" (rather than a "balance transfer") in credit card jargon. You can arrange this from your online banking or using aqua's app. This part of your card balance will incur interest of 34.95%. The fee for a money transfer is 3% (min. £3).

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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