Credit cards for applicants with bad credit

Held back by a chequered credit history? You don't have to be. More and more card issuers are getting into the specialist lending market – so you may have more choice than you thought.

Aqua Classic Credit Card

Aqua Classic Credit Card

  • An Initial credit limit of £250-£1,200
  • Receive text alerts when you’re approaching your credit limit
  • Choose your repayment date
  • No annual fee

Representative 29.7% APR (variable)

Credit provided by NewDay Ltd. 18+, subject to status, UK only. T&Cs apply.
Promoted
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Representative APR Incentive Link
Aqua Classic Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.7%
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 29.7% APR (variable), purchase rate 29.75% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Aqua accounts or open an Aqua account within 12 months of opening a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Check eligibility
Marbles Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.7%
You could get a credit limit increase after three months. Choose a monthly repayment date that suits you and change it up to twice a year.
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 29.7% APR (variable), purchase rate 29.75% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Marbles accounts or open a Marbles account within 12 months of opening an Aqua, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Check eligibility
Bip Credit
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Aqua Classic Balance Transfer Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 34.9% APR (variable), purchase rate 34.95% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Aqua accounts or open an Aqua account within 12 months of opening a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Check eligibility
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
£0
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£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).
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
27.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £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).
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £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).
Amazon Classic Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.9%
Be upgraded to the Amazon Platinum Mastercard if you make at least one transaction a month, make repayments on time and stay within credit limit in the first 12 months..
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Classic Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
£6800
29.9%
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
33.5%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 33.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.5% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £50, max. limit £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).
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit 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).
Aqua Advance credit card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.9%
Reduce your rate over three years if you stay within your credit limit and pay on time. No extra fees on what you spend abroad.
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).
Fluid Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Level Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
£9600
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Zopa Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit not specified.
£10000
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Post Office Classic Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £8,000.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Capital One Classic Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).

Capital One Luma Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
35.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 35.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 35.9% APR (variable).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Card companies are increasingly looking to different sectors of the market where they can offer specialist credit cards. The reality is that these cards have higher interest rates, lower credit limits and not much in the way of extra benefits. But they’re designed to help you improve your credit rating over time – therefore increasing your chances of approval for other credit products in the future.

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The representative APRs shown represent 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.

What is my credit score?

Your credit score is based on metrics in your credit history and is a major factor in determining your success when it comes to applying for credit. There is no single standardised way of calculating credit scores, with credit rating bodies, banks and credit card companies using their own rating systems in assessing client credit ratings.

  • Experian: 0–999
  • Equifax: 0–1,000
  • TransUnion (formerly Callcredit): 0–710

Depending on your score, you’re said to have excellent, very good, good, fair, poor or very poor credit:

AgencyScoreRating
Experian0–560
561–720
721–880
881–960
961–999
Very poor
Poor
Fair
Good
Excellent
Equifax0–438
439–530
531–670
671–810
811–1,000
Poor
Fair
Good
Very good
Excellent
TransUnion (formerly Callcredit)0–550
561–565
566–603
604–627
628–710
Very poor
Poor
Fair
Good
Excellent

What financial products can I get with bad credit?

You have a number of options if you have bad credit, most of which don’t involve credit cards at all.

  • Specialist credit cards for bad credit. A number of banks offer credit card options for people with a poor credit history. These cards typically have low credit limits, higher interest rates and few extra benefits but do allow individuals to improve their credit rating over time. It’s not recommended that you apply for one of these cards if your objective is to use it to tackle existing debt, as this can simply lead to greater debt. Work on clearing existing debts before applying for a card like this. Compare now.
  • Debit cards. A good way to avoid debt is to steer away from credit and only spend what you have. Although using a debit card is unlikely to affect your credit rating, a current account with regular direct debits is a good sign to a potential lender.
  • Prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards in the sense that you’re spending only what you have. Unlike a debit or credit card though, you load funds on to the card before using it. These cards also don’t affect your credit rating and don’t charge interest, so they can be a good way to build up your budgeting skills. Most prepaid cards are either Visa or Mastercard, so you should be able to use them in the same places that you’d use your credit or debit card. Compare prepaid cards
  • Bad credit personal loans. Personal loans are traditionally used when borrowing larger amounts of money for a significant purchase or to consolidate debt. There are some bad credit personal loans on the market that cater especially to people with poor credit ratings. These loans usually come with a fixed interest rate and if you repay responsibly, can be used to rebuild your creditworthiness.
  • Guarantor loans. With a guarantor loan a second person agrees to step in and make repayments if you fail to do so. Lenders will be able to consider the second individual’s credit rating as well as your own.
  • Payday loans. Payday or short term loans are a very expensive method of borrowing and should only be considered as a last resort to cover an unexpected cash shortfall. They’re not suitable for those in financial difficulties, they may not solve your money problems and they’re not a good idea for borrowing over longer periods or for sustained borrowing. Short term lenders are often willing to consider lending to those with less-than-perfect credit ratings and will normally lend a small amount for a short time initially, then may gradually increase the loan amounts and loan terms they offer. You should compare lenders before you apply.

Ultimately, a bad credit rating can significantly impact your lifestyle, making it difficult to get a car, a mortgage or other forms of credit. If you find yourself in such a position, don’t despair. Making the right choices from now on can lead to financial freedom down the road.

Make sure you compare credit cards for people with poor credit history before you make an application. You shouldn’t apply for every card and loan under the sun, because multiple applications for credit in a short space of time can ring alarm bells with potential lenders. You can also take steps to improve your credit rating and manage your finances so that you can live free of debt. You may opt to begin by requesting a copy of your credit report and identifying the negative listings on your file.

List of documents needed for credit card application

Bottom line

Don’t be down if you have a poor credit history as you have options to help you get you back up and running again.

There are several specialist financial products available to enable you to take control and build your credit score. Use our table above to compare your options. With careful use, this can help you unlock better financial deals in the future.

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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