Credit cards like Capital One

Capital One offers a range of "credit builder" cards catering to those with limited or damaged credit histories. It's not the only provider doing this.

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A less than perfect credit history can make it harder to secure finance, including loans and credit cards. However, specialist card issuers like Capital One aim to provide a way around this, with tailored financial products that can help build or rebuild a positive credit history.

As you might expect, these cards tend to come with lower credit limits and higher APRs, but there’s good news too:

Like most cards on the UK market, if you pay your balance off in full each month, you usually won’t incur any interest at all, so a high APR might not mean anything to you in practice. Watch out for exceptions to this rule, such as non-sterling transactions or cash advances (withdrawing cash on the card).

The acceptance criteria for these cards tend to be more lenient and it’s normally possible to find out before you apply (and without hurting your credit score) whether or not you’re likely to be approved, thanks to the prevalence of “soft search” facilities.

Annual or monthly account fees are very rare in this space and finally, credit limits are often subject to review more frequently and within a short time of holding the card.

Comparison of alternatives to a Capital One card

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
Marbles Mastercard
£0
£250
Not specified
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

Key considerations for credit cards like Capital One

Credit builders can be a useful tool, if they’re used correctly. Aim not to carry a balance from month to month: if you do, you’ll stand to pay a hefty amount in interest. It can be tempting to make only the minimum required payment each month (and your card issuer might love this), but that will cost you much, much more in the long run.

Due to the higher rates that apply to cards such as these, it’s often smart to think of them as a “stepping stone” product to finance agreements with better terms. In other words, if you take out a credit builder, use it sensibly and then, when you’re able, switch to a card (or other financial product) with lower rates.

If you miss a repayment, you’ll most likely incur a penalty fee, pay additional interest and damage your credit record further. Pretty much every card issuer now lets you set up a direct debit for repayments and lets you choose to set this up for either the minimum required sum, a fixed amount or the full balance. It’s a smart idea to do this as you’ll safeguard your credit record.

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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