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
Updated February 28th, 2020
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card 24.7pc Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
24.7%
Stay in control of your account with online servicing, a mobile app, SMS and email alerts.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 24.7% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
Tandem Bank Journey Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£500
Subject to status: £1,500
£15000
24.9%
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Card 29.3pc Visa
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
29.3%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.3% APR (variable).
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).
Vanquis Bank Visa
£0
£150
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
39.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
TSB Classic 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).
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard
£0
£250
Subject to status: £1,500
£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).
Bank of Scotland Classic Mastercard
£0
£0
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).

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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