Credit cards like Vanquis

Vanquis Bank offers "credit builder" credit cards that specifically cater to people with limited or damaged credit histories. It's not alone in doing this however.

A less than perfect credit history can make it harder to secure loans and credit cards. However, specialist card issuers like Vanquis 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, provided you pay your balance 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 you’re likely to be approved, thanks to commonly used “soft search” facilities.

Annual/monthly account fees are rare in this space and your credit limit is typically reviewed sooner and more frequently.

Comparison of alternatives to a Vanquis card

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
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
32.9%
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 32.9% APR (variable), purchase rate 32.94% 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
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit 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 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).
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).
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).
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).

loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Important considerations for credit cards like Vanquis

Credit builders can be a useful tool if you use them correctly. Aim to not 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 flat fee, pay more in 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.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked
Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site