Credit cards with no credit check

Wondering if it's possible to get a credit card with no credit check? The short answer is no, but there is a large (and growing) range of cards out there designed for bad credit.

Compare credit builder credit cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Link
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
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
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
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).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
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
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
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
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
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
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
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
Min. limit £50, max. limit £1,200.
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
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).

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.

Can I get a credit card with no credit check?

Some countries offer credit cards without a credit check (such as secured cards in the US which require you to put down a deposit), but in the UK it’s not possible to get a credit card without one.

But although having a poor credit history will reduce your choices, there are still plenty of cards that cater to people with bad credit. In fact, some card issuers focus exclusively on this section of the market. If you have a low credit score, a “credit builder credit card” can be easier to get approved for than more mainstream cards.

You can now almost always find out if you’re eligible instantly and without affecting your credit score. If you give them permission, card issuers will run a “soft” search of your credit file so that you can find out if it’s worth your while applying, and then if you decide to go ahead and apply, they’ll run a full credit search.

What is bad credit?

Your credit report is a detailed record of your financial history, which lenders use to decide whether to offer you credit. Your credit history is stored by credit reference agencies, the biggest in the UK being Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit).

You can get your credit score for free on numerous websites. However, you may need to pay to get your full credit report from one of the agencies. Depending on your score, you’re said to have excellent, very good, good, fair, poor or very poor credit:

Very poor
Very good
TransUnion (formerly Callcredit)0-550
Very poor

All you need to know about credit scores

Before applying for a credit card, it’s important to distinguish between a “soft” and a “hard” search on your credit report.

When you’re considering a particular credit card, most banks and credit card providers offer an eligibility check on their website. This is a simple online form that can tell you your chances of success in obtaining a credit card. This is known as a “soft” search because it doesn’t impact your credit report.

However, making a formal application involves the lender doing a “hard” search on your credit history, which usually has a slight negative effect on your credit score. Regardless of whether your application is a success, if a potential lender sees a lot of hard searches on your report in a small space of time, this could suggest you are struggling to find credit and could put lenders off.

What are my options?

If you have a bad credit score – or perhaps have no credit history at all – then a credit builder credit card could be a good place to start. While the interest rates are high and the credit limit is low, you can enjoy some of the benefits of credit card ownership while you build up your score with regular payments.

Unlike many mainstream credit cards that have introductory interest-free offers or reward bonuses, credit builder cards usually offer a standard interest rate from the get go. There are usually few benefits or rewards. These cards are designed to act as a stepping stone to better credit cards as your score improves over time.

Alternatively, if you’re struggling to find approval for a credit builder, then consider a prepaid card. This isn’t a credit product, but you can use it like a credit card to pay for purchases in-store and online. It’s easiest to think of it like a gift card which you load with funds before using. There are no interest charges, but many prepaid cards do include admin or load fees.

All about prepaid cards

Tips for applying

While each lender’s criteria on deciding whether to lend money is different, there are some general things you can do to increase your chances of approval.

  • If the card issuer has got one, use an eligibility check before applying. Find out your realistic chances of getting a credit card before making an application.
  • Find out your credit score. Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to see how you score. Certain factors could be affecting your score, like admin mistakes or not being on the electoral role, which could easily be rectified.
  • Make sure you have all the correct information and documents to hand before making an application (e.g. bank account details, annual income details).
  • Check lender’s eligibility criteria (e.g. minimum income, new customer).

It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to apply online and you usually know whether you’re approved in moments. Occasionally, some providers may require further information and your application could take up to two weeks to be processed.

Dos and don’ts

Credit card providers have different reasons for accepting or rejecting your application.

Here are some important dos and don’ts to help you increase your chances of approval and how to manage your credit card once you have it.

  • Use the eligibility check first before applying.
  • Pay off your full balance every month to avoid high interest charges.
  • Look out for annual or monthly fees or any other charges.
  • Use a credit card for a large purchase. If something goes wrong with the item or the retailer goes bust, you are protected by Section 75 and are usually entitled to a refund. If you paid on a debit card, you would have little to no protection.
  • Don’t forget to pay on time – you’ll accrue penalty fees as well as high interest.
  • Don’t make multiple credit card applications at once.
  • Don’t spend beyond your means. Credit cards are not free money.
  • Don’t withdraw cash on a credit card. This is treated as a cash advance and usually accrues interest immediately.

Frequently asked questions

How different factors affect your credit score

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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