Credit cards with no credit check

You can't get a credit card in the UK without a credit check, BUT, you can find out if any card issuers would approve you, without it impacting your credit score. Plus, there is a large (and growing) range of cards out there designed for bad credit.

Discover which cards would approve you, with no hard credit check
  • Check a range of cards in minutes
  • No impact on your credit score
  • One fast and simple form
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If you’ve got bad credit, then frustratingly, the lowest rate and most premium cards are likely to be unattainable right now. However, almost all card issuers now offer quick and easy “soft search” checks so you can find out whether or not you’d be approved before you apply. Crucially, these don’t involve a “hard search” of your credit file (which would have a very slight negative impact on your credit score).

Even better, you can also use comparison sites or other brokers to run soft-search checks with multiple card issuers in one go (ahem, try Finder’s card eligibility checker!). If they’re doing a good job, they’ll be checking cards for high credit scores and cards for low credit scores so that users can identify the best deals that they’d be likely to get approved for.

If you’re not sure what your credit score looks like, it’s easy to find out for free.

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.

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:

Experian credit scores and ratings

Experian scoreExperian rating
0-560Very poor
561-720Poor
721-880Fair
881-960Good
961-999Excellent

Equifax credit scores and ratings

Equifax scoreEquifax rating
0-438Poor
439-530Fair
531-670Good
671-810Very good
811-1,000Excellent

TransUnion (formerly Callcredit) credit scores and ratings

TransUnion scoreTransUnion rating
0-550Very poor
561-565Poor
566-603Fair
604-627Good
628-710Excellent

All you need to know about credit scores

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

Finder’s tips for getting your application approved

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 give all the correct information and documents to hand before making an application (e.g. bank account details, annual income details) when you apply.
  • Check lender’s basic 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.

Dos
  • 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’ts
  • 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.

Credit builder credit cards

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
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).
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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

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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