Compare credit cards for poor credit

Held back by a chequered credit history? You don't have to be. More card issuers are getting into the specialist lending market - so you may have more choice than you thought.

See cards you're likely to get

Check your chances of being accepted before you apply

It's simple, fast and free

It won't affect your credit score

Table: sorted by APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Finder score Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Representative APR Incentive Link
Additional account needed
HSBC Student Credit Card Visa
3.5
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £500.
Not specified
18.9%
Available alongside an HSBC Student Account (receive £100 and a 1-year subscription to Headspace when you open a new student account).
Representative example: When you spend £500 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £50, max. limit £1,200.
£3000
33.9%
Rate discounts: 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your repayments on time for the first year, and a further drop of up to 2% more if you continue to do so in the second year.
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).
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118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
3.5
★★★★★
£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).
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Zable credit card
3.5
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
£9,600
48.9%
Representative example: Representative 48.9% APR (variable). Based on assumed borrowing of £1200. Rate of interest 48.9% (variable) annual.
Check eligibility
Additional account needed
AIB Student Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
12.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
Additional account needed
TSB Student Credit Card
3.5
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
21.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 21.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Everyday Credit Card Mastercard
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.4%
3 Nectar points per £2 spent in Sainsbury's, Argos, Habitat and Tu clothing, and 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 1 point = 0.5p (min 500pts)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.4% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.4% APR (variable).
Tymit Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £15,000.
Not specified
29.9%
Representative Example: 29.9% (variable) based on a borrowing of £1200 over 12 months with no annual fee.
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
29.9%
5 points per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco. Must have available credit to earn points. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers or can be exchanged for Partner rewards to receive money off a variety of restaurants, entertainment or Avios points.
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).
Bip Credit Card Mastercard
4.0
★★★★★
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£5000
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).
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Card companies are increasingly looking to target different sectors of the market where they can offer specialist credit cards – especially if people are looking to build positive credit reports. The reality is that these cards have higher interest rates, lower credit limits and not much in the way of extra benefits. But they’re designed to help you improve your credit rating over time – therefore increasing your chances of approval for other credit products in the future.

Approval for any credit card depends 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. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables is provided by Moneyfacts.

What is my credit score?

Your credit score is simply an indicative number calculated from lots of data-points in your credit history. It’s a useful gauge for how strong a position you’re in when it comes to applying for credit. There’s no single standardised way of calculating credit scores, with credit rating bodies, banks and credit card companies using their own rating systems in assessing client credit ratings.

  • Experian: 0–999
  • Equifax: 0–1,000
  • TransUnion (formerly Callcredit): 0–710

Depending on your score, you’re said to have excellent, very good, good, fair, poor or very poor credit:

AgencyScoreRating
Experian0–560
561–720
721–880
881–960
961–999
Very poor
Poor
Fair
Good
Excellent
Equifax0–438
439–530
531–670
671–810
811–1,000
Poor
Fair
Good
Very good
Excellent
TransUnion0–550
561–565
566–603
604–627
628–710
Very poor
Poor
Fair
Good
Excellent

What financial products can I get with bad credit?

You have a number of options if you have bad credit, most of which don’t involve credit cards at all.

  • Specialist credit cards for bad credit. A number of banks offer credit card options for people with a poor credit history. These cards typically have low credit limits, higher interest rates and few extra benefits but do allow individuals to improve their credit rating over time. It’s not recommended that you apply for one of these cards if your objective is to use it to tackle existing debt, as this can simply lead to greater debt. Work on clearing existing debts before applying for a card like this.
  • Debit cards. A good way to avoid debt is to steer away from credit and only spend what you have. Although using a debit card is unlikely to affect your credit rating, a current account with regular direct debits is a good sign to a potential lender. Banks sometimes offer cash incentives to switch providers, so if you are thinking a debit card could be a good option for you, make sure you compare the best banking deals.
  • Prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards in the sense that you’re spending only what you have. Unlike a debit or credit card though, you load funds onto the card before using it. These cards also don’t affect your credit rating and don’t charge interest, so they can be a good way to build up your budgeting skills. Most prepaid cards are either Visa or Mastercard, so you should be able to use them in the same places that you’d use your credit or debit card. Compare prepaid cards
  • Bad credit personal loans. Personal loans are traditionally used when borrowing larger amounts of money for a significant purchase or to consolidate debt. There are some bad credit personal loans on the market that cater especially to people with poor credit ratings. These loans usually come with a fixed interest rate and if you repay responsibly, can be used to rebuild your creditworthiness and consolidate any existing credit card debt.
  • Guarantor loans. With a guarantor loan a second person agrees to step in and make repayments if you fail to do so. Lenders will be able to consider the second individual’s credit rating as well as your own.

Ultimately, a bad credit rating can significantly impact your lifestyle, making it difficult to get a car, a mortgage or other forms of credit. If you find yourself in such a position, don’t despair. Making the right choices from now on can lead to financial freedom down the road.

Make sure you compare credit cards for people with poor credit history before you make an application. You shouldn’t apply for every card and loan under the sun, because multiple applications for credit in a short space of time can ring alarm bells with potential lenders. You can also take steps to improve your credit rating and manage your finances so that you can live free of debt. You may opt to begin by requesting a copy of your credit report and identifying the negative listings on your file.

List of documents needed for credit card application

Bottom line

Don’t be down if you have a low credit score due to poor credit history as there are options to help get you back up and running again.

There are several specialist financial products available to enable you to take control and improve your credit score. Use our table above to compare your options. With careful use, this can help you unlock better financial deals in the future.

Frequently asked questions

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. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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