How low income credit cards work

Even if you have low or no income, you might still be able to get credit. Apply for a credit card for low income below.

Close-up of a credit card being handed over at a cafe

Some cards make it easy to apply for a credit card when your income is low. There are even provisions for those who earn no income at all to get access to credit. But it's important to remember that your salary (or other income) is never the sole factor in your qualification for a credit card.

Compare credit cards for low income

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
1 - 6 of 64
Name Product Finder Score Finder score Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Link Incentive Representative example
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
£10500
0% for 3 months reverting to 23.9%
£0
23.9%
Check eligibility
Sign up for Santander Boosts to receive cashback, vouchers, offers and prize draws from selected retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
Santander Edge Credit Card Mastercard
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
£10500
23.9%
£3 per month
29.8%
Go to site
Limited time offer: Switch to Santander Edge or Edge Up current account and get £175 cash. Existing Santander Edge current account customers can also receive £18 for opening a Santander Edge credit card between 21 May and 2 July 2024. T&Cs apply.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Santander Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card
3.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
£10500
0% for 3 months reverting to 23.9%
£0
23.9%
Check eligibility
Sign up for Santander Boosts to receive cashback, vouchers, offers and prize draws from selected retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
Santander All in One Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
£10500
0% for 15 months reverting to 23.9%
£3 per month
29.8%
Check eligibility
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Maximum of £10 cashback paid per month. Cashback paid monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Yonder Credit Card
Finder Award
Yonder Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
£25,000
29.94%
1 month for £0, £15 per month thereafter
66.7%
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First month free for new members, £15 p/m thereafter. Plus, 10,000 bonus points. Earn 5 points per £1 spent and up to 25 points per £1 at selected partners. Membership includes worldwide travel insurance, no FX fees and use your points towards any flight.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.94% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 66.7% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
£3000
0% for 3 months reverting to 33.9%
£0
33.9%
Go to site
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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What is a credit card for low income?

Low income credit cards are for people with low incomes, providing them with a line of credit they might not otherwise have access to. In the UK, income is just one of many factors that a card issuer will consider when you apply for a credit card. Credit card issuers will sometimes (but not always) explicitly state income requirements for a given card.

How does a card issuer determine if I qualify for a credit card?

Credit card issuers must only lend responsibly – that means running affordability checks and assessing each applicant’s circumstances to aim to ensure that any credit offered would be affordable, and wouldn’t have the potential to lead to serious debt problems.

In order to determine someone’s eligibility, the card issuer will weigh up several factors, like your credit score and history. As well as your regular income and outgoings, card issuers will want to look at your debt-to-income ratio – that’s your combined monthly debt payments in comparison to your monthly income.

Issuers will look at these and other factors when determining how much credit you can afford to service, and will then decide whether to offer a card, and will set your credit limit accordingly.

What should I look out for when comparing credit cards for low incomes?

  • Annual/monthly account fees. High-end rewards cards often come with an annual fee. Naturally, you should look to avoid this.
  • Interest rates. It’s possible you’ll pay a slightly higher-than-average rate if a card issuer deems you to represent higher risk. However, provided you clear your balance in full every month, most cards on the market won’t charge you interest at all – thanks to standard grace periods.
  • Promotions. Plenty of cards come with introductory 0% interest periods that apply to balances transferred from other cards or to forthcoming purchases. However, the best of the deals can be harder to get approved for.
  • Perks. The fact that you’re not Richard Branson doesn’t mean that your credit card can’t reward you. Some of the biggest supermarkets in the UK offer credit cards for low incomes that boost your loyalty points earnings, for example.
  • Eligibility. Don’t apply for a card without researching your eligibility. Most issuers offer a soft-searching “eligibility checker” that’s quick and easy and doesn’t impact your credit score.

What about secured credit cards?

Secured credit cards are a big thing in the US, but much less so in the UK. These cards involve putting down a lump sum as security when you take out the card. Capital One has offered secured cards in the UK in the past.

Full guide to secured credit cards

Bottom line

If you’re on a low income, you could still be able to access credit as your income is not the only factor that lenders look at.

Just remember to compare your options from our table above and make sure you meet a lender’s criteria before applying.

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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