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.

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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
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card 24.7pc Visa
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
24.7%
£0
24.7%
Stay in control of your account with online servicing, a mobile app, SMS and email alerts.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 24.7% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
Tandem Bank Journey Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit £1,500.
£15000
24.9%
£0
24.9%
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 10 months reverting to 26.95%
£0
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 Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
27.542%
£0
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).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Card 29.3pc Visa
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
29.3%
£0
29.3%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.3% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
29.84%
£0
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).
Capital One Classic Platinum Mastercard
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
29.84%
£0
29.8%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Maximiles Mastercard
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£9600
0% for 3 months reverting to 17.9%
£0
17.9%
Earn 1 Maximiles point for every £1 spent. 5000 bonus points when you make your first card purchase.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 17.9% APR (variable).
The Co-operative Bank Members' Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£10000
18.3%
£0
18.3%
1p earned for every £2 spent in The Co-operative Food stores (excluding in-store concessions) and 1p earned for every £3.33 spent anywhere else. Cashback will be added to your share of the Group profits and this will be paid to you twice a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.3% APR (variable).
HSBC Premier Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £1,500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9%
A selection of rewards from a range of partners. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent within the UK and earn 2 points for every £1 spent outside the UK. Points can be redeemed for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£6750
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Earn double points on selected insurances taken out through John Lewis Financial Services. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
AIB Visa Option 1
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
18.9%
£0
18.9%
0.5% after £5000 of yearly spend. Minimum of 12 transactions per year required. Maximum of £250 cashback paid per year. Cashback paid Anniversary into Card Account. For initial £5K a £25 cashback is paid, plus an additional £1 for every further £200 spent.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9%
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 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Santander All in One Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
£3 per month
21.7%
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. 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 15.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 21.7% APR (variable).
TSB Platinum Purchase Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
£0
19.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a rate of 19.95% (variable) per annum, your representative APR is 19.9% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 20 months reverting to 20.95%
£0
20.9%
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
0% for 18 months reverting to 19.944%
£0
37.7%
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9%
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 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Santander Everyday Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 3 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9%
Retailer offers - 5 Welcome offers of up to 25% cashback at well-known retailers (must switch on Retailer Offers within 60 days of activating card).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
first direct Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
18.9%
£0
18.9%
Earn cashback with selected retailers via Visa Offers, customers can register up to five separate first direct Visa cards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£6750
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Earn double points on selected insurances taken out through John Lewis Financial Services. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% 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.

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