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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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
Name Product Initial credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Link Incentive Representative example
Tymit Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit £15,000.
Not specified
22.4%
£0
22.4%
Check eligibility
Representative Example: Rep. APR 22.4% (variable). This means for a purchase of £100 at 22.4% spread over 12 months, you'll pay a total of £111.39 (12 payments of £9.28). No annual fee.
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.5%
£0
29.5%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 29.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.5% APR (variable).
thimbl. credit card
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
39.94%
£0
39.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Classic Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £150, max. limit £600.
Not specified
39.94%
£0
39.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Origin Credit Card
Min. limit £150, max. limit £250.
Not specified
59.94%
£0
59.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 59.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 59.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
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).
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Name Product Initial credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Credit Card Rewards Offer Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Check eligibility
Double points on spend in M&S for first year (2 points per £1). Then 1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
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 Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 24 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
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 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
M&S Bank Credit Card Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Santander All in One Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 23 months reverting to 18.9%
£3 per month
24.7%
Check eligibility
0.5% cashback on all your eligible purchases, paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit. Terms apply.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
The American Express Rewards® Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
26%
£0
26%
Check eligibility
As a new Cardmember, earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent thereafter.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express® Credit Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
26%
£0
26%
Check eligibility
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 spent. Spend £12,000 annually and get a travel companion voucher when redeeming Avios for a BA reward flight. Terms Apply
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26% APR (variable).
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Name Product Initial credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 24 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
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 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Santander All in One Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 23 months reverting to 18.9%
£3 per month
24.7%
Check eligibility
0.5% cashback on all your eligible purchases, paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit. Terms apply.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
Royal Bank of Scotland Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers only)
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
NatWest Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers only)
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 23 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9%
Check eligibility
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 Credit Card Rewards Offer Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Check eligibility
Double points on spend in M&S for first year (2 points per £1). Then 1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
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).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Initial credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Credit Card Rewards Offer Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Check eligibility
Double points on spend in M&S for first year (2 points per £1). Then 1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
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 Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 24 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
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 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers only)
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
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 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Royal Bank of Scotland Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers only)
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
NatWest Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers only)
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% 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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