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
What's in this guide?
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.
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
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