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.

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
Aqua Classic Credit Card
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.75%
£0
29.7%
Check eligibility
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 29.7% APR (variable), purchase rate 29.75% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Aqua accounts or open an Aqua account within 12 months of opening a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Marbles Card
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.75%
£0
29.7%
Check eligibility
You could get a credit limit increase after three months. Choose a monthly repayment date that suits you and change it up to twice a year.
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 29.7% APR (variable), purchase rate 29.75% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Marbles accounts or open a Marbles account within 12 months of opening an Aqua, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Bip Credit
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.95%
£0
29.9%
Check eligibility
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).
Aqua Classic Balance Transfer Card
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.95%
£0
34.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 34.9% APR (variable), purchase rate 34.95% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Aqua accounts or open an Aqua account within 12 months of opening a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
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).
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 5 months reverting to 27.95%
£0
27.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
29.5%
£0
29.5%
Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 29.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.5% 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 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 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 Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 22 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 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
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 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
23.7%
Check eligibility
0.5% cashback 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 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
24.5%
£0
24.5%
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New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Spend £0 to £10,000 and receive 0.5% cashback on all purchases. Spend over £10,000 and receive 1% cashback on purchases.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% APR (variable).
American Express Rewards Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
24.5%
£0
24.5%
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 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
24.5%
£0
24.5%
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Limited time offer: Earn 10,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months. 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.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% 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 Shopping Plus Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 22 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 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
23.7%
Check eligibility
0.5% cashback 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 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% 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%
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 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 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).
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
£7.99 per month
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. with a fee of £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Purchases Card
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
0% for 23 months reverting to 20.94%
£0
20.9%
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. 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 20.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Dual 22 Month Offer Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 22 months reverting to 20.95%
£0
20.9%
Earn 3 Nectar points per £1 spent in Sainsbury's and Argos. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere. Earn 500 bonus points each time you spend £35 or more on Sainsbury's shopping with your credit card, up to ten times in your first 2 months, offer available for new customers.
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).
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Name Product Initial credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank 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 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 Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9%
Check eligibility
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% p.a. (variable), your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9%
Check eligibility
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
HSBC No Fee Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
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).
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).
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£6800
0% for 22 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 (eligibility criteria apply)
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
21.9%
Check eligibility
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable), 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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