Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
Chrome Credit Card review 2020
If you’re looking to build or rebuild your credit, then the Chrome Credit Card is designed with you in mind.
Finder rating: ★★★★★
Doing its job: 5/5
In a nutshell:
Minimum credit limit
Up to 56 days
Interest-free each billing period
|Min credit limit||£250|
|Max credit limit||Subject to status: £1,500|
|Credit limit note||Increased to £4K if account held correctly.|
|Purchases interest-free period (days)||56|
|Additional cards available||1|
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.
Along with companies like aqua and Capital One, Vanquis Bank (which issues this card) is one of the biggest names in credit-building credit cards – which are designed to help borrowers with limited or bad credit to build a positive credit history.
As the name suggests, “credit builders” like the Chrome card are designed to help build a positive credit history. Any credit card, used responsibly (staying within your credit limit and paying at the very least the monthly minimum payment on time) will have a positive effect on your credit score, but these specialised cards are generally easier to get approved for, and often come with features designed to help protect and build credit. With the Chrome card, for example, you can schedule text or email alerts and can set up a direct debit to ensure you never miss a repayment.
The downsides of credit builders include higher interest rates, but this card boasts Vanquis Bank’s best rate, and if you pay off your balance in full each month you’ll be able to take advantage of the card’s grace period of up to 56 days of 0% interest on purchases each billing cycle (this doesn’t apply to cash advances).
Expect a low opening credit limit (this is always tailored to the individual), which could be increased after your fifth statement, with further potential increases every five months.
To maximise your chances of improving your credit score, you should use your credit builder card sensibly – staying within your credit limit and paying at the very least the monthly minimum payment on time (don’t forget, Vanquis lets you set up a direct debit for this). You’ll also need to keep other credit accounts in good shape and not take on too much debt elsewhere.
The Chrome Credit Card is issued on the Visa network (used by a whopping 3.3 billion cards), so you'll be able to use it at more than 46 million merchants across more than 200 countries and territories.
Pros and cons
- You could get approved even with bad credit.
- You could get a credit limit increase in as little as five months (and then further increases every five months after that).
- For a credit builder, the Chrome Card has a very competitive representative APR.
- Used responsibly, it can help improve your credit score.
- Like almost all UK credit cards, if you clear your full balance each month and don't withdraw cash or transfer money using the card, you can avoid interest altogether.
- As with most credit builders, there's no annual fee to worry about.
- You can manage your account in the Vanquis Bank App, which lets you request credit limit increases, check your balance, review transactions and manage direct debits. You can also set up text and email alerts to stay on top of things.
- Up to 49% of applicants are likely to be offered a higher rate than the advertised representative APR (card issuers are only obliged to offer this rate to 51% of customers).
- This is a fairly basic card, so don't expect rewards or perks – it's all about getting your credit record back on track.
- Although Vanquis shows a commitment to reviewing your credit limit regularly, there's no evidence of a similar commitment to reviewing your interest rate.
- Because the card is aimed at people who don't have excellent credit, the interest rates aren't market-leading. So if you end up carrying a balance from month to month (particularly if you regularly make just the minimum required repayment), the costs of running the card can mount up.
How does it compare with other credit builders?
With dedicated credit-builder cards, the Chrome credit card is a good option for anyone looking to boost or improve their credit score. Of course, the upshot is that is has no real perks or bonuses to speak of, but if you’re looking to build your credit, then this card does a more than decent job.
The Chrome credit card also offers a relatively low rate by credit-builder card standards, but you’d ideally be paying off your balance in full each month, otherwise your credit rating is likely to suffer further.
You can make manual repayments through Vanquis Bank's app, by logging in to your online banking or over the phone (0330 099 3001). Alternatively you may wish to set up a direct debit.
A direct debit protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and damaging your credit score – making it harder and more expensive to borrow money in the future – and getting hit with a penalty fee (£12) as a result.
You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.
Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:
|Minimum amount||Fixed amount||Fixed percentage||Full amount|
Alternatively, you may be asked to authorise a continuous payment authority (CPA). This allows Vanquis to request payments from your current account. A CPA can be cancelled at any time (although if you do cancel a CPA, you should always make alternative arrangements to make repayments, otherwise you risk damaging your credit score).
How to apply for the Chrome Credit Card
If you’ve compared cards and decided that the Chrome is the card for you, it’s straightforward to apply online, and you’ll typically get a response within 60 seconds.
Each application is considered on its own merit, and Vanquis will still consider you if you’ve been turned down for credit elsewhere. Before applying, you can check your likelihood of acceptance in around two minutes – Vanquis uses a “soft credit search” to do this, meaning that your credit score won’t be affected.
The entire application process takes around 10-14 days – from you submitting it through to the physical card arriving in the post. If Vanquis needs to contact you for more information then it could take a little longer. After you’ve received your card and welcome pack in the post, you’ll need to give Vanquis a call to activate the card. Alternatively you can activate the card in the app.
Your PIN (Personal Identification Number) will arrive by post separately, and you’ll need to key in this PIN the first time you use the card at a merchant. From then on it’s contactless all the way and you can just tap and go provided you’re spending less than £45.
Frequently asked questions
What credit limit will I get with the Chrome Credit Card?
If Vanquis Bank is able to offer you this deal, the offer will specify a personalised credit limit based on Vanquis Bank's assessment of your situation. The minimum limit offered on the card is £250, while the maximum is £1,500. Once you've had the card for a while and shown Vanquis Bank that you're reliable, you may wish to apply for a credit limit increase.
Can I withdraw cash using the Chrome Credit Card?
Although it's possible, withdrawing cash from a credit card account is generally not a good idea, as "cash-like transactions" (withdrawing cash at an ATM, getting cashback at the till, spending at a casino, buying currency, etc.) often incur steep fees and/or higher rates of interest.
The cash advance fee on the Chrome Credit Card is 3% (min. £3). For example, if you withdraw £50, you'll incur a fee of £3.00. Withdraw £250, and you'll incur a fee of £7.50.
The interest rate on this part of your balance will be 29.5%, which is the same as the standard purchases rate (chargeable from the day of the transaction – the card's usual "up to 56 days interest-free" grace period won't apply).
How much does it cost to use the Chrome Credit Card abroad?
Non-sterling transactions are subject to a 2.99% charge. For example, if you spend 200 euros (£180.96), it'll cost you around £5.41.
What is the minimum payment on the Chrome Credit Card?
Each month you must pay at least 2.5% of your balance at that point or £10.00 – whichever of the two figures is greater. So if you had, say, £380.00 outstanding, you'd pay £10.00, and if you had £1,600.00 outstanding, you'd pay £40.00.
Paying only the minimum required amount each month is generally not advisable as it tends to be a very expensive way to borrow money which can lead to persistent debt.
Can I transfer money from the Chrome Credit Card to a bank account?
Yes. That's what's known as a "money transfer" (rather than a "balance transfer") in credit card jargon. You can arrange this from your online banking or using Vanquis Bank's app. This part of your card balance will incur interest of 29.5%. The fee for a money transfer is 3% (min. £3).