Chrome Credit Card review 2021

If you’re looking to build or rebuild your credit, then the Chrome Credit Card is designed with you in mind.

Finder rating: ★★★★★

Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 29.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.5% APR (variable).

£250

Minimum credit limit

Up to 56 days

Interest-free each billing period

29.5%

Representative APR

£0

Account fee

Details

IssuerVanquis Bank
NetworkVisa
Annual/monthly fees£0
Min credit limit£250
Max credit limitSubject to status: £1,500
Credit limit noteIncreased to £4K if account held correctly.
Purchases29.5%
Purchases interest-free period (days)56
Additional cards available1

Review by


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.

Expert review

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

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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?

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Representative APR Incentive Link
Aqua Classic Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.7%
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
Check eligibility
Marbles Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
29.7%
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
Check eligibility
Bip Credit
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.9%
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).
Check eligibility
Aqua Classic Balance Transfer Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.9%
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
Check eligibility
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
£0
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
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
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
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
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
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).
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
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).
Amazon Classic Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.9%
Be upgraded to the Amazon Platinum Mastercard if you make at least one transaction a month, make repayments on time and stay within credit limit in the first 12 months..
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).
HSBC Classic Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
£6800
29.9%
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 29.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
33.5%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 33.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.5% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £50, max. limit £1,200.
£3000
33.9%
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£8400
34%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
Aqua Advance credit card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.9%
Reduce your rate over three years if you stay within your credit limit and pay on time. No extra fees on what you spend abroad.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Fluid Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Level Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
£9600
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Zopa Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit not specified.
£10000
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Post Office Classic Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £8,000.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Capital One Classic Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).

Capital One Luma Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
35.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 35.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 35.9% APR (variable).
Capital One Luma Purchase Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
35.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 35.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 35.9% APR (variable).
thinkmoney credit card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
39.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
opus card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
39.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
thimbl. credit card
£0
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
39.9%
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).
Ocean Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
39.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
Cashplus Credit Card Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £50, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
39.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Classic Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
39.9%
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).
Origin Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £150, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
59.9%
Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 59.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 59.9% APR (variable).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The representative APRs shown represent 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.

The verdict

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.

Repayment options

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" (such as withdrawing cash at an ATM, getting cashback at the till, spending at a casino or buying currency) 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 (£168.73), it'll cost you around £5.05 in fees.

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).

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2 Comments

    Default Gravatar
    Lost50p
    December 29, 2019

    With Chrome Credit Cards, do you pay interest on every purchase as soon as it is made? So if one spent £20 and the rate was say 30%, by the end of the month would I have to pay £26 rather than £20? The terms and conditions appear to say so but rather obliquely!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Tom
      January 2, 2020

      Hi Sophia,

      Thanks for your question. As with most credit cards, the Chrome Credit Card has a monthly billing cycle, and any purchases made within a billing cycle only need to be repaid by the due date listed on your credit card statement.

      In the case of the Chrome Credit Card, this means you can get up to 56 days interest-free on any purchases you make using the card, as long as you pay off your balance in full each month. For example, say your credit card has a billing cycle that begins on the 1st of each month and ends on the 30th. The payment due date for any purchases made in this period will be the 26th of the following month.

      This means for any purchases you make at the start of your billing cycle (the 1st of the month), you’ll have up to 56 days to pay them off without being charged interest. Even if you make a purchase at the end of your billing cycle (the 30th of the month), you’ll still have up to 26 days to pay them off without interest. Please keep in mind that you can only take advantage of the interest-free period if you always completely pay off your credit card statement each month.

      If you’re responsible with your credit card spending and managing your payments, you can continue to use your credit card without ever paying interest.

      You can also find out more about interest-free periods work in our guide.

      I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Regards,

      Tom

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