What are the Easiest Credit Cards to Get?

The best credit cards for a poor credit rating.

Updated: May 19, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

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Credit cards are a great financial tool for building credit scores and are ideal for spreading the cost of purchases.

There are over 60 million credit cards in circulation in the UK, and it's only natural that you may need one.

If you've got bad credit or no credit history, you may find it harder to get accepted for a credit card. But there are still plenty of options available to you.

This article will show the best credit cards for a poor credit rating and some helpful tips to help you build your credit report.

Card NameScoreDetails
1. Vanquis Credit Builder Credit Card★★★★★Click Here
2. Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card★★★★★Click Here
3. Barclaycard Forward Card★★★★★Click Here
4. Capital One Classic Credit Card★★★★Click Here
5. Aqua Classic Credit Card★★★★Click Here

Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Cards

Credit cards are a serious commitment.

Like any financial decision, the best way to prepare yourself for credit applications is to learn as much about the product as possible, starting with the benefits and drawbacks:

Benefits

✔️ A credit card is ideal for spreading the cost of purchases, making them more affordable.

✔️ Credit cards are a safer alternative to cash. If you ever lose your card, you can contact your provider, and they will make sure no one has access to your account.

✔️ Making regular purchases and paying back the balance each month will help your credit rating improve over time.

✔️ You'll get purchase protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act for purchases of more than £100 and up to £30,000.

Drawbacks

❌️ If you don't make repayments on time, it can negatively affect your credit score.

❌️ You can enter long-term debt if you struggle to repay your credit card balance.

❌️ If you've got a bad credit score, you'll usually be offered higher interest rates than someone with an excellent credit score.

Credit Cards that Accept Poor Credit or No Credit

Let's dive into our reviews of credit cards that are ideal for people with poor credit or limited credit history.

Your credit application may be rejected for some of these cards if you've been declared bankrupt or have any county court judgements (CCJs). None of these cards have an annual fee.

1. Vanquis Credit Builder Credit Card

Vanquis Credit Builder Credit Card

Vanquis Credit Builder Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £500
Representative % APR (variable)
34.5% APR
  • Improve your credit score if you manage your card responsibly.
  • Credit limit £500 to £1,200 (subject to status).
  • £10 minimum repayment.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 34.5% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 34.5% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

Our top pick is the Vanquis Credit Builder Credit Card. It has a starting credit limit of between £500 and £1,200 and credit limits are reviewed every five months. This means if you're paying back your balance on time and staying under the limit, your credit limit could increase.

You can enjoy interest-free purchases for the first 56 days of opening the account. You can manage your account via the Vanquis mobile app, online banking, SMS, and email alerts.

2. Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card

Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card

Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £250
Representative % APR (variable)
29.9% APR
  • Collect Clubcard points almost every time you shop.
  • Credit limit £250 to £1,500.
  • Access to Tesco Bank CreditView, provided by TransUnion, for 3 years from account opening.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 29.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 29.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

The Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card helps you build credit and track your credit score with Tesco Bank CreditView. This credit card is ideal if you've got bad credit, as the starting limits are between £250 to £1,500. You can expect regular credit increases if you make minimum payments on time and stay within your credit limit.

Although the minimum payment is high, this credit card has one of the lowest APR rates on the list, with a representative APR of 29.9%. Other perks of this credit card include collecting extra Clubcard points when you spend using your credit card at Tesco. Additionally, you can control your card and finances from Tesco's Mobile Banking app and online banking.

3. Barclaycard Forward Card

Barclaycard Forward Card

Barclaycard Forward Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £50
Representative % APR (variable)
33.9% APR
  • 0% interest on purchases for 3 months (from the date you open your account).
  • Credit limit £50 to £1,200.
  • Minimum repayment £5.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 33.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 33.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

If you're a small spender looking for the right card, the Barclaycard Forward Card may be ideal. With a personalised credit limit of between £50 to £1,200, you can build credit without worrying about getting into too much debt.

From opening your account, you'll get a three-month interest-free period for purchases. And if you make all your payments on time for the first year of holding the account, you'll get a 3% interest rate reduction. A further 2% reduction will be applied if you continue to manage your account well in the second year.

4. Capital One Classic Credit Card

Capital One Classic Credit Card

Capital One Classic Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £200
Representative % APR (variable)
34.9% APR
  • For people with bad credit or building credit.
  • Credit limit £200 to £1,500.
  • Minimum repayment £5.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 34.94% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 34.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

The Capital One Classic Credit Card is only available to applicants with a credit history. But you can still apply if your credit score is low. Even if your credit file includes CCJs or defaults, this card can help you improve your credit score over time.

You can stay on top of your spending with email alerts to avoid missing repayments. Capital One rewards you with up to two optional credit balance increases per year if you manage your card well.

5. Aqua Classic Credit Card

Aqua Classic Credit Card

Aqua Classic Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £250
Representative % APR (variable)
34.9% APR
  • Smart credit limits from £250 – £1,200.
  • Build better credit with expert support in the Aqua app.
  • Ability to build your credit score, if you manage your account well.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 34.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 34.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

The Aqua Classic Credit Card allows you to check your eligibility in 60 seconds with no impact on your credit score. If accepted, you'll gain access to Aqua Coach, which helps you improve your credit score. You'll receive a credit limit of between £250 and £1,200 and, as Aqua gets to know you and as you demonstrate good card management, your credit limit may increase.

You can stay in control of your repayments with text alerts to help you keep up with good card management.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit Scores: Buying Guide

In this section, we dive into the different credit card types and which factors to consider when deciding which card is best for you.

What is a Credit Card?

A credit card is similar to a debit card in that you can use it to make payments online or in shops. However, with a credit card, you borrow money that you then need to repay. With a debit card, the money comes straight out of your bank account.

When you apply for a credit card, you'll be given a credit limit based on your credit history. This is the maximum amount you can spend on your card and you must pay back the balance or the minimum amount each month.

Most credit cards will charge interest on your repayments, although some will offer interest-free repayments for a set number of months. However, these tend to be offered to those with good credit ratings.

If you have poor credit, some cards are specifically designed to help you rebuild your credit over time. But credit limits tend to be lower and interest rates are higher.

There are different types of credit cards, varying in function and purpose. The different types of credit cards include:

  • Purchase cards: the sole purpose of this credit card is to make purchases and spread the cost. Most providers offer an interest-free period, so you can shop without worrying about paying interest for a set time.
  • Balance transfer cards: if you've got a credit card that's charging a high APR, you can use this type of credit card to transfer the balance across and pay a lower interest rate. Again, some of these cards have interest-free periods, allowing you to pay off the balance without paying any extra interest. Just watch out for transfer fees.
  • Money transfer credit cards: these cards let you move money from your credit card into your bank account and use the funds to pay off debts or make purchases. Again, there might be a 0% period for a number of months and there's usually a transfer fee to pay.
  • Travel credit cards: these cards charge lower or no fees for using your credit card to make purchases overseas. Standard credit cards often charge high foreign transaction fees.
  • Credit builder cards: these cards are designed for credit building and usually come with a low credit limit and high rates.

What to Look Out for when Finding the Right Credit Card

When finding the right credit card suitable for your needs, we recommend keeping the following factors in mind:

  • Eligibility: some credit card companies will have an eligibility checker you can use before starting the application process and this only takes a few minutes. This will help you to see how likely you are to be accepted for a card without hurting your credit score.
  • Affordability: if you think you'd struggle to make repayments on time, you should rethink getting a credit card.
  • Annual fees: always check whether there is a fee for using your credit card.
  • APR rates: interest rates will vary between credit cards and providers; look for the one with the lowest rate so you don't have to pay lots in interest.
  • Features: some cards offer rewards and discounts; this is something to consider if you want to make the most of your credit card purchases.

Final Thoughts on Credit Cards for Applicants with Bad Credit History

Now you're prepared to start applying for a credit card.

With one of our top picks, you can build your credit score, and soon enough, you'll be on your way to higher credit limits and more financial opportunities.

Before you go, we've got some helpful tips on improving your credit rating:

  • Get to know your credit file: check if you've got bad credit with any of the top UK credit reference agencies: the most popular are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
  • Correct any mistakes: if you spot errors on your credit report, contact the credit reference agency to get them corrected.
  • Register on the electoral roll: this helps lenders verify your identity and can help you get credit.
  • Repay on time: avoiding late payments and paying back the balance in full each month is the easiest way to improve your credit score.
  • Pay down debt: if you have existing debt, try to pay off as much of it as you can.
  • Space out credit applications: try not to apply for credit too often as this can look bad on your credit file – space out applications by three to six months.

Related Guides:

FAQs

What is an Instant Approval Credit Card?

What is the Most Common Credit Card in the UK?

What is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

Can I Get a Credit Card with No Credit History?

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