Best Credit Cards with No Credit Check

Learn all about credit checks, the importance of credit ratings, and ways to improve your credit score.

Updated: May 21, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

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There are many reasons why you might want a credit card, but it can be harder to get accepted for one if you have poor credit or no credit history.

Whenever you apply for credit, there will almost always be a credit check so the lender can see your credit report, credit history, and credit rating.

Your credit rating lets credit card providers know if you've borrowed responsibly in the past and whether you're likely to repay your debts on time. Credit checks are an essential part of any lending agreement.

If you're worried about being rejected for having a bad credit score or limited credit history, there are credit cards designed specifically for this group of people. These are known as credit builder credit cards.

In this article, you'll learn about credit checks, the importance of credit ratings, and ways to improve your credit score, and we've compiled a list of credit cards available for bad credit scores.

Card NameScoreDetails
1. Barclaycard Forward Card★★★★★Click Here
2. Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card★★★★★Click Here
3. HSBC Classic Credit Card★★★★★Click Here
4. Capital One Classic Credit Card★★★★Click Here
5. Aqua Classic Credit Card★★★★Click Here
6. Asda Money Select Credit Card★★★★Click Here
7. Zopa Credit Card★★★★Click Here

What is a Credit Check?

A credit check is when a credit provider looks at your credit report. A credit report will outline all forms of credit you've had, including overdrafts, loans, mortgages and credit cards, as well as your past and present credit utilisation.

Your report will show if you’ve got any outstanding loan agreements and utility company payment records, and creditors will be able to see if you’ve repaid on time and in full.

Your credit report lets the lender know if you've had any issues repaying money in the past. Your credit file will also show your credit score, which will help lenders decide whether to let you borrow. Credit card providers want to know if you're a reliable borrower or whether there's a risk that you could default and fail to make repayments.

When a credit card provider, or other lenders, look at your credit report, these searches are called hard and soft credit checks. A hard credit search is an in-depth review of your credit history which can affect your credit score and eligibility as it shows up on your report — hard searches will disappear from your credit report after a while.

A soft search provides a view of your credit eligibility and doesn't affect your credit score. Most credit card providers will have a free eligibility checker on their website that you can use before you fill out an application.

Your credit file plays a big part in your credit eligibility, but other factors are also considered, like how much you earn and whether you have a stable job.

The Importance of Your Credit Rating

Your credit rating determines if you'll be accepted for a credit card. Having a low credit rating means your choice of credit cards will be more limited. But that's not to say you won't be able to get a credit card at all.

Before applying for a credit card, it's sensible to check your credit score and take steps to improve it if necessary.

You can check your credit rating via credit reference agencies. The top three UK providers are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Your credit score will be different with each agency as each one uses a different formula to calculate it.

Credit rating tiers also vary between credit reference agencies – TransUnion's runs from 0 to 710, Experian's from 0 to 999 and Equifax's from 0 to 1,000. As an overall rule, the higher your credit score, the better.

If you've got a good or excellent credit score, you'll likely be accepted for most credit cards. If your rating falls into a fair or poor credit score, it will need some work.

Creating a more positive credit history can help your financial future because lenders are more likely to offer you a mortgage, loan or other form of credit when you need it.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Credit Card with a Bad Credit Score

Applying for any line of credit can be risky, especially credit cards.

Consider the pros and cons of using a credit builder credit card before making your decision.

Pros

✔️ Improve credit history: you can use credit builder credit cards to help you improve your credit score over time. If you borrow small amounts on your credit card and pay it back in full and on time, you can demonstrate good card management, and your credit score will go up.

✔️ More likely to be accepted: credit builder credit cards are specifically designed for those with low credit ratings so they can be easier to get accepted for.

✔️ A safer alternative to cash: if you carry cash and it's lost or stolen, there isn't much you can do about it. However, if you lose your credit card, you can report it lost and have the card frozen so no one can use it. If anything happens to your credit account, you can be protected against fraud and the credit card provider will reimburse you and handle the situation.

✔️ Purchase protection: thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, all purchases costing more than £100 and up to £30,000 will be covered if something goes wrong – for example, if the item arrives damaged or faulty.

Cons

❌️ Could get caught in a spiral of debt: if you've had a recent financial struggle, you may be unable to repay your credit card balance. You may enter long-term debt if you cannot make monthly minimum repayments.

❌️ High-interest rate: if you've got a bad credit score, you'll be seen as a higher risk, so you'll be offered a higher interest rate. This makes it crucial to pay off your balance in full each month.

❌️ Low credit limits: credit builder credit cards tend to offer credit limits between £50 and £1,500.

❌️ Potential credit file damage: Missed repayments can harm your credit rating, as can exceeding your credit limit. Set up a direct debit to ensure you make your repayments on time.

❌️ Expensive fees: it's best not to use a credit card for cash withdrawals as this will incur a fee and interest will be charged from the date of the transaction, making it expensive.

Best Credit Cards for Building Credit — Reviews

Let's dive into our reviews of credit cards that are ideal for building your credit.

1. 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.

  • Annual fee: none
  • Credit limit: £50 up to £1,200
  • APR: 33.9% variable

Representative APR example: a 33.9% variable purchase rate, with a 33.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

The Barclaycard Forward Card is a credit builder credit card with personalised credit limits. If you're worried about getting into debt, you can start with a lower credit limit to easily make the repayments.

You can earn a 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your payments on time in the first year, and if you continue to manage your card well in the second year, you can earn a further 2% rate reduction. The card also offers 0% interest on purchases for the first three months from the date you open the account.

Additionally, you'll gain access to Barclays Cashback Rewards, Barclaycard Entertainment and more.

To be eligible for this credit card, you must be employed with an income of more than £3,000 per annum and have had no more than one County Court Judgement.

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.

  • Annual fees: none
  • Credit limit: £250 up to £1,500
  • APR: 29.9% variable

Representative APR example: a 29.9% variable purchase rate, with a 29.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

The Tesco Bank Foundation Credit Card is the ideal credit builder card for anyone with limited or bad credit. Credit limits start at £250, and if you stay within your credit limit and make your minimum repayments on time, you can be considered for regular credit limit increases.

You'll also gain access to Tesco Bank CreditView, provided by one of the UK's top credit reference agencies, TransUnion, so that you can track your credit score with monthly updates.

In addition, you'll collect Clubcard points everywhere you spend with your Tesco credit card. You'll earn additional points if you own a Clubcard and regularly shop at Tesco.

3. HSBC Classic Credit Card

HSBC Classic Credit Card

HSBC Classic Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £250
Representative % APR (variable)
29.9% APR
  • Interest-free period up to 56 days each billing period for cleared balances.
  • Credit limit up to £1,000 (subject to status).
  • No annual fee.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,000 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.

  • Annual fee: none
  • Credit limit: up to £1,000
  • APR: 29.9% variable

Representative APR example: a 29.9% variable purchase rate, with a 29.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,000. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

The HSBC Classic Credit Card is designed to help boost your credit rating. Depending on your financial situation, you can start improving your credit score with up to a £1,000 credit limit.

You can manage your credit card using online banking or via the HSBC Mobile Banking app, where you can check your card balance, make payments and freeze your card if you misplace it.

The card also offers additional benefits such as offers and discounts that are regularly updated so you can save on shopping, travelling, eating out, family days out and more. To be eligible for this credit card, you'll need an annual income or pension before tax of £6,800 or more, and you have to hold an active HSBC current account.

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.

  • Annual fee: none
  • Credit limit: £200 to £1,500
  • APR: 34.9% variable

Representative APR example: a 34.94% variable purchase rate, with a 34.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

The Capital One Classic credit card is ideal if you've got bad credit or are simply looking to build credit. Using this credit card sensibly will help you improve your credit score and earn up to two optional credit limit increases a year.

If you pay off the card balance in full on time each month, you'll get up to 56 days' interest-free on purchases. You can also set up email alerts to remind you when a payment is due so you can stay on top of your payment deadlines.

You can use the Capital One eligibility checker to see if you'll be accepted within 60 seconds, and it won't affect your credit score. You may still be accepted if you have any County Court Judgements. However, you're not likely to be accepted if you've declared bankruptcy in the last 12 months or have no credit history.

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 – £1,500.
  • 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.

  • Annual fee: none.
  • Credit limit: £250 up to £1,500.
  • APR: 34.9% variable.

Representative APR example: a 34.9% variable purchase rate, with a 34.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

Repair bad credit with the Aqua Classic credit card, with a personalised agreed credit limit that can increase if you use your credit card carefully. As part of helping you build credit, you'll get free credit score updates in the app.

If you need that little extra help, you can get expert support from Aqua Coach with hints and tips to help you improve your credit score further. You can see if you're eligible for this credit card within 60 seconds without affecting your credit score.

You can benefit from an interest-free period of up to 48 days on standard purchases if you pay your balance in full every month and on time. To be eligible for this credit card, you must have had no bankruptcy declarations or County Court Judgements in the last 12 months.

6. Asda Money Select Credit Card

Asda Money Select Credit Card

Asda Money Select Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £250
Representative % APR (variable)
34.9% APR
  • Cashback 0.3-1%.
  • Earn Asda Rewards when you spend.
  • No annual fee.

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.

  • Annual fees: none
  • Credit limit: £250 up to £5,000
  • APR: 34.9% up to 43.4% variable

Representative APR example: a 34.9% variable purchase rate, with a 34.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

With the Asda Money Select Credit Card, you can borrow money to build credit and be rewarded for using your credit card for shopping. When you shop in ASDA, you'll earn 1% cashback in Asda Pounds; when you shop everywhere else, you'll earn 0.3%.

You can also enjoy an interest-free period of up to 56 days if you repay the credit balance in full and on time.

You can do an eligibility check before you apply that tells you the credit limit and interest rate you'll be offered before any hard credit checks happen. You can stay on top of your credit card management with Asda's handy app.

7. Zopa Credit Card

Zopa Credit Card

Zopa Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £200
Representative % APR (variable)
34.9% APR
  • Rates from 24.9% APR to 34.9% APR depending on individual circumstances.
  • No fees abroad.
  • Credit Cushion feature to stay on top of your spending at any time.

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.

  • Annual fees: none
  • Credit limit: £200 up to £1,500
  • APR: 34.9% variable

Representative APR example: a 34.9% variable purchase rate, with a 34.9% representative APR with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. All credit available is subject to status and credit checks.

The Zopa Credit Card is a credit builder card that helps improve a poor credit rating. Interest rates can be as low as 27.3%, but this will depend on your credit history and financial situation.

This card not only helps you fix a bad credit rating, but you can use it for travelling. If you use your credit card for purchases overseas, there is no foreign exchange fee (a fee will apply to cash withdrawals).

One of the great features of this credit card is the Credit Cushion feature which allows you to set aside some of your available credit balance to access when you really need it. You can manage your card effortlessly through Zopa's simple and easy-to-use app.

Using Credit Cards to Improve a Bad Credit History: The Verdict

It's near impossible to get a credit card, or any line of credit for that matter, without credit checks. But there are ways to make your financial profile more desirable and increase your chances of getting accepted.

If you get accepted for one of the credit cards mentioned above and use it sensibly – making your repayments on time and not exceeding your credit limit – you should start to see an improvement in your credit score after a few months.

Doing this can only improve your financial situation in the long run. Following the steps below can also help you to boost your credit score.

  • Make sure you're on the electoral roll: lenders use this to confirm your identity so it's a great place to start.
  • Check for errors: take an in-depth look over your credit record and check all the information to ensure no mistakes. If you do find any errors, contact the credit reference agency so they make amendments.
  • Keep your credit utilisation low: this is the total amount of available credit you're using and it's best to keep it at 30% or below.
  • On-time minimum monthly repayments: late or missed repayments can harm your credit score. Setting up a direct debit will help ensure you pay on time.
  • Pay back more than the minimum: paying back more than the minimum repayment will help you clear the debt faster and you'll save interest.
  • Use eligibility checkers before filling out applications: as mentioned, hard searches can affect your credit score, so always use an eligibility checker before you apply for any credit cards.

So, now you're all set to improve your bad credit rating; all you need to do is follow the above tips and apply for a credit card to help you with credit building.

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