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: August 28, 2023

There are many reasons for a credit card, but it can be hard to apply for credit if you’ve not got good credit or have no credit history.

To take out any line of 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're reliable to lend credit. 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, your options are only partially closed off. There are cards in the market for those seeking to improve their credit report.

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.

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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 includes any line of credit you’ve ever had, such as overdrafts, bank and credit card accounts, loans, and 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 report lets the lender know if you've had any issues repaying money in the past. Your credit file will tell them your credit score, determining if they'll lend to you. Applying for a credit card is no different, as credit card providers want to know if you're a reliable person to have their product.

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 scores and eligibility as it shows up on your report — hard searches will disappear off 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 sometimes your character is considered.

The Importance of Your Credit Rating

Your credit rating determines if you'll be accepted for a credit card. It's a little more complex than if you have a low credit score; you can't have a credit card; that's not true.

Having a poor credit rating means you'll be limited in what credit cards you can have. Poor credit history isn't the end of the world, but you should learn more about credit scores in general to improve your credit rating.

You can check your credit rating via credit reference agencies. The top three UK providers are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You add all your information and see that your credit score is rated from 0 to 999. There are four tiers to credit rating:

  • Poor or bad credit score: ranges from 0 to 600
  • Fair credit score: 600 to 700
  • Good credit score: 700 to 780
  • Excellent credit score: 780+

Credit rating tiers vary between credit reference agencies, but the tier ratings are similar. 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 you'll be a more promising candidate for potential loans, house mortgages and more significant credit balances on future credit cards.

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.

You must assess your financial history and make sure you can avoid potential missed payments. If your main worry about getting a credit card is your poor credit score, there are more pros than cons.

Pros

✔️ Improve credit history: you can use credit builder cards to help you improve your credit score over time. If you borrow small amounts from a credit card and pay it back on time in full, you can demonstrate good card management, and your credit report will improve as time goes on. Even if you've got no credit history, you can still apply for a credit card, as there are specialist credit card providers who want to help individuals improve their low credit scores.

✔️ Spread the cost of purchases: having a credit card can help you spread the cost of purchases, especially if you're paying for expensive items like household appliances.

✔️ 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 bank account, you can be protected against fraud and the credit card provider will reimburse you and handle the situation.

✔️ Spending abroad is easier: credit cards can be beneficial for spending abroad. Usually, credit card providers will deal with the currency exchange rates, and your purchases abroad will be protected if anything happens. Some credit cards come with fee-free foreign transactions making spending abroad a little cheaper.

✔️ Credit cards are convenient: sometimes purchases can't wait until payday, and not everyone has spare money in their bank account. A credit card can help you borrow money to cover any costs that may crop up throughout the month.

✔️ Additional benefits: not all credit cards will come with introductory offers or bonus perks, but some credit cards offer a points system for certain shops so you can make the most of spending. Most cards for bad credit offer some free service to help you build credit.

✔️ Debt consolidation: if you've already got a credit card and looking to make a balance transfer, a new credit card could help with this, but you're better off looking at balance transfer cards that specialise in reducing debt.

✔️ Interest-free purchases: most credit card providers may have an interest-free introductory period you can use. They can range from 1-3 months and are ideal if you want to avoid paying interest on big purchases. The only requirement for interest-free purchases is paying back the balance in full on time.

Cons

❌️ Potential to enter long-term 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 the APR interest rates may be higher on the credit cards that you're eligible for.

❌️ Low credit limits: if you've no or bad credit history, you'll unlikely be accepted for premium credit cards with high limits. However, you'll find the credit balance you're more likely to be offered will range from £50 to £1,500.

❌️ Potential credit file damage: Missed repayments can harm your credit rating, and if you apply to lots of credit cards at once, the hard searches will also affect your credit score. Equally, if a credit card application is rejected, it will show on your credit file, so always use an eligibility check if one is available.

❌️ Expensive fees: if you plan to make cash withdrawals or do money transfers, it can get quite expensive, and you'll get a charge, and you'll have to pay interest daily on the amount you take out. Cards for bad credit aren't ideal for cash withdrawals, so if you require quick access to cash, consider taking out a loan.

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 this excellent card management into the second year, you can earn a further 2% interest rate reduction. You can indulge in a 0% interest rate on three-month purchases from the date you open the account.

On top of helping you improve your bad credit rating, you can get up to five months free of Apple subscriptions such as Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and more. Additionally, you'll gain access to Barclays Cashback Rewards, Barclaycard Entertainment and more.

To be eligible for this credit card, you have to 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 repayment on time, you can be considered for regular credit limit increases.

You'll 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.

You can make the most of your shopping with Tesco credit cards. You collect Clubcard points everywhere you spend. You'll earn additional points if you own a Clubcard and regularly shop at Tesco. You may not be accepted for this credit card without any country court judgements.

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 £1,000 credit limit.

With this credit card, you can manage your account using online banking or via the HSBC Mobile Banking app, where you can stay in control of your credit card with balance checking and card freezing abilities and make payments too.

You'll also gain section 75 purchase protection under the consumer credit act, so purchases ranging from £100 up to £30,000 will be protected if the supplier breaches a contract or misrepresents goods.

With this credit card, you'll receive 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 simply looking to build credit. Using this credit card sensibly will help you improve your credit score and earn up to 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 period 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 in your credit history. 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 – £1,200.
  • 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.

  • Annual fee: none.
  • Credit limit: £250 up to £1,200.
  • 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 adjusts as you become more acquainted with Aqua. As part of helping you build credit, you'll gain free access to company credit agencies to keep a close eye on your credit score.

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 with an impact on your credit score.

You can benefit from an interest-free period of 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 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 make 1% cashback in Asda Pounds; when you shop everywhere else, you'll earn 0.3%.

When using your credit card, you can earn up to £50 extra with 5% back in Asda Pounds on your Asda spend in the first 90 days of opening the account. You can enjoy an interest-free period of 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 with Asda's handy app and attach your credit card to your Apple or Google Pay.

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 cash builder card that helps improve a poor credit rating. You may be considered for a lower APR rate of 24.9%, and each individual is assessed accordingly to determine APR.

This card not only helps you fix a bad credit rating, but you can use it for travelling. When you use this credit card abroad, you can benefit from fee-free foreign purchases.

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

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 to be accepted for lines of credit.

Working on your credit history can only improve your future financial commitments. You can increase your creditworthiness and go from a bad credit record to an excellent one with one of the credit cards on our list.

Spoiler: there are no cons to improving your credit score; it can only improve your financial situation in the long run. You may be wondering if you can do more to improve your credit report, and yes, there is. You can do the following to improve your credit score:

  • Make sure you're on the electoral roll: proving when you live by registering on the electoral roll is a great place to start improving credit scores.
  • Check for errors: take an in-depth look over your credit history and check all the information to ensure no mistakes on the credit report. If you do find any errors, contact the credit reference agency so they make amendments.
  • Be a responsible borrower: having unused credit accounts and too many credit cards could harm your credit score. Close any unused credit accounts and only borrow what you plan to use. Having a high credit utilisation can affect future credit applications.
  • On-time minimum monthly repayments: late or missed repayments on borrowed money can harm your credit score. If you have trouble remembering when payments are due, set a reminder in your smartphone calendar, or set up a direct debit so that you can keep up-to-date with all your payments.
  • Pay back more than the minimum: paying back more than the minimum repayment will help you build the balance back up your credit card quicker.
  • 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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