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Credit cards for bad credit

Compare specialist credit cards for poor credit scores

  • Representative 29.9% APR

  • Compare from a range of specialist providers

  • Our soft search won't harm your credit score

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MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker not a lender. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident. Representative 29.9% APR.

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Aqua Classic

  • Purchases


  • Balance transfer

    49.95% 3% fee

Representative example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 32.94% (variable) p.a. your representative APR is 32.9% APR (variable)

Great for

  • Your credit limit could increase after 4 months
  • This card can help to build your credit rating if you make payments on time and stay within your credit limit
  • Aqua Coach in the Aqua app can help you keep track of your credit score, while giving you tips on how you could improve it

But be aware that

  • Credit limits & balance transfer amounts are the minimum you will be offered, assumed based on information given, and subject to lender's checks.
  • Card details may change if your information is inaccurate or you confirm your financial circumstances may change

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Marbles Classic

  • Purchases


  • Balance transfer

    49.95% 3% fee

Representative example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 32.94% (variable) p.a. your representative APR is 32.9% APR (variable)

Great for

  • Your credit limit could increase after 4 months
  • This card can help to build your credit rating if you make payments on time and stay within your credit limit

But be aware that

  • Credit limits & balance transfer amounts are the minimum you will be offered, assumed based on information given, and subject to lender's checks.
  • This may change if your information is inaccurate or you confirm your financial circumstances may change

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Capital One Complete 6 month card

  • Purchases

    0% for 6 months then 37.94%

  • Balance transfer

    0% for 6 months then 37.94% 3% fee

Representative example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 37.94% (variable) p.a. your representative APR is 37.9% APR (variable)

Great for

  • If you're accepted, you'll get the interest rate and promotional period shown here
  • This card can help build your credit rating if you pay your monthly minimum payment on time

But be aware that

  • 0% for 6 months on balance transfers and 6 months on purchases, then 37.94%
More details

Repayment details

  • Your monthly minimum payment will be the greater of:

    • 3% of the outstanding balance on your statement

      (minimum £5)

    • The full balance if less than £5

    • 3% of the outstanding balance plus interest, plus fees, plus any insurance premium, plus the amount of any arrears which are payable immediately.

  • Allocation of payments:

    If you do not pay your balance in full Capital One will allocate your payments to balances with the highest interest rate before balances with lower interest rates. Please refer to Capital One terms for full breakdown

What is a credit card for bad credit?

A credit card for bad credit has the same features as a regular credit card, but people with poor credit ratings are more likely to be accepted when they apply.

Bad credit credit cards often have lower credit limits and higher interest rates (if you don’t clear your balance every month) than regular credit cards.

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How do credit cards for bad credit work?

  • Spend responsibly

    Credit cards for bad credit are useful for daily purchases as long as you stay within your credit limit. Remember, these cards often have higher APRs, so it's crucial to pay off the full balance monthly, not just the minimum payment.

  • Make payments on time

    Ensure timely payments either by setting up a direct debit for full balance payments or by using monthly calendar reminders to avoid missing a payment. This will help to demonstrate responsible credit use to credit agencies.

  • See your credit score improve

    Regular credit card payments over a sustained period can boost your credit score. This improved score opens doors to better financial opportunities, including access to more favourable credit cards and loans in the future.

Should I get a credit card when I have bad credit? 

Whether it’s a good idea to get a credit card when your score isn’t the best will depend on a few factors: 

  • Tick

    It’s a good idea if:

    • You can pay your card off in full each month
      If you are confident that you can repay the balance in full each month, then the higher APRs that you would be subject to won't matter. Indeed, using a credit card responsibly will show lenders that you can be trusted to borrow, and as your credit score starts to improve, you will be eligible for credit cards with more favourable terms.

    • You won’t max out your credit limit
      Your credit limit is the amount of money available for you to borrow. However, just because it’s available doesn’t mean you should use all of it. Maxing out your credit card will bring your credit score tumbling down. It’s widely advised to keep your credit score at 30% or lower. So, for example, if your credit limit is £1,000, it can be a good idea to not borrow more than £300. Keeping your credit limit low also boosts your score.

  • Cross

    It's a bad idea if:

    • You won’t keep up with your credit card repayments
      If you know you will miss your credit card payments, then it’s strongly advised that you don’t get a credit card. If you don’t keep up with your repayments then you risk damaging your credit score further, making it harder to borrow.

    • You’re already in debt
      If you’re already having money problems then a credit card might not be the best choice for your circumstances. Because if you struggle to keep up with the repayments you can end up in credit card debt, so think carefully before applying.

Is it a good time to get a bad credit credit card?

As of March 2024, the Bank of England base rate is 5.25%, which is as high as it has been for 15 years. A higher base rate correlates to higher APRs on financial products such as credit cards and loans, and this therefore makes debt more expensive.

  • High interest rates mean it’ll be more expensive to borrow money and this is important to keep in mind if you want a bad credit credit card. A bad credit credit card will have a higher interest rate than a standard credit card because you are seen as a riskier applicant.  

  • However, if you are able to repay the credit card balance in full every month, interest won't accrue on your account and so it is less important if APRs are slightly higher.

It is therefore a good idea to use a price comparison site like ours when looking for your new credit card. When you search with us you can filter by interest rate and make sure you are snagging the most competitive deal. 

credit card

What can I use a credit card for?

While a credit card comes with risks if you don’t pay it off on time and in full every month, it can be a helpful tool for your day-to-day finances. You could use a credit card for:

  • Everyday spending

    As long as you pay off the balance in full each month, using your credit card for everyday spending can help boost your score over the long term.

  • Emergency purchases

    Having a credit card ‘just in case’ could be helpful if you have a boiler breakdown or an unforeseen and essential motoring costs to pay for.

  • Building your credit rating

    As long as you make your credit card repayments on time, your credit score should start to rise. That may mean you're eligible for better rates in future.

Unlock better deals by getting on top of your credit score

If you want to keep up with your score, then you can check it with our Credit Monitor service. The benefits of using Credit Monitor are:

  • It’s free: It won’t cost you a penny to find out and monitor your score 

  • Won’t affect your credit rating: We carry out a soft search, which means a hard mark won’t be left on your file when you check your eligibility with us 

  • Offers made for you: We’ll show you the credit card, loan and mortgage deals you’re most likely to be approved for, and the better your score, the more favourable deals you'll be eligible for.

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Credit cards can take a while to get your head around. That’s why we’re here to help you. We have a range of guides you can read, to get you clued up on credit cards: 

credit cards

Why do I have a bad credit score

There can be a number of factors that can contribute to a poor credit score:

  • Late or missed payments: Your payment history is crucial. Missing or being late on payments for loans, credit cards, or bills can significantly lower your score.

  • High credit utilisation: Using a large portion of your credit limit can negatively impact your score. It's recommended to keep your credit utilisation below 30%.

  • Frequent credit applications: Submitting several credit applications within a short timeframe can suggest financial instability to lenders, which may adversely affect your credit score.

  • Having no credit history: Surprisingly, having no credit history can also lead to a poor score. Without a record of borrowing and repaying, lenders have no way to assess your creditworthiness.

If you have a bad credit score, you don’t have to be stuck with it. As our guide explains, there are steps you can take to improve your credit score, such as registering to vote and checking your credit file for errors.

credit score

Building credit as a new resident in the UK

If you've just moved to the UK and are struggling to get accepted for a credit card due to a bad credit score or no credit history, here are some steps you can take:

  • Start with a basic bank account: Open a basic bank account. These accounts don't offer overdrafts or credit, making them easier to obtain and a good starting point for building your financial footprint in the UK.

  • Consider a prepaid card: Use a prepaid card to manage your expenses. Some prepaid cards can help build your credit score when you top them up and use them regularly.

  • Register on the electoral roll: Registering to vote in the UK can improve your credit score as it helps credit agencies verify your identity and address.

  • Limit credit applications: Avoid applying for multiple credit products in a short period, as this can be seen as a sign that you are struggling to manage your money and so can negatively impact your credit score.

Kate Hughes

Our expert says


Used well, these cards really can help boost your credit score, but be sure you understand what you’re getting into. Make it a priority to clear the balance on time and in full and understand the financial implications if you don’t. Make sure you’re in charge of your credit card, not the other way around.

- Kate Hughes, Money & Savings Expert

How to compare credit cards for bad credit with MoneySuperMarket

If you think a credit card for bad credit could be right for you, the next step is to use our eligibility checker to see what cards are available – including those you’re most likely to be approved for:

  • Tell us about yourself

    We'll ask you a handful of simple questions about your circumstances and your finances and what you need from a credit card

  • We browse the market

    We'll sift through dozens of credit card offers from across the market, and show you the cards we think will suit you best

  • Pick the card you want

    You'll be shown a range of credit cards, which you'll be able to sort according to APR, features and your chances of being approved

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker – this means we’ll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a fee by the lenders – though the size of that payment doesn’t affect how we show products to customers.

Representative 29.9% APR

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There isn’t a single answer to this question, as different lenders have different criteria for their products and calculate your overall score in different ways. However, the more negative marks on your credit history – such as bankruptcies, county court judgements or missed repayments – the less likely you’ll be accepted if you apply for credit.

It will depend on how you use the card – if you make your payments on time you’ll avoid paying any interest, which means you can focus on other existing debts. However, if you don’t use the card responsibly then you’ll end up paying a much higher interest rate – which won’t help at all.

‘Bad credit’ means you’ve a credit history but you’ve made mistakes in the past, while ‘no credit’ implies that you’re young or have a limited history of taking credit out.

While it might seem unfair, if you haven’t previously had a credit card, loan or mortgage, a lender may not have the confidence that you can handle credit. A credit card for bad credit could be useful here too.

Most credit cards are easy to apply for, but most – especially those with the better terms – will take a few days to approve you. This is because card providers want to check you out before offering you a deal.

There are some so-called ‘instant approval’ credit cards which can give you a decision in as little as 60 seconds, however. If you apply for one of these, you still can end up approved, declined or referred for further review.

The best way to help make sure you’re approved at short notice is to have a high credit score.

Everyone’s likelihood of acceptance depends mostly on their credit score. So the higher your score, the more chances you have of being offered a deal on a particular card.

However, some cards, including credit-builder cards, are made for people with lower credit scores and may come with a higher chance of acceptance.

If you miss a payment on your credit card, you are likely to be charged a missed payment fee by the credit card provider. Because your outstanding balance will also remain unpaid, you’ll also start to incur interest charges. Finally, if you start to regularly miss credit card payments you could find that it damages your credit rating, making it harder to be approved for borrowing in the future. 

If you’re applying for a credit card, you might be able to find a better deal if you look through offers from different providers before taking one out. With MoneySuperMarket you’ll be able to search through multiple credit cards and compare them by a range of factors, including their interest rates and any benefits and rewards they come with.

All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your financial situation, and our Eligibility Checker will show your chances of being accepted for different credit cards. This won’t affect your credit score, so you can run a check without any worries.

Once you know which card you want, you can normally apply by phone, online, or in person if the provider has a high street branch. However, when you do apply, the provider will usually run a hard credit check – which will show up on your credit report – to confirm whether they’ll give you the card. If you’re accepted they’ll tell you your credit limit and interest rate, and soon you’ll be ready to start using your credit card.

MoneySuperMarket gives you lots of clever ways to save a lot, by doing very little.

  • Take control of your credit score by checking and improving it for free with Credit Monitor

  • Never overpay again with Energy Monitor, our energy monitoring service

  • Over 50 ways to Get Money Calm

So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.

But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.

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