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Credit cards for bad credit

Compare cards for bad credit without harming your credit score

  • Compare leading brands
  • See cards you're likely to get
  • Free and easy to use

 

Representative 29.9% APR

Compare credit cards for bad credit with MoneySuperMarket

We work with a wide range of specialist credit card providers including:

company logo for Oceancompany logo for Marblescompany logo for MBNAcompany logo for Tandemcompany logo for Vanquiscompany logo for Aqua

A smart choice for building credit

0% interest for 6 months on balance transfers – see if you’re pre-approved, then apply with confidence

  • Start with a credit limit of £250-£1,200 and you could get an increase after four months. Credit limit and interest rate depends on personal circumstance.
  • 0% for 6 months on balance transfers made in the first 60 days, 34.95% p.a. (variable) after the interest-free period. 3% fee, minimum £3.
  • Available to new Aqua cardholders only. You can’t get this card if you've opened a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account issued by NewDay in the last 12 months, had a CCJ in the last 12 months or been declared bankrupt in the last 18 months. You must be 18+ and a UK resident.

Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a. your representative APR is 34.9% APR (variable)

Build better credit with this Aqua credit card

What are credit cards for bad credit?

If you've had financial problems in the past and have a poor credit history you're not alone. Millions find themselves in this situation every year. We understand it can make you feel anxious about finding a suitable credit card - particularly if you're worried about being declined. It can also stand in the way of you getting a loan or mortgage. But there are cards available for those keen to get their credit score - and their finances - back on track.

Credit cards for bad credit is a general term used to describe cards that are available to people with a low credit score. The cards work in the same way as standard cards, though you can usually only borrow a small amount to begin with. Provided you make your repayments on time your credit score should improve.

MoneySuperMarket can help you find the right credit card and get on the path to cheaper borrowing. We can also help you through the application process without further damaging your credit score.

 

 

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Who are credit cards for bad credit suitable for?

There can be lots of reasons why your credit score might be low. Your credit score is based on a range of factors, including your employment status and whether you've made debt epayments on time in the past.

 

A credit card for bad credit may be suitable for you if:

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    You've not borrowed before so have no credit history

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    You've missed repayments on a previous card or loan

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    You've had county court judgements against you

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    You're unemployed

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    You've been declared bankrupt

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    You're not on the electoral roll

How to choose a credit card for bad credit

 
Credit builder cards
These cards can help you improve your credit score - great news if you've had debt problems or you've never had a credit card before. Interest rates can be high so try to pay off your balance each month. Your credit limit will also be low - although this may rise as you build up trust with the lender. A credit builder card can start your journey towards better credit and lower cost borrowing.
 
0% balance transfer cards
A 0% balance transfer card allows you to move a balance and pay no interest on the debt for a limited time, typically six months to one year. You'll usually need a good credit score, although in some cases it may be possible to get a balance transfer deal (possibly with a shorter 0% period) even without a top credit rating.
 
0% purchase credit cards
Low rate and 0% purchase cards could be difficult to get if you don't have a strong credit history. But in some cases you might be accepted for a card - it all depends on the reasons behind your low credit score. You may not be offered market-leading cards at 0% but it could still be possible to switch and save.

 

 

 

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What are the pros and cons of credit cards for bad credit?

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    Advantages

    • You can improve your credit score
    • Purchases are protected
    • More likely to be accepted
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    Disadvantages

    • Low credit limits
    • High interest rates
    • Risk of more debt

Am I guaranteed approval for a credit card for bad credit?

Card providers look at your credit history and financial position before deciding whether to lend to you. Unfortunately, guaranteed approval is rare unless you have an excellent credit score.

But help is at hand with our eligibility checker tool. We search the market using a ‘soft search’ which won’t impact your credit score. Then you can see your chances of being accepted for a card before you apply.

There are lots of ways you can boost your credit score before you apply for a card. 

Get a free copy of your credit file and find out more about what affects your credit score and steps you can take to improve it with MoneySuperMarket's Credit Monitor.

 

 

 

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How else can I improve my credit score?

Whether you have ‘bad credit’ or ‘no credit’ you can take steps to improve your credit rating:

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Register for the electoral roll

as lenders use this as proof of your address

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Check your credit report for any mistakes

errors could be affecting your score

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Repay your bills on time and in full

shows you can borrow responsibly

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Limit the number of credit applications you make

as each will leave a mark on your report

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Don’t use more than 50% of your credit limit

or it could indicate unstable finances

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Close unused credit accounts

many open lines of credit implies instability

Know where you stand with a pre-approved credit card

Applying for a credit card can sometimes feel daunting, because it’s not always clear what deal you’ll get, or if you’ll be accepted. But when you’re pre-approved for a credit card you can relax, because you know the deal you see is the deal you’ll get. You’ll know where you stand, with the facts at your fingertips to help you make the right choice for you.

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Apply with confidence

When you’re pre-approved, the interest rate, interest-free period and fee (if there is one) are all confirmed – the only thing not guaranteed is your credit limit.

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Tailored to you

You’ll see your unique, personalised chance of being approved for all credit cards, so you can easily compare all your options at a glance.

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You’re in safe hands

Knowing all this upfront puts you in the driving seat. You’re less likely to be turned down when you apply, so your credit score is protected.

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 - and which are most likely to approve you:

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Tell us about yourself

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

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We browse the market

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

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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.

There isn’t a single answer to this question, as different lenders have different criteria for their product, 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.

Here are some tips for using your card responsibly that will help you avoid paying more than you have to in interest, so you can improve your credit score:

  • Set up a direct debit so you never forget to make a repayment
  • Don’t use too much of your credit limit – be aware of how much you can afford to pay back
  • Avoiding taking out further lines of credit

If you have a limited credit history, rather than ‘bad credit’, you’ll benefit from a credit-builder credit card – these work in much the same way as credit cards for bad credit.

When you’ve improved your credit score, you’ll likely qualify for a bigger range of cards, including:

  • 0% interest credit cards, which offer a set period of usually 12 months – during which you won’t be charged on interest. You can use these cards to make purchases or transfer existing debts from credit accounts that currently charge interest.
  • Reward credit cards, which actively reward you for spending on them – and offer rewards such as cashback or store loyalty points like Clubcard or Nectar points

 

‘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 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.

All credit cards can help you build up your credit score to some extent – provided you use them responsibly. If you spend a small amount each month and then pay it all off, you will quickly demonstrate to the credit agencies that you are a sensible borrower.

Your credit score can be improved a few times a year in this way. 

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.