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Credit cards for bad credit

Compare bad credit credit cards

  • Compare over 20 providers
  • Doesn't harm your credit score
  • Free and easy to use


Representative APR 34.9%

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 troubles in the past, you may have a bad credit rating – meaning banks are wary of lending you money.

A poor credit score can stop you getting a credit card, loan or mortgage and generally makes it more difficult to borrow. If you are rejected too often, it means another black mark on your credit report and it can feel like a vicious circle.

There are still credit card options which should let you borrow smaller amounts, and will provide a way to rebuild your credit score and trust with lenders. MoneySuperMarket can help you find the right credit card and take you through the application process without the risk of being rejected.

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What is the difference between bad credit and no credit?

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

How do credit cards for bad credit work?

Credit cards for bad credit work like any other card. You use them to spend money up to an agreed amount, which you pay back later. Every credit card lets you spend money up to an agreed amount, which you can pay back later, paying interest on what you owe.  Credit cards tailored for those with bad credit differ in the following ways:

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Lower eligibility thresholds

By reducing the requirements you need to be approved, this type of card allows people with poor credit ratings to get one

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Lower credit limits

With lower approval thresholds, providers are more wary about lending. This means you cannot borrow as much as on a regular credit card

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Higher interest rates

Lenders who specialise in credit cards for bad credit keep credit limits low and interest rates high to offset potential losses 

The good news is that by keeping up with your payments, you’ll slowly build up your credit score – making you eligible for cards with higher limits and lower interest rates in the future.

What credit cards can I get with bad credit?

Before looking to take out any kind of credit card, it’s important to consider why you need it. There are several potential options:

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    Credit builder card

    A credit builder card to help improve your credit rating so you can borrow more easily in future. This is the most common option for those with bad credit scores 

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    0% purchase card

    A 0% purchase card will spread the cost of spending with a no-interest grace period for a set time, so you could use this to make and pay off an important purchase

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    0% balance transfer

    A 0% balance transfer card lets you move existing debts onto a new card and pay no interest for a set period while you clear the balance. This is great for debt consolidation

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    0% money transfer card

    A 0% money transfer card allows you to pay money straight into your bank account, for example to clear an overdraft, though it can also be used to cover other debts

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

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    You can improve your credit score

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    You’re more likely to be accepted

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    Your purchases are protected

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    High interest rates

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    Low credit limits

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    Risk of more debt

How to compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket

If you feel that a credit card for bad credit could be right for you, the next step is to use the MoneySuperMarket 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 card offers from across the market, and then 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 then be able to sort according to APR, features and your chances of being approved

See the cards you're most likely to get

Our clever Eligibility Checker shows you the credit cards you're most likely to be accepted for, so you can protect your credit rating by only applying for the cards that are right for you.

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Accurate results

We use a range of factors to rate how likely you are to be approved for each card out of 10. 

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Apply with confidence

You’ll be shown you your eligibility before you apply, so you can be confident you won’t be turned down.

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See your guaranteed cards

You’ll see which cards you’re guaranteed to get so you won’t have any nasty surprises down the line.

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

as these may be affecting your score

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Repay your bills on time and in full

to demonstrate you can borrow and pay back money 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 will indicate to lenders that you’re finances are unstable

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Close your unused credit accounts

as having numerous open lines of credit also implies instability. Closing your accounts could negatively impact your credit score initially, but this is only temporary

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.