MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker not a lender. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident. Representative 29.9% APR
What is a credit card for poor 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.
How do credit cards for bad credit work?
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:
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.
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 February 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 goods 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.
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:
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.
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.
Check your score for free with our credit monitor service
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 deals you’re most likely to be approved for
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is considered bad or poor credit?
Will a credit card for bad credit help me if I have a lot of debt?
What’s the difference between bad credit and no credit?
Which credit cards give you instant approval?
What is the easiest credit card to get approved for?
What happens if I miss a payment on my credit card?
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.
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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.