Skip to content
Did you know your browser is out of date?
To get the best experience when using our website we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers.

Credit builder cards

Boost your credit score with credit building credit cards

  • Compare a wide range of providers
  • Doesn't harm your credit score
  • It’s fast, free and easy to use


Representative 29.9% APR

Compare credit-builder cards from across the market

MoneySuperMarket works with a range of household-name credit card providers, including

company logo for MBNAcompany logo for Virgin moneycompany logo for Tesco bankcompany logo for Capital Onecompany logo for barclayscompany logo for Santandercompany logo for Amex

What are credit-builder cards?

If your credit score is low, you’ll probably find it harder to borrow money or take out a mortgage. This need not be a permanent problem, however. No matter how much difficulty you’ve had with money in the past, there are always ways to improve your score. A credit-builder credit card is one of the best ways to boost your credit score.

It works like this: the card issuer gives you a low credit limit, which you then use to make small purchases. If you pay the balance off at the end of each month, you will start to show that you can be a responsible borrower, and your credit score should rise over a period of four to six months.

It’s very important to make your repayments in full and on time, however. The goal is to prove that you can pay back what you borrow.

Pre-paid credit-builder cards are another great way to improve your credit score.

Build better credit with this Aqua credit card

What are credit-builder cards for?

Credit-builder cards are designed for people who have bad credit scores, or little-to-no credit history, who want to improve their circumstances. Your credit score is a record of your financial history – which lenders use to work out whether you’re reliable enough to give you a line of credit.

credit cards icon

Bad credit history

Credit-builders suit people who’ve had problems with debt in the past, those who may have struggled with financial commitments like bills, and those who have a county court judgment (CCJ) to their name or have previously gone bankrupt. Careful use of a credit-builder card can show lenders that you’re on top of your finances – and therefore lower risk. 


No credit history

Some people who apply for loans or credit cards can find that they’re being turned down, or missing out on better deals, because they don’t have any credit history to speak of. This usually affects students and young people taking out a credit card for the first time, or people who’ve recently moved to the UK.

Advantages and disadvantages of credit builder cards

Credit-builder cards work like any other credit card: you can use them to borrow money to pay for goods and services up to an agreed limit. However they are also quite specialised products, and not suitable for everyone. This is what you need to know:

  • Tick icon

    Improve your credit score

    Credit-builders do one thing very well: help people improve iffy credit scores. They’re best for small, essential purchases that you know you can pay back

  • Tick icon

    More likely to be accepted

    Because credit-builder cards are aimed at people with worse credit scores, they have lower application criteria. You’re therefore more likely to be approved

  • Tick icon

    Your purchases are protected

    These cards are regulated by the FCA, and purchases between £100 and £30,000 are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974

  • Cross icon

    Lower credit limit

    Credit-builders let you borrow less money than other credit cards, as they’re designed to help you rebuild lenders’ trust in you after problem borrowing 

  • Cross icon

    Higher APRs

    Credit builder cards tend to have higher rates of interest than other credit cards. The best APRs are usually reserved for people with the best credit scores

  • Cross icon

    Risk of more debt

    If you have trouble controlling your spending, think carefully before you apply for one. Your credit score can still fall if you misuse one of these cards

Woman holding card

Will I be eligible for a credit-builder card?

Most credit cards have fairly strict application criteria, but credit-builder cards are designed for people who’ve had problems with debt in the past. This means that they’re easier to apply for – at least in terms of your credit score.

You can check your credit score for free with our free Credit Monitor tool. This uses a soft search of your file, so it won’t show up on your record and your score won’t be penalised. However when you apply for a credit card, the lender will perform a hard search on your credit file. Being rejected may negatively affect your credit score, especially if you make several applications at once.

How to compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket

If you feel that a credit-builder card 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.


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


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

credit cards

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

With a pre-approved credit card, the deal you see is what you get

Our Eligibility Checker shows you the credit cards you're most likely to be accepted for, protecting your credit by showing you only the cards that are right for you.

question set image

Accurate results

We’ll ask you a set of questions to rate your chance of aprroval out of a score of 10 for each card 

chance of approval image

Apply with confidence

You’ll be shown you your eligibility before you apply, so you know if you have a high chance of acceptance

Credit Monitor image

Guaranteed rates

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

Provided you use them carefully, by spending below your credit limit and paying off your balance in full each month, credit-builder cards should help increase your credit score. Your score will usually be updated two or three times a year.

There’s no way to improve your credit score quickly. If you have a low score, it’s usually because your financial history shows you as having struggled with debt in the past. The way to improve your credit score is to demonstrate better patterns of borrowing behaviour over significant periods of time. You’ll be able to borrow more money and get better rates of interest as you improve.

When you’re applying for your first credit card, you’re likely to have a limited or non-existent credit report. This can make you appear as a high-risk borrower as there is little or no evidence that you’ve responsibly borrowed money in the past.

Fortunately, there are still options open to you, but you might have less choice about the type of credit card you apply for.

There are low-income credit cards available, but none are available for people who have no money coming in whatsoever. While there is no legal minimum income for a credit card, card issuers are required to lend money responsibly, which means they all set a minimum income. They consider that someone with zero income will be unable to pay back the money they borrow.

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and it represents how much it’ll cost to borrow money on a particular credit card. It’s calculated by taking into account:

  • Your interest rate
  • Additional fees and charges.

However, you might see the term ‘representative APR’ on adverts for credit cards – this means that the interest rate quoted only has to be offered to at least 51% of successful applicants, so it may not be the actual rate you get when you apply.

Credit card providers can change interest rates at any time, so it’s always a good idea to stay on top of your credit balance. If you have a 0% offer on your credit card, this will only be for a set number of months so you should make sure you clear your balance before it ends, or transfer your remaining balance to another 0% card.

You can apply for credit cards online, either using MoneySuperMarket or going directly to the provider, or by calling them up or through the post. You can also stop by your bank or building society branch and apply in person.

First consider what you want to use the credit card for – cards come with different features that are useful for different purposes.

If you have a large purchase coming up, you might want to spread the cost with a 0% purchase card, if you fly a lot you might want an airmiles card, and if you want to transfer a balance to avoid interest payments, a balance transfer card could be ideal.

By comparing on MoneySuperMarket, you’ll be able to see a list of credit cards, so you can browse at will and choose which one suits you best.

You’ll get a cooling off period of two weeks from when you receive your card, and you’ll have 30 days to pay off your balance. You can cancel by contacting your provider, either by post, phone, online, or in-branch.

However, if you want to cancel your credit card after the cooling off period, your account balance generally must be zero.

Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness to credit lenders, based on an analysis of your credit history (your history of borrowing and paying back credit).

The higher your score, the more likely you are to be accepted for future credit applications. If your score is low, there are ways to improve it. MoneySuperMarket’s Credit Monitor lets you check your credit score for free and gives you tips on how to improve it.

A soft credit search is a way of finding out which credit cards you’re most likely to be accepted for without your credit score being affected. This is usually done via a website such as MoneySuperMarket.

A hard search on your credit report is a mark left by a lender who has assessed your credit rating after you have applied for a credit card. Too many hard searches (often through multiple applications) may make lenders think you are desperate for credit so it’s best to limit your applications for credit in a short space of time.

If you have a bad credit rating or you don’t have a credit history because you’ve never borrowed before, you might not qualify for the very best credit card deals. However, some credit cards are designed specifically for those who need to build up their credit score. Just be aware they often come with low credit limits and high interest rates.

However, if you use this type of card sensibly and always pay off your balance in full, you can improve your credit score so you’ll eventually be eligible for better credit cards.

If you miss a repayment on your credit card balance, you likely have to pay a penalty fee. What’s more, if you have any type of promotional offer with your card, such as an interest-free deal, this may be cancelled, and a missed payment may have a negative effect on your credit score.

If you get rejected for a credit card, this will leave a mark on your credit report and could lead to further rejections in the future. It’s a good idea to use MoneySuperMarket’s Eligibility Checker to see how likely you are to be accepted for a card before applying to get it, and it won’t affect your credit score.

You might be able to get more credit from your provider if you prove yourself to be a responsible borrower by repaying on time and never missing payments. Once you’ve established a good credit history, you might be successful when asking for a higher credit limit.

Unlike many loans and mortgages, you generally won’t be charged for making early repayments on your credit card – which means it’s a good way to get ahead of your balance.

You can’t get joint credit cards in the same way as bank accounts and mortgages, but you can add additional users to your own credit cards. However, you should remember that it’s still the primary cardholder’s responsibility to pay off the balance.

The Consumer Credit Act was established in 1974, and under Section 75 the credit card lender is jointly responsible with the retailer or supplier for any goods or services you purchase with your credit card.

This means if those products are faulty, or if there was any contract breach or misrepresentation on the retailer’s part, you can claim from your credit card company as well as the retailer.

However, you can’t recover money from both sides, so it’s useful for when the retailer has gone bust or they won’t respond to your communication. You should be aware the purchase value must be more than £100 and not more than £30,000 for you to be able to claim.

You can cancel your credit card by contacting your lender, by phone, email, online, post, or in person if they have a local branch.