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Credit builder credit cards

Compare credit cards to build your credit score

  • Representative 34.9% APR

  • You'll see which cards you're likely to get and what the APR will be

  • Applying 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.

Compare credit builder cards from a range of providers

We work with a range of leading lenders who can help you to build your credit score. Our specialist providers make managing your money simple

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What is a credit builder card?

A credit builder credit card is a type of credit card that's designed to allow you to improve your credit score, in the event that you have a poor credit history or no credit history. Other key things to note about credit builder cards include: 

  • You're likely to be given a lower credit limit than regular credit cards 

  • Interest rates can be higher too 

  • People with poor credit ratings are more likely to be accepted 

  • As long as you pay the balance off each month, your credit score should rise over a period of four to six months

Credit cards

How do credit building credit cards work?

  • Spend on the card

    You can spend on the card just like you would any other credit card, but you’d probably have a lower credit limit in comparison to a standard card. 

  • Make monthly repayments

    Keep up with your credit card repayments, try to pay off as much as you can. Clearing your balance means you avoid having to pay any interest 

  • See your credit score improve

    If you make your credit card repayments on time, clear your balance in full every month and don’t use up too much of your credit limit then in time your credit score will improve 

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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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.

  • 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 

  • Apply with confidence

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

  • Guaranteed rates

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

What are the pros and cons 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 aren’t suitable for everyone. This is what you need to know:

  • Tick

    Advantages

    • Improve your credit score: You can do this by borrowing small amounts you know you can pay back on time each month

    • More likely to be accepted: Credit builder cards have lower application criteria so you're more likely to be approved

    • Your purchases are protected: Card purchases between £100 and £30,000 are covered under the Consumer Credit Act 

  • Cross

    Disadvantages

    • Lower credit limit: You can borrow less than with standard credit cards, as you're building trust with lenders 

    • Higher APRs: Interest rates will be higher than standard credit cards

    • Risk of more debt: If you have trouble repaying what you owe, your credit score could fall further

Why compare credit builder cards with MoneySuperMarket?

  • It's super fast and easy

    It takes a matter of seconds to start comparing credit builder cards. Better still, we'll show you all the key information upfront

  • It won't affect your credit score

    Searching for credit builder cards won't affect your credit rating at all. That's because we'll run a soft search on your financial history

  • You’ll see your chances of acceptance

    We’ll show you the percentage chance of being accepted for each credit card deal depending on your current financial status.

How do I choose the best credit builder card?

Choosing a credit builder card is much like choosing a standard credit card. But with some key differences. Here’s what you need to take into account... 

  • Consider if you have debts to pay off

    Some credit builder cards let you transfer existing debts (usually for a fee). You’ll then have a set period to clear the debt before you start paying interest  

  • Upcoming purchases

    Some credit builder cards also offer 0% on purchases for a designated period. So look out for those offers if you’ve got a big-ticket purchase to make.  

  • Pay attention to the APR

    After the introductory period ends, you could be paying anywhere between 20% or 35% interest on your outstanding debt. That’s a lot. So try and shop around for a low rate

  • Perks on offer

    Perks aren’t common with credit builder cards. But if you look hard enough you can find everything from a free subscription to Apple streaming services or reward points 

How long will it take before my credit score starts to rise? 

So long as you make at least the minimum-permitted repayment on your credit builder card every month, you can generally expect to see your credit rating improve within four to six months. 

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Emma Lunn

Our expert says

"

Credit building credit cards are an easy way of improving your credit score. Borrow a small amount of money each month and pay the card off in full when you get your statement – this shows lenders you can handle credit sensibly. Credit building credit cards are easier to get than standard credit cards, but be careful to only borrow what you can afford to repay, as these cards have high interest rates.

"
- Emma Lunn, Personal finance expert

How to compare credit builder 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 your chances of being approved.

  • Tell us what you want the card for

    Once you’ve clicked through, we’ll ask what you need the card for. Select ‘improving my credit rating’, so we can show you credit builder cards 

  • We browse the market

    We’ll sift through dozens of credit cards from across the market, and then show you the cards we think will help step up your credit score 

  • Pick the card you want

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

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 best 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.

How much you’ll be able to spend on your card will depend on the credit limit your provider has set for you. Just remember that credit builder cards usually have lower credit limits than a standard credit card. 

A wide range of traditional high street banks and challenger banks offer credit builder cards to customers, giving you plenty of choice to compare available deals before making your application.

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 including falling behind on bills, defaulting on payments and receiving CCJs. 

This means that people with a lower credit score are more likely to be accepted for a credit-builder card.

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 could negatively affect your credit score, especially if you make several applications at once.

If you're unemployed and on a limited income, it's still possible to get a credit builder card. Even if you've got an impaired credit rating.

However, the less good news is that you're unlikely to qualify for better interest rates and may be subject to a lower credit limit.



There are lots of things you can to boost your credit score, even if you don't qualify for a credit card. Quick and easy tips to improve your credit rating include:

  • Get on the electoral roll

  • Pay your bills on time

  • Close any unused credit card accounts

  • Ensure you don't use all the credit that's available to you

  • Check the accuracy of your credit report

Some credit builder cards offer incentives. At the time of writing, for instance, you can get a free subscription to Apple streaming services, as well as points to spend in high-street stores. However, it's important that you consider the key selling points of the card, such as APR and balance transfers, before you let sweeteners influence your decision.

Some credit builder cards do charge a fixed monthly fee to maintain the card. But most generally waive these. However, depending on the card you choose, you may have to pay fees to cover services such as cash advances, money transfers and balance transfers.

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. 

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