Finding a credit card if you’ve missed debt repayments in the past might seem an impossible task, but there are cards specifically designed for those with a less-than-perfect credit score.
These are known as ‘credit builder’ cards, and can serve the dual benefit of granting you access to credit while helping you rebuild your score over time.
Credit scoring and credit builder cards
It’s important to check what your credit score is as it’s one of the primary factors lenders use when deciding to offer you credit. If your score isn’t great, it’s unlikely you’ll be eligible for a market leading card with a competitive interest rate.
That’s where Credit Monitor comes in. Credit Monitor lets you see your score, and gives you personalised tips to help improve it – all for free.
We’ll let you know every month when your score changes, and help you understand what might have caused the change.We’ll also let you know about any activity on your credit file that could be suspicious, so you can act on it quickly and make sure it doesn’t negatively impact your score. . If your score begins to increase, so will the range of credit cards you can choose from.
How credit builder cards could improve your credit score
Credit builder cards could help you improve your credit score, providing you follow these golden rules:
- Make your monthly repayments on time (in full if you can, or at least the minimum payment due)
- Stay below your credit limit
- Avoid taking out additional credit cards and loans
Providing you stick to these, you should see your credit score climb. Some lenders will increase your credit limit if you demonstrate you’re responsible with your card, while others can also reduce your interest rate as a reward for managing your account well.
What to look out for
While credit builder cards can be a viable alternative for people who aren’t eligible for any other type of credit, there are some pitfalls to be cautious of.
If you have a poor score, lenders are likely to view you as high risk and therefore charge higher interest rates. If you’re considering this type of card, you must be certain you can clear your balance in full each month otherwise the repayment might become unmanageable.
You must always make your payments on time too, otherwise you could be hit with steep charges and could damage your credit score further.
Bear in mind too that credit limits on this type of card tend to be very low, typically starting from around £250, to begin with.
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