Great cards for poor credit scores

It used to be the case that only those with spotless credit records could qualify for the best credit card deals offering rewards or interest-free spending.

But when it comes to the plastic in your pocket, having a slightly under-par credit score is fast becoming less of a problem.

You might not qualify for top 0% credit cards such as Santander 123 and Tesco Clubcard credit card for purchases both of which are currently offering new customers 18 months at 0% on purchases (plus up to 3.00% cashback in Santander’s case), but there are some really cracking deals out there for the so-called ‘sub-prime’ market, if you keep your eyes peeled.

And taking advantage will also help you to rebuild your credit score if you manage your account well which, over time, will put you back in the mainstream card market. (You can apply to see a copy of your score here.)

Here’s our roundup of the offers you don’t want to miss out on.

Barclaycard Initial

For a limited time only, Barclaycard is offering people who take out its Initial card the chance to spend interest-free for a generous five months.

The interest-free purchase window is usually capped at three months, so now this deal is far-and-away the best of its kind for those with poor credit ratings.

But you’ll need to move fast to take advantage as the offer expires on Tuesday, May 6.

The Initial card is available to anyone with an annual income of at least £3,000 and no more than one County Court Judgment (CCJ) against them.

It comes with a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 34.9% (variable) but this can be reduced over time by meeting payment deadlines and staying within your credit limit.

With this card, you will be offered an initial credit limit of between £150 and £1,200.

Capital One Classic Preferred

Capital One is always a popular provider with borrowers keen to improve and repair their credit scores. But the Classic Preferred card, which has temporarily replaced its Classic Platinum card, now comes with a new lower representative APR of 28.9% (variable), putting it top of the ‘bad credit credit card’ tables.

What’s more, with Capital One, if you are accepted, the rate you see advertised is the rate you will get.

Again though, you can’t hang around as the offer is only open to applications made before May 14.

However, Capital one, will want to see you have had credit in the UK before and you won’t be offered the card if you have been declared bankrupt in the last 12 months.

It’s worth noting here that, while the APR is low, it’s a much better idea to clear your credit card balance every month anyway, which will see you pay no interest at all. This is also the best way to improve your score.

With this card, you can expect to be offered an initial credit limit of between £200 and £1,500.

Aqua Advance

Credit cards aimed at people with low credit scores are not known for offering rewards and incentives. But, now, MoneySuperMarket has teamed up with Aqua to offer the Aqua Advance card.

This deal offers an exclusive £20 Amazon gift certificate to those who make repayments on time for at least the first three months of taking the card.

The Aqua Advance also comes with no overseas fees, making it a sensible choice for anyone planning a summer holiday abroad this year.

Other benefits include that the initial representative APR of 34.9% (variable) can fall to an eventual 19.9% if you stick to your credit limit and keep up with your repayments – a rate akin to mainstream deals.

“Simply keep to your credit limit, make repayments when due and watch your interest rate drop 5% a year for three years,” Aqua said.

There is also free unlimited access to your credit report as standard.  However, you will not qualify for this card if you have received a CCJ within the last 12 months.

You can expect to be offered an initial credit limit of between £100 and £1,600.

Capital One Balance

This one’s not a new or limited offer, but the Capital One Balance card is still the best option for anyone with a less-than-perfect credit score seeking an interest-free balance transfer deal.

The Balance card charges new customers 0% on balance transfers until November this year, when the representative APR of 34.9% (variable) kicks in on any debt not yet cleared, making it vital to get your finances straight by then.

There is a balance transfer fee of 3% (of the amount being transferred) to take into account, though.

Once again, you will not be accepted as a customer if you have been declared bankrupt or received a CCJ within the last 12 months.

The initial credit limit available on this card is between £200 and £1,500.
 
You can read more about your credit score with our Back to Basics guide.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

 
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