Review of the week: Barclaycard Initial

If you don’t have a high enough credit score to bag a market-leading card, could the Barclaycard Initial be right for you?

Although there are many well-publicised credit cards offering great rates and interest-free periods for new customers, these deals are often reserved for that privileged group with an untarnished credit history.

In fact, some people don’t qualify for the top deals because they haven't used enough credit products in the past and have no history.

So what can you do if you want to use a card and build your credit score? Well, this week we are reviewing the Barclaycard Initial, which is aimed at those people who don’t qualify for the market-leading deals.  

What’s the deal?

Barclaycard makes no secret about the kind of person it’s targeting with this card.

With an APR of 27.9%, this is not a card that perches at the top of the best buy tables but it is a real option for a much wider group of consumers.

Barclaycard specifically states that the Initial card is for people needing to strengthen their credit rating or who want to obtain their first credit card.

There are no 0% perks with this card but the annual percentage rate (APR) of 27.9% applies for purchases, balance transfers and cash withdrawals.

Cardholders benefit from 56 days interest free on new purchases. If you are tempted to use the Initial for cash withdrawals, you’ll be charged from the day you do so – and that’s on top of a fee of 2.5% (minimum £2.50) for each withdrawal made.

Is this the card for me?

Even though this is a card that’s targeting customers with a less-than-perfect credit score, not everyone will qualify.

You’re likely to be declined if you have recent CCJs, IVAs that date back five years or if you’ve ever been made bankrupt. You could also be turned down if you have missed multiple payments on credit agreements within the last 12 months.

If you’ve recently been rejected for credit, you may well still qualify for this card. Of course, a high number of rejected applications could tip the balance against you if you’re already a borderline applicant.

People who have no credit history will also be considered for the Initial, so it can be useful as a way of building up a non-existent credit score.

Don’t forget, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a regular income of at least £10,000 per year to be considered.


With credit card providers tightening up their lending criteria, this could well be an alternative to that market-leading deal you can’t quite qualify for.

However, not everyone will be accepted, so if you do have a very chequered credit history, you might want to brush up your score first. Read our article ‘How to improve your credit score’ for some tips.

This is a stepping stone card for people wanting to prove their credit worth in the future, especially for those with no credit history. Use this card well and you could soon improve your score and be considered for one of the top deals later on down the line.

Top Tip

The rate of 27.9% is steep, so you should try to clear the balance in full at the end of every month. Use this card as a credit builder, not a way of spreading payment.


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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