By: Kate Anderson | Updated: 31th December, 2018.
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
Good for: Credit repair with a lower starting APR
Our Bottom Line
Those with past credit problems are resigned to paying sky-high APRs, if they can get credit cards at all. Vanquis Bank’s Chrome Credit Card is a welcome exception, offering a low representative APR of just 29.5%, to those with a limited credit history or past problems. On most other credit cards for bad credit, APRs start at 35% and can soar to 60%. Vanquis says it focuses on each applicant’s current credit situation and recent history, rather than dwelling on past mistakes. One of the best credit cards for bad credit, this could help you build a brighter financial future.
Representative APR (variable):
Between £250 and £1,000
Looking to build your credit rating up? The Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card could help in that process… without adding a scarily-high APR into the mix.
Credit Rating Requirement: Poor/No Credit
What I like about the Vanquis Bank Chrome Card
This is a card very much aimed at building people back up. Designed for those who have limited credit experience or credit issues in the past, the card offers manageable credit limits and a comparatively low APR.
- Low APR versus competitors – The key selling point of this card is that it offers a lower APR than most cards available to those with poor credit or no credit history. In a market where cards on offer for those with bad credit typically start at 35% and can rise to 60%, the lower the APR the bigger the difference to the cost of borrowing and the more achievable the repayments.
- Manageable credit limits – Since the card is designed for those who are looking to build their credit rating, it offers a starting credit limit of £250 up to £1,000, depending on individual circumstances. Keeping temptation out of reach at the beginning, you will need to display good borrowing behaviour before you would be eligible for any credit increases.
- Potential to build credit – If used correctly, card holders have the potential to unlock a credit limit of up to £4,000 over time. If you stay within your credit limit and pay your monthly minimum payment on time you could receive your first increase after your fifth statement. You could then qualify for further increases every five months thereafter, up to £4,000.
- Other benefits – While there is no official 0% interest-free purchases period, if card holders pay their first statement balance in full they can receive up to 28 days’ interest free credit on purchases. Similarly, in line with other cards, they can receive 56 days’ interest-free credit on purchases provided they pay off two or more consecutive current statement balances in full by the payment due dates.
- Worth knowing – You are not eligible to apply if you already hold any other Vanquis Bank credit card or have applied for one in the last six months. Additionally, cash withdrawals and money transfers carry a fee of 3% or a minimum charge of £3, whichever is higher. Considering the aim of this card is to keep balances low it is worth avoiding these features where possible.
Why you can trust me
I worked on the front line of personal-finance best buys for over eight years at one of the world’s largest research companies, Nielsen. I reported daily on the developments of the 2008 financial crisis and beyond, keeping up with the changing financial landscape and providing insights to all the major banks in the UK. I know the key players in the market and the tactics behind how they behave. All of which I will apply to highlight the best deals and give honest reviews to help you in your search.
What could be improved
The Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card sells itself on its low APR but offers little in terms of other rewards, and much like a strict parent, there are consequences to not sticking to your agreed limits.
- No introductory offers – The card offers nothing in the way of 0% interest-free period on purchases, beyond the standard 56 days as mentioned above, or 0% on balance transfers. However, as the card is aimed at rebuilding your credit rating and making sure you pay off your monthly balance, it is understandable that it keeps its offer simple and doesn’t add in extra borrowing temptation. Similarly, it offers no points or spending incentives.
- Penalty fees – As expected, you will be charged an array of fees if you do not make your minimum payments or if you exceed your credit limit. If you owe more than your credit limit at any time in the statement period, you will be charged £12. Likewise, if you miss your minimum payment, you will be charged a fee of £12. And if you move and do not inform the bank, then you will be charged a £25 tracing fee. As the initial credit card limit could be quite low, it is particularly worth noting the penalties attached to exceeding your limit.
- Overseas usage – Credit cards are often expensive to use abroad, and the Vanquis Bank Chrome Card is no different. You will be charged 2.99% for non-sterling transactions, and, as the aim will be to keep on top of your balance, it is best to leave this card behind when travelling abroad.
None of the above is surprising considering where the card has positioned itself in the market. For those looking to repair their credit rating, the main benefits of the card are the manageable credit limits and comparatively low APR. Therefore, introductory offers and reward incentives could just lead to reckless borrowing and undo the headline benefits and the purpose behind taking out such a card.
How does Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card offer stack up?
As it promises, the Vanquis Bank Chrome Card does offer one of the lowest APRs in this segment of the market. Barclaycard and Tesco Bank have cards with comparable APRs, and granted, additional benefits. But considering the aim of the card is to rebuild credit, the low APR is the key to obtaining this objective. For those rebuilding their credit, it’s worth bearing in mind that responsible use of this card could open up future opportunities to qualify for other cards that are much richer in benefits.
The Vanquis Bank Chrome credit score
While the Chrome Card is designed for those with a poor credit rating, the bank states that applications are considered on merit and that they will consider you if you’ve been turned down in the past.
How to apply
You can apply online through the bank’s site with no risk to your credit rating. The bank promises a response within 60 seconds, or if they have any questions regarding your application you will receive a call within 15 minutes.
You will need to provide your address and residential status, alongside your employment status. The application does require a level of personal financial detail, including household income, monthly outgoings, number of dependents and any known changes to your income in the coming six months.
Is the Vanquis Bank Chrome credit card right for you?
If you are in the market for a credit-building card, then in my view, this is definitely worth considering. The low APR is one of the best in this part of the market and the card is designed to potentially help you access more credit in the future. For someone that wants to take steps towards responsible borrowing, this no-frills card, which avoids spending incentives and tantalising introductory offers, could be a good choice.
The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Lloyds, Tesco and Barclays.