The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Updated: 8th February, 2019.

We’ve vetted some of the most popular credit cards on the market to bring you our shortlist of the best credit cards for bad credit. Whether your credit score is low because you filed for bankruptcy or you haven’t been practicing good credit hygiene, our picks could get you on the right path to making your credit score shine.


Great for: Lowering your APR while building credit
3.5 stars question mark

The aqua advance Card includes many of the features that make other aqua cards great for those looking to build or re-build credit. As an added bonus though, users of the Advance Card that stay on time with their payments will see their APR go down by 5% per year. Over time, this could bring the APR down to 19.9%.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stay on time with payments and APR reduces 5% per year
  • Keeping on time with payments could reduce APR to 19.9%
  • Free aqua credit checker
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Interest rate for purchases 34.95% p.a. variable
Representative rate 34.9% APR variable
Based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months

what we like

  • Stay on time with payments and APR reduces 5% per year
  • Keeping on time with payments could reduce APR to 19.9%
  • Free aqua credit checker
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    34.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stay on time with payments and APR reduces 5% per year
  • Keeping on time with payments could reduce APR to 19.9%
  • Free aqua credit checker
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Interest rate for purchases 34.95% p.a. variable
Representative rate 34.9% APR variable
Based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months
Great for: Building credit
2.5 stars question mark

The aqua Classic credit card is one of the more straightforward credit cards for bad credit, open to those with a bad credit history, money problems in the past or on low incomes, as well as the self-employed. Maximum initial credit limit is £1,200, although if you handle your card sensibly aqua may increase this pretty quickly. Extra features can also help you understand your credit score, and make every monthly payment.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Text reminders to remind on payments

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Your interest rate for purchases is 35.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 35.9% APR variable
If you borrowed (over 12 months) £1,200

what we like

  • No annual fee
  • Text reminders to remind on payments
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    35.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Text reminders to remind on payments

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Your interest rate for purchases is 35.95% p.a. variable
With a representative 35.9% APR variable
If you borrowed (over 12 months) £1,200
Great for: Just starting to build or re-build credit
2.5 stars question mark

Let’s face it, when you’re just starting to build or re-build credit, getting approved for a credit card can be tough. The Marbles Credit Card doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. And the APRs start high and can be higher for some applicants. But, it can be an opportunity to show good credit behaviour and build to other cards.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Online eligibility checker
  • Spending alerts to help avoid missteps

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 34.9% APR (variable)

The APR applicable to your account will depend on assessment of your application.

what we like

  • No annual fee
  • Online eligibility checker
  • Spending alerts to help avoid missteps
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    34.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Online eligibility checker
  • Spending alerts to help avoid missteps

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 34.9% APR (variable)

The APR applicable to your account will depend on assessment of your application.

Great for: Building credit and traveling
4.5 stars question mark

It can be tough to find a great card offer when you’re building or re-building your credit. The Tandem Journey Credit Card may be worth a look, as it offers more than most. For starters, the APR on the Journey card is very attractive compared to the competition. There’s no annual fee on the card, and, even better, you’ll pay no extra fees on foreign spending if you travel. And, of course, responsible use of the card could lead to improvements in your credit score.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Potential to build credit over time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Annual purchase rate (variable) 24.9%
Representative APR (variable) 24.9%
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

You may be offered a different credit limit or APR to that shown here as it depends on your individual circumstances. Subject to eligibility and credit assessment.

what we like

  • Potential to build credit over time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    24.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Potential to build credit over time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Annual purchase rate (variable) 24.9%
Representative APR (variable) 24.9%
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

You may be offered a different credit limit or APR to that shown here as it depends on your individual circumstances. Subject to eligibility and credit assessment.

Great for: Getting cash back while building credit
4.5 stars question mark

Building your credit is much sweeter when you’re getting cashback rewards at the same time. The aqua reward Cashback Credit Card can help those looking to build or rebuild their credit, and at the same time, cardholders earn 0.5% cashback on their spending (up to £100 per year). There’s also no fee on spending abroad, a very nice feature if you like to travel.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0.5% cash back on purchases up to £100 per year
  • Initial credit limit £250-£1,200
  • Could help build or rebuild credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Interest rate for purchases 34.95% p.a. variable
Representative 34.9% APR variable
If you borrowed (over 12 months) £1,200

what we like

  • 0.5% cash back on purchases up to £100 per year
  • Initial credit limit £250-£1,200
  • Could help build or rebuild credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    34.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0.5% cash back on purchases up to £100 per year
  • Initial credit limit £250-£1,200
  • Could help build or rebuild credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Interest rate for purchases 34.95% p.a. variable
Representative 34.9% APR variable
If you borrowed (over 12 months) £1,200
Great for: Rebuilding credit
2 stars question mark

The Vanquis Classic Credit Card is a higher APR card without some of the features of other cards here. However, for those who qualify, this card can still be a great way to rebuild your credit score and use as a stepping stone to better cards in the future.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Manageable starting credit limit between £150 and £1,000
  • You could get a credit limit increase after your fifth statement, up to £4,000 if you manage your account well
  • Online and SMS account management

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative 39.9% APR (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,000
Annual rate of interest 39.9% APR (variable)

Rates from 39.9% APR (variable) to 69.9% APR (variable) depending on individual circumstances.

what we like

  • No annual fee
  • You could get a credit limit increase after your fifth statement
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    39.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Manageable starting credit limit between £150 and £1,000
  • You could get a credit limit increase after your fifth statement, up to £4,000 if you manage your account well
  • Online and SMS account management

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative 39.9% APR (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,000
Annual rate of interest 39.9% APR (variable)

Rates from 39.9% APR (variable) to 69.9% APR (variable) depending on individual circumstances.

Great for: Credit repair with a lower starting APR
3.5 stars question mark

Vanquis Bank’s Chrome Credit Card offers a comparably low representative APR of just 29.5% to those with a limited credit history or past problems. That can be a welcome sight, as APRs for most other credit cards for bad credit start at 35%. Credit limits start at a manageable level of up to £1,000, but can be built up to £4,000 over time.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Low APR compared to most other credit-building cards
  • Starting credit limit of £250 to £1,000
  • Possibility to build credit limit to £4,000
  • Managing your card well could lead to credit-rating improvements
  • Easy account management via online portal and mobile app

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 29.5% APR (variable)

Rates from 29.5% APR (variable) to 59.9% APR (variable) depending on individual circumstances.

what we like

  • Credit limit could increase to £4,000 over time
  • Comparably low starting APR
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    29.5%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    Starting credit limit of up to £1,000

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Low APR compared to most other credit-building cards
  • Starting credit limit of £250 to £1,000
  • Possibility to build credit limit to £4,000
  • Managing your card well could lead to credit-rating improvements
  • Easy account management via online portal and mobile app

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 29.5% APR (variable)

Rates from 29.5% APR (variable) to 59.9% APR (variable) depending on individual circumstances.

Great for: Building and rebuilding credit
5 stars question mark

If you are looking for a credit rebuilder card that offers you more than just access to credit, the Tesco Bank Foundation Card does just that. It offers free access to Noddle Premium services and Tesco Clubcard benefits, as well as a comparatively low APR and manageable credit limits.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

Poor/No credit

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Free service to help manage credit rating
  • Collect Tesco Clubcard points

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 27.5% APR (variable)
Interest rate on purchases 27.5% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • No annual fee
  • Free service to help manage credit rating
  • Collect Tesco Clubcard points
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    27.5%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Free service to help manage credit rating
  • Collect Tesco Clubcard points

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 27.5% APR (variable)
Interest rate on purchases 27.5% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
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