Vanquis Aquis Credit Card

By: Harvey Jones | Updated: 18th April 2019.

Vanquis Bank specializes in lending to people who have been turned down for credit elsewhere. Its Aquis Credit Card can help you rebuild a damaged credit rating, or build a new one if you have never borrowed money before. If you stay within your credit limit and make your monthly minimum payment on time, you will show other lenders that you know how to manage your money, and can then apply for a card with a lower APR or extras such as rewards or 0% interest on purchases. However, if you rack up debts you cannot repay, the interest rolls up rapidly, and improper use could further damage your credit.

Great for: Building or Rebuilding Credit
3.5 stars question mark

If your mission is to get your credit back on good footing, the Vanquis Aquis credit card could be an ally in that mission. With no annual fee and a manageable starting credit limit, this credit-builder card is simple and straightforward. The APR isn’t among the highest, but it’s still high enough that you should avoid carrying a balance.

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CREDIT RATING req:

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annaul fee
  • Credit limit increases possible starting at 5th statement
  • Online eligibility checker

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 29.8% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 29.8% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,000

what we like

  • No annaul fee
  • Credit limit increases possible starting at 5th statement
  • Online eligibility checker
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    29.8%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annaul fee
  • Credit limit increases possible starting at 5th statement
  • Online eligibility checker

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 29.8% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 29.8% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,000

OUR BOTTOM LINE

Beggars can’t be choosers. In an ideal world, we would all have squeaky clean credit records and be free to apply for 0% interest credit cards. Unfortunately, millions have run into financial difficulties and struggle to get any credit card at all. If you are in this position, the Vanquis Aquis Credit Card could help you build a good credit record and get back into the mainstream. If you rack up more debt, though, it could make a bad situation worse.

CREDIT RATING REQUIREMENT: Poor / No credit.

What I like about Vanquis Aquis Credit Card

  • Sensible opening credit limit – New customers get a manageable credit limit of between £250 and £1,000. This gives you the freedom of spending on plastic, while limiting the dangers of your borrowings getting out of control.
  • Fast repair service – Your credit limit may be increased after your fifth statement, provided use your card sensibly, stay within your credit limit and make your monthly minimum payment on time. You can get further increases every five months, up to a maximum £4,000. By then, you might be ready to switch to a 0% interest card.
  • Stay on top of your spending – Vanquis Aquis lets you track your account online or through a mobile app, so you know exactly where you stand. It also sends a monthly SMS and email telling you when your statement is ready, how much you need to repay, and by when. You get another reminder five days before payment is due.
  • Quick eligibility check – You can find out whether you are likely to be accepted by filling out a simple check eligibility form, without leaving a credit footprint. I tested it – it took around 60 seconds, just like the website said it would.
  • No annual fee – If you pay off your borrowing in full every month, the card need never cost you a penny.
  • Other benefits – Charges and fees are in line with their competitors’, such as the £12 fee for late payments. Vanquis Bank has a dedicated fraud team that monitors your account to minimise the chance of you falling victim to fraud and to resolve any problems as quickly as possible.
  • Worth knowing – This card is not available if you already have a credit card from Vanquis or have applied in the last six months. If you want to build a good credit rating, taking out the card is not enough on its own. You also have to use it – wisely. So spend carefully, make every single minimum monthly payment and never, ever, breach your credit limit. Just because the Vanquis Aquis Credit Card lets you increase your credit limit doesn’t mean you should; you are free to say no.

Why trust me

I’ve been a personal financial journalist for 30 years, writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites. I reported on the technology boom in the 1990s, and the subsequent bust. I covered the financial crisis, and the tentative recovery. Decades of writing about the big banks has taught me to be sceptical, to examine every pledge and promise, and look closely at the small print of their product offerings. I’m on the side of the consumer, alert to rip-offs while also keen to highlight top deals. There are plenty out there, if you know where to look.

What could be improved

The Vanquis Aquis Credit Card doesn’t offer bells and whistles such as 0% interest, cashback or rewards. You can get those later, once you have restored your credit rating.

  • Your APR can be punitive – Higher APRs go with the territory, I’m afraid. As of this writing, the representative APR was towards the lower end for credit-builder cards, but that’s if you are approved for the representative rate. If not, your personal APR could go sky high. That is fine if you clear your debt every month, but if you don’t, things could get ugly.
  • A few extras would be nice – A handful of credit cards for people with bad credit offer 0% interest on purchases for an introductory period; Vanquis Aquis doesn’t. On the other hand, a 0% interest rate could lure you into more debt, so maybe not having this is a good thing.

How does the Vanquis Aquis offer stack up?

If you’ve been rejected by mainstream credit card issuers, Vanquis Aquis could be a lifeline. Those with minor credit problems could get higher credit limits elsewhere, and one or two even offering 0% introductory rates on purchases or rewards points. Just beware the APRs. The Vanquis Aquis website quotes a representative rate at the lower end of credit-builder cards, but when I tried its eligibility checker I was offered a rate notably higher than the representative rate. And the maximum rates are … let’s just say they’re very very high.

The Vanquis Aquis Credit Card credit score

When you apply for any form of borrowing, the provider will check your credit rating with one of the big credit reference agencies. This will highlight any missed payments, bankruptcy or county court judgments (CCJs) in the last six years. Vanquis will not turn you away simply because of your past, even if other credit card issuers have done so. However, it will probably charge you a higher APR, depending on how serious your problems were.

How to apply

The eligibility check is pretty straightforward: you just provide basic information on your address history, employment status and annual income, total household income, rent, and other monthly commitments. Once you have a tentative offer, you may have to supply more information.

Is the Vanquis Aquis Credit Card right for you?

Vanquis Aquis is a solid credit repair card, but be warned: some applicants may be offered a frighteningly high APR. That is how the company makes its money. Unless you manage your borrowing carefully, you could run into further trouble. You should therefore aim to clear this card in full every single month. That way you can restore your credit profile without being stung by that hefty APR.

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