The Marbles Credit Card may have one of the highest APRs on the market, but if you are disciplined and motivated it could help you build your credit rating and set yourself up for better times ahead.
Credit Rating Requirement: Poor/No Credit
What I like about the Marbles Credit Card
There are no extra benefits to the Marbles card except that it potentially allows those with a poor credit rating or no credit history access to credit, and a way to potentially build their rating. It offers a manageable credit limit and the possibility to increase that amount if you can demonstrate good borrowing behaviour.
- Gives users a chance – Marbles is willing to give users with limited or poor credit history a chance. That’s a step that many bigger institutions don’t take. They even provide advice for new arrivals to the UK outlining what people should do to give themselves the best chance of obtaining a credit card.
- Manageable credit limit – The introductory credit limit is manageable, starting at £250 and potentially going up to £1,200. There is no annual fee and you can also receive up to 56 days interest-free, providing you pay off two or more consecutive months in full.
- Initial eligibility check – Marbles offers an initial eligibility check before you apply. The response occurs immediately after answering a few simple questions. This will give you an indication (no guarantees) whether or not you might pass the credit check. This could save you from applying, missing out, and then having that recorded on your credit history as a refusal.
- Tools to help you stay in control – Marbles offers access to online and mobile tools to help keep you on track and potentially improve your credit rating. Marbles will text you (free of any business text-messaging charges!) when you are approaching your credit limit and allows you to choose repayment dates. There is also a helpline that provides an opportunity for you to discuss your options and make payment plans if you have any issues. The website does a good job of making clear that you should pay off the card each month or additional fees can apply, and the detailed product summary is easily accessible.
- Worth knowing – The Marbles Card doesn’t offer any additional benefits, encouraging you to focus on paying off the card and potentially building your credit rating. Balance transfer and cash withdrawals may not be available to all users straight away. There is also a credit review after three months, so if you are staying on track you may receive a higher limit and/or a lower rate.
What could be improved
As stated before, there are some limitations to this card. A combination of a high APR, strict penalty fees if you miss payments or go over your credit limit, and the lack of introductory incentives means that this card falls behind comparable cards on the market.
- High APR – The minimum representative APR for the Marbles card is comparable to similar cards, but when you read the product summary you discover that you could be charged with one of the highest APR’s on the market. Cash transactions, if available, have an even higher APR! There is also no interest-free period for cash transactions, so the interest starts to add up straight away. If you were offered these high-end rates, in my opinion, you would be better off with a pre-paid credit card that allows you to use your own money to try to build your credit rating.
- Penalty Fees – There is a £12 fee for late payments, returned payments, and if you go over your credit limit. These are pretty standard with most cards, so no real surprises here. In addition, non-sterling purchases will attract a 2.95% transaction fee. That’s not that unusual, but the top cards don’t charge fees on foreign transactions. There is also a £20 trace fee if you forget to inform Marbles that you have moved. These extra fees could add insult to injury if you are not watchful and miss a payment or go over your limit.
- Personal loans for existing customers – Marbles may also offer eligible customers personal loans of between £1,000 and £7,500 over a one- to five-year period. This could be adding fuel to the fire if you are struggling to control the credit card. Therefore, it might be best to avoid the personal loan. I couldn’t find the interest rate for the personal loan on their website or in the product summary, which leads to the conclusion that the interest rate on the loan would be the same or similar to the credit card rates. In other words, very high.
- Must read information – As with all credit cards and financial products you must read the fine print or the product summary to find out what rates, fees and charges are included and may be applied. Another area that concerns me is that you can’t see your T&C’s until you open an account. The FAQ’s section mentions that you can request the T&C’s at any time whilst your account is open. There are T&C’s about the fast check eligibility process, but no T&C’s about the main product? That makes me a bit uneasy.
How does the Marbles Credit Card offer stack up?
The Marbles card potentially gives people a chance to build a better credit rating. The card’s very high APRs and the fact that it offers no additional benefits mean it ranks poorly with other cards of similar ilk. If you are to use this card, you must be disciplined and motivated to pay it off each month.
The Marbles Card credit score
The institution allows you to check your eligibility first with a few standard questions. It is available to anyone over the age of 18, even if you have been turned down in the past.
How to apply
First, take advantage of their eligibility check to give you an indication if you could be approved or not. If this comes back doubtful then I suggest you don’t apply, as a refusal will go against your credit rating. If you are given a positive indication, you can then decide to apply, doing so online with all the usual documents about addresses for the previous three years, date of birth, current employment and salary.
Is the Marbles Credit Card right for you?
If you are just looking for a card that allows you access to credit and a chance to build your credit rating, then the Marbles card could help you achieve your goal. With very high APR’s and strict penalty fees, “success” with this card really does hinge on whether you think you can make the minimum payments and stick within the credit limit. If you’re uneasy about your ability to do that, then you may be better off without a credit-based card and only using pre-paid cards to build your credit rating.
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.