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Best credit cards for bad credit

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It is all too easy to mess up your credit history, but some of the best credit card deals can help you repair it by showing lenders that you know how to handle your plastic.

Credit cards for bad credit charge APRs ranging from 25% to more than 60%, depending on your credit history, against 18.9% on most standard cards. However, if you clear your balance in full and on time each month, you will never have to pay it.

Credit cards to build credit must be handled carefully, but if you make every single minimum monthly repayment, and stay within your limit, you can slowly improve your credit score, and switch to a standard card later. Lenders can also help you understand your credit score. Be warned, missing just one payment could make obtaining credit harder in future. Here are our top choices for those needing a little repair work.


Vanquis Bank® Chrome Credit Card

Good for: Credit repair with a low APR

Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit CardThose 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 24.7%, 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.

Introductory offer

0% interest on purchases for first three months

Credit limit

Between £250 and £1,000, subject to status, potentially rising to £4,000

Representative APR on purchases

 

Variable APRs from 24.7% to 59.9% m be reduced after a year if you manage card sensibly

Credit requirement

Based on individual merit and credit scoring. Applicants who have been turned down in the past considered

Extra benefits

Mobile app banking, SMS and email payment and statement reminders, online banking


Barclaycard® Initial

Good for: New borrowers or those with past credit problems

Barclaycard Initial credit cardSometimes having no credit history can almost be as big a problem as having a poor credit history, as lenders don’t know how to judge your application.

If you’re in that awkward position, Barclaycard Initial can get you started. One of the best credit cards to build credit, it is designed for people with limited or no credit history, as well as those with prior problems. It also numbers among the UK’s 0% purchase credit cards, with no interest charges for the first three months (avoid the temptation to rack up more debt you cannot repay). Initial representative APR start at 34.9% but may reduce after a year, so long as you make your minimum payments on time and stay within your credit limit.

Introductory offer

0% interest on purchases for first three months

Credit limit

Between £150 and £1,200, subject to status

Representative APR on purchases

 

34.9% variable, subject to status and credit checks. May be reduced after a year if you manage card sensibly.

Credit requirement

Earnings over £3,000, must be employed, not have been made bankrupt in the last six years, maximum one CCJ, no recent missed bill payments

Extra benefits

Free text and email alerts to help you stay on track, manage your money through a mobile app, exclusive entertainment perks


Aqua®  Classic

Good for: Credit cards to build credit winner

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 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.

Introductory offer

None

Credit limit

Between £250 and £1,200, subject to status, with a potential increase on your fourth statement

Representative APR on purchases

 

35.9% variable up to a maximum 59.9%, depending on credit record

Credit requirement

Will consider applicants with a bad credit history, money problems in the past, or just not a huge amount of money coming in

Extra benefits

Text reminders so you should never miss a payment

5 Things You MUST Check Before You Apply For A Credit Card

Thanks to the research we've done for you, you should have a good idea of which credit card suits your needs best. Now there's just one more important page you need to read: "5 Things You MUST Check Before You Apply For A Credit Card" is a special report from The Motley Fool, and it's completely free!

This expertly prepared report will inform you how to repair your credit history, explain why your credit report may contain errors and how you can fix these, as well as guide you through exactly how the UK credit scoring system works and why you need to understand it. All that's left to do is click here for access, and it won't cost you a penny!

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 Barclays.