UK Credit Cards For Those With Bad Credit
Do You Need A UK MasterCard / Visa Credit Card? Do You Have Bad Credit?
There are three possibilities for those with some form of bad credit:
(1) Unsecured Cards
(2) Secured Cards
(3) Prepaid Cards
(1) Unsecured (Bad Credit History) Cards
Some credit card issuers offer unsecured cards to people who have had previous credit
problems. These Visa or MasterCard credit cards are only issued after the card issuer
has done a check on your credit history by looking at your credit report. These cards
aren't guaranteed but are your best hope if your credit history is limited or impaired.
If you have some form of bad credit history and it is quite old, say at least 18 months,
then you could consider applying to these credit card issuers.
Credit limits for these cards will normally be low and the interest rate high (usually > 25%),
as the card issuer is taking a greater risk than usual. However, these unsecured credit cards
will help you to build your empty or rebuild your poor credit history.
We have put together what is probably the most comprehensive list of unsecured
credit cards in the UK that are available to those with some form of bad credit history.
The UK Adverse Credit Unsecured Visa & MasterCard Credit Card List:
(card information last checked & updated 9th May 2013)
Black Diamond Visa Credit Card
This UK Visa credit card comes with an initial credit limit from £150 to £1000. There is the possibility of a credit limit increase on your fourth statement and further increases every four months up to £3000. There are no annual or monthly fees for this card.
Purchase annual interest rate 59.94% (variable)
Amount of credit £250
Representative 59.9% APR (variable).
R. Raphael & Sons PLC
This Visa credit card is designed for those with a less than perfect credit history.
There is a monthly fee of £15 for each £100 borrowed or part thereof. There is also a £3.50 monthly fee if the balance is £0.00. i.e. if card is unused.
You must also repay a minimum of 10% of your outstanding balance each month.
The initial credit limit, if successful with the application, is £300.
You must also have a debit card to apply for this card as the debit card will be used to make the monthly repayments.
If you spent £300 on a purchase
transaction at the start of your agreement, incurred total monthly charges of £540 over a period of 20 months and made repayments in accordance with your Terms & Conditions, your APR would be 627% APR representative (variable).
aqua MasterCard Credit Card
This is an unsecured MasterCard credit card you may never have heard of. It is designed for those with some form of adverse credit. The card issuer is Progressive Credit Limited (PCL).
This MasterCard credit card may be worth applying for
if you have a UK bank account, have a landline telephone number and have had no new adverse credit in the last 12 months and are not an undischarged bankrupt or do not have an IVA.
aqua MasterCard credit card review
Representative 32.9% APR (variable)
Granite Visa Credit Card
This card is from Vanquis Bank and is essentially the same as their standard Visa card below but with a slightly lower advertised APR of 34.9%.
Granite Visa credit card review
Not available at present.
Vanquis Visa Credit Card
You may not have heard of the Vanquis credit card.
The parent company is the International financial
group, Provident Financial. They have helped over 1 million people in the UK.
Their Visa cards are specifically designed for those
who may have been turned down for credit
elsewhere (i.e. have some form of bad credit).
The APRs for the Vanquis Visa credit cards go up to 39.9%.
Vanquis Visa credit card review
Purchase annual interest rate 39.94% (variable).
Amount of credit £1000.
Representative 39.9% APR (variable)
e-Platinum Plus Shopping Card
"The e-Platinum Plus card is the shopping card you have been waiting for. With guaranteed approval and a credit line of up to £2500, you'll be able to buy the things you want AND the things you need. There is no credit check, your credit line can be increased upon request and we report to a major credit reference agency. All adverse credit is welcome."
Aquis Visa Credit Card
This credit card from Vanquis is designed to improve your credit rating. The initial credit limit can be up to £1000 which can be potentially increased to £3000 with the limit being increased every 4 months provided you run your account responsibly. The credit limit increase is not guaranteed and depends on a number of factors. The card can be managed online or by SMS.
Representative 29.8% APR (variable)
Capital One Visa Credit Card
Capital One are the biggest providers of unsecured credit cards in the UK for those a bad credit and / or those who wish to build or rebuild their credit history. Credit limits for these credit cards start at £200 but provided you use your card regularly and keep within your limit then this can be increased. What's important, though, is that they report your, hopefully, good credit history to the credit reference agencies (both Experian and Equifax) on a monthly basis. We definitely know of one client who used this credit card to build an empty (though clean) credit history from scratch. You need the Capital One Classic Card.
34.9% APR representative variable
34.94% p.a. variable on purchase
£1,200 credit limit
Initial Visa Card
Barclaycard are one of the major issuers of credit
cards in the UK. Their Initial Visa card is designed
for those who want their first credit card but have
no credit history. It has a relatively high APR of
29.9% with a minimum credit limit of £250.
Representative 29.9% APR (variable)
There are now very few card issuers that offer cards aimed specifically at those with little or bad credit histories. A tough economic climate and general consolidation have combined to reduce the number to just a handful.
Cards aimed at this market which have disappeared within the last decade include those from Accucard & Morethan, Beneficial, Monument (formerly Providian), Citicards (formerly the Associates) and the Universa MasterCard (Style Financial Services).
All Egg credit cards have now moved to Barclaycard. We had several reports of Egg cards being issued to those with no credit history and also cards being granted after the initial application was declined, but on appeal (usually by phone) the vast majority of times they overturned their decision and give you a credit card, albeit with a lower credit limit. It would make sense that Barclaycard would be interested in this market sector.
We also had reports of people receiving many of these bad credit history cards without actually being on the electoral register but simply being able to prove their identity.
In the past MBNA credit cards were an interesting case. Though not specifically credit cards for those with a poor credit history, we had reports of people obtaining these cards with high limits with very little positive credit history. There were also reports of people obtaining credit cards from them on a purely spurious basis, even if their card application was unsuitable (poor history / low credit score). This was some time ago, though. Things have probably changed.
(2) Secured Cards
Secured credit cards look and work just like any other credit cards. The only difference
is that before a card issuer will give you one you must pay them a security deposit
upfront. This deposit protects them should you fail to make repayments. It is only
returned after any balance is settled and the card account closed. The credit limit
on the card is set as a proportion of the secured funds, sometimes even up to 100%
of the total amount surrendered.
In the US there are literally dozens of secured credit cards. However, the fees and charges
for these secured cards can be astronomical. Unfortunately, as these cards require you to
have a US address plus US Social Security number then they are not available to UK
There are no longer any secured cards issued by a UK card issuer (Capital One used to do
one) but there are some offshore / European secured options for UK and International
customers. Take a look at our secured credit card page where you will find some of the
secured cards that are available to such people.
(3) Prepaid Cards
If none of the above adverse credit history UK unsecured credit cards are available to you
and you're unwilling or unable to provide a security deposit to an offshore or non-UK bank
but you still need a MasterCard or Visa card account then the only solutions open to you
are prepaid credit cards and the Visa cards that now come with some bank accounts.
These card accounts are specifically designed for those who have bad credit and / or
cannot get (or do not want) a Visa or MasterCard card account from anywhere else or
who need a low risk Internet or private second credit card account. See our prepaid card
page for details about this type of prepaid debit card in the UK plus a list of some of the
prepaid card accounts that are available to those in the UK, Europe and Internationally.
Return to UK bank account, prepaid credit cards or business bank account page.