Understanding credit cards for poor credit
Poor credit credit cards, also called bad credit credit cards, are designed to help you if you have a poor, or non-existent, credit record. These cards accept people who would be rejected for a mainstream credit card.
They are an excellent way of building up a good credit record. If you get one, use it sensibly and pay your balance off in full each month.
However, they carry very high interest rates – typically 29–35%APR – so NEVER spend more than you can afford to pay back.
Stop the cycle of credit card rejection
If you’ve applied and been rejected for a credit card, read this before applying again.
Being rejected is not only a waste of time, it can damage your credit rating, making it even harder to obtain credit and create a vicious circle of rejection.
So, stop and assess why you’ve been turned down and then find the card most likely to accept you. Every card company has their own criteria for lending, so even if one has rejected you, it doesn’t mean that they all will.
Before you apply again, find out which cards are most likely to accept you. Our eligibility check will tell you which credit cards you are most likely to be accepted for, without casting a shadow on your credit record – using it will not affect your credit rating.
How does the eligibility check work?
The eligibility check can help you decide on which card to apply for. Enter a few details and we’ll show you the cards you’re more likely to be approved for – and those that might reject you.
Acceptance isn’t guaranteed, but we use a soft search – you’ll see it on your file, but lenders don’t, so there’s no impact on your credit rating – to show your chance of acceptance for each card.
Don’t assume you’ll only get a ‘bad credit’ credit card, you may be pleasantly surprised. But whatever result you get, use your new credit card to improve your credit rating.
We rank your results based on what represents the best value for you and guarantee that no company can ever pay to advertise on the site or to appear higher in your results.
What is a poor credit credit card?
Bad credit credit cards are designed for people who have had credit problems in the past or have little or no history of borrowing. If you fall into either category you represent an above-average risk to the lender, so you pay for that risk with higher interest rates and fewer special offers.
As these cards are expensive they’re not great for new borrowing. But, if used sensibly &nsdash; that means paying the balance off in full each month – they can help you build up a good credit score.
You’re likely to fall into the poor credit category if you have:
- A limited or non-existent credit history
- Past issues such as repeated missed payments
- Prior County Court Judgements
- Been declined by several other credit card providers
What are bad credit credit cards good for?
- They’re a great way to build or rebuild your credit rating.
- In some circumstances they can be a cheaper alternative to other forms of borrowing, such as payday loans or unauthorised overdrafts.
- Some poor credit cards feature 0% introductory rates and can be used carefully for low-cost, short-term borrowing.
- All bad credit credit cards come with useful free Section 75 purchase protection benefits.
How to improve your credit rating
Here’s how you can use a credit card to improve your credit rating and, in time, gain access to better rates and products:
- Use the card. An unused card sitting in a drawer won’t help your credit score, you need to flex the plastic, even if it is only to spend a few pounds each month.
- Stay within your credit limit.
- Repay your balance in full every month – set up a direct debit to ensure you don’t miss a payment.
- Never miss a monthly payment.
- Never take on debt you can’t afford to pay off in full – bad credit credit cards tend to have high APRs and expensive interest costs could lead to you missing a repayment.