Bad credit score? Need a credit card? Fear not. Here's your answers.

By Charlotte Yau

Want to rebuild your credit? Take a look at these credit cards that are aimed at people with a poor credit history.

So you’ve made a few credit mistakes in the past, it’s easily done and most people have. That isn’t the end of your life with credit, you can rebuild and you will be able to get finance in the future. One way of doing this is to look at a credit card aimed at people with a poor credit score – these tend to have a higher interest rate than mainstream banks and financial companies but they do come with lower limits aimed at helping you get back on the credit ladder. Here are a few of the top companies that offer to help poor credit scorers.


Vanquis offer a credit card aimed at helping you build or rebuild your credit history. They offer a manageable starting limit of between £150 and £1,000 (depending on your circumstances) which could be increased up to £4,000 – as you show them you can manage your credit. They are based in the UK with UK customer service centres as well as offering online account services and SMS alerts. This allows you to keep a track of your spending and repayments wherever you are.

The representative APR is 39.9% (variable).

Higher interest rates mean that you’ll be paying more off for longer, especially if you are only meeting minimum repayments. Never spend more than you can easily pay off and try to pay off the balance each month otherwise your purchases suddenly become very expensive.

This card is great for people serious about rebuilding their credit rating, obviously sensible spending is encouraged so only using the card to pay for things you’d be buying anyway such as food shopping. Vanquis will automatically increase your limit over time, as long as you show you’re managing well but they will decrease your limit should you prefer that.


Aqua claim to be a specialist lender so no matter what your financial circumstances they can look at what you need, what you can afford and try to find you a product to help rebuild your history – although they can’t guarantee they’ll say yes. They offer a starting credit limit of £250 to £1,200 which may increase up to £3,000.

The representative APR is 35.9% (variable).

This card gives you a little more to start off with but has a lower maximum credit limit meaning that you have a little more control on how much you over spend. Similar to the Vanquis card, your limit can increase over time but can also be lowered if you don’t want to run the risk of spending more than you can afford to pay back. UK based call centres and customer service means it’s easy to control your account.

Capital One

Capital One offer the “Credit Builder” card which is exactly what is says on the tin. With a starting limit of £200 up to £1,500 this card also comes with two annual credit limit increases which are optional and subject to eligibility (depending on how well you manage the credit you have).

The representative APR is 34.9% (variable).

Again, another good card aimed at helping to rebuild a poor credit history, giving you complete control of your spending and allowing you, with sensible purchases, to improve your credit score.


Barclaycard offers the Barclaycard Initial card which is designed to help rebuild your credit rating or as a respite from other debts. With a £250 - £1,200 starting limit the biggest appeal of this card is the 0% interest for the first year (minimum repayments must be made).

The representative APR is 34.9% (variable) after the first year.

This card encourages you, and rewards you for sensible spending. The first year you have 0% interest on all purchases and if you keep up with repayments you could see the APR drop after a year.


A Cashplus card is a final resort if you cannot obtain a regular credit card. This is a prepaid card that you have to pay to get but you’re guaranteed to be accepted. You pay £76 back over the course of a year in small amounts (£5.95) which shows up on your credit file. If you have a very bad rating, then there isn’t much information as to how much it will actually repair your file by but every little helps. It also offers cashback for selected retailers. There is a £5.95 set up fee and you have to select the credit builder option; missed payments will go against you.

Why you might want to rebuild your credit

Credit is linked to many parts of daily life. Whether it’s the obvious things like mortgages and loans or things you might not associate with it such as landing that perfect job. Rebuilding your credit shows that, even though you might have made a mistake or two, that you are able to sensibly manage your money and that will (in time) make you more attractive to potential lenders.

Things to consider before getting a credit card

1. Applying for a credit card leaves a mark on your credit history, applying for multiple different cards because you’ve been rejected doesn’t look good. Apply for one, then wait a few months – take that time to figure out why you’ve been declined (time at current address, electoral roll, previous history) and try to improve that before trying again.

2. Make sure you can afford repayments – if you are rebuilding then it’s best to only use it for life essentials or smaller purchases; a hair dye, a lipstick, a coffee. Things you were going to buy anyway or things that are easy to repay.

3. Check your credit rating before you apply – it will tell you if there is something you can do to increase your chances of being accepted.

4. Compare the cards APR – APR is the Annual Percentage Rate and is the amount of interest on your total purchase amounts annually. A lower APR translates to lower monthly payments.

Top takeaway

The main thing to remember with any credit cards that are aimed at people with a poor credit history is that they come at a cost, with little to no additional benefits, they should only be used to help repair your credit rating. Bigger lenders will have much more appealing benefits such as lower interest rates, cashback, loyalty schemes etc which you can always take advantage of a few years down the line when you have improved your rating.

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