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Credit cards for bad credit

Find the ‘bad credit’ credit cards most likely to accept you. Help repair your poor credit score and compare our best credit cards for bad credit.

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You'll find UK credit cards from major banks and credit card companies across the market, making it easy to find the one that's right for you.

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Best credit cards for poor credit

There's no such thing as a best credit card, because what makes the best credit card for you will depend on your own financial situation.

But you can help improve your credit rating. Using the right type of credit card in the right way, will start the process.

There are credit cards available that are specifically designed for people who have a poor credit rating. Or who have little or no credit history.

Make sure you're able to make your monthly repayments in full before taking out a credit card. If not, you could end up in debt, damaging your credit rating even more.

Bad credit problems in the past

Just because you've had problems with credit in the past, it does not mean that you'll never be able to get a credit card.

Problems with credit could include:

  • Late or missed repayments

  • County Court Judgements (CCJs)

  • Bankruptcy

A credit card for bad credit is a credit card specifically designed for people who have had problems with credit in the past.

How to build your credit

How to pay off your credit card debt

Advantages and disadvantages of a credit card for bad credit

  • Improve your credit rating

A credit card for bad credit can help you improve your credit rating if you pay off what you've borrowed in full and on time each month.

By making your repayments, you're proving to lenders that you're not a financial risk and you can be trusted to make your repayments.

  • Higher chance of getting the card

Bad credit credit card providers are more likely to accept your application compared to standard credit card providers. Even if you've been rejected in the past or you have a bad credit rating.

  • Higher APR

These credit cards usually come with a higher APR.

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the total cost of your borrowing over a year. It includes the interest rate you’ll pay on any remaining debt. And any other standard fees, including annual fees and arrangement fees.

You can avoid paying high interest rates by paying your balance off in full every month.

  • Low spending limit

These cards often come with a low spending limit. That's because the lender sees you as a higher risk borrower compared to someone with a higher credit rating.

If you go over your limit, this will negatively impact your credit score. Make sure you know what your limit is and do not go over it.

Credit building credit card

What happens if you've never had credit before?

If you've never had credit before, there's no way of lenders knowing whether you're a responsible borrower or not.

Credit builder cards can help you build up your credit score and create a positive repayment history. If paid off in full each month, you'll be showing lenders that you can successfully pay off a manageable debt each month.

But be careful of higher than usual APRs and low credit limits compared to standard credit cards.

Find out more about credit building credit cards

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Find the credit card that's right for you

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Take steps to improve your credit rating

Put direct debits in your name

Setting up direct debits to pay for things like household bills or mobile phone contracts shows lenders that you're capable of making regular repayments. Make sure you never miss a payment or this will negatively affect your credit rating

Register to vote

Add your details to the electoral roll by registering to vote. Credit card providers will use information on the electoral roll to confirm that you are who you say you are

Close accounts you no longer use

Credit card providers will look to see how much credit is already available to you. You can reduce this by closing accounts no longer in use

Find out more about how to improve your credit rating

Improving your credit rating could help boost your chances of being approved for credit in the future.

Building up a strong credit rating can take time. But there are some things you can do now to start improving your rating.

Prepaid cards can be useful alternative to credit cards

No credit check is needed with a prepaid card. They work by loading money onto the card, similar to topping up a pay-as-you-go mobile phone.

A prepaid card can help with budgeting and limiting your chances of getting into debt as you’re unable to spend more than you have loaded on the card.

Find out more about prepaid cards

How can I check my eligibility before I apply for a credit card?

It's important to apply for the right credit card for your credit rating.

If you apply for a credit card that's not suited to your financial situation, the lender might reject your application.

If your application is rejected, this will negatively impact your credit score. And you'll reduce your chances of getting credit in the future.

You can check how likely you are to get a card before you apply using our eligibility checker.

The eligibility checker works by running a soft credit check. This means you can check your eligibility without impacting your credit rating.

Check your eligibility

Credit cards for bad credit - FAQs

What is a credit card?

Read our guide to learn how a credit card differs from a loan, and how to responsibly use one.

Section 75 - What is credit card protection?

For many people using a credit card can offer great benefits. A key perk of owning a credit card is the protection you're given with Section 75.

How to pay off credit card debt

Here is our step-by-step guide to help you pay off credit card debt, rebuild your credit score and regain your financial health.

Debt help

Debt can often cause stress and anxiety, our debt help guides provide tips and resources, to get back on track with your finances.

Help is at hand

Check your eligibility for credit cards

  • 1Improve your chances of being accepted
  • 2It won't affect your credit score
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Uswitch Limited is a credit broker, not a lender, for consumer credit.

Our services are provided at no cost to you. We may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to, but this does not affect what you will pay for the product you choose.