Is it possible to get credit cards for bad credit? It’s almost impossible without some form of credit history assessment – find out more about credit checks and why they matter
While some credit cards are easier to be accepted for if you have a bad credit score or poor credit rating than others, there are currently no cards on the market you can get approval for without having a credit check.
All credit card providers look to see what kind of borrowing history you have before deciding whether to accept or decline your credit card application – this is known as checking your ‘credit card eligibility’.
Whether you’re looking for guaranteed no credit check credit cards due to a poor credit history, or because you don’t want to risk being rejected for credit, there are alternatives – read on to find out your options.
No credit check credit cards – the alternatives
Credit builder cards, also known as bad or poor credit credit cards, are designed for people with poor credit histories or no history of credit at all.
They can help repair a credit rating that might have been damaged by things like late or skipped payments, County Court Judgements, or a declaration of bankruptcy. This is down to the fact that you are successfully paying off a manageable credit card debt every month, which is noted on your credit file.
While these cards may prove easier to gain acceptance for than standard credit cards, it’s still worth checking your credit file before applying for one.
Credit check basics
Checking your credit file enables you to see all the information providers will see about your financial history when they consider your application, and to rectify any mistakes, such as a basic errors relating to your address or bank details.
You’ll also be able to spot things you can do to help strengthen your credit rating – see our guide on how to improve your credit score for more information.
You have a legal right to see your full credit file at a cost of £2 per credit reference agency. There are three agencies – Callcredit, Equifax and Experian.
Getting a ‘soft’ credit check (or ‘eligibility check’) can also help you get an idea of your credit rating. Some card providers, such as Barclaycard, offer a pre-application eligibility checking tool which performs a ‘soft footprint’ check on your credit file.
Rather than a full credit check which could affect your ability to get credit at a later date, it won’t harm your credit rating but will give you a good indication of whether or not you’ll be accepted for one of their cards before you go ahead with a full application.
What are the best credit cards for bad credit?
There are a wide range of credit cards designed for people with adverse credit scores, offering all kinds of benefits, such as cashback or fee-free overseas spending.
The best credit card for those with bad credit depends on personal circumstances and preferences. But if you do have bad credit the foremost thing to think about which card is best to help you improve your credit score.
Prepaid cards can be useful alternative to credit cards as they offer much of the convenience of a credit card but without a credit check.
They work by pre-loading money on to the card – a bit like topping up a pay-as-you-go mobile phone.
Because you’re unable to spend more than you have loaded on the card, prepaid cards can be a valuable aid to budgeting, helping to limit the chances of getting into debt. Find out more in our extensive guide.
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