Credit Cards for Bad Credit


If you’re looking to improve your credit score, a credit card for bad credit could help to rebuild your credit rating. See if you’re eligible for a Vanquis credit card today.

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Credit cards for bad credit are designed for people who want to improve their credit score.


There are a number of reasons why you might need to build your credit score, and a bad credit credit card offers a way of doing this over time. Using your card correctly is key to improving your credit profile, which means never missing a payment and never going over your agreed credit limit.


Whatever your reasons for wanting to boost your credit score, here’s how using a Vanquis credit card can help with credit repair.

What is a credit card for bad credit?

Credit cards for bad credit are designed for people who have a poor credit score. To minimise the risk of card holders getting into financial difficulty and help ensure credit is handled responsibly, these cards often come with a low credit limit and a high interest rate.


If you manage your credit card well over time your credit score could see an improvement.



Check your eligibility


Simple 4 step application to find the right card for you.

  • Vanquis Classic Card - 39.9% APR (variable)
  • Vanquis Chrome Card - 29.5% APR (variable)
  • Vanquis Origin Card - 59.9% APR (variable)


What is considered a bad or poor credit score?

Your credit rating is based on several factors, including your employment status, the type of credit you’re applying for, and the number of applications you’ve made recently. It’s also based on the amount of credit you currently have and how well you are managing it.


There isn’t a specific number that lenders use when deciding whether your credit score is good or not. Each lender has a different set of requirements when assessing potential customers, meaning you may be eligible for one but not the other. As well as having their own scoring system, lenders will also check the information held on your credit file at one or all three of the main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.


To give you an idea of what these agencies consider to be ‘good’ and ‘bad’ credit scores, here are some of the numbers they use:


Credit Agency Poor Fair Good Excellent
Equifax 0-379 380-419 420-465 466-700
Experian 0-720 721-880 881-960 961-999
TransUnion 0-565 566-603 604-627 628-710

Can I get a credit card with bad credit?

Yes. You can apply for a credit card with bad credit, but you should make sure it’s the right card for your circumstances.


Although there are many different types of credit cards available, each with different uses - from 0% balance transfers, to interest-free purchases, and even cashback - these cards are usually only available to people with good or excellent scores. If you want to access these types of cards in the future, you should look at improving your credit score – this is where a credit card for people with poor credit could help.

Can I apply for a credit card if I have no credit history?

If you have no credit history, this means you’re essentially ‘invisible’ to lenders and credit referencing agencies, who have no way of knowing how you manage your money or how you handle credit. If you want to take out a credit card, you may need to apply for a credit card for bad credit – this can then be used to help build up your credit score.


If you have no credit history, using credit correctly might see your score improve more quickly than if you have a bad credit history. It’s worth noting that things like CCJs, IVAs, and even missed payments are visible on your credit report and can lower your score, so it helps to keep on top of your finances.

Will my eligibility be guaranteed with a credit card check?

Although guaranteed acceptance credit cards are sometimes offered to borrowers with an excellent credit score, the application process for applicants with a poor credit score is usually more stringent.


While it’s unlikely you’ll find any bad credit credit cards with guaranteed approval, many lenders give you the option of an initial eligibility check. This helps you work out your chances of acceptance without any trace of a credit search being left on your credit file.


An eligibility check will give you a good indication of whether you’ll be accepted for credit, but this doesn’t mean your approval is guaranteed. This is because additional fraud and verification checks need to be carried out, which means the information you provide in your application needs to be cross-checked with that held on your credit report.


If you decide to carry on with the full application, you’ll be subject to a full credit check that will be noted on your credit file.

What is bad credit?

Bad credit is a term used to describe a low credit score. This could be because of a damaged credit file or limited credit history. Having bad credit can make it more difficult to get acceptance for a loan or credit card.


When working out your credit score and deciding whether to accept your application, lenders use information held by one of the UK’s credit referencing agencies. They’ll then use this alongside other factors, such as your employment status and income, to work out whether to offer you credit and how much.


If you’ve handled credit badly in the past or if you’ve never taken out any form of credit, then it’s likely you have a poor credit score. If so, you might find some lenders may decline your credit application, in which case it might be worth looking at credit cards for bad credit as a way to help rebuild your credit score.

Reasons you could have bad credit

There are a number of reasons why you could have bad credit, for example:

  • Breaking your credit agreement – If you missed any payments or went over your credit limit, this will break the terms of your credit agreement and be noted on your credit file.
  • Getting into financial difficulty – Each repayment you miss is noted on your credit file. Missing multiple repayments can cause your score to quickly drop, particularly if you miss a number of consecutive repayments.
  • Being close to your credit limit – The amount of credit you use also impacts your score. Always use your card sensibly and make your payments on time. Not doing so could harm your credit rating and make obtaining credit more difficult.
  • Having no credit history – If you’ve never taken on any form of credit before, lenders and credit reference agencies have no way of knowing how you handle credit. This means you’ll likely have a low credit score.
  • Having too many credit searches – Multiple applications means multiple hard searches on your credit file, and too many in a short space of time can put a dent in your credit score.

If any of the above applies to you, bad credit credit cards could be an option to help improve your credit rating.

Apply online today

To apply for a credit card online with Vanquis, fill out our check eligibility form for an initial decision that will have no impact on your credit score.


Apply now to find out if you could join the 4 million people we’ve already accepted for one of our instant approval credit cards for bad credit.


Credit Cards FAQ

What APR can I get?

Vanquis is a high interest credit card provider, with annual interest rates that generally range from 39.9% APR (variable) to 69.9% APR (variable) depending on individual circumstances.


What credit limit can I get?

Your starting credit limit will be low - a maximum of £1,000. If you use your card correctly, Vanquis can increase your ceiling every five months, up to a maximum of £4,000.


Who can apply for a Vanquis credit card?

To find out if you’re eligible for a Vanquis credit card, you’ll need to apply online. We require all applicants to be UK residents and aged 18 or over.


You should not apply if you already hold a credit card with Vanquis Bank, or are legally restricted from obtaining credit e.g. because of bankruptcy.


Can a credit card help me build credit?

When used correctly, a bad credit credit card can help build your credit score over time. This means you’ll need to manage your account properly by making at least the minimum payment on time each month and never going over your agreed credit limit.