First Credit Cards


A first credit card will give you a chance to build up a credit history safely. Read our guide page to find out if a credit card could be right for you.


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Your first credit card

If you plan to apply for a credit card but you haven’t had any credit before, it can be difficult to prove that you can manage your money well. Responsible lenders will look at your credit history to work out whether you’ll be able to pay back the money you want to borrow. Without a credit history, those lenders might see you as a high-risk borrower.


Some credit cards are specifically designed for people who have little or no credit history, or a poor credit history. These cards are also called starter cards or credit building credit cards, and they can be slightly easier to sign up for than standard credit cards. They do sometimes come with a higher rate of interest though.


How to get your first credit card

When you apply for your first credit card, your chances of being accepted depends on your personal situation, the type of card you want, and the lender who issues the card. Some lenders won’t give cards to people with bad credit, and some cards are only available to people with good credit scores.


The process of applying for a first credit card is very simple, and you can do it online. Usually, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address (if you haven’t done it already, you should enrol on the electoral register to improve your chance of being accepted)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your annual income
  • Employment status / details
  • Your current account details
  • A valid email address / contact number

How first time credit cards work

Credit cards give borrowers an agreed amount of money to spend, which the borrower must then repay over a period, including interest. When you borrow on a credit card, you need to repay a minimum amount each month or you’ll be charged additional fees. If you pay the credit card balance in full before your statement is produced each month, you won’t be charged any interest.


A first-time credit card is usually designed for people with little or no credit history, or borrowers who have a lower credit score. These cards usually come with a lower credit limit and a higher rate of interest, but this depends on your income, your employment situation, and other factors that the lender will assess.


The low credit limit is to help you keep your debt small and manageable. The high interest rate helps to compensate the lender for the extra risk of lending to someone with a lower credit score, or no credit history. That’s because these borrowers are considered more likely to pay late or miss payments completely.


Your first time getting credit

If you’re taking out credit for the first time, finding the best option depends on your situation. With an eligibility checker, you can check whether you’re eligible for a card before you apply for it. This is important, because every application you make will affect your credit score, and that could make it harder to get a card.


The Vanquis eligibility checker leaves no trace on your credit file, and it can also give you an instant decision online. We’ll take a few details from you, then we’ll carry out a ‘soft’ credit check to find out whether you’d be able to get a credit card from us.


This initial decision isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to get a credit card, but it does offer a good indication of whether you should go ahead with a full application. If you do decide to apply, we’ll carry out a full credit check before we make a final decision.


What to consider before getting your first credit card

When you apply for your first credit card, it’s important to think about the following key things. Don’t forget that good lenders are there to help you, and you should always ask them if there’s something you don’t understand.


Representative APR

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, and Representative APR is the lowest APR that a lender will offer to 51% of people who are accepted for its product. The other 49% of accepted applications are likely to be offered a higher APR. Different people are offered different APRs because their personal situations and credit scores are different. A Vanquis Bank credit card has a representative APR of 39.9% (variable), but rates vary according to your circumstances.


Credit limit

The credit limit is the maximum amount of money you can borrow on your credit card. To help you borrow without getting into difficulties, your first credit card limit is likely to be relatively low. On first credit cards from Vanquis, the limit will be anything from £100 to £1,500, and it will depend on your circumstances.


The good news is that your lender might increase your credit limit if you make repayments on time each month. Try to avoid getting too close to your credit limit because this can damage your credit score.


Minimum payments

This is the lowest amount you have to pay back every month to avoid having to pay late fees and charges. The minimum payment amount will depend on your card’s interest rate and how much you currently owe on it.


Fees and charges

All credit cards come with certain fees and charges, and these might include monthly and annual interest charges or late repayment fees. Your card’s fees might also depend on how and when you use it. For example, you need to pay additional fees and interest if you use your card abroad or to withdraw cash.


We’ve put together a helpful summary of all the charges and fees that come with a Vanquis credit card.



Our Refer a Friend scheme lets Vanquis customers refer their family and friends for a Vanquis card. Every time someone you refer to us becomes a Vanquis cardholder then activates and spends on their card, you and that person will be credited with £25 into your Vanquis accounts.


Who can apply for a first credit card?

Before you apply for your first credit card, you need to make sure you fit the lender’s criteria.


All UK residents aged 18 or over can apply for a Vanquis first credit card, so long as you’re not legally restricted from getting credit and don’t already hold a Vanquis credit card. Legal restrictions that could stop you getting credit include things like being bankrupt.


It’s worth keeping in mind that even if you meet the minimum requirements, this doesn’t guarantee your application will be accepted. Some lenders might also need you to be in full time employment and earning over a certain amount each year.


One last thing: don’t forget to check your credit score before you apply, because even a limited credit history could put you in the ‘bad credit’ category. Some credit card providers won’t lend to people with poor credit, and a rejected application can damage your chance of getting further credit.


What’s my credit score?

Each credit reference agency has different criteria for scoring, so your own score will vary from one agency to another.

  • Equifax scores from 0 (poor) to 1000 (excellent)
  • Experian scores from 0 (very poor) to 999 (excellent)
  • TransUnion scores from 0 (very poor) to 710 (excellent)


When you apply for credit, the lender carries out a credit check with one of the three main credit reference agencies to find out more about your credit history. Sometimes they might even check with all three agencies. Next, the lender uses this information and the details from your application to give you a credit score based upon their own lending criteria.


This score is used to decide whether to lend to you, as well as which product you might be offered if you’re accepted. If your credit score is a low one, you might only be offered a high-interest loan or a high-interest credit card. Try not to worry, because different lenders have different ways of scoring, so rejection from one lender doesn’t always mean you’ll be rejected by another.


If your application is accepted, it’s important that you know how to use a credit card responsibly. The most important thing to remember is that you must make repayments on time and keep within your agreed limit.


One last thing: don’t forget to check your credit score before you apply, because even a limited credit history could put you in the ‘bad credit’ category. Some credit card providers won’t lend to people with poor credit, and a rejected application can damage your chance of getting further credit.

Am I eligible?

To find out if you’re eligible for a Vanquis credit card, you should apply online using our simple Express Check service. It should only take you around 60 seconds, and you can use this service so long as the following apply to you:

  • You’re at least 18 years old
  • You’re a UK resident
  • You’re not legally restricted from getting credit e.g. because of bankruptcy
  • You don’t already have a Vanquis credit card

Why choose a Vanquis credit card?

Simple: because we’re a company you can trust. At Vanquis, we’ve got a track record in helping people manage their own money.


We work hard to make sure that our first credit cards are easy to apply for and simple to manage. You can see our Trustpilot reviews to see what our customers say about our excellent products and outstanding customer service.


Above all, we’re honest and responsible when it comes to first credit cards, and we only offer them to people who we think will be able to afford the repayments. That means you can choose us with confidence.


How to apply for your first credit card

The quickest and simplest way to apply for a Vanquis credit card is to spend 60 seconds completing our simple Eligibility Checker. You’ll get an instant decision about your eligibility, with no trace of a search left on your credit file.


You can view our range of credit cards to see which option would be right for you and then check your eligibility for this card.