What is a credit card for people with bad credit?
Just because you apply for a credit card with your bank but get declined because you have a poor credit history does not mean that you cannot be considered by other providers of credit cards for bad credit rated individuals here in the UK. Fortunately, there are a number of financial institutions that will consider applications for credit cards for people with bad credit (or even no credit) that you can compare to hopefully find the best one to meet your requirements.
Bad credit credit cards can be used in the same way as other credit cards such as to buy goods and services in shops, online or over the phone or to withdraw cash at some ATMs. However, a provider of a credit card for bad credit will normally charge a higher rate of interest to cover the perceived additional risk to them.
Are there different types of credit cards for people with adverse credit?
There are numerous providers of credit cards for people with poor credit that can be used in the same way as credit cards that are issued to people that have a satisfactory credit rating i.e. you can use the card to purchase things and then, as long as you clear the outstanding balance each month, you should not pay any interest on those purchases. As a minimum, you will be expected to pay a certain % of the outstanding balance each month, in which case you will pay interest on any balance remaining. The above is the same for all types of credit cards but those that are provided specifically for people with a bad credit history tend to charge a much higher rate of interest and usually start off with a lower credit limit and, as long as you maintain the card satisfactorily, your limit may progressively increase over a period of time.
What factors should I consider when comparing bad credit credit cards?
The major considerations are the interest rate and the credit limit that you may be given. As already stated, the interest rate for bad credit credit cards is likely to be high and varies between many of the providers. Therefore, it is worth shopping around to compare interest rates. Also, the minimum and maximum credit limits that these cards come with may vary between different companies. Other factors to consider are any charges that may be payable should you default on the terms of the card such as not making the minimum payment on time and the interest rate that you will pay should you withdraw cash using the card that may be higher than what you pay on any outstanding balance relating to purchases that you have made.
Will my application be approved online and will I be subject to a credit check?
Many companies allow you to apply online with an instant decision as to whether your application has been approved or declined often provided. The process is quick and easy. A credit check is always carried out so there is no guaranteed approval.
Do poor credit credit cards normally require a deposit?
Normally, most providers do not require you to pay a deposit for such a credit card although we are aware of at least one provider that may request a security sum depending upon your credit rating.
Do I need a bank account to apply for a credit card?
Yes, you would normally require a bank account to apply for such a card, with further information about bank accounts for bad credit on our site in the ‘Accounts’ section.
Can I apply for a card if I’ve been declared bankrupt?
Some companies do accept applications from people that have been declared bankrupt as long as this was at least 12 months ago.
Will having a CCJ affect my application?
Yes, companies take into account whether you have one or more county court judgements (CCJs) when assessing your application and some do consider applications from people with CCJs. The criteria differ between providers so you should research this before applying.
What is the difference between a debit card, cash card and a credit card?
Debit card – this is provided by the likes of banks and building societies when opening a current account. It enables you to withdraw cash at ATMs in the UK and abroad and purchase items and services in retail outlets in the UK and overseas and use online and by phone. Your bank current account is debited when you use the card.
Cash card – this provides the same or a similar service to a debit card although there may be limitations with some cash cards such as not being able to use the card to withdraw cash from ATMs abroad. Your bank current account is debited when you utilise the card.
Credit card – as already stated, you are allocated a credit limit and can make purchases and withdraw cash in the same way as a debit card as long as you do not exceed the limit. Ideally, you should clear the outstanding balance each month to avoid paying interest on any purchases but, as a minimum, pay a specific % of the amount outstanding. Interest is payable on any outstanding balance that is not cleared and in respect of cash advances.
Can I apply for a card with a low income, if I’m unemployed, or on benefits?
The application criteria vary between providers but some may consider such applications.
What if I’m not on the electoral roll?
Credit card providers carry out a credit reference search on all applicants that includes checking if someone is on the voters roll. Therefore, if you are not, this may impact on your ability to get a credit card. Having said that, there may be a good reason why you are not listed at your current address as being on the voters roll that the card company may take into account when assessing your application.
What are the typical fees and interest rates when applying?
These may vary between providers so you should check what each company’s fees and interest rates are before applying. As we have already stated, do bear in mind that the interest rate on a bad credit credit card is normally very high, as it would be with any other type of loans for people with bad credit.
Are there any restrictions on closing a credit card for poor credit?
No, as long as the outstanding balance and any interest and charges are paid off, the credit card can be closed and the card destroyed.
How can I check my eligibility before applying for a card?
You can check the application criteria for each credit card provider that you are interested in by visiting their website. You can also use one of the other credit card eligibility checkers provided by various 3rd party websites online.
Are these cards only available to people living in England and Wales?
This website only provides information about credit cards for people that have a bad credit history that are UK residents i.e. living in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Are there cards available for college students with a low credit score?
Some credit card companies may consider applications from students that have a low credit rating.
Are there cards available for business owners with a poor credit history?
Yes, some business owners that have a bad credit record may be able to get a card depending upon a number of factors.
Will I be able to conduct a balance transfer?
Yes, some companies will consider credit card balance transfer applications.
Is there a processing fee for signing up for a card?
Most companies do not charge a fee when applying for a credit card nor do they usually charge a monthly administration fee. However, you may be charged a processing fee if arranging a balance transfer.
What are the risks associated with credit cards?
As with any form of credit, you should be in a position to be able to afford to pay back the liability. In the case of a credit card, at very least, you should pay the minimum sum requested each month with this being a % of the amount outstanding. If you do not meet the minimum monthly repayment requested by the due date you might pay a fee. However, ideally, you should pay off the full amount outstanding each month by the due date. If you do not, you will be charged a high rate of interest on the balance remaining until it is cleared. You should try to avoid using your card to withdraw cash as you will be charged interest from when you withdrew the cash and may be charged a fee for the amount withdrawn. If you default on the credit card such as being unable to pay off the balance as agreed with the card company they could pass your file to a debt collection agency and your credit rating could be adversely affected with the credit reference agencies.
Can I use this type of card to rebuild my credit rating?
Yes, many of these bad credit credit cards can be used to help improve your credit rating. For instance, you may be able to do this by making purchases on the card that you know you already have the money set aside for to meet the cost of, enabling you to fully clear the balance each month and by the due date. This could result in the company increasing your limit that could be sensibly utilised in a similar manner. The company will no doubt notify the credit reference agencies of the satisfactory conduct of your card with this information being available to other potential lenders should you seek finance in the future.
Interest rates on credit cards for bad credit rated individuals are high so it is worth shopping around with the many providers to try to find the best deal. In doing so, you will be looking for a bad credit credit card that is charging as low an interest rate as possible but also taking into account any fees that they may charge in certain situations. Ideally, you should try to clear the amount outstanding by the due date each month.