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Best credit cards for bad credit borrowers

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Borrowers with bad credit histories can still get their hands on some decent credit cards.

This article is now out of date. For the latest on credit cards for people with a poor credit rating or no credit history, please read  Best credit cards if you have bad credit

If you have a bad credit record, or even no history at all, there is a range of different credit cards available which are specifically designed to help you.

Below we take a closer look at the best credit cards for borrowers with bad credit records. Bear in mind that if you don't pay off your balance in full each month you'll pay a high rate of interest (with the exception of the Capital One Balance, which offers six months interest free) – far higher than the average credit card APR.

Where we quote representative APRs, these are the interest charges that legally have to be offered to 51% of applicants. Your APR may be higher depending on your credit rating.

Capital One Balance

The Capital One Balance Visa offers 0% on balance transfers until the end of July. Make sure you pay off your balance in full before the end of the 0% period of you’ll be whacked with interest at a representative rate of 34.9%. If you transfer a balance, you'll pay a 3% of the amount you're transferring as a balance transfer fee.

Vanquis Aquis

The Vanquis Aquis card comes with a credit limit of up to £1,000, though you could get a credit limit increase on your fourth statement, and then ever four statements thereafter, up to a maximum of £3,000.

It has a representative APR of 29.8%.

Aqua Advance

With the Aqua Advance card, you start with an APR of 34.9%. However, so long as you manage your account carefully – meaning you make your repayments on time and don’t exceed your credit limit – you can cut that rate of interest by 5% a year for three years.

As a result, you could end up with an APR of 19.9%.

The credit limit is between £250 and £1,600.

Aqua Classic

The Aqua classic card is a simple card, offering a representative APR of 29.7%. Borrowers start with a credit limit of between £250 and £1,600 and there’s no annual fee to pay.

Barclaycard Initial Visa

With the Initial Visa you get a representative APR of 29.9% and a maximum credit limit of £1,200.

You also benefit from contactless payments and access to tickets to music gigs through Barclaycard Unwind.

Capital One Classic

The Capital One Classic comes with a credit limit of between £200 and £1,500, though this is reviewed regularly and can be increased up to two times a year.

It comes with a representative APR of 34.9%.

Capital One Classic Extra

The Classic Extra comes with the same credit limits as the Classic, but also pays cashback on your spending, at a rate of 0.5%. You can also benefit from a £10 annual bonus if you manage to pay your bill on time every month.

It also comes with a representative APR of 34.9%.

Aqua Reward

The Aqua Reward card also comes with an APR of 34.9%, and also offers the bonus of paying cashback on the money you spend.

You will earn 3% cashback on your purchases, up to an annual limit of £100.

Again, there’s a credit limit of between £250 and £1,600 and no fee to pay.


The Luma credit card offers a credit limit of up to £1,500 and comes with a representative APR of 35.9%.

Cardholders also get access to may discounts from retailers through the Luma Rewards scheme.

Vanquis Visa

The Vanquis Visa has a credit limit of £1,000, with the option to raise that limit every four months, so long as you manage the card properly.

Iits representative APR is 39.9%.

Black Diamond

Black Diamond’s credit card comes with an initial credit limit of between £150 and £1,000.

Make sure you pay it off in full each month though, as otherwise you’ll pay a whopping 59.9% APR!

More on credit cards

The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

The best 0% purchase credit cards

How to repair your credit rating

Where to get free debt advice

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