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Credit cards for bad credit

  • Perfect for credit building
  • Guaranteed credit limit
  • Check your eligibility with no impact to your credit score
Check my eligibility This won't affect your credit score

Representative example: Amount of credit £1,200. Interest rate: 49.0% pa (variable) Representative 49.0% APR (variable)

Bad credit credit cards

Bad credit credit cards are aimed at borrowers who may have a less than perfect credit score, or who are yet to build their credit rating. 

If you're just starting out on building your credit score, it may seem scary and complicated, but improving your credit profile is actually straightforward.  If you’ve never had a credit card or never borrowed money, you’re seen as more risky – even if you’ve always managed your money well. In these circumstances, a bad credit credit card could work in the same way as a credit-builder card, that is to say, it will allow you to build your credit profile. By starting out with a small credit limit, and making your payments on time, every time, you will slowly build your credit.

Perhaps you have had an outstanding debt in the past - a few missed payments here, or an unexpected expense there – these things can easily impact a credit score. And it can be even more frustrating when your score means you can’t get the credit you need.

Apply for a credit card for bad credit from 118 118 Money with confidence
Use our Eligibility check to find out what credit limit we'll offer you before you apply, without affecting your credit rating!
Check my eligibility This won't affect your credit score
What are credit cards for poor credit?

Credit cards for poor credit, also known as credit cards for bad credit, are exactly what they say – credit cards for people who are deemed to have bad credit, or a low credit score.

Missed payments?
If you’ve missed payments here and there on existing cards, loans or things like your mobile phone, then your previous payment history means you are likely to have a lower credit score and could be classified as having bad credit.

Paying very little off existing credit cards
Only ever paying the bare minimum off your existing credit cards can have a negative impact on your credit score and stop you credit-building efficiently. You can increase your Direct Debit payment to pay off more than your minimum monthly payment, and if you can afford to do this, you should.

Had other financial difficulties?
Having difficulty with debt such as county court judgements (CCJs) or becoming bankrupt will result in you having poor credit. These will fall off your credit file after 6 years.

Been a victim of fraud?
Even being a victim of identity fraud can have an impact on whether you are perceived as having bad debt or poor credit. Make sure you regularly check your credit file to ensure the information there is correct and if you spot anything suspicious, reach out to the credit reference agency for further information.

No or very little credit history?
Also, not having any credit at all means you are a higher risk to lend to, as there is nothing to base a lending decision on, so a credit card to start building your credit history can help improve your credit rating.

Not all lenders will reject you or penalise you for having this type of credit history. There are many out there who will provide credit cards for poor credit, should you have any of the circumstances mentioned above.


Guaranteed Rate and Credit Limit

  • Credit card for poor credit rating
  • Check your eligibility with no impact to your credit score

How do credit cards for poor credit work in UK?

If you decide to take out a card for poor credit or a credit-builder credit card, it will give you an opportunity to improve your credit score and build your credit history from scratch, or to rebuild your credit if you’ve had some financial difficulties with your borrowing in the past. Your payment history for your new credit card will be reflected in your credit report, thus helping you build or rebuild your credit. It is important to remember that if you only make your minimum monthly repayments, or continuously carry a high balance, it may hinder you if you are trying to improve your credit rating.

Getting into the basics of credit cards - they allow you to buy things ‘on credit’. They are a form of borrowing. You’ll get an agreed credit limit, and can make purchases up to this credit limit; then you’ll get a monthly bill for everything. It’s ideal to pay everything off each month - if you’re unable to do so, there will be a minimum repayment you can make; but ideally you should make more than the minimum repayment.

If you don’t pay off your full balance every month, then you will pay interest at a rate agreed when you take the card out. It is a good idea to set up a Direct Debit as soon as you can when, or after you take out your card. This means you'll be sure to make your monthly repayment on time, every time, providing you have the funds available in your bank account.

Some credit cards for poor credit also allow you to make cash withdrawals, but this can be at a different rate to the purchases you make, and you might have to pay a fee for each withdrawal you make. You can compare various bad credit credit cards by looking at their representative example, and the pre-contractual documents provided during the application journey (such as a Summary Box). This will allow you compare the credit limit, interest rate and representative APR.

How can I apply for a poor credit credit card?

The first step is to check if you’re likely to be accepted for a poor credit credit card using a pre-application eligibility checker. Many card lenders, including 118 118 Money offer this service for their cards on their site. This can be beneficial if you have poor credit as you can see if you’re likely to be accepted or not. This saves you creating unnecessary footprints on your credit report, too many of these in a short period can also have negative impact on your credit score.

To complete the pre-application checks you’ll need to provide information such as your name, address, employment details and outgoings – the exact information required may differ between lenders. By verifying this information, the card provider can give you an indication if you’re likely to be accepted or not.

If the eligibility checker indicates you’re likely to be accepted, you can then make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances whether you wish to apply with that lender or not. Remember, if you choose to complete a full application, a full credit check will be completed.

Introducing something totally different

Finally, there's a credit card that's as unique as you are. The 118 118 Credit Card – guaranteed rate credit card - a credit card for people with less than perfect credit.

Unlike other credit cards, you’ll find it easy to use and understand. And it can help build up your credit if you stay within your limit and make at least the minimum payment each month.

You can use our Eligibility check to find out what credit limit we'll offer you before you apply.

Remember, we do charge fees for late or missed repayments (£12) and cash withdrawals too (5%). 

What makes the 118 118 Credit Card different?

With its simple flat interest rate and a guaranteed credit limit, we’re here to offer what no other credit cards for people with poor credit can.

  • No fee for balance transfers on this 118 118 Money Credit Card.
  • Get one simple interest rate.
  • Interest free period for up to 51 days on purchases, so long as you pay off your balance in full each month.
  • Guaranteed Credit Limit. Guaranteed APR. 
Apply for a credit card for bad credit

Want to apply for a credit card for bad credit with 118 118 Money?
You can try our eligibility check first to see if you’ll be accepted before you apply – and it won’t affect your credit rating.

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Credit Card FAQs

Looking for a credit card to improve your credit score? With a guaranteed credit limit, the 118 118 Credit Card could be the ideal fit for you. We created it to help the millions of people living across the UK with less-than-perfect credit histories to build up their score – even if you don’t always pay off your balance in full.

Having one simple interest rate means you know what to expect.

There are loads of different kinds of credit cards out there, and not every card is going to serve your needs best.

With any credit card, if you plan to borrow more than half your credit limit and carry it over each month, the interest can soon add up and make it harder to keep up with your payments.

If you’re looking for a credit card for people with bad credit because you’re currently in arrears or have recently defaulted on a credit card or personal loan, you won’t be eligible for this card. You can try our eligibility check tool to see if you’ll be approved without affecting your credit score.

You can use your card to pay for purchases online or in-store just like cash or debit cards. It could be for a top-up grocery shop, or even to spread the cost of a bigger necessity. 

Sometimes it feels like you need a degree in finance just to understand a monthly statement. On your statement each month, the minimum repayment will be the greater of:

3.5% of the Account Balance shown on your statement plus any amount you have spent over your Credit Limit plus any interest charges plus any Late Payment Fees plus any Cash Transaction Fees; or


any over limit amount


A minimum of £10 (or the full balance shown on your statement if less than £10)

You can choose to pay back as much as you like, including the full balance owed each month. Setting up a Direct Debit is the easiest way to make sure you make your payment on time. You won’t have to pay interest on purchases for up to 51 days, as long as you pay them off your credit card by its payment due date. If you don’t pay your statement balance by this date, then interest is charged from the date you make your transactions, until they are paid off in full. Our representative example will show you what our representative APR is - that is what we expect at least 51% of our borrowers to get.

Everyone is different, and the credit limit we give you depends on your current situation (including whether you have debt or not) and your needs. 118 118 Money currently offers credit limits between £250 and £1,200. You can use our Eligibility check to find out what credit limit we'll offer you before you apply.

A representative example will show you a number of things, and is what the provider expects at least 51% of borrowers to get. Included will be:

  • The rate at which you are charged for your purchases - also known as purchase rate. This can be fixed or variable.
  • The provider's representative APR. This can also be fixed or variable.
  • Any annual fees.

Our handy eligibility check tool won't impact your credit score. In just a few minutes, you'll get an indication of how likely you are to be accepted — so you if you need a credit card fast with bad credit, you can apply with confidence and get a decision quickly.

First, you must:

−     Be between 18 and 70 years old

−     Earn at least £8,400 a year

−     Live in the UK permanently

−     Not currently be in arrears with another lender

−     Have had no default payments in the last six months

−     Have no CCJs in the last 12 months, and no significant value of CCJs in the last five years

Ready? Our eligibility check is free and won't impact your credit score.

If you think you have bad credit or your finances have previously had a temporary impact due to Covid-19, and want to get a credit card, be it to build credit due to not having any, or because you’ve had a financial blip in the past; then you may be eligible for a credit card for bad credit.

You can use a lender's eligibility check to see if you qualify for a credit card for bad credit. However - don’t go that step further and apply over and over again straightaway if you get rejected, as it will leave more searches on your credit report, which could do more damage.

A balance transfer is available on some credit cards for bad credit. You may want to do a balance transfer if you have existing balances on other credit cards or store cards, especially if the interest rate is higher on your existing card than that on the one you want to transfer to. Balance transfer cards can often come with an interest-free period too. More information on balance transfer credit cards from 118 118 Money is available here.

Your lender may charge an annual fee to keep your card open. An annual fee is not a requirement of every lender. 118 118 Money fees include late repayment fees and cash withdrawal fees.

There may be cashback on some credit cards out there, 118 118 Money does not offer cashback on our credit-builder card.

Think you've got a bad credit score? A credit score doesn't tell the whole story. And looking for bad credit credit cards shouldn’t have to be stressful or confusing. People who’ve only made a few mistakes or have limited credit history should have access to credit and the chance to build up their bad credit score by borrowing responsibly.

When it comes to the question of is having too many credit cards bad for your credit score? - every lender has different acceptance criteria, what one sees as ‘too many’ another may see as fine. Whether you have one, or many, as long as you are borrowing responsibly and making your payments for your borrowing to your credit lender on time, every month; then your credit score should not be impacted adversely.

When you apply, a credit card company will run a credit check with a credit reference agency such as Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. Most providers offer an eligibility check or QuickCheck. Any outstanding debt will be visible to your lender when they check your creditworthiness. This credit check will allow you to see if you are pre-approved before you go ahead and apply.

A simple step-by-step guide to getting a card from 118 118 Money is as follows:

  • Check our acceptance criteria listed above
  • Have a look at our representative example to see if our representative APR and Guaranteed APR would put you in a better position than that on your existing borrowing
  • Use our eligibility checker to see if you would be accepted
  • Borrow responsibly, ensure the payments are affordable for you considering all your other financial commitments and outgoings
  • Assuming our eligibility checker says you'd be accepted, you can go ahead and complete a full application

Visit our handy FAQs page for more helpful information. You can also talk to our Customer Service team between:

8am – 7pm Monday to Saturday
9am – 5pm Bank holidays
Closed – Sundays

We're here to help!


Want to apply for a credit card for bad credit with 118 118 Money?

See if you’ll be accepted before you apply and find out what credit limit we will offer you without affecting your credit rating!