What credit card can I get with bad credit?

Learn more about how to get a credit card if your score is low.

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Even if you have a bad credit rating, you may be able to get a credit card. However, the amount you can borrow and the interest rate applied will be determined by your rating.

I have bad credit and need a credit card, what should I do?

It’s always a good idea to shop around for a credit card, or any loan for that matter, especially if you have bad credit. Look into credit building credit cards, as these are usually aimed at those who don’t have the best financial history or those who have no borrowing history at all – a comparison site is a good starting point such as Compare the Market or Go Compare.

You should also look carefully at the eligibility requirements for each credit card to get an idea if you meet them. Each lender will have a different set of eligibility requirements and while you won’t be guaranteed for the credit card if you meet them it can increase your chances.

Some services allow you to check whether or not you’ll be approved before you apply, in a way that doesn’t impact your credit score. These checks are called “soft searches” – Capital One offers these, for example, and more and more providers are following suit.

How to increase your chances of getting a credit card with poor credit

There are a number of ways you can improve your credit profile to increase your chances of getting a credit card:

  • Pay off existing debts
    If you can repay any existing debt, then this could mean you come across more favourably to credit card providers you apply to
  • Enrol on the electoral register
    Being registered to vote is important to lenders when it comes to verifying your identity and can improve your chances of being approved.
  • Ensure your details are correct
    Check your credit report to ensure all of the information featured is correct and applies to you. Any wrong information could negatively impact your credit rating.
  • Don’t apply for more than you need
    Applying for larger amounts can impact your ability to pay back what you’ve borrowed, which can impact your ability to pay it back later.

Don’t apply for too many credit cards at the same time – As noted earlier, soft check services are great for determining your chances of being accepted but it’s a good idea to refrain from submitting a full application for more than one card at the same time. Multiple applications will be reflected on your credit history and can raise a red flag with lenders.

Representative 89% APR

Representative Example: Borrowing: £1000 for 18 months, Total Repayable: £1853.43, Total Interest: £853.43, Interest Rate (Variable): 89.9%. Rates between 9.3% APR and 1721% APR – your no-obligation quote and APR will be based on your personal circumstances. Loan term lengths from 3 to 36 months. Subject to lender’s requirements and approval.

Sunny Loans is a registered trading name of Flux Funding Limited who are a credit broker, not a lender. Loan repayment terms are 3-36 month loans.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to www.moneyhelper.org.uk.

Commonly asked questions about getting a credit card with bad credit

Want to know more about applying for a credit card with a low credit rating? We've answered some common questions below.

  • You’re most likely to be approved for credit cards for bad credit. These are designed for people with a poor credit history to help them rebuild their score while borrowing a small amount. However, which provider you can get a credit card from will depend on their criteria at the time you apply.

  • All credit cards work the same way, whether they’re for bad credit or not. Credit cards for bad credit, however, usually come with higher interest rates and are less likely to feature cashback offers or free balance transfers. These cards have been created to help those with a low credit score build it up again, with small amounts that they can borrow and pay off regularly to prove their creditworthiness.

  • If you are looking for a credit card to cover an emergency cost, then a short-term loan may be a good alternative. At Sunny, our market-leading panel of lenders offer loans ranging from £100 to £2,500 and can be paid back monthly, over 3 to 36 months depending on what you borrow, to spread the cost. If you want more information on our short-term loans, read our in-depth FAQs.