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Best credit card deals

Best credit cards for bad credit

By Rob Goodman

Article 5 of 6

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Best credit cards for bad credit

Everything you need to know about credit cards for those with poor credit history.

If you have a poor credit history, or no history at all, you should consider applying for a credit-builder credit card.

These cards are likely to have lower credit limits, higher interest rates and fewer benefits for cardholders than a traditional credit card, but they will allow you to boost your credit rating if used sensibly. 

This will improve your chances of being accepted for loans or credit cards with better rates in the future. 

How to choose the best credit card for bad credit

If you have a poor credit rating, you're unlikely to be able to access the best credit card deals. But there are plenty of cards specifically targeted at those with a poor credit score.  

The Which? Money Compare credit card tables let you search hundreds of credit cards to help you choose a great deal for you based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits.

Which? Money Compare: Best credit cards for building your credit rating – check out some of the available cards to help improve your credit rating

How to get the most out of your credit card for bad credit

These cards tend to have a low credit limit, and you should avoid exceeding this. Make sure you always pay your bill on time too, as not doing so will not only hit your pocket but affect your credit rating, too. 

If you pay off your balance in full every month, it's possible to increase your credit score or build a positive credit history from scratch. 

After a few months, it’s worth checking your credit report to see where you stand in the eyes of lenders. You should eventually find that you'll be able to access better credit card deals.  

Go further: Your credit report explained – we outline what information your credit report contains and why it matters

Credit cards for bad credit – how to use them 

When using a credit card with high interest rates, you should be extra careful to ensure that no debt is left outstanding. With this in mind, it’s best to always do the following:

  • Keep your credit card spending to a reasonable limit and don’t exceed spending that you can comfortably repay.
  • Don't use your card for withdrawals from cash machines.
  • Set up a direct debit to ensure that your minimum payments are met in advance of the credit card payment date.
  • If you have a problem with a credit card payment, inform your provider as soon as possible.
  • If a credit card payment goes awry, which could cost you, lodge a claim with your credit card provider quoting Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Check your credit file after a few months of using your card. If it has improved, then you can consider whether to apply for a better deal.

  • Last updated: July 2016
  • Updated by: Rob Goodman

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.