It's still possible to get an instant approval credit card even if you have a poor credit history, and a number of credit card providers offer credit cards for bad credit specifically designed to accommodate those with a credit history that includes CCJs, bankruptcy, arears, defaults and late payments.
Credit cards for people with a low credit score tend to charge a significantly higher rate of interest than their standard credit card counterparts and often come with a more limited credit limit. It's also reasonably rare for 0% balance transfer deals, 0% purchase offers and benefits like cashback to be offered by a bad credit credit card.
However, despite this, the best credit cards for bad credit history do give you a way to repair a damaged credit record and, with careful use, can help you on the way towards accessing more attractive financial products. If you have a poor credit history and struggle getting approved for other types of credit, there's no doubt that credit cards for bad credit can provide something of a lifeline.
Sometimes its just as hard for those with no credit history to get a credit card as it is those with a poor credit rating as banks have no way to know you can be trusted to repay your borrowing; this makes bad credit credit cards a good option for those who need to build a credit rating from scratch.
Whether you want to rebuild your credit rating or build a credit history from scratch, you should apply for a bad credit credit card online, then spend a little on the card each month. You will need to make sure you repay the balance in full and on time each time you get a statement to avoid heavy interest charges and show the credit card provider that you are a reliable borrower.
After 6 months to a year, as long as you have managed the credit well, continued to pay off the balance in full each month, and implemented other credit improvement measures, you could find that you're eligible for other cards you were previously unable to get.
However, as with any credit card, you shouldn't simply apply for the first credit card for an adverse credit history that you find, instead you should compare your options and choose only to apply for the best credit cards for bad credit history that will accept your application.
The main factor determining the best credit cards for bad credit is the interest rate, as this will determine how expensive the card is, if you are for whatever reason, unable to repay the balance in full at the end of the month.
As a result it makes sense to look for bad credit card deals that apply the lowest interest rates, so you're not charged more than necessary if you need to carry over a balance.
You will also need to check that you meet the eligibility requirements in terms of minimum income, age and employment status. This is vital as applying for a credit card you stand no chance of being approved for can do your credit history more harm than good - if you're unemployed or on a low income this is especially important.
You can compare the different bad credit credit cards side by side using our credit card for bad credit rating comparison table.
Other resources on credit cards for bad credit: