Compare credit building credit cards

If you've never borrowed before or you have a poor credit history, a credit building credit card could help you improve your credit score.

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Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
Minimum credit limit
£50
Maximum credit limit
£1,200
Representative APR (variable)
33.9% APR
Sign up for a Barclaycard and get up to five months free of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade. Continues as paid subscription after trial ends. UK only, T&Cs apply.
The rate shown here is the rate you will receive if accepted for the card. Not available to applicants who already have a Barclaycard credit card.
Representative Example: The standard interest rate on purchases is 33.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 33.9% (variable).
Eligibility
CCJs Allowedonly one allowed
Credit Ratingpoor
History of Bankruptcyfalse
Minimum Age18 years
Minimum Income£3,000
UK Resident

We are classed as a credit broker for consumer credit, not a lender.

Our services are provided at no cost to you. We may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to, but this does not affect what you will pay for the product you choose.

Last updated: 7 December, 2021

What is a credit builder card?

If you’ve got a poor credit history or little-to-no credit, it can be difficult to get a regular credit card. However, credit building credit cards, also known as bad-credit credit cards, are designed for people just like you.

How to get a credit card if you have bad credit.

Who are credit builder credit cards meant for?

Credit building credit cards are for those trying to improve their credit score and can be useful for those who are unable to qualify for the best deals on the market.

You may have found it hard to get a credit card for various reasons, such as:

  • You have struggled with debt

  • You have been declared bankrupt in the past

  • You have had a county court judgement (CCJ) against your name

  • You have a record of missed bill payments

  • You have no history of borrowing or have never had a credit card

  • You're not registered on the electoral roll

Credit building credit cards can be a good way to rebuild your credit record if you have poor credit history. But you'll have to make your repayments on time and not miss any payments. They are also useful in building your credit score if you have no credit history and are applying for your first credit card.

Read more about how to improve your credit score.

How can you improve your credit record with a bad-credit credit card?

Try to see your credit builder card purely as a way to build your credit, rather than using it to make large purchases. It's a way to establish good borrowing practices and show lenders that you can be a responsible borrower.

You can do this by:

  • Always paying back what you spend each month in full

  • Staying in your credit limit by keeping track of your spending through online banking

  • Avoiding cash withdrawals on your credit card.

By making repayments on time and staying within your credit limit for several months - typically about six months - you'll soon start making a difference

Ideally, avoid accumulating a balance of more than 50% of your credit limit, because that impacts your credit utilisation ratio and can affect your credit score.

You’ll need to be patient though because it can take a while for your credit score to increase.

Here’s how to use your credit card so you can avoid fees, and not increase your debt.

Why use a credit building credit card?

Paying back what you borrow on time looks good to banks and providers, even if you’ve had debt problems in the past. Having one of these credit cards to build credit should make it easier for you to get accepted for other credit cards, mortgages and loans in future. You’ll also have more options open to you, so you’ll have a better chance of being able to get the best ones on the market.

However, it is important to remember that even the best credit building credit cards have a higher APR than normal credit cards. You’ll have to pay interest if you don’t repay your bill in full every month. So choose a credit card to build credit, which has as low an APR as possible to keep your costs down.

How to manage your credit card.

Pros and cons of credit building credit cards

Pros:

  • Easy eligibility requirements for those with bad credit

  • Help you improve your credit score

  • Increase your chances of getting better deals in the future if you use them responsibly

Cons:

  • Interest rates are typically high

  • Credit limits are relatively low

  • Can damage your credit history if you don't keep up with repayments.

How do I apply for a credit card to build credit?

The process to apply is simple. Follow these steps.

  • Check out credit building credit cards in our table.

  • Filter the results according to your needs.

  • Use the eligibility checker to check which cards you’ll be approved for.

  • Find out more – click ‘See deal’.

  • Apply for a credit card with bad credit.

Don’t worry about using the eligibility checker. It’s a ‘soft check’ which means it won’t affect your credit rating.

Are there any tips when it comes to credit building credit cards?

When it comes to finding credit cards for really bad credit, there are a few simple tips you should remember:

  • Don’t apply for cards you’re not likely to get, and don’t make multiple applications

  • Use our eligibility checker before you apply

  • Compare credit cards for bad credit using our table

  • Check the APR and try to choose a lower one

  • Use credit builder cards carefully – pay them off in full and make repayments on time

  • Be patient – a good credit score can take time to build or rebuild.

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