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Credit Cards & Loans

The credit cards that can help fix your credit score

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

If you’re self-employed so find it difficult to prove your income, or have a damaged credit score or no credit history at all, you may find it hard to get a credit card.

Without a credit card, it can be tricky to improve your credit score.

And having a poor credit score means you could miss out on top credit and mortgage rates, a better deal on car finance products and the best mobile phone and utility tariffs.

One solution is to go for a credit repair or credit builder card.

These cards are aimed specifically at people who would be turned down for mainstream deals.

How do credit builder cards differ from standard cards?

These cards have relatively low credit limits, which means users can spend a little and pay off the card each month. Being able to pay off the balance each month will help build up your credit rating as it proves you can manage money and are a reliable borrower.

According to TotallyMoney.com, using these cards correctly will, over time, open doors to products only available to people with good credit histories such as cashback cards or reward cards.

Who are credit builder cards suitable for?

They’re primarily for people who are unlikely to be accepted for standard cards as they have little or no credit history, maybe because they’re new to the country, or they have a blip on their credit score because of missed payments.

If you know you fall into this bracket, you should be careful not to be tempted into trying to apply for a standard card as if you are rejected, it can further damage your credit score, making it harder to get credit in the future, according to Comparethemarket.

What are the downsides to credit builder cards?

The low credit limits of £100-£500 mean these cards aren’t for people who want to make very large purchases. But as outlined above, this isn’t what the cards are designed for. They’re specifically for people who want to repair their credit score.

These cards also have very high rates of interest, some as high as 35% APR. This means if you miss a payment, you’ll pay back an additional 35% on top of what you borrowed.

However, if you pay off the full amount each month, you won’t pay a penny of interest.

How do I pick the right credit builder card?

Not all credit builder cards are the same. Some will come with lower than average rates – for example, Metro Bank currently offers 13% APR, compared to the aqua card’s 34.9% APR, according to Moneyfacts. However, those with the aqua card who borrow and repay on time will find the rate could go down to 19.9%.

Tesco Bank’s Foundation Clubcard comes with a rate of 27.5% APR but allows customers to earn Clubcard points when they spend.

While credit building cards typically accept a wider range of people, acceptance isn’t guaranteed. It’s best to carry out a soft search to see what your chances of acceptance are in the first instance.

TotallyMoney.com has a free eligibility report on its site, which will provide you with a list of cards you’re most likely to be accepted for: http://www.totallymoney.com/free-eligibility-score/

The report is automatically updated monthly and you’ll receive updates on the cards you’re eligible for, so you can see how your credit score is improving over time.