Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Even if you have less-than-perfect credit, you may still be eligible for an Ocean Credit Card. Check your eligibility now with no hard credit check

  • See if it’s a YES without impacting your credit score
  • Can help to rebuild your credit score
  • Credit limits of up to £1,500

Intelligent Lending Ltd (credit broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender.

Making payments and staying within your credit limit can help build your credit. Not doing so could harm it.

What is a bad credit credit card?

A bad credit credit card is designed for those with a less-than-perfect credit score due to a damaged or thin credit history.

It can help you access funds - and improve your credit score over time if you stay within your credit limit and always make your repayments on time. But remember, not doing so could harm your score.

Bad credit credit cards tend to have higher interest rates and lower credit limits than mainstream cards. However, if you pay your card back in full every month and don't make cash withdrawals, you wont pay interest at all.

What is a bad credit score?

Your credit score is a figure used by credit reference agencies to determine your track record of managing credit accounts and bills. If you have a poor credit score, you may have had problems making payments in the past and have ended up with missed payments on your record or a default account.

Another reason for a less-than-ideal credit score is that you haven't had any experience of borrowing. This is known as having a thin credit history.

Need a little help?

Learn more about credit cards

Why is my credit score so poor?

Should I get a loan or credit card if I have bad credit?

How to pay off credit cards with bad credit

How long does it take to get a credit card?

How to check my credit score?

You can check your credit score online with the three main credit reference agencies in the UK: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This won’t cost you a penny. Different lenders report to different agencies, so always make sure to check your details with all three.

You can also check your Equifax report for free (for life) with our member-only platform, CredAbility.

What is a good credit score?

Whilst there is no universal ‘good’ or ‘bad’ credit score, it can be useful to understand how different credit reference agencies calculate your score.

Every lender has its own set of requirements when making approval decisions, and each of the three credit reference agencies use their own scoring systems. So, if you’ve been turned down in the past, it doesn’t always mean that you’ll be turned down again.

Here you can see what the different credit reference agencies consider a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ score to be:

Credit rating Equifax Experian TransUnion
Very Poor 0 – 560 0 – 550
Poor 0 – 438 561 - 720 551 - 565
Fair 439 - 530 721 - 880 566 - 603
Good 531 - 670 881 - 960 604 - 627
Very Good 671 - 810 - -
Excellent 811 - 1000 961 - 999 628 - 710

You can get started on improving your credit score today.

How to improve your credit score:

Get on the electoral roll - Registering to vote is one of the easiest ways to boost your rating. It provides proof of address to credit reference agencies, making you seem like a more reliable candidate.

Limit your applications - Each time you apply for credit, this leaves a mark on your report. If you do this too much in a short space of time, it can knock your rating and make you look risky to lenders - meaning they’re less likely to accept you.

Don’t miss any payments - This shows the credit reference agencies - and therefore lenders - that you have a track record of being a reliable borrower. You can set up Direct Debits as an easy way to make sure you stay on track of your payments.

Check for mistakes - Having incorrect details on your credit report could have an unfair impact on your credit score. You can stay on top of any discrepancies by checking your report regularly.

How to get an Ocean Credit Card for bad credit

To apply for a credit card, follow our easy step-by-step process:

Find out if you’ll be accepted before you apply using QuickCheck


If it’s a yes, go on to apply online with confidence


Once approved, you’ll receive your card in the post within 10 working days

Credit card

Why the Ocean Credit Card?

  • See if you’re eligible - without affecting your credit score
  • Get a response in just 60 seconds
  • Get a credit limit up to £1,500
  • Add up to 3 other cardholders (remember that you’ll be responsible for all transactions on the account)
  • Become eligible for credit limit increases if you use your card responsibly (remember, a bigger balance could take longer to pay back and increase the amount of interest you’re paying)

39.9% Representative (variable)

Can I get a credit card for bad credit?

If you're over 18 and live in the UK, then you could be eligible for the Ocean Credit Card. You can get an answer online in 60 seconds without impacting your credit score.

What are some responsible ways to use a credit card to build credit?

Most cards for bad credit tend to come with a low credit limit and higher-than-average interest rates. The primary aim of the card is to help build a strong and healthy credit rating, so it's important you manage your borrowing responsibly.

You can build your score with a credit card for bad credit by:

  • Always paying back more than the minimum payment
  • Paying on time, every time - set up a Direct Debit to make this easier
  • Staying below 25% of your agreed credit limit

Following these steps means that you should avoid any charges for missed or late payments, which can flag up on your credit report for six years. To make your card as economical as possible, it's also best to clear the balance in full every month if you can, so that you avoid paying any interest.

If you have any problems repaying, contact your lender as soon as possible. If you're struggling temporarily because, for example, you've changed jobs, talking to your lender is the first thing you should do. What you shouldn't do is ignore the situation and start missing payments. This will only make your credit score worse, which can make borrowing in the future even more difficult.

Will I be accepted for a credit card?

Whether you are accepted or not depends on the lender’s criteria and your individual circumstances (including your credit history). You can check your eligibility before you apply, without impacting your credit score.

Most lenders, including Ocean Finance, offer a soft search on your credit history before you apply, to determine how likely it is that your application will be successful. This means it's risk-free to check your eligibility and you can apply with confidence.

If you apply for a credit card and are rejected, this will have an impact on your credit score, so it’s always best to research your options thoroughly first, to ensure you’re applying for the best type of credit card for your financial situation.

If your credit card application is rejected, don’t keep applying for more. Instead, work on improving your credit score and allow time for your report to recover.

Why could my credit card application be denied and what should I do?

Although your credit score is important, lenders will want to look at a range of factors when deciding whether to lend to you. That includes how reliable you are as a borrower, your affordability and how likely they would be to get their money back.

It can be helpful to understand the different factors that could be contributing to an unsuccessful application so that you can start to make positive changes straight away.

Some of the most common reasons why your credit application could be declined, include:

  • A thin or non-existent credit history
  • Incorrect information on your credit report
  • Multiple credit applications in a short period
  • A new job
  • CCJ – information such as a CCJ will stay on your report for up to six years
  • Financial links to someone with bad credit
  • Not being registered on the electoral roll

If your credit score has been impacted by any one of the above, then a credit card for bad credit could be a way for you to start improving your credit score.

About Ocean Finance

Since 1991, Ocean Finance has provided loans, credit cards and mortgages to people across the UK. Over this time, we’ve helped more than 1.1 million people with their finances, offering products and advice to suit their personal circumstances.

We’ve been awarded the Platinum Feefo Trusted Service Award 2021, for our commitment to providing a reliable service to all of our customers, no matter what their situation.

You can learn more about Ocean Finance on our about us page.

More on the Ocean Credit Card

The Ocean Credit Card is issued by Capital One (Europe) plc and has an interest rate of 39.9% APR representative variable with no annual fee. There's an initial minimum credit limit of £200 which can go up to £1500, and the amount offered varies by customer depending on their credit history and financial situation.

This is an unsecured card, and you are required to undergo a credit check before your application is accepted. There is no sign-up fee. Ocean Finance is a trading name of Intelligent Lending Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).