Credit cards for bad credit

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  • Free eligibility check
  • Checking won’t affect your credit score
  • Get a response in 60 seconds

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

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What is a bad credit credit card?

A bad credit credit card is one that can be accessed with a damaged or thin credit history.

It can help you access funds and build 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 won't pay interest at all while improving your score.

Why apply for 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)
  • Credit limit increases available if eligible (remember, a bigger balance could take longer to pay back and increase the amount of interest you’re paying)

39.9% APR Representative (variable)

Ocean credit card

How to 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.

  1. Check your eligibility - Complete our simple form.
  2. Apply online - Get a yes or no in 60 seconds.
  3. If accepted - You’ll receive your card within 10 days.

Check my eligibility

No impact on your credit score

How to use a credit card to build your credit score

If you have bad credit, using a credit card can help improve your score. You can do this by:

  1. Paying back your balance in full
  2. Always paying back at least the minimum payment
  3. Paying on time, every time - set up a Direct Debit to make this easier
  4. 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 appear on your credit report for six years. For more advice on building credit, read our guide featuring 45 ways to improve your credit score.

What to do if you're struggling to pay off your card

If you have any problems repaying, try to avoid spending more on your card and contact your credit card provider as soon as possible. They may be able to arrange a repayment plan or payment holiday. If you have priority debts, such as your mortgage or council tax, these should be paid before your credit card.

Need help with debt?

Life can take an unexpected twist when we least expect it. If you're struggling with debt, talk to your lender straight away to see if there’s anything they can do to help. For more information and free, impartial advice, get in touch with:

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 score 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

Why do I have bad credit?

If you have a poor credit score, it may be a result of:

  1. Missed payments to credit providers (like loans and other credit cards)
  2. County Court Judgments (CCJs)
  3. Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) or bankruptcy
  4. Defaulted accounts
  5. Multiple credit applications in a short period
  6. Financial links to someone with bad credit
  7. Incorrect information on your credit report

These marks on your credit file are removed after six years, even if the debt isn't paid back.

Another reason for a low credit score is that you have limited or no experience of borrowing. This is known as having a thin credit history.

Use QuickCheck before you apply to see if you'll be accepted.

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If you’ve struggled with bad credit in the past, a credit card can be a great way of rebuilding your score. By keeping on top of payments and staying within your credit limit, you can show lenders you're able to repay your balance consistently. Remember though, you’ll be taking on a new form of debt, so make sure you can afford to pay off your card each month.

Zubin Kavarana, Digital Content Publisher

How could we help you?

Ocean has provided access to loans, credit cards and mortgages to people across the UK since 1991. In this time, we’ve pre-approved more than a million people, offering products and advice to suit their circumstances.

  • All credit histories considered 

  • Check your eligibility without affecting your credit score

  • Save time finding the right loan deal

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

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