Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

Credit Card for Bad Credit

Credit cards can allow you the opportunity to help improve your credit score. However, a person with poor credit may find card acquisition a more difficult process.

Whilst a credit card can be a gateway to financial services and products, trying to apply for a credit card with bad credit can be more challenging.

The thimbl. credit card has been specifically designed to be inclusive of all credit scores, so any credit history may apply, meaning that a credit card for bad credit may be possible with thimbl., depending on your eligibility and if you’re approved.
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45.5% APR Representative (variable)

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Why a thimbl card for poor credit?

You’ll notice the thimbl. credit card has a low initial credit limit (up to £1,200). The low credit limit helps to ensure that maximum debt remains low and that in turn payments remain affordable. Payments can be scheduled by providing direct debit details and stipulating how much you want to pay. which demonstrates your ability to make timely monthly repayments to future potential creditors.

Please be aware when applying for a thimbl. credit card that this is only one part of a healthy credit rating. If you don’t keep on top of other accounts you may have, these could damage your credit rating rather than improve it.

If you are struggling to keep up with at least the minimum repayments for thimbl. it can impact your credit score negatively and you will incur a £12 late fee. Any missed payments must be repaid before your next month’s payment is due. Any missed payments will be flagged up as arrears to the Credit Reference Agencies (CRA).

For free financial advice you can visit: moneyhelper.org.uk or stepchange.org. Please see our FAQs at the bottom of the page for further information.

How bad credit accrues

Lower credit ratings can happen for various reasons. For example, not registering on the electoral roll means you have no proof of a fixed abode, missing historic payments or failing to adhere to your credit agreement may also impact your credit score negatively.

Common causes of a poor credit rating in the UK are as follows:

  • Failing to comply with your credit agreement
  • No proof of a fixed abode
  • Declaring bankruptcy
  • Having a County Court Judgement (CCJ) on your credit file
  • Being a victim of financial fraud – always check your banking activity and report any suspicious activity to your bank
  • Applying for credit too often
  • Not staying within your agreed credit limits
  • Opening too many bank accounts within a short period of time

Having no credit history can influence your borrowing as potential creditors don’t know enough about your financial habits to make an informed decision on whether you are a risk for lending. This is referred to as a ‘thin file’, which is a term used to describe limited or no credit history. If you have bad credit or a thin file, building your credit score up can take time and can be a difficult process.

The perks of having thimbl.® in your wallet

Mobile app
Manage your account from your smartphone or online
24/7 Fraud Watch
Don’t get caught short by fraud on your card
Help credit rating
Start improving your credit rating today*
Representative 45.5% APR (variable)

Building your credit score with thimbl.

If you’re approved for a credit card for bad credit, such as thimbl, building your credit score can be easier. You could gain increases to your credit score by making at least the minimum repayments on your thimbl. bad credit credit card in a timely manner each month, as you prove your ability to manage money.

When you apply for a credit card with poor credit, you give yourself the opportunity to improve your credit score. This is where thimbl. can be beneficial, thimbl. provides you with a low initial credit limit (up to £1,200) to allow small spends and regular repayments, which can demonstrate your ability to manage your personal finances reliably.

If you fail to repay at least the minimum repayment for your credit card for bad credit, several things may happen. Firstly, your overall credit card balance increases, accruing interest and increasing the debt. Furthermore, missing payments harms your credit score. A poor credit card could be a good idea, but make sure you make an informed decision on whether it is the right product for your circumstances, ensure you have the ability and capabilities to repay any balances timely and reliably, failure to do so will impact your credit score negatively.

Being accepted for a credit card for bad credit

There is no guarantee of being approved during a credit card application with bad credit – or any credit score for that matter. This is because financial institutions go through a series of background checks before approving an application for a credit card for bad credit.
These checks include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing thorough bankruptcy checks
  • Considering your income and expenditure levels
  • Establishing whether you have an existing or previous bad credit credit card
  • Completing fraud and identity checks, validating the recipient of the bad credit credit card
  • A comprehensive review of your credit history, which includes any previous searches on your credit file, missed payments, if you are on the electoral roll and any outstanding IVA’s or CCJ’s on your file. Also known as a hard credit check.

Find out if you’ll be accepted before you apply for your thimbl.® credit card
  • For all credit levels, from poor to excellent
  • Checking won’t affect your credit rating
  • 45.5% APR Representative (variable)
Check my eligibility
thimbl. credit card powered by Vanquis

Once the relevant background checks have been completed, the lender will approve or decline your credit card application. There may be instances where the credit card provider will refer your application and may require additional information before they can make a final decision on whether to accept you or not.

If you are unsure of how to check your credit score prior to making an application, please see below:

How to check your credit score?

Understanding your credit score and financial position is important. You can check your credit score by visiting either TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax.

Credit Agency Poor Credit Score Fair Credit Score Good Credit Score Excellent Credit Score
Equifax 0 - 438 439 - 530 531 - 810 811 - 1000
Experian 0 - 720 721 - 880 881 - 960 961 - 999
TransUnion 0 - 565 566 - 603 604 - 627 628 - 710
  • Equifax Credit Score Range: 0-1,000
  • Experian Credit Score Range: 0-999
  • TransUnion Credit Score Range: 0-710

*Accurate as of February 2023

How to apply for a credit card with bad credit

If you're looking for a credit card for low credit score, there are several steps in the application process. Firstly, the applicant undergoes an initial eligibility check for a credit card for bad credit (also known as a soft credit check). Once the soft credit check is completed, the applicant is asked whether they would like to continue applying for a credit card. If the applicant would like to proceed with a full application with the provider, they check your information and complete a more thorough hard credit check.

A hard credit check is a full search on your credit record, each hard credit check conducted will leave a credit marker on your file, which potential lenders will be able to see. Lenders use hard credit checks to assess your suitability to their financial offerings that you have applied for.

Once you have completed the eligibility checker and have undergone the hard credit check, the lender then decides whether to accept your credit card application for bad credit, at this point the lender will either accept or reject your application.

poor credit credit card

How can I get a credit card with bad credit?

It can be a little more difficult to apply for a credit card with bad credit.

Some credit card providers choose to only accept a credit card application from those with better credit scores. This means the amount of choice available is often limited for those with poor credit scores.

thimbl. is a credit card designed with all types of credit score in mind. Credit card applications from those with poor to excellent scores are welcomed.

As an inclusive credit card, thimbl. could be your credit card for bad credit. However, there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted – regardless of your credit score. When applying for a credit card with a poor credit score, you should always check your eligibility first. Provided the information you have given is accurate, this will allow you to check the most likely outcome of your application without any impact to your credit score.

Before making a credit card application with very bad credit, it is worth considering whether any outstanding debts could first be repaid. This may help to improve your credit score and make it easier to access credit in the future.

Should I take out a credit card with a bad credit score?

Keeping your credit score healthy can help to improve your chances of being accepted for a card in the UK credit card market. If you already have a bad credit score, it’s important to avoid actions which could make it worse. This could include things such as missing credit repayments, which can have a significant adverse effect on your credit score.

As missing your credit commitment repayments can be detrimental to your credit score, it is important to only apply for a credit card for poor credit when you are certain you can afford to make at least the monthly repayments on your account. Having a good oversight of your personal finances can help you make informed decisions about affordability. One element of this might include assessing your monthly income against your monthly expenditure to calculate your remaining disposable income.

With responsible use, having a credit card is one way to contribute towards improving your bad credit score over time. Using a credit card responsibly would include making your monthly repayments on time or in full if affordable, always paying your other credit commitments on time. It is easy to keep an eye on your spending and make repayments for your thimbl. card through our partner’s app.

Credit Card for Poor Credit

If you have a bad credit score, you may be able to improve it over time by:

  • Staying within your credit limit
  • Utilising open banking technology to report regular monthly payments, such as subscription services can help to build your credit profile
  • Closing any unused accounts or lines of credit.

Once you have completed the eligibility checker and have undergone the hard credit check, the lender then decides whether to accept your credit card application for bad credit, at this point the lender will either accept or reject your application.

We understand you may still have questions; the world of credit can be complicated. Learn more about a credit card for bad credit in our question-and-answer section below:

Can I apply for a credit card with bad credit?
Yes. You can apply for a credit card with bad credit. Any credit history can apply for a thimbl, credit card. If you do have bad credit, you should make sure it’s the right card for your personal scenario and circumstance.
Can I apply for a credit card if I have no credit history?
Yes, you may apply. However, you may need to apply for a credit card for bad credit as your financial habits are unknown to lenders, this is sometimes referred to as a “thin credit file”. If you have a thin credit file, using credit sensibly might see your credit score improve faster than if you have a poor credit history.
What happens in the event of non-repayment?
A credit card for bad credit works in the same way as any other card in regard to credit score. If you do not keep up with repayments, your credit score falls. This is because your balance is increasing, and lenders see lending to you as an increasingly risky strategy as a result. You must make the missed payment as soon as possible. If you don’t and you also miss your next payment, your account will be reported to the external credit bureaus as 2 payments in arrears. Any missed payments will be flagged up as arrears to the Credit Reference Agencies (CRA). Furthermore, non-repayment impacts your credit score negatively and incurs a £12 late fee. If you struggle to keep up with repayments, you can seek free financial advice from any of the following: Money Helper (0800 138 7777), Step Change (0800 138 1111) or Citizen Advice
What will my credit limit be?
In the event that you are accepted for a thimbl. card, the initial maximum credit limit is £1,200. After a period of good financial management and an increase in your credit score, you may become eligible for an increase in your credit limit over time, up to a maximum of £5,000. thimbl. will always inform customers and cardholders of any changes to their credit limits, and adjustments in terms and conditions on the account.
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About the author

Ian Grigg

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20+ Years Financial Experience

Date published: 13th May 2022
Latest edit: 20th April 2023
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