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Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Applying for a credit card with bad credit

Check if you're eligible with no impact to your credit score
Personalised credit limit between £500 and £1,200
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45.5% APR Representative (variable)

Subject to affordability
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Financial Compliance Manager

Latest edit: 15th May 2024

How’s your credit score looking? Perhaps you’d like to apply for a credit card for bad credit but are worried about your chance of approval? If your credit score is less than perfect, thimbl. might be able to help.

Bad credit could make being accepted for a credit card a little more difficult, but there could be options. We’re proud to introduce our credit card for poor credit: the thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card with no annual fee.

When used sensibly alongside other credit-building methods, the thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card could help boost your credit rating.

We welcome all credit scores to check their eligibility for a thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card.

How does the thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card work?


  1. If your application is approved, use your thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card to make small purchases while staying well within your credit limit.

  2. Each month, make at least the minimum repayment due on your account. If you can, paying the balance in full every month could mean you won’t be charged interest during that period.

  3. Your activity will be reported to the credit reference agencies, demonstrating that you are able to manage your repayments which, in time, may contribute to an increase in your credit score.

It’s important to remember that the responsible use of a credit card by itself is unlikely to repair a bad credit score or raise your rating overnight. Regardless of your credit score, you should keep on top of any other financial commitments you have, such as credit cards or loans, and pay your bills on time to see a steady, gradual improvement. You might also want to explore other ways to boost your credit score, which we’ll talk about in more detail further down the page.

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

What causes bad credit?

There are several reasons why your credit score may be looking a little worse for wear, including:

The information on your credit report is incorrect or outdated.

You are not on the electoral roll and there is no evidence linking you to your fixed UK address. This can be the case if you have never registered to vote in the UK.

You have fallen behind on or failed to make repayments on previous credit accounts.

You have multiple hard credit searches showing on your credit file over a short period of time.

You have declared yourself bankrupt or you have a county court judgement (CCJ) on your credit file.

A poor credit score is different from having no credit history at all; this is sometimes known as having a ‘thin’ credit file. You may have a thin credit file if you have never paid bills or used credit before.

How to improve your credit score?

A good credit score could increase your chance of approval should you apply for credit. The good news is that you can take steps towards improving your credit rating today.

  • Register to vote in the UK. This will link you to your current address and will make it easier for potential lenders to identify you.

  • Take the time to check over your credit report for any errors or out-of-date details. If you spot any incorrect information, contact your credit reporting tool and ask for this to be corrected.

  • Ensure that your bills and any existing credit commitments are paid on time each month.

  • Limit the number of credit applications you make.

  • Sharing a joint account with someone who has a very poor credit score could affect your own rating.

  • When used carefully and responsibly, some credit cards, such as the thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card, could help rebuild your score. Of course, failing to keep up with the minimum repayments on your credit card could cause your credit score to fall.

How to check your credit score?

Before you apply for a credit card for bad credit, you might want to check your credit score on either TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian.

Both TransUnion and Equifax offer a free trial period, followed by a monthly charge, while Experian is a free-to-use service.

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

*Accurate as of December 2023. Information taken from here.

Can I apply for a credit card with bad credit?

Yes, you can check your eligibility for credit cards if you have bad credit, although be aware that your options may be limited and your chances of approval lower than somebody with a good score.

Before you apply, you must be confident that the credit card you choose is the right one for you and your circumstances.

You are welcome to check your eligibility for a thimbl. credit card, even if you have poor credit.

Can I apply for a credit card for poor credit if I have no credit history?

You can apply for credit cards for bad credit, but it’s worth noting that a ‘thin’ credit file could restrict your options.

When you have little-to-no credit history, a lender is unable to judge how you manage your money.

Sensible use of credit products, such as a loan or credit card, could help to establish your credit rating.

How to apply for a credit card for bad credit with thimbl.

We explain the process of applying for a thimbl. Credit Builder Credit Card below.

  1. Complete our online form. This should take no longer than 5 minutes.

  2. Using soft search technology, we’ll check your eligibility with no impact to your credit score. We understand that your time is precious, which is why this stage takes around just 60 seconds.

  3. If you have been pre-approved for a credit card, you will be redirected to our trusted provider, Vanquis Bank. Please remember that pre-approval does not guarantee you will be accepted for a card.

  4. Once with Vanquis Bank, you’ll complete a full application, which includes a hard credit search. Hard searches will be visible on your credit file for up to 12 months, and too many hard searches in a short space of time could lower your credit score.

  5. If Vanquis Bank are happy with the results of their checks and decide to approve your application, they will send you a credit agreement. You should read this thoroughly before deciding if this is the right credit card for you. A credit card is a serious financial commitment.

credit card for bad credit

Page last reviewed: 15th May 2024

Page reviewed by: Ant Valente

You get all this with thimbl.

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Quick and easy contactless payments up to £100.

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Manage your credit card online, wherever and whenever you like, with the free mobile app.

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thimbl. is rated Excellent on Trustpilot, and we are partnered with lender Vanquis Bank.

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45.5% APR Representative (variable)


Worried about money?

If you're worried about the cost of living, need support with budgeting, or think you might need debt advice, StepChange could help. They offer free and impartial support and help hundreds of thousands of people every year to deal with their debts and take control of their finances.

To find out how StepChange could help you, take the free Money Health Check. It's quick and easy to complete, and will give you a personalised recommendation on what to do next.

Credit Builder Credit Card

Over 150,000 people have already been accepted for a thimbl. Credit Builder Card

thimbl credit card
Check if you're eligible with no impact to your credit score
Personalised credit limit between £500 and £1,200.
Check my eligibility

45.5% APR Representative (variable)

Meet the team

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Financial Compliance Expert

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Head of Partnerships

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Managing Director, thimbl.

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Head of Marketing, thimbl.

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Financial Content Writer

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Financial Market Place Manager

Frequently asked
questions

If you've got a question, you may just find the answer you're looking for here. If not, please visit our contact us page and get in touch.

What will my credit limit be?

If you are accepted for a thimbl. credit card, you could be offered a starting credit limit of up to £1,200. If you use your card responsibly and show that you can manage your repayments on time each month, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase over time, up to a maximum of £5,000.

You will always be made aware of any credit limit changes to any credit cards you have beforehand, and you do not have to accept a credit limit increase if you don’t feel it’s right for you.

What happens if I fail to make my repayments?

Falling behind on or failing to make your monthly repayments could result in additional charges, such as late payment fees.

Missed payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, and your account will appear as in arrears. You will be charged a late fee, which is usually around £12. Your credit rating is also likely to decline as a result.

You should try to make your missed payments as soon as possible.

If you’re struggling to keep on top of your repayments, you can find free, impartial advice from Money Helper, Step Change, Citizens Advice and National Debt Line

If you want to know more about how credit cards work, you can read our blog.

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