Barclaycard Initial credit card doubles 0% period

Barclaycard's card for people with poor or non-existent credit histories just got better. But is it right for you?

Barclaycard Initial credit card doubles 0% interest period

The Barclaycard Initial Credit Card now charges no interest on new purchases for six months, making it the longest 0% offer for people with a bad credit history or no history at all.

The Initial credit card usually only offers three months' interest-free, but Barclaycard is doubling the 0% period for anyone who applies between now and September 4 2016 as part of a short-term promotion.

The increased offer means it beats the Aqua 0% on Purchases Credit Card, which offers four months interest-free, to top spot in the 0% new purchase stakes.

In third place on the list is the Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card, which offers just one month interest-free.

While these cards might not seem great when compared to some of the other 0% new purchase credit cards out there, it's worth remembering that these are cards specifically for people with a bad credit history – or no credit history at all.

Here is a recap of the best credit cards as ranked by length of 0% introductory offers.

Credit Card0% new purchase periodRepresentative APR
Barclaycard Initial Credit CardSix months34.9%
Aqua 0% on Purchases Credit CardFour months34.9%
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit CardOne month27.5%

Not just about the 0% period

While the option of interest-free borrowing has obvious appeal, it's worth noting that the credit cards mentioned above come with fairly hefty representative APRs.

So after the initial window has expired, you could find yourself paying an interest rate of up to 35% on any outstanding debt.

If you're looking to keep the same card for some time, there are a number of cards that charge a lower rate of interest but don't come with a 0% offer upfront.

So let's take a look at the top credit cards for people with a bad credit history, as ranked by representative APR.

CardRepresentative APR
Vanquis Chrome 24.7% Credit Card24.7%
Marbles Classic Credit Card24.84%
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card27.5%
Vanquis Chrome 29.3% Credit Card29.3%
Aqua Classic 29.7% Credit Card29.7%
Aquis Visa Credit Card / Capital One Classic Platinum Credit Card29.8%

Golden rules for using bad credit history credit cards

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to using credit-builder cards.

First of all, make sure you read the requirements very carefully before applying.

The last thing you want is to be rejected for a card, thus damaging your credit rating even more.

Second, it's vital you clear the debt in full every month if at all possible.

Not only will doing so boost your credit score, but you'll avoid racking up interest at an extortionate rate.

Monitoring your credit rating

If you have no idea what your credit rating looks like, or you want to monitor whether it is improving after making use of a card like those we've looked at, then you can get a free trial with one of the various credit rating agencies.

Remember though, you will be charged once the trial period comes to an end, so if you don't want to keep up the membership, be sure to cancel.

Other steps to improve a bad credit rating

There are plenty of other things you can do to improve your credit rating beyond using a special credit card.

Some are extremely simple, like ensuring you're on the electoral roll and closing unwanted accounts.

Compare credit cards for people with a poor credit history

How to dispute your credit record

How to dispute your credit record

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