Best credit builder cards to boost your rating revealed

If you have a bad or non-existent credit history these credit builder cards can help you get on the right track and boost your rating.

Male hand giving credit card

Credit builder cards are designed for people with a poor credit history as well as those that don't have one yet.

These are typically bare bones deals, that come with conservative limits and relatively high APRs, which encourage good credit card spending habits.

Used properly they can help you get on the right track so you can access more rewarding deals in the future.

Best 0% credit builder cards

Credit builder cards are typically no frills but some deals have 0% offers on new purchases and or balance transfers.

Below we've picked out the best credit builder cards with 0% introductory offers, ranked by the length of the deal.

Card

Starting credit limit range

Maximum credit limit

0% balance transfer

Balance transfer fee

0% purchase period

APR

Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

Subject to status

Subject to status

18 months

2.99%

3 months

24.9%

aqua Classic With 6 Month Balance Transfer

£250 - £1,200

Subject to status

6 months

3%

-

34.9%

Marbles Classic With 5 Months Balance Transfer

Subject to status

Subject to status

5 months

3%

-

34.9%

aqua 4 Months Purchase Credit Card

£250 - £1,200

Subject to status

-

-

4 months

34.9%

Barclaycard Initial with 3 Month Purchases Credit Card

Subject to status

Subject to status

-

-

3 months

34.9%


As you can see the Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card offers the best 0% introductory offer to credit builders.

The cards allows you to shift debt from another credit card and freeze the interest on it for a year and a half.

If you don't have existing credit card debt that you need to tackle, but you would like to spread the cost of a new purchase, the aqua 4 Months Purchase Credit Card offers the longest 0% period on purchases. What's great about this card is that it's one of the few credit builder cards that charges no foreign transaction fees on spending, which means it's a great card to take on holiday.

Credit builder cards with perks

Credit builder cards are normally a perk-free zone but aqua is one of the main providers that offers users more.

The aqua Reward Credit Card offers 0.5% cashback on purchases.

While the aqua Advance Credit Card comes with no foreign exchange fees and if you repay consistently on time the APR will drop from 34.9% to 19.9%.

As mentioned earlier the aqua 4 Months Purchase Credit Card also comes with no foreign usage fees and four months 0% on purchases.

Cheapest credit builder cards

While the option of perks and 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 or you don't pay off your balance in full each month, you could find yourself paying an interest rate of up to 34.9% 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 necessarily come with an ongoing reward or 0% offer upfront.

Below are the main credit cards for people with a bad credit history, as ranked by representative APR.

Card

Starting credit limit range

Maximum credit limit

0% balance transfer

Balance transfer fee

0% purchase period

APR

Vanquis Chrome 24.7% Credit Card

£250 - £1,000

£4,000

-

-

-

24.7%

Marbles Classic Credit Card

£100 - £1,200

£1,200

-

-

-

24.8%

Barclaycard Platinum 18 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

Subject to status

Subject to status

18 months

None

3 months

24.9%

Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card

Subject to status

Subject to status

-

-

-

27.5%

Vanquis Chrome 29.3% Credit Card

£250-£1,000

£4,000

-

-

-

29.3%

aqua Classic 29.7% Credit Card

£250 -£1,200

Subject to status

-

-

-

29.7%

Aquis Visa Credit Card

Subject to status

£4,000

-

-

-

29.8%

Capital One Classic Platinum Credit Card

Subject to status

£1,500

-

-

-

29.8%

As you can see the Vanquis Chrome 24.7% Credit Card offers the cheapest deal right now.

It offers an initial limit of £250 to £1,000 but you could eventually get a limit of £4,000 if you use your card responsibly.

Golden rules

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.

The AOL comparison centre allows you to check if your likelihood of being accepted for all the top credit builder deals before you apply without impacting your credit score.

Second, it's vital you pay your balance 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.

How to check 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 ways 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.