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Credit cards for bad credit

Stuff to know about bad credit

We believe finding the right card for the right person is at the heart of responsible lending and we're dedicated to helping all our customers succeed with credit.

We've already accepted over 4 million people with bad credit or who need to build their credit, and we want to help you too.

What is a credit rating and what is bad credit?

A credit rating is a record of how well you've managed your finances in the past. Things like missing a credit card payment or defaulting on a bill can damage your credit rating, and result in a bad credit score. This is known as having bad credit, which can make it harder to borrow money, whether that's a store card, credit card, a loan or a mortgage.

Build your credit rating

Classic credit card
Apply now for a Capital One Classic credit card

Our most popular card with over 4 million people accepted.

  • For people with bad credit or building credit
  • £200 to £1,500 credit limit
  • Up to two optional credit limit increases per year, subject to eligibility
  • Helps you stay on top of your spending when you set up email alerts

Representative example: Assuming a credit limit of £1,200 and an interest rate on purchases of 34.94% p.a. variable, you will receive a 34.9% APR representative variable.

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Is this credit card right for you?

Our Classic card could help you turn bad credit into a thing of the past by building your credit.

To build your credit rating and potentially be eligible for credit limit increases, use your card sensibly by making your monthly minimum payment on time and staying below your credit limit. Not doing so could harm your credit rating.

What is a monthly minimum payment?

There's a minimum amount you need to pay each month and we tell you what this is on your statement. You can repay more than this, up to the full balance - just make sure you pay at least the minimum. Paying only the minimum takes longer to pay off your balance and will cost you more money in the long run.

We're more likely to accept you if you:

  • Are over 18
  • Have some history of managing your credit even if you have had CCJs or defaults in the past
  • Are on the electoral roll

We're not likely to accept you if you:

  • Have not had credit in the UK before
  • Have declared bankruptcy in the past 12 months

Please note meeting these criteria does not guarantee acceptance.

For more product information read the:

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Credit is available subject to status and conditions. If you have applied for a Capital One card in the last six months your application may be declined. If you are not a UK resident please do not apply.

Bad credit is a common issue, you aren't on your own!

Credit cards are used by millions of people. However, after the credit crunch and recession, more and more people are finding it difficult to pay their bills and end up with a bad credit rating.

Deciding who has bad credit

When you apply for credit, credit companies and other lenders want to know who they're lending their money to. These lenders assess your credit rating and your credit report, which is taken from credit reference agencies like Equifax, Callcredit and Experian, who can access your credit history.

This assessment helps lenders create what's called a credit score which is based on things like your income, level of debt, how you've managed your past finances (including credit cards, loans or mobile phone contracts etc.). It also takes into account other information, like how long you've been with your bank or if you're on the Electoral Roll.

Bad credit doesn't mean you can't have a credit card. This is where bad credit credit cards come in. They are especially designed for people with bad credit ratings, and usually have manageable credit limits. While repairing bad credit can be a lengthy process, by behaving in a certain way, these cards can help you to improve your credit history and, ultimately, your credit rating.

Don't apply for too many credit cards

It can be tempting to rebuild your bad credit by applying for a lot of credit cards and using them sensibly. However, every time you apply and are rejected for a credit card, it has a negative impact on your credit rating.

Use a credit agency like Equifax, Callcredit and Experian to get your credit report and check the information is correct.

Credit scores can be improved

By using credit cards regularly, always paying at least the minimum payment each month and staying within your credit limit, credit cards can work to create a better credit history, you will rebuild your credit score and turn bad credit into a more positive credit rating.

That's because, as your recent credit history impacts your credit file, your credit rating will gradually improve – providing you stay on top of your future credit repayments. By getting credit, staying within the limit and not missing any payments, you can build a good credit history.

Being turned down for a credit card may damage your credit rating. Check if you could be eligible for a Capital One credit card using our QuickCheck tool. This checks your eligibility across all of our cards without damaging your credit rating.

Why you should know your score & if you have bad credit

It's important to be aware of your credit score – whether it's good or bad. That way, you can take measures to improve it so that, if you do need a mortgage or loan, you can be more confident through the application process.