icons/stroked/arrow-lefticons/stroked/arrow-right

Credit cards for bad credit

Even if you have bad credit you could get a Capital One credit card, which can help build your credit score.

34.9% APR representative variable

A Classic card can help you build your credit rating if you use it sensibly, making your monthly minimum payments on time and staying below your credit limit. Not doing so could harm your credit rating.

Capital One Classic

A credit card for people with poor credit

  • Find out if you’ll be accepted before you apply, without affecting your credit score

  • 97% of customers that reviewed our Classic card said they would recommend it opens in a new window

  • Get our free mobile app to track your spending and make payments anytime

Check if you're eligible

Capital One Classic credit card

Over 6 million people have already been accepted for a Classic card


  • Check if you'll be accepted without affecting your credit score
  • Can help you improve your credit score
  • £200 - £1,500 credit limit
  • Up to two optional credit limit increases a year, subject to eligibility

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.

What is bad credit?

Bad credit affects millions of people in the UK. So, if you have a bad credit rating, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. There are two main causes of bad credit:

No credit history

When you apply for credit, lenders need to know you can afford to pay them back. Having a healthy credit history shows that you've used credit responsibly in the past, and reassures lenders that you're a reliable customer.

If you don't have a history of using credit, or if your credit history is quite limited, then it's harder for lenders to know how much of a risk you might be.

So even if you've always managed your money well, if you’ve never had a credit card or borrowed money before, you're seen as having bad credit.

People who are new to the UK are likely to have a limited credit history, which can make it difficult to get things like a mobile phone contract, home broadband, a credit card or to borrow money.

Problems with credit

If you've struggled with credit in the past and you ended up missing payments, you could find it hard to get accepted for credit in the future.

The good news is you’re not stuck with bad credit. There are steps you can take to improve your credit rating, and show lenders that you can be responsible with credit.

Applying for a credit card if you have bad credit

Poor credit doesn't always mean you can't get a credit card. Some lenders, like Capital One, offer credit-building cards that are specially designed to help people improve their credit ratings.

Credit cards for bad credit usually have a smaller credit limit in the beginning, but can increase if you‘re managing your credit card well.

It's really important to use your card responsibly by at least making your monthly minimum payment on time and staying below your credit limit. Not doing so could harm your credit score even more.

Remember to check before you apply

When you have bad credit it is more likely you’ll be turned down for a credit card, which in turn will leave a mark on your credit report. Some lenders now offer free eligibility checkers that let you know your chances of being accepted before you apply.

Capital One's QuickCheck will give you a definite yes or no, so you can be 100% certain if you'll be accepted before you apply – without affecting your credit score.

Use our free eligibility checker to see if you’ll be accepted for a credit card

Check now

6 tips to improve your credit rating

It takes time to build your credit score, but it’s never too late to start