Guaranteed credit cards

Our guide will bust a few myths on guaranteed credit cards, letting you know if they actually do exist and what you can do to if you’re worried about having a poor credit rating.

Our guide will bust a few myths on guaranteed credit cards, letting you know if they actually do exist and what you can do to if you’re worried about having a poor credit rating.

Alex Hasty
Insurance and finance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 9 SEPTEMBER 2021

Does a guaranteed credit card mean ‘guaranteed acceptance’?

The short answer is ‘no’. That can seem confusing, especially if you see providers advertising ‘guaranteed credit cards’ or ‘guaranteed acceptance credit cards’. But typically, what they mean is that a card issuer is definitely going to consider your application – not that you’re guaranteed to be accepted. All credit card providers will check your ‘credit card eligibility’ by reviewing your borrowing history before they decide on whether to accept your credit card application.

What can I do if I have poor credit history?

You can take steps to build a better credit rating, but it will take time. Credit Builder cards are designed for people with poor credit histories (or no credit history at all). You’ll find that credit builder cards usually come with higher interest rates than other credit cards. You might also have a low credit limit to begin with. If you prove you’re able to use this type of card responsibly, the provider may increase that limit in time, and this could help you improve your credit score. And as long as you clear the balance in full each month, you typically won’t pay any interest.

How can I check my credit report?

You can get a credit report, free of charge, from one of the three main credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. This contains basic information about you – things like credit accounts in your name, if you’re on the electoral roll or any payments you’ve missed.

How else can I improve my credit score?

There are other ways to start improving your credit score, including making sure you pay your bills on time, getting on your local electoral roll and not going over your credit limit. Used sensibly, all credit cards can help build your credit score - but if you have a poor credit history, you might find it easier to get accepted for a credit builder card.

Find out more about how to improve your credit score.

What are the alternatives to a credit card?

  • Pre-paid cards can be a useful alternative to credit cards. They allow you to load cash on to them, which you can then spend however you want. Most pre-paid cards are provided by Visa or MasterCard, so can be used in all the same shops and restaurants as other cards. They’re also a useful alternative to carrying cash around.
  • A debit card is linked to your current account and can be used in the same way as a credit card. The difference is that payment comes directly from money available in your bank account, so you’ll pay for things straight away rather than later.
  • An arranged overdraft on your current account could be a useful alternative if you need to borrow money in the short term. But unless you can find a bank that offers 0% interest, the charges for using an overdraft can be hefty. If you’re looking to borrow long term, a credit card might work out cheaper.
  • A personal loan could help you spread your payments at a fixed rate over a longer period. But again, there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted and the advertised interest rates are usually reserved for those with the best credit scores.

Where can I compare credit cards?

If you have a poor credit history or no credit history at all, you can still use our site to compare credit building credit cards.

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Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I’m rejected?

Even if the card is advertised as ‘guaranteed acceptance’, there’s a chance your application will be rejected, especially if your credit score is low. If this happens, don’t immediately apply for another card as this is likely to damage your credit score even more. Take time to build up your credit score, monitor your credit rating, then re-apply after a few months.

How does the credit card eligibility checker work?

Our credit card eligibility checker gives you an indication of which cards you’re likely to be accepted for based on your credit information and the lender’s acceptance criteria. It doesn’t guarantee your application will be approved.

What does pre-approved mean?

Some credit card companies directly target customers with offers of a ‘pre-approved’ application. While this doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be approved, it’s generally the best indication that you’ll be accepted for a card. If you take up the offer and apply for the deal, they’ll carry out a hard credit check to get full access to your credit history.

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