What credit score do I need for a credit card?

Last Modified 16th of February 2021

When you need to improve your credit score there are few options better than getting a credit card – it gives you access to a constant stream of credit and the opportunity to accumulate new debt and to pay it off in full on a regular basis, which adds lots of good info to your credit file.

But if you don’t have good credit it can be tricky to get one in the first place…

In reality there is no minimum requirement to get a credit, every credit card provider will have their own criteria and some are more stringent than others, but the decision will very rarely be as simple as looking at your credit score in isolation.


So the answer is; it depends

The best credit card deals might only be available to those with a good credit history, so don’t bother with those…

If you have little credit history you should still be able to get a reasonable credit card deal as long as you have a regular income. You will often find it easiest to get one from your existing bank, and even if you are not automatically approved, sometimes speaking to your branch manager might do the trick.

On the other hand, if you have a number of negative items in your credit history you might find that you need to shop around for specialist credit repair credit cards. There are plenty of options although you will pay a high interest rate for the privilege.

If you still can’t get a credit card

In reality, if you have a job and a provable income you will probably be able to get a credit card unless you have either a recent bankruptcy or a string of defaults. Of course if this is the case you may simply need to wait. Start by paying off all of your current debts if you can and wait a couple of months before trying again.


Other options

Some companies offer secured credit cards where you can use an asset as security in case of default, these cards often have much lower credit rating criteria and for particularly bad credit they may be helpful.

Alternatively you can get pre-paid credit cards where you top up before spending. These won’t help your credit score but you don’t need a credit check to get one, so they can be helpful if you need a credit card for practical reasons.