The Aqua Advance is a credit builder card with two stand-out features: no FX fees on transactions made overseas and the opportunity to lower your interest rate from 34.9% to 19.9% (variable). Is this a good card for you? Read our review to see how it compares to other options.
Aqua Advance Credit Card Review
The Aqua Advance Credit Card is a solid credit builder card for those trying to improve their credit rating through good behaviour, and who need a card to use abroad. One solid feature is that your interest rate might drop by 5% a year for three years, potentially getting to as low as 19.9%. This is very helpful for your credit score. How do you make that happen?
- Stay within your credit limit
- Pay at least the minimum payment on time
As with all credit cards (and credit-builder cards in particular because the have higher interest rates), try to pay off as much of the balance as you can each month—ideally the whole amount outstanding—to avoid falling deeper into debt.
Can you use the Advance on Holiday?
As a travel card, there are no fees on purchases made abroad. So it's fine to use this card for paying in hotels, restaurants, bars and shops when you're on holiday.
But we don't recommend cash withdrawals as they are subject to higher-than-average interest and this interest starts to accumulate immediately—there's no grace period like you get on purchases. Plus the card charges a 3% cash withdrawal fee (minimum £3) at home and abroad.
Bottom Line: The Aqua Advance is a great option for those with weaker credit histories who want the chance to improve their credit rating and need a card to use when travelling abroad that doesn't charge FX fees.
Amazon Platinum Benefits & Features
|Aqua Advance Card Features|
|Decreasing Interest Rate||By staying within your credit limit and making your minimum payment on time, your interest rate should reduce by 5% each year for three years. Those starting with an APR of 34.9% can reduce the rate by 5% every 12 months until the rate is down to 19.9% APR.|
|Transaction Fees||No non-sterling transaction fees on purchases or cash withdrawals made abroad (but foreign ATM withdrawals will still incur a Cash Withdrawal Fee, which is charged regardless of currency)|
|Cash Withdrawal Fee||3% fee at home and abroad (£3 minimum)|
|Initial Credit Limit as low as||£250 to £1,200|
|Text Reminders to help you|
Using the Aqua Advance Abroad: The Aqua Advance can work as a travel card also, as it doesn’t charge a fee for purchases made abroad. However, between the 3% cash withdrawal fee and the interest rate on cash of 44.9% APR, this card can cost more than average for ATM withdrawals, whether at home or abroad.
Who may be Eligible for an Aqua Card? As credit builder cards, Aqua cards are targeted at those with weaker credit histories. Below we've organized some detail regarding who Aqua will consider, and who they won’t, from their website. Falling into one category or another is by no means a guarantee of whether or not you’ll be accepted, just an indication of your odds. As part of the application process you can use their eligibility checker to give you further guidance. If you've had a CCJ in the past 12 months, Aqua will probably reject you. Aqua will consider you if you've/you're:
- a homemaker, student, on a low income or work part-time
- been refused credit in the past
- never had a credit card
- recently moved to the UK
- recently moved house and not on the electoral roll
- rebuilding credit rating
Aqua Advance Interest Rates: As a credit builder card, interest rates are higher than average, starting at 34.9% APR for purchases. However, cardholders can improve their situation through "good behaviour". By staying within your credit limit and paying at least your monthly minimum on time, it is possible for the interest rate to drop by 5% a year. Where possible, set up a direct debit to pay off your card on time every month.
Cardholders can use their Aqua credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, but it's expensive to do so. For starters, the interest rate on cash withdrawals is around 10 percentage points higher than the purchase rate (check your terms to find your cash rate) AND there is no interest free period on cash transactions which means interest charges on ATM withdrawals start building up immediately. On top of that, each cash withdrawal is charged 3% of the transaction (minimum £3).
How does the Aqua Advance Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
In order to decide if the Aqua Advance credit card is for you, it’s best to compare it against the closest competitors.
Aqua Advance Card vs Halifax Clarity Credit Card
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is a very good card for travel use. Not only does it charge no fees on cash withdrawals and purchases made abroad in the local currency, but it also imposes a lower interest rate on cash withdrawals. This can be important because interest is charged immediately from the date of a cash withdrawal.
Quick Takeaway: Those with better credit ratings will probably be better off with the Halifax Clarity card, as it won't charge a fee on your ATM withdrawals and sports lower interest rates.
Aqua Advance Card vs Santander Zero Credit Card
The Santander Zero is a decent travel card in that it doesn't charge a fee for non-sterling cash withdrawals and transactions made abroad. Furthermore, cardholders who plan to use the card in the UK can benefit from 5% to 25% savings at selected partners through Santander's Retailer Offer program.
Quick Takeaway: The Santander Zero card is a better credit card for anyone needing cash withdrawals from an ATM while abroad, as it charges no cash fees and charges a lower interest rate on those cash withdrawals. The Aqua Advance may be a better choice, however, if you are working to improve a weak credit history.