Note: The Chrome card by Vanquis is no longer accepting new applications, but existing cardholders should be able to continue to use their cards for a while. Vanquis has consolidated their cards under the Vanquis brand. You can read more about that on their website, here.
People who are new to credit or want to rebuild a poor credit rating can use the Aquis Credit Card by Vanquis, one of the UK's top credit builder cards. By using the card sensibly—staying under your credit limit, paying on time and paying (at least) the minimum due each month—you should see your credit score improve. But there may be better options for you. Read out review to find out more.
Aquis Credit Card Review
Vanquis Bank, who specialise in credit-builder cards, was winner of the Moneyfacts Credit Builder Card Provider of the Year in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Their Aquis Credit Card can be a great tool for those who are new to credit or have had some problems in the past and now want to build or rebuild their credit rating.
Cardholders have an opportunity with this card to try to establish or improve upon their credit rating. How? By showing you can manage a credit card sensibly, which means paying on time and staying under the credit limit. Do so and your credit score should improve over time.
Not only that, but showing good account management can also earn you a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and every 5 months after that, up to a maximum limit of £4,000.
The Aquis card also offers features such as Contactless (for transactions up to £30) and 24/7 full service online banking, plus the eVanquis apps for iPhone and Android let you access your account at all times from your phone or tablet. And there's an eligibility checker so you can see if you'll be accepted before you apply. (The eligibility checker is a soft check and won't hurt your credit rating.)
Which is the best Vanquis card?
Vanquis credit cards vary on a few features such as the APR and starting credit limits, and Vanquis may use the details of your application and your credit history to determine which is most suitable for you. Here's how the Aquis compares:
The minimum credit limit on an Aquis card is £250, which is higher than the £150 minimum limit on Vanquis's Classic card. Therefore the Aquis may be more desirable if you want a higher starting limit.
The Aquis variable APR of 29.8% on purchases is around 10 percentage points lower than the Vanquis Classic Visa and just a touch higher than the Chrome Credit Card, which is Vanquis's lowest APR offering.
How to use the Aquis card
Clearly, you'll want to always pay on time and stay under the credit limit because doing so can help your credit rating improve—one of the reasons to get the card in the first place.
Beyond that, the top tip for this card is to pay down as much of your balance each month as possible to avoid significant interest charges. While it's always advisable to pay as much of your outstanding amount as you can on any credit card, this is especially true of credit builder cards because they have higher than average interest rates. While the Aquis's interest rate of 29.8% is on par with other credit builder cards, it still means interest charges can build up if you carry over a balance each month.
How to apply for the Aquis card
Applying for an Aquis card is pretty quick and easy; you can apply here via mobile, tablet or PC.
We are very pleased to report that Aquis now offers an eligibility check to see your likelihood of being accepted before submitting an application. A pre-application check is particularly useful for those worried about their credit rating to help avoid an unnecessary hard credit check and a rejected application (which could make it even harder to get credit in the future).
Bottom Line: If you are new to credit or had some problems in the past, Vanquis's Aquis credit card can help you get your credit rating on track. Get the most out of the card by always paying on time, staying within the credit limit and paying as much as you possibly can each month to limit interest charges.
Aquis Credit Card Benefits & Features
|Aquis Credit Card Features
|Initial Credit Limit
|Between £250 and £1,000
|Credit Limit Increases
|By staying within your credit limit and making your minimum payment on time, you may be eligible for credit limit increases every fifth month up to £4,000 (subject to good account management)
|Non-sterling transaction fees of 2.99%
|Cash Withdrawal Fee
|3% or £3, whichever is greater
Aquis Interest Rate (APR): To determine your interest rate, Vanquis uses risk based pricing that takes into account information on your application form and from credit reference agencies. At least 51% of applicants will receive the representative Aquis purchase APR of 29.8%. The other 49% of applicants may receive a higher interest rate, anywhere from 29.8%. Cash representative rates also start from 29.8% variable APR.
Aquis Credit Limits and Credit Increases: The initial credit limit on an Aquis credit card is between £250 and £1,000, depending on your individual financial situation, details from your application and your credit history. After your 5th statement and every 5 months thereafter you may receive a credit limit increase, up to a maximum of £4,000 subject to good account management.
While some cardholders find a higher credit limit can be useful for purchasing power and possibly improving their credit score, a higher credit limit is not always desirable. For example, if you're on a strict budget and would rather not have the temptation of a higher limit you can reject the increase or even request that Vanquis lower your limit. Remember, however, that exceeding the credit limit would result in default fees and may harm your credit score, potentially making it more difficult to get credit in the future (e.g., a credit card with a lower interest rate).
Withdrawing Cash with an Aquis Credit Card: You can withdraw cash with the Aquis card, but each cash withdrawal incurs a fee of 3% of the transaction or 3%, whichever is greater. Getting foreign cash from an ATM abroad incurs a further 2.99% non-sterling fee (more on that below). Withdrawing cash using a credit card is expensive and we don't generally recommend it for three reasons:
- Cash interest rates are higher than purchase rates
- Interest on cash withdrawals is charged immediately (there is no grace period)
- Each cash withdrawal incurs a fee of 3% of the transaction (minimum £3)
Using Aquis Abroad: The Aquis card can be used abroad, with transactions incurring a 2.99% non-sterling fee when you withdraw foreign cash from an ATM, paying for a restaurant or hotel in a local currency, etc. This fee is typical on all but special travel cards.
In addition to the non-sterling FX fee, any foreign cash withdrawals from an ATM abroad would incur an additional 3% (£3 minimum) cash withdrawal fee—this cash fee is charged in addition to the 2.99% non-sterling fee. Not only do you incur these fees but interest is charged immediately on cash withdrawals—generally speaking, using a credit card is an expensive way to get travel cash.
|Type of Non-Sterling Transaction Abroad
|Foreign Cash Withdrawals
|3% (£3 min) + 2.99%
|Foreign Credit Card Transactions (i.e., purchases)
Minimum Monthly Payments: To give you a general idea of what to expect to pay each month, the Minimum Repayment is calculated as the highest of:
- 1. the total of any interest they have charged since the date of your last statement; and any default fees they have charged; and depending on your APR, 3% or 2.5% of the remainder of the balance you owe on your account as at the statement date; or
- 2. £10
If your balance falls on your card (e.g. as you pay down the balance), the minimum monthly payment will drop over time until it hits the £10 minimum payment floor. As we discussed in our article Here's How the Minimum Payment Floor on Your Credit Card Could Cost You Hundreds of Pounds, paying only the £10 minimum payment floor is very expensive over the long term in terms of interest charges and can contribute to debt problems.
For example, a cardholder paying only the minimum each month would take 8X as long to pay off a £500 debt, and incur around £300 more in interest charges over time versus a cardholder who consistently pays £50 per month.
Cost of Borrowing with Aquis
|Illustrative example: For a purchase of £500 on your credit card
|Minimum Payment each month
|£50 each month
|Without taking into account any introductory rates, how much interest will you be charged in the first year?
|How much interest will you be charged in the second year?
|How long would it take to clear the balance?
|7 years, 5 months
The above example assumes the following: The transaction takes place on 1st January and you make no further transactions. Your statement is produced on the 1st of each month and you always make the payment each month on the 15th. Your statement is produced 31 days after you make the purchase. Also, the minimum payment calculation is based on 2.5% of the remainder of the balance you owe, not 3% as some people might get.
How does the Aquis Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
To better understand the value of the Aquis Credit Card you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We compared this card to other rewards cards so you can see which may be more suitable for you.
Aquis vs Vanquis Classic Credit Card
Vanquis's Classic credit card, the Classic, will consider applicants with no credit history, poor credit history or are unemployed. Initial credit limits are lower, between £150 and £1,000, with a representative APR of 29.5%. Potential applicants can use the pre-application eligibility checker to see their likelihood of being accepted before they apply (useful to help avoid an unnecessary hard credit check and a rejected application).
Quick Takeaway: You're likely to pay a higher interest rate with the Vanquis Classic, but you may be more likely to be accepted by the Classic if you have a worse credit rating. Use the Vanquis Classic pre-application check to find out.
Aquis vs Chrome Credit Card
The Chrome credit card, also by Vanquis, is also designed for those with bad credit who want to rebuild their credit rating. Initial credit limits are between £250 and £1,000, with a representative APR of 29.5%.
Quick Takeaway: You're likely to get very similar interest rates with these two cards. Use the eligibility checker to see if you're eligible.