Best Aqua Credit Cards

Aqua specializes in credit cards for people with bad credit. We've analyzed Aqua's two cards and discuss the pros and cons of each, including fees and interest rates, to help you figure out which card may be best for you. Choosing the right card will depend on your individual situation.

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

  • Summary
    Recap of Aqua Credit Cards
  • Choosing
    Comparison of Aqua vs. Alternatives

Aqua Credit Cards Review

In analyzing Aqua's credit cards, we considered features such as interest rates, rewards, foreign transaction fees and credit limits. The best card for you will depend on your own needs and circumstances. Note: recently Aqua has introduced a pre-eligibility check, so you can see your odds of being accepted before you apply—without hurting your credit record.

Best Aqua Card for Travel: Aqua Advance

Consider this if you want a credit-builder card to use overseas.

Purchase Rate (variable) 34.9%
0% on Purchases for up to n/a
0% on Balance Transfers for up to n/a
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 3%
FX Fee none
Cash Fee 3% (min £3)

The Aqua Advance can be a great option for credit builders who take holidays abroad, because you can use the card to pay for hotels, restaurants, bars and in shops in the local currency when you're abroad—without incurring any FX fees. The vast majority of credit cards charge a fee around 3% of any transaction in another currency.

We don't recommend using the card for cash withdrawals, however, as you'll incur a 3% (£3 minimum) cash fee and interest starts accruing immediately—at a higher interest rate of 44.9% variable APR .

The best way to use this card is by staying under your credit limit and paying on time to help improve your credit rating over time. Not only that, but by doing these things your interest rate should drop by 5% a year for three years, potentially reaching 19.9%. Since the Aqua Advance interest rate on purchases is higher than average (34.9% variable APR ), pay more than the minimum each month (as much as possible, really), to limit interest charges and avoid debt from building up.

Pros
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Interest rate reduces by 5% a year for good account management
  • No annual fee
  • Eligibility Checker
  • Free text alerts
Cons
  • Higher-than-average interest rates from 34.9% variable APR
  • Cash APR 44.9% variable

Best Basic Aqua Card for Bad Credit or Low Income: Aqua Classic

Consider this if you have poor credit and want a credit card with free text alerts to help you stay on top of your finances.

Purchase Rate (variable) 35.95%
0% on Purchases for up to n/a
0% on Balance Transfers for up to n/a
Initial Balance Transfer Fee 3%
FX Fee 2.95%
Cash Fee 3% (min £3)

The Classic Credit Card is apparently Aqua's most popular card and will consider those with poor credit, including the self-employed, individuals who've had trouble with late payments in the past and those with a low income. Initial credit limits run between £250 and £1,200. Responsible management of your account (i.e., making payments on time and staying within the credit limit) can lead to credit limit increases, which can in turn improve your credit rating—especially once the credit limit reaches £1,000.

Pros
  • Credit limit may increase with "good behavior"
  • No annual fee
  • Eligibility Checker
  • Free text alerts
Cons
  • Higher-than-average interest rates from 35.95% variable APR
  • Cash APR 45.95% variable
  • 2.95% foreign transaction fees

FAQs

The starting Aqua credit card limit is between £250 and £1,200, depending on your credit history. The credit limit on the Aqua Classic may increase every 4 months if you manage your account well by paying on time and staying under the credit limit.
The Aqua range of credit cards is designed for those with bad credit or no credit. They have two cards, the Advance and the Classic, which each have unique features.
The foreign transaction fee is 2.95% on non-sterling transactions on the Aqua Classic; there's no foreign transaction fee on the Advance
Yes, you can use your Aqua card abroad. You'll pay foreign transaction fees on the Aqua Classic but not on the Advance. Interest on cash withdrawals is high so using your card at the ATM is possible, but expensive.
The cash withdrawal rate is 45.95% variable APR on cash withdrawals on the link url="/aqua-classic-credit-card-review" title="Aqua Classic review"]Aqua Classic and 44.9% variable APR on the Advance.

Voluntarily Decreasing an Aqua Credit Card Limit

Sometimes, cardholders prefer to decrease their credit limit—perhaps to avoid accumulating an unmanageable amount of personal debt. In this case, you may request a lower credit limit by calling 0333 220 2691. You may be charged for this call, as it is an 03 number that is charged at a standard national rate. Please check what it will cost from your mobile or land-line provider before calling. Aqua lines are open from 8am-9pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Aqua Credit Card Payments

You can make payments to Aqua via:

  • Direct Debit
  • Online
  • Post
  • GIRO
  • Standing Order
  • Telephone Banking Service

You can find more information on a particular Aqua payment method here.

Aqua Credit Card Payment—How Much Should You Pay?

While you are probably aware that making at least the minimum monthly payment is important for a good credit rating and to avoid fees and charges, it's also important to understand why you may want to pay more than the minimum amount due each month.

Basically, by paying only the minimum amount you will extend the time to become debt free and also pay more in interest charges. By paying a larger amount each month, you can become debt free sooner and also reduce to total interest paid over the life of the debt. Paying as much of your outstanding balance as you can afford each month is generally a good strategy.

Top Tip: Pay as much as you can each month.

The chart below shows how making larger monthly payments equates to lower total interest charges over the life of a debt. Notice how only paying the minimum amount due each month results in interest charges about 6X times larger than maintaining a constant £50 payment.

Chart showing how much interest would be due while paying back a £1,000 credit card balance at 27.9%, by monthly payment amount

Be aware that, as a credit-builder company, Aqua's interest rates are higher than average, as you can see in the following chart. Try to pay down your full balance each month to avoid interest charges.

Summary of Best Aqua Cards

Best For...CardPurchase APR (variable)Quick Overview
TravelAqua Advance34.9%
  • Interest rate may reduce by 5% a year
  • No non-sterling transaction fees
Bad CreditAqua Classic35.9%
  • Credit limit may increase for "good behavior"

Comparing Aqua Credit Cards to Other Similar Cards

If you want to know if any of the cards mentioned above are right for you, it can help to know what other similar cards are available. Below, we highlight a few cards that offer similar functionality, in order to help you make an informed decision.

For Rebuilding Credit: 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 29.3%.

Quick Takeaway: The Chrome and Aqua Classic have very similar interest rates. Use the eligibility checker to see if you're eligible.

For Poor Credit: Aquis Credit Card

The Aquis credit card is another Vanquis credit builder card. Initial credit limits are between £250 and £1,000, with a representative APR of 29.8%.

Quick Takeaway: The Aquis and the Aqua Classic offer similar interest rates and features. Use the eligibility checker to find out if you could be accepted.

For using Abroad: 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 for overseas use, however, if you are working to improve a weak credit history.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.