Marbles Credit Card Review: The Credit Builder Card for You?

Marbles Credit Card Review: The Credit Builder Card for You?

A card to help you get your credit back on track with free text alerts and possible credit limit increases every 4th month
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Editor's Rating

4.5

Good for

  • Those new to credit or with poor credit
  • Free text reminders
  • Increasing credit limit
  • Possible grace periods if you exceed the credit limit

Bad for

  • Those wanting a low interest rate
  • Carrying a balance month to month
  • Using abroad

Marbles is a basic but solid credit-building card for those with limited or poor credit history in the UK. As a first credit card, it can be ideal for students, young people, or those who have recently moved to the UK. Interest rates are high on the Marbles card, so do try to pay the whole balance every month to avoid large interest charges and prevent debt from building up. Free text alerts can help you stay under your credit limit and remember to pay on time.

Marbles Credit Card Review

The Marbles card is one of the best "credit-builder" cards in the market, targeted at those with poor credit or no credit history in the UK. Like other credit-builder cards, it can be used to build up a poor or limited credit history by paying at least the minimum monthly payment on time and staying under the credit limit to demonstrate that you can handle credit responsibly.

Free SMS/text alerts to help you manage your account are an important feature. These alerts can help you remember to pay on time and stay under your credit limit—especially important for anyone working to improve their credit rating.

The Marbles' FastCheck eligibility checker is a tool you can use before you apply, to see your likelihood of being accepted without leaving a hard credit search on your credit record. FastCheck performs a soft credit check, which has no impact on your credit rating and can't be seen by other potential lenders (you, however, can see soft checks when you review your own credit report). Eligibility checkers can help you avoid an unsuccessful application—if you're going to be rejected, you'd rather know that beforehand so you don't apply. Why? Because every application leaves a hard check on your credit file.

Grace Period on Over Limits

The Marbles card apparently may offer a grace period for overreaching your credit limit, at the discretion of the collections team. We've spoken to customer service and they said that cardholders who exceed the credit limit could receive a text message notification and the opportunity to fix the situation—but this is not guaranteed. For instance, those with a history of exceeding the credit limit, not paying on time, etc., will probably not be offered a grace period.

Those given a grace period have the chance to bring their account back under the credit limit within 48 hours, thereby avoiding the £12 over-limit fee or a mark on their credit record. It seems this system works better on a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday than a Thursday/Friday/Saturday since money won't transfer over the weekend. In any case, make a transfer the same day for the best shot of bringing your account back under the limit within the grace period, as you can see in the following table. Update Marbles if your phone number changes, so you can be contacted if you exceed your limit.

Day you Exceed Credit LimitPotential Grace Period ends on...Effectively need Account in order by...
MondayWednesdayWednesday
TuesdayThursdayThursday
WednesdayFridayFriday
ThursdaySaturdayFriday
FridaySundayFriday
SaturdayMondayMonday
SundayTuesdayTuesday

Credit Limit Increases

Your Marbles credit limit may start off as low as £100 to £250. It is very important to work to increase a low credit limit; once your credit limit exceeds £1,000 you should see a positive effect on your credit score. With the Marbles card, your credit limit will be reviewed after 3 months (i.e., your credit limit may increase on your 4th statement).

Cardholders can also manually request a credit limit increase every 4th month. There is no harm in making this request—being turned down for a credit limit increase will not affect your credit score. Only if your limit is raised will Marbles communicate this improvement to the credit agencies.

While a credit limit increase can be beneficial in terms of establishing a positive credit history, they're not good for everyone. According to FCA research, some people who are offered unsolicited credit limit increases end up taking on more debt than they can comfortably pay back. Before accepting a higher credit limit, be sure that it suits your individual financial situation. You can read more about when credit limit increases are beneficial and not in our article on Citizen's Advice's Stuck in Debt study.

Bottom Line: Customers can use the Marbles card, like other credit-builder cards, to improve their credit history over time. Stay within the credit limit, always pay on time, and work to increase the credit limit over £1,000. Due to higher-than-average interest rates of 34.9% APR, we recommend trying to pay down your full balance every month to avoid large interest charges and developing a persistent debt problem.

Marbles Platinum Benefits & Features

Marbles Card Features
Initial Credit Limit as low as£100 to £250
Credit Limit IncreasesMay be requested every 4th month
Text Reminders to help you
  • Pay on time
  • Stay under credit limit
Annual Fee£0
APR
  • 34.9% variable APR on purchases
  • 39.9% variable APR on cash withdrawals

Interest Charges

As you would expect, like other credit-builder cards, the Marbles card has a higher-than-average interest rate of 34.9% APR. This won't be a problem if you pay down the full balance every month since there are no interest charges on a cleared balance. You can choose a monthly repayment date that suits you, perhaps just after pay day or to coincide with other bill due dates.

The table below shows how much interest you would incur while paying off a £1,000 balance (assuming a 33.8% APR), depending on the size of your monthly payments.

Monthly PaymentMonths to pay of £1,000Total Interest Charges
£37 (approximate initial Minimum Monthly Payment)49£797
£5029£429
£10012£153
£1508£89
£1,000 (pay off full balance by next payment date)0£0

The following charts show how long it will take to pay back a £1,000 balance on a credit card charging 33.8% APR and how much interest you'd pay along the way. You can see how costly making minimum monthly payments can be.

chart showing how long it takes to pay back a debt, depending on the size of your monthly payments
Time to Become Debt Free Depends on Monthly Payments
chart showing how much interest is paid while paying back a debt, depending on the size of your monthly payments
Total Interest Paid Decreases as Monthly Payments Increase

How does the Marbles Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?

To better understand the value of the Aqua Classic Card you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We compared this card to other similar cards so you can see which may be more suitable for you.

Marbles Card vs Aqua Rewards Credit Card

The Aqua Rewards Credit Card is a great card for travelling abroad and earning rewards, all while improving your credit. Cashback is earned at a rate of 0.5% on spending, and the card won't charge any foreign transaction fees.

Quick Takeaway: If your credit history allows, the Aqua Rewards card comes with two great perks for credit builders: no FX fees and 0.5% cashback rewards; otherwise, Marbles is a solid card for establishing a better credit record.

Marbles Card vs Capital One Classic Card

The Capital One Classic card is a great card for those with a poor credit history in the UK. Capital One's QuickCheck tool uses a soft search of your credit history, which won’t leave a footprint for other potential lenders to see. Capital One virtually guarantees that your application will be accepted if you pass the pre-application QuickCheck (unless they find certain information of fraud prevention databases or can't verify your id). Credit limits of £200 to £1,500, with up to two optional credit limit increases per year.

Quick Takeaway: Very similar credit cards for those working to rebuild their credit rating. Capital One starting credit limits are a touch higher, and may increase twice a year.

Marbles Card vs Vanquis Card

The Vanquis Credit Card is another popular UK credit builder card. Unfortunately you need to pay for text reminders on the Vanquis card. If you don't think you need text reminders, this may not be an issue for you. Some cardholders may like the Repayment Option Plan —for a monthly fee, you can access features designed to protect your credit score, like the ability to miss a payment without repercussion or freeze your account without incurring any interest or making any payments. Given the not insignificant cost (around 1.2% per month), cardholders should think carefully before buying this feature.

Quick Takeaway: Since you need to pay for text reminders on Vanquis, we think the New Day cards (e.g., Aqua or Marble) may be slightly better for some people. However, those in need of extra payment help may be attracted to Vanquis's Repayment Option Plan.

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