Vanquis Visa Classic Review: The Credit Builder Features You Need?

Vanquis Visa Classic Review: The Credit Builder Features You Need?

Open to no credit, bad credit and the unemployed, but high interest rates mean you shouldn't carry a balance month to month

Good for

  • Start with an easy to manage credit limit between £150 and £1,000
  • You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000 subject to good account management
  • A friendly UK Customer Service call centre
  • Online & SMS account management.

Bad for

  • Carrying a balance month-to-month

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

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.

The Vanquis Classic Credit Card is a credit-builder card that can help people with bad credit to rebuild their credit rating. By paying on time and staying under the credit limit, a cardholder's credit rating may improve over time. As a credit-builder card, Vanquis Classic interest rates are higher-than-average, but these can be avoided by paying your full balance each month.

Vanquis Classic Credit Card Review

The Vanquis Classic is a Visa card that may work well for you even if you have no credit history, poor credit history or are unemployed. To get the most out of the Vanquis card, use it to demonstrate good account management by paying on time each month and staying within your credit limit. By doing so, your credit history should improve over time.

As a new customer you'll start with an easy-to-manage credit limit between £150 and £1,000. By showing good financial management you could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and every 5 months after that, up to a maximum limit of £4,000.

Applying is pretty quick and easy; you apply via mobile, tablet or PC. Potential applicants can use Vanquis's eligibility check to see their likelihood of being accepted before submitting an application. This feature is particularly useful for those worried about their credit rating, avoiding an unnecessary hard credit check and a rejected application which could make it even harder to get credit in the future. Depending on your application details, Vanquis may be able to give you a decision within 60 seconds.

Vanquis Classic Benefits & Features

Vanquis Classic Credit Card Features
Initial Credit LimitBetween £150 and £1,000
Credit Limit IncreasesYou may be eligible for credit limit increases every fifth month up to £4,000 subject to good account management (e.g., staying within your credit limit and making your minimum payment on time)
Transaction FeesNon-sterling transaction fees of 2.99%
Cash Withdrawal Fee3% or £3, whichever is greater
Annual Fee£0
APR
  • 39.9% variable APR on purchases
  • 49.9% variable APR on cash withdrawals

Vanquis Interest Rate (APR): The stated Vanquis Classic purchase APR is 39.9%. At least 51% of applicants will receive this rate or better. The other 49% of applicants may receive a higher interest rate, anywhere from 39.9% up to 69.9%. Cash rates are typically higher, starting at 49.9% variable APR and going up to 69.9%.

Vanquis Credit Limits and Credit Increase: Initially, Vanquis maximum credit limits fall between £150 and £1,000, depending on your financial situation and 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 (e.g., paying on time and staying within your credit limit).

While some cardholders find a higher credit limit can be useful for purchasing power and a possible improvement to their credit score, a higher credit limit may not be in your best interest, depending on your individual financial situation. For instance, if you're on a strict budget and would rather not have the temptation of a higher limit you can reject the increase or request that Vanquis lower your limit. Remember that if you exceed your credit limit, then your credit score would be harmed and you'd incur default fees.

Vanquis Cash Limits: 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 or £3, whichever is greater

Using Vanquis Abroad: The Vanquis Visa can be used abroad. Each time you do so, you'll pay a 2.99% non-sterling fee on all foreign transactions such as taking foreign cash from an ATM or paying for a restaurant or hotel in a local currency. 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 as interest is charged immediately on cash withdrawals, using a credit card is generally an expensive way to get travel cash.

Type of Non-Sterling Transaction AbroadFees
Foreign Cash Withdrawals3% (£3 min) + 2.99%
Foreign Credit Card Transactions (i.e., purchases)2.99%

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. Depending on your APR, one of 3.5%, 4.5% or 5% of the balance owing on your Account as at the statement date and any amount by which your Account is in arrears; or
  • 2. Any interest/minimum finance charge, default charges and any account maintenance fees added to your Account since your last statement plus any arrears due on your Account plus 2.3% of the remaining balance; or
  • 3. £5.

If you don't make additional purchases on your card, the minimum monthly payment will drop over time (as the balance falls) until it hits the £5 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 £5 minimum payment floor can prove quite costly over the long term in terms of interest charges. In fact, in the example below, a cardholder paying only the minimum each month would delay paying off their £250 debt by over 5 years, and incur over £150 more in total interest charges over time, versus a cardholder who consistently pays £50 per month.

Cost of Borrowing with Vanquis Classic

Illustrative example: For a purchase of £250 on your credit card
Monthly PaymentMinimum Payment each month£50 each month
Without taking into account any introductory rates, how much interest will you be charged in the first year?£77£27
How much interest will you be charged in the second year?£58£0
How long would it take to clear the balance?5 years, 11 months7 months
chart showing total interest charges paid while paying down a £250 credit card debt on the Vanquis Classic credit card with minimum monthly payments and higher monthly payments
Higher Monthly Payments = Lower Total Interest Charges

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.

Bottom Line: Even if you're unemployed, have a bad credit history or have no UK credit history, you may be able to get a credit card with Vanquis. In fact, if you need a credit card but are concerned that you won't be eligible, Vanquis may be one of your best chances of getting a card. Just remember to always pay on time and pay as much as possible each month!

How does the Vanquis Classic Visa Compare to Other Credit Cards?

To better understand the value of the Vanquis Visa Classic 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.

Vanquis Classic vs Marbles Credit Card

The Marbles card is a credit builder card for those with a very limited credit history, or poor credit. Even individuals with CCJs or bankruptcy in their past will be considered. The Marbles card representative APR is 34.9%.

Quick Takeaway: With a slightly lower representative APR, the Marbles card might seem more appealing—but the rate on both cards is much higher than average (since they're for those with weak credit records) so on either card we'd recommend paying off the full balance each month if you can.

Vanquis Classic vs Aqua Classic Credit Card

Aqua's most popular card, the Classic, will consider those with poor credit, including the self-employed, people who've paid late in the past and those with low income. Initial credit limits run between £250 and £1,200, with a representative APR of 29.7%. 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.

Quick Takeaway: The Aqua Classic generally charges lower interest rates. As the Aqua Classic and Vanquis Classic both offer a pre-application eligibility check that won't harm your credit rating, it may be worthwhile to check your likelihood of being accepted with both cards before deciding which is best for you.

Vanquis Classic 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 a touch higher, between £250 and £1,000, with a representative APR of 29.3%. There is no eligibility checker with the Chrome card, however.

Quick Takeaway: You're likely to pay a lower interest rate with a Chrome card, but there is currently no eligibility checker to find out the likelihood your application will be accepted.

Vanquis Classic vs 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%. While you may benefit from a lower interest rate on the Aquis, there is no eligibility checker with the Aquis card, unfortunately. The cash APR is apparently converging to match the purchase APR, making it lower than other credit-builder cash APRs—but withdrawing cash on the credit card is still quite costly and we don't recommend it. This card is very similar to the Chrome card, mentioned above.

Quick Takeaway: If you want to check your likelihood of being accepted before you apply (and you'll always pay the full balance each month on time to avoid interest charges) then the Vanquis Classic Visa may be a better option.

Comments and Questions

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.