Using a credit card to build your credit score


Using certain credit cards to build your credit score is commonplace in the U.K.

This is not a comparison site. We’re not here to recommend specific credit cards. This guide will empower you to decide for yourself.

How does it work?


Using a credit card regularly and responsibly is one of the best ways to prove your trustworthiness and improve your credit scores. If you have access to a credit card and want to build credit, focus on using it regularly and making all of your payments on time. It’s also important to use a limited amount of your credit limit on each card.

Using a credit card properly can help address some of the top factors considered in your credit report:


Maintaining a low credit utilisation
Demonstrating you’re financially responsible
Improving your account age over time
Showing you can manage debt

Credit Card Types for Building Credit


While any type of credit card can be used to build your credit score, there are a few specific options for people with no credit or bad credit.

Credit Builder CardsDesigned for people with poor or no credit who want to improve their credit score. The odds for approval are higher for these cards but they do typically carry low credit limits and higher-than-average interest rates.

Prepaid Credit Cards: While prepaid cards typically require you to ‘top up’ or load cash onto them before you spend, many offerings include a credit-builder function. Be sure to look out for prepaid cards that offer this function.

Is Using a Credit Card to Build Credit a Good Idea?

Like many things the answer depends on your current situation. The use of credit cards in general does come with a risk of falling into debt if you don’t manage them properly. If you do decide to go down this route towards building credit, make a detailed plan ahead of time and stick with it. If you are taking out a credit card to access more money and make a big purchase, this may not be the best route for you.


Before diving into the world of credit cards, consider checking your credit report to identify your financial shortcomings. Ask yourself:



If you’re trying to fix your credit score but you don’t know the answer to these questions, you should start there before opening a new card! 

Credit Card Types for Building Credit


While any type of credit card can be used to build your credit score, there are a few specific options for people with no credit or bad credit.

Credit Builder Cards: Designed for people with poor or no credit who want to improve their credit score. The odds for approval are higher for these cards but they do typically carry low credit limits and higher-than-average interest rates.

Prepaid Credit Cards: While prepaid cards typically require you to ‘top up’ or load cash onto them before you spend, many offerings include a credit-builder function. Be sure to look out for prepaid cards that offer this function.

Checklist: Building Credit with a Credit Card

Use the checklist below if you want to know how to build credit the right way using debt and credit cards

Build credit without getting into credit card debt



Portify is a community of 30,000+ members who are building their credit and proving financial trustworthiness without the need for a credit card.

Learn how you can build credit for £4/month!



Build your credit score

How Can I Get a Better Credit Card Offer?

Improving your credit score will unlock opportunities to get better credit cards. Getting better credit card offers means lower interest rates and first-rate rewards offerings.

How to Build Credit the Right Way
Our in-depth guide to credit building.

8 Ways to Build Your Credit Score You Didn’t Know About
Dig into some of the more unconventional ways to give your credit score a lift.

The Electoral Roll and Your Credit Score
Learn how registering to vote can help raise your credit score.


Learn more on credit scores by reading our FAQs.