Aqua credit builder card review

  • Helps improve credit score when used sensibly
  • Stay in control with the help of the Aqua app
  • Credit limit of between £250 and £1,200
  • No annual fees

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Consumers with a bad credit rating often struggle to borrow money, whether that’s applying for a loan or credit card, and in most cases, lenders will reject them due to their increased level of risk, i.e. they may not make the repayments (as suggested by their credit history).

Some lenders will accept people with low credit scores, but their deal will come with much stricter terms and conditions, and the interest rates are likely to be a lot higher than someone with a good credit score.

For these reasons, it is important to keep an eye on your score and work on improving your rating if it drops or indeed, build it from scratch if you have no rating at all, and one key way to do this is by getting a credit builder credit card; something that is provided by Aqua.

In our review, we explain all you need to know about the provider to help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right builder card for you.

What is the aqua credit card and how does it work?

Aqua has designed a credit card that is specifically for people that have a low, poor or fair credit score and are looking to improve it and build it back up to a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ level in order to get access to better credit deals in the future, such as a mortgage or car loan.

While Aqua’s credit builder card helps consumers to boost their credit score, it will only work if the card is used sensibly; that means, using it little and often (not maxing the credit card in one go), not spending more than your pre-agreed credit limit and making sure you pay off the monthly repayments on time and in full (this will prove that you are good at managing your money and your score will increase as a result). 

Failure to do this will result in you facing extra charges (interest) and won’t help your credit score in the slightest, making it harder and more expensive to apply for credit in the future. This completely defeats the object of an Aqua credit card, so only get it if you’re sure you can use it responsibly!

Aqua has two credit builder card deals to choose from:

Aqua Classic

If all you’re looking for is a credit card to help build your score, you’re better off choosing Aqua’s Classic option.

The Aqua Classic card comes with:

  • A variable representative APR of 34.9% (the interest you’ll pay on top of the money you borrow per year if you do not pay your whole balance every month)
  • An initial credit limit of between £250 and £1,200 (maximum)
  • No annual fees
  • ‘Boosted payments’ option, helping you clear your balance quicker
  • The Aqua app

It is a Mastercard, so can be accepted for use at more than 35 million places across the globe.

Aqua Advance

Aqua’s Advance credit card has also been designed to help you build your credit score, but it gives you the additional benefit of being able to reduce the rate of interest you pay every year (over 3 years) - provided you spend sensibly within your available credit limit and repay your balance on time and in full.

The Aqua Advance:

  • Has a variable representative APR of 34.9%
  • Comes with an initial credit limit of between £250 and £1,200 (maximum)
  • Doesn’t charge fees when using it to spend overseas
  • Helps consumers improve their credit score and cut the cost of borrowing simultaneously
  • Gives you access to the Aqua app

Eligibility - Can I apply for an Aqua credit builder card?

Like any other credit card provider that offers builder cards to people with bad credit, Aqua won’t accept anyone and everyone.

To be able to apply for an Aqua credit card (Classic or Advance), you must:

  • Be 18-years-old or older
  • Live in the UK (permanent address)
  • Have a UK bank/building society current account
  • Not have been declared bankrupt in the last 18 months or have any bankruptcy proceedings against you
  • Not have received a County Court Judgement (CCJ) in the last year
  • Not have an existing Aqua card or taken out an Aqua, Marbles, Opus or Fluid card in the last year

Will applying for an Aqua card impact my credit score?

No. Unlike some lenders that carry out a hard search on your report before deciding whether or not to accept you, Aqua will carry out a soft credit check, which will not have a negative impact on your credit rating.

When checking your score and report online, you will be able to see this soft credit check, but other lenders won’t, meaning it won’t impact future credit applications.

You can use Aqua’s soft eligibility checker to see if you’re likely to be accepted before applying for the credit builder card and if it says you’re likely to be accepted, you can then consider applying. However, if it tells you that you’re not likely to be accepted, don’t apply just yet and try to find out why - if you get rejected, this will show up to other lenders on your report.

It’s important to know that a soft credit check is not a full check, so when you decide to apply for Aqua’s card, a full check will be carried out and the results of this could affect the deal you’re given, such as the APR and credit limit.

Stay on track with the Aqua app

One great benefit of getting an Aqua builder card is that you get access to a handy app, which helps you stay in control (not being in control of your card will result in no changes to your credit score or even a decrease).

The Aqua app comes with the following benefits:

  • ‘Aqua Coach’, which helps you stay in control and use the card sensibly
  • Receive text reminders to help you stay on track
  • Get access to support from a call centre or see their FAQs
  • View your most recent balance and credit limit
  • View your latest transactions and pending transactions
  • Lets you make a payment
  • Allows you to set up and manage your direct debit, as well as statement preferences

While this is certainly a useful feature to have with your Aqua credit card, it’s worth taking a look at customer reviews when doing your research and deciding which builder card to go for.

At the time of writing (23/06/2021), the app has a 4.5 star rating, with 9,881 reviews in total and the majority giving the app 5-star reviews.

Digital wallet

Another benefit is that you can add your Aqua credit builder card to your Digital Wallet (Apple Pay or  Google Pay) in order to make purchases straight away with your mobile phone.

Just be careful - using your phone to make payments is useful but it’s easy to get carried away and lose track of your spending, so be sure to check in with your app and stay in control of your borrowing.

Is Aqua a good credit card? - Reviews

When choosing a credit builder card, or any other type of financial product such as car insurance, it’s always a good idea to check out recent reviews online.

Here are some review scores from some of the main platforms:

As you can see, the reviews vary slightly, so it pays to see what people are saying about this credit card product.

You can also look on Money Saving Expert’s forum to see conversations between consumers about their experiences with the credit card.

By looking at a handful of reviews across all review sites and what genuine consumers have said, here are some of the pros and cons of the Aqua credit builder card:

Pros

Cons

“It does what it sets out to do” “I have had my Aqua credit card for 7 months and still no credit limit increase”
“They keep you informed all the time regarding your expenditure, statement date and payment date, there are no shocks” “The interest is too high than any card I have ever known”
“Customer services could not have been more polite and helpful” “It took 5 months to get a letter in response to my complaint”
“The app is so easy to explore” “When I went over my credit limit, my card was automatically blocked”

Of course, reviews will differ depending on the individual’s credit status and money management, and there will always be negative reviews for most finance products across the market. Simply read a variety to weigh up both the advantages and disadvantages.

FAQs

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Aqua credit builder card:

Who owns Aqua?

Aqua is owned by UK financial services company, NewDay. 

NewDay provides credit products to people across the country, and one of its main aims is to help consumers manage their credit better - hence the Aqua credit builder card.

How long does the Aqua card take to arrive?

Once your Aqua application has been accepted, you should expect to receive your credit builder card within two weeks (14 days).

When you receive it, you can’t simply use it straight away - it will need to be activated first. This can be done online or by using Aqua’s automated service.

You will also receive a PIN to go with the card, which will be sent to you not long after getting your builder card.

Can I transfer money from Aqua credit card to bank account?

Yes, only if you need to do a balance transfer. An Aqua card allows you to transfer up to 90% of your credit limit plus the transfer fee and a minimum of £100.

To carry out a balance transfer with Aqua, you’ll need to wait until you activate your card, then request a balance transfer either on your online account manager or the Aqua app. 

Before doing this, you must make sure that you are eligible for a balance transfer and that you are not transferring an amount onto another credit card owned by NewDay, as you cannot do this.

Can I cancel my Aqua credit card?

Yes. The most straightforward way of cancelling your Aqua car is to call customer services: 0333 220 2691.

A member of customer services will help you cancel your card, but they will need to check whether or not there is an outstanding balance and if so, this will need to be paid off first - otherwise, you can’t cancel your card.

Will cancelling affect my credit score?

Cancelling your Aqua credit builder shouldn’t affect your score, unless you cancel it without having paid off your outstanding balance. Having said this, you won’t be able to cancel your card until you’ve paid this off anyway.

If your Aqua card has helped you get your credit score where you want it to be, make sure you continue to manage your finances responsibly - if you don’t you will see your credit score drop again and all your efforts will have gone to waste.

If you're unsure what your credit score currently is, check it now with Checkmyfile (30-day free trial):

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Or for further advice on credit scores, check out our handy guides below!

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