Best Vanquis Alternatives | Credit Card Sites Like www.vanquis.co.uk
For this submission we have handpicked Vanquis Bank who are an established provider of subprime credit cards in the UK. This thriving Bradford-based business will be compared against 4 other big hitters competing in this in demand niche where solutions are put forward to the many turned away from mainstream lenders. This featured firm will be compared against Aqua, Barclaycard, Capital One and Tesco Bank. We’ll firstly introduce each.
Our featured specialist provider issued their very first card back in May 2003. They have progressed well as time has passed, taking the approach of supplementing their core brand with other competing trading names and various partners who are brought in on an affinity scheme (the most high profile partner of course being Argos). Many people will be familiar with the owner Provident Financial Plc who can boast a rich history dating way back to the year 1880. Current active brands include Provident who are the market leading doorstep loan service. The online alternative to this is Satsuma Loans and they also provide car finance through Moneybarn.
They had also ventured into the guarantor loan sector through Glo, but this project has ceased trading. The Group has 2.5 million customers overall. Of which, the largest share of 1.6 million customers belong with Vanquis. Over their history they have accepted more than 3 million people, with around half of these being active. There are as noted other trading names where they operate from that includes Aquis, Chrome, NEO and Origin. Original was another project that has now been closed. Partners who they issue cards for include Argos, Black Diamond, Granite and XYLO. There are few differences across either option. In general, you’ll see price matching at 39.9% APR.
Sometimes the rates go higher and occasionally they drop lower. Chrome currently boasts the cheapest starting rate of 29.5%, Aquis follows at 29.8% and the partner Granite sees 34.9%. It is important to highlight that the rates are always variable and so you could see a rate hike no matter where you apply. The standard Vanquis credit card (aka Visa) has a starting limit of £150 to £1000 with this potentially rising to £4000. Its purchase range is 39.94% to 69.94%. Things have always been a little confusing on the login front. On the main site they link out to www.evanquis.co.uk and www.payvanquis.co.uk. The EVanquis site then links out to www.evanquis.com that is the main portal.
PayVanquis is differentiated through payments only without the need to register. People are targeted with poor credit such as CCJs and those discharged from bankruptcy. There are also pages for low wages, new to the UK etc. They are however pretty vague with specifics on their Visa offering, but have always been known for high acceptances rates. You will of course pay a high price and will likely start on a modest starting limit. This is however a good opportunity to get back on track enabling you to rebuild your rating with good management over the long term. Support here runs as Mon/Fri (8am-8pm), Sat (9am-5.30pm). Before jumping into the comparisons, we’ll investigate their competitors.
The Best Vanquis Alternatives (Alphabetically Sorted)…
About Aqua @ www.aquacard.co.uk
Aqua is the core brand of NewDay. This name was introduced in 2014 after taking over the previous identity of SAV Credit (SAV was formed in 2001). Aqua was rolled out in early 2002 and is today complimented by Marbles and Opus. NewDay’s customer base is headed at 5.4 million (around 1 million here). Most users arise from affinity cards. There are 13 of these that includes such retailers as Debenhams, House of Fraser, Laura Ashley, Miss Selfridge, Topman, TUI and so on. Amazon has impressively recently joined this roster. This retail division was acquired by Santander. Further to this, Marbles was acquired from HSBC and Opus arrived from Citibank.
Aqua is actually their only sole creation. This comes in 4 MasterCard variants including Advance, Classic, Reward and Start. It is Start that is their entry level product packaged at 49.9% on a modest limit of £100 to £300. The variable purchase rate is 49.94% to 69.95%. The other options have matched limits of £250 to £1200. Classic is priced at 35.95% to 59.95%. We are then left with the best Aqua credit cards that are each set between 34.95% and 59.95% that starts marginally lower. However, with Advance a well managed account can see discounted interest of 5% per year. This can drop to 19.9% APR. Reward includes 0.5% cashback (£100 max per year).
It should be added that within the summary box the max limit is always headed as subject to status and so with trust you may well be able to see an advance to a few thousand, although we couldn’t track any examples of this discussed on any forums. The Aqua card login is served on a subdomain of the main site and so you won’t be redirected elsewhere. Aqua’s customer support is impressively available 7 days a week. The listed hours are Mon/Fri (8am-9pm), Sat (9am-5pm) and Sun (10am-6pm). Regarding eligibility, there can be no bankruptcy in the past 18 months or a CCJ in the past year.
About Barclaycard @ www.barclaycard.co.uk
Barclaycard is an innovative market player that released the UK’s first credit card way back in 1966. They have very much become a global force over the years, now operating in 20 countries with a customer base of 30 million (11m are local). This brand of Barclays is mostly known for their prime cards that focus on various 0% introductory deals on purchases and transfers. There is however a subprime option available by the name of Initial that we are focusing on here. The rate on purchases here is variable at 34.90%, with no upper rate specified. The opening 3 months is welcomed at 0%. The starting limit is £150 to £1200. Subject to status is listed in the summary.
When investigating limits on forums we did spot someone saying that they had been raised to £8000 on Initial and so it is clear that good management can see sizeable advances. This can also lead to an interest reduction. No specifics are presented on this promotion, but we believe there are potential 8% discounts each year, eventually dropping to between 8% and 10% (TBC). The Barclaycard Initial login is served on the main site. Qualification is possible for anyone who hasn’t been made bankrupt in the last 6 years, has no more than one CCJ on their record and hasn’t missed a recent bill payment. Support runs Mon/Sun (8am-11pm) for applications and 24/7 for ongoing users.
About Capital One @ www.capitalone.co.uk
Capital One is America’s 3rd largest credit card issuer. The company roots date back to 1988 with their local launch taking place in 1996. Worldwide we are looking at a giant 65 million customer base here. The local share is tiny in comparison at 3 million, although they have accepted double this tally since arriving. Capital’s approach has always been subprime on the British market. They do however have a prime offering that is packaged at 24.9% and delivers 0% on transfers for 12 months as well 0% on purchases for 3 months. The starting upper limit on this goes pretty high at £6000. Their most popular release has been Classic.
This MasterCard delivers £200 to £1500 with purchases at 34.94%. This rate is headed as variable although within their summary box there are no further rates headlined. This isn’t overly surprising since £200 to £1500 is also noted here and yet we have heard of customers being upgraded to limits as high as £3600. This would be understandable if they listed subject to status in that summary. On the site itself it only appears that you have the single prime and subprime cards to pick between. There are however a range of Classic variants on hidden URLs. These are targeted at lower scored applicants with a few added perks.
Classic Complete includes 0% for 4 months on purchases and transfers. Another is just called the Balance Card that has 0% for 6 months on your transfers. Finally, we have Classic Platinum that is priced lowest at 29.84%. The standard offering is what most people will be pushed on to where CCJs and defaults are considered. There is a 12 month wait on bankruptcy. Past borrowing and an electoral roll listing are each essential. The affinity route has been ventured down here with their partners including Littlewoods, Luma, Ocean Finance, ThinkMoney and Very. Logins for all associated brands is served at Capital One Online (www.capitaloneonline.co.uk). Support runs 24/7, but Mon/Fri (9am-5pm) applies to existing applications and extra cardholders.
About Tesco Bank @ www.tescobank.com
The UK’s leading retailer was formed in 1919. The Bank was composed in 1997 originally as a partnership with RBS although they would in time buy out their share. Tesco owns over 6800 shops around the world. There are just over 3430 in the UK with most using their name with the exception of One Stop (780 stores). Tesco’s market share of local grocery shopping sits at around 28%. Both Asda and Sainsbury’s are usually fighting at just under 16% each. As to be expected, banking has been a niche that this retail giant has thrived in. Across the many financial markets served, their user base has now surpassed 8 million.
The cards offered have been targeted to challenge the banks, but not too long back in May 2014 we were welcomed to the Foundation Card that is designed for those looking to rebuild. Foundation is headlined at an appealing rate of 27.5%. The purchase range is however 27.542% to 39.941% and so you could end up paying 40% that is excessive. A limit will be determined between £250 and £1500. Subject to status is again referenced, but we could find no example of customers being upgraded to high limits as yet. When this product was released, very few specifics were provided on just who could qualify, but there has been an improvement here.
It now states that you are more likely to be accepted if you haven’t received any CCJs in the past 18 months and you haven’t closed an account in the past year due to missed repayments. A small income of £5000 per year is required and you must be able to repay at least £25 a month. New and existing customers can benefit from 24/7 customer support here (they don’t even close on Christmas Day). A key benefit of receiving any product from this company is the benefit of those Clubcard Points that convert into vouchers every 3 months to be spent with them or their Reward Partners. There are more than 38 million Clubcard customers today.
That ends the intros for the best Vanquis alternatives. To help make your decision process easier we’ll now follow with a comparison of each service across a range of varied markets. There will be 13 sections in total and from the collective data we’ll then rank each company by total points (1 to 5 per section). The initials for each company will be listed as: AQ (Aqua), BC (Barclaycard), CO (Capital One), TB (Tesco Bank) and VB (Vanquis Bank).
1) CO Classic Complete: 0% on purchases and transfers for 4 months.
2) BC Initial: 0% on purchases for 3 months.
3) AQ Reward: 0.5% Cashback (£100 max per year). That’s 50p for every £100 spent.
4) TB Foundation: Clubcard Points have value of 12.5p to 25p for every £100 spent.
5) VB Visa: Non.
*0% introductory periods are ranked first since interest-free is much more appealing than the need to spend considerable amounts where interest is then charged. Re: Clubcards: 1 point is earned per £4 spent direct or £8 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 voucher. 30,000 points max per Collection Period (quarter).
Highest Acceptance Rate Credit Cards
1) VB: CCJs, defaults and past bankruptcy is ok. Quite vague.
2) CO: Bankruptcy (1 year), CCJs (ok), some past activity.
3) AQ: Bankruptcy (18m), CCJ (1 year).
4) BC: Bankruptcy (6 years), CCJ (1 max), no recent missed payments.
5) TB: CCJ (18m), missed payments (1 year).
Highest Limit (New User)
1) TB: £250-£1500.
2) CO: £200-£1500.
3) BC: £150-£1200.
4) AQ: £100-£1200.
5) VB: £150-£1000.
Highest Limit (Return User)
1) BC: £8000*.
2) VB: £4000.
3) CO: £3600*.
4) TB: £1500*.
5) AQ: £1200*.
*Subject to status is often noted in summary pages for max limits and so there is no defined cap made available to the public. The BC and CO figures were stated limits that members on the Money Saving Expert forum were raised to. No info could be spotted for AQ and TB.
Highest Local Customer Base
1) BC: 11m.
2) CO: 3m.
3) TB: 2.8m.
4) VB: 1.6m.
5) AQ: 1m.
How Long Will It Take to Receive Your New Card Once Approved?
1) BC: 5 working days (7d max).
2) VB: 10 to 14 days.
3) CO: 7 to 10 working days (14d max).
4) AQ: 14 days.
5) TB: 8 to 12 working days (18d max).
*Weekends counted when working days is headed.
Local Industry Experience
1) BC: 1966.
2) CO: 1996.
3) TB: 1997.
4) AQ: 2002.
5) VB: 2003.
Longest Support Hours
1) TB: 24/7.
2) BC: Mon/Sun (8am-11pm) for applications | 24/7 for general.
3) CO: Mon/Fri (9am-5pm) for existing applications and extra cardholders | 24/7 for general.
4) AQ: Mon/Fri (8am-9pm), Sat (9am-5pm), Sun (10am-6pm).
5) VB: Mon/Fri (8am-8pm), Sat (9am-5.30pm).
Lowest APR (New Purchase Rate)
1) TB Foundation: 27.542% to 39.941%.
2) VB Chrome: 29.50% to 59.94%.
3) CO Classic Platinum: 29.84% to NS.
4) BC Initial: 34.90% to NS.
5) CO Classic: 34.94% to NS.
6) AQ Advance/Reward: 34.95% to 59.95%.
7) VB Visa: 39.94% to 69.94%.
8) AQ Start: 49.94% to 69.95%.
*2 products per company allowed if these are available. NS = Not stated.
Lowest APR (Potential Purchase Rate)
1) BC Initial: Drops to 8-10% (TBC).
2) AQ Advance: Drops to 19.95%.
3) TB Foundation: Remains at 27.542%.
4) VB Chrome: Remains at 29.50%.
5) CO Classic Platinum: Remains at 29.84%.
Most Affinity Partner Options
1) AQ: Amazon, Burton Menswear, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, House of Fraser, Laura Ashley, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topman, Topshop, TUI, Wallis (13 total).
2) CO: Littlewoods, Luma, Ocean Finance, ThinkMoney, Very (5 total).
3) VB: Argos, Black Diamond, Granite, XYLO (4* total).
4/5) BC/TB: No partners.
*Black Diamond was actually developed by the issuer, with the broker later managing for them. Things aren’t clear with XYLO that is managed by the same broker.
Most Alternative Active Brands
1) VB: Aquis, Chrome, NEO, Origin (4 total).
2) AQ: Marbles, Opus (2 total).
3-5) BC/CO/TB: Non.
Web Traffic (Local Alexa Rankings)
1) www.barclaycard.co.uk (#247).
2) www.tescobank.com (#488).
3) www.capitalone.co.uk (#1412) & www.capitalone.co.uk (#1006).
4) www.vanquis.co.uk (#6642) & www.evanquis.com (#2066).
5) www.aquacard.co.uk (#2157).
*Alexa rankings were taken for both apply and login sites. Sometimes logins are however used on subdomains of central sites. Rankings are a good measure of market share although Tesco’s site is crammed with a range of financial products. If you also stripped Barclaycard’s prime visits, Capital One would likely be #1 for subprime.
1) Barclaycard = 48.5 Points
2) Capital One = 43 Points
3) Tesco Bank = 37.5 Points
4) Vanquis Bank = 35 Points
5) Aqua = 31 Points
In the 13 sections the points were shared between 5 and 1 for 1st and 5th place positions per category. When there was a tie the points across those positions were shared. In the Lowest APR category there was 8 ranking spots, but only the first count per issuer was counted. A few of the categories such as the count on affinity partners and trading names isn’t so much of a feature, but this at least shows who is most invested in commanding this sector.
– An issuer can only be used once at any given time.
– Cash advance charges are mostly 3% (or £3 minimum). Barclaycard was 2.99% (or £2.99).
– Late fees and going over limit fees were £12.
– Limits may run in the thousands, but expect to be started off on a few hundred with a low score. At the same time, being pushed on to higher variable rates should be expected.
– Mobile apps are available from most providers, as are SMS alerts.
Page Last Updated: October 24th, 2017.