Issued by the Vanquis Bank, the Granite Visa credit card is aimed at people with poor to bad credit, who have few other options if they wish to obtain a credit card in the UK. Applicants with bad credit or previous County Court Judgements can apply for the Granite card providing there is a joint household income of £4,000.
Applicants will have a credit limit assigned to them when accepted, which will range between £150 and £500. The interest rate applied to the card will also be assigned on acceptance, and although the card advertises an average APR of 34.9%, there are actually seven different levels of interest rate which could be applied. Rates range from 19.94% to 69.94% on purchases and balance transfers, with cash transactions attracting ARP’s of between 33.97% to an exorbitant 85.6%.
Anyone considering applying for the Granite card to improve their credit score should be wary of carrying a balance on the card, as such high interest rates will make a significant impact on the balance. However card holders who pay the balance off in full do receive a 56 day interest free grace period on the card.
Standard charges for account holders include the usual £12 late payment fee, £12 fee for breach of credit limits, £5 per paper statement copy and 2.99% for foreign transactions. There are no fees levied to hold the card.
Unsecured credit card debt does not generally carry the severe consequences of secured debt, however the terms and conditions of the Granite card contain this warning: “Missing payments could have severe consequences and make obtaining credit more difficult. We may take legal proceedings against you. If we do, we may apply for a bankruptcy order against you or a charging order against your home. This could lead to your home being repossessed and sold.”
There is a rewards programme offered with the Granite card which gives discounts when the card is used with various retailers. The card issuer advertises that it adds hundreds of new rewards each week, and cites various offers as examples of where card holders can make savings. Typical examples include 15% off paint at B & Q; 10% off at Play com; and 25% off at Debenhams.
The card is most suited to those who cannot obtain standard unsecured credit due to bad credit, but applicants should be aware that the card is an expensive option to use if a balance is carried. If used only to improve credit it can be a viable stepping stone to unsecured credit cards if no other options are available.