Recent Personal Finance Articles

Aqua Credit Cards

Aqua specializes in credit cards for people with bad credit. We have analyzed Aqua's four cards and discuss the different features of each, including fees and interest rates, to help you understand your options. Choosing the right card will depend on your individual situation. There may be other cards with better features available in the marketplace.

Aqua Credit Cards

In analyzing Aqua's credit cards, we considered features such as interest rates, rewards, foreign transaction fees, and credit limits. The best card for you will depend on your own needs and circumstances. Be aware that, as a credit-builder company, interest rates are higher than average on Aqua cards, as you can see in the following chart. Try to pay down your full balance each month to avoid interest charges.

A graph comparing interest rates across the Aqua Start, Aqua Classic, Aqua Advance and Aqua Rewards Cards
Interest Rates on Aqua Credit Cards

Aqua Rewards: Rewards and Travel Card (Aqua Rewards)

The Aqua Rewards Credit Card offers 0.5% cashback rewards and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees on non-sterling spending. While this card is fee-free when used for purchases abroad, cash withdrawals are treated differently. If you use this card to take out money from an ATM, whether at home or abroad, you'll be charged a 3% (£3 minimum) cash advance fee, plus interest starts accruing immediately on cash withdrawals.

Cashback rewards are paid out once a year, so long as you have not been late paying at least the minimum payment each month and you've stayed within the credit limit. Demonstrating responsible management of your financial obligations in this way should also serve to improve your credit score over time. Rewards are capped at £100 each year, but we don't expect this limit will affect most cardholders, as it would take £20,000 of spending a year to accumulate £100 in cashback. If you can pay off the full balance every month, you won't be affected by the higher-than-average interest rates.

Summary

  • Earn 0.5% cashback on your purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cash withdrawal fee 3% (£3 minimum)
  • Cash APR 44.95% variable (or 54.95%, 59.95%, 64.95% or 69.95%)
  • Purchase APR 34.95% variable (or 44.93%, 49.91%, 54.95% or 59.95%)
  • 34.9% APR (variable)
  • No annual fee

Aqua Advance: Travel Card

The Aqua Advance is a credit-builder card that doesn't charge non-sterling transaction fees when you make purchases in a foreign currency abroad. Cash withdrawals, however, incur a 3% (£3 minimum) fee per transaction.

While the Aqua Advance interest rate on purchases is higher than average (34.9% variable), by staying within the credit limit and paying the minimum payment (or more) on time each month, your interest rate should drop by 5% a year for three years. After three years of this "good behaviour" your interest rate may be as low as 19.9%. A drop in interest rate is communicated to the credit agencies and should help your credit rating. If possible, pay more than the minimum each month, to limit interest charges and avoid debt from building up.

Summary

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cash withdrawal fee 3% (£3 minimum)
  • Cash APR 44.95% variable (or 54.95%, 59.95%, 64.95% or 69.95%)
  • Purchase APR 34.95% variable (or 44.93%, 49.91%, 54.95% or 59.95%)
  • Interest rate reduces by 5% a year for "good behavior"
  • No annual fee

Aqua Classic: Bad Credit or Low Income

The Classic Credit Card is apparently Aqua's most popular card and will consider those with poor credit, including the self-employed, individuals who've had trouble with late payments in the past and those with a low income. Initial credit limits run between £250 and £1,200. 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 - especially once the credit limit reaches £1,000.

Summary

  • 2.95% foreign transaction fees
  • Cash withdrawal fee 3% (£3 minimum)
  • Cash APR 45.95% variable (or 54.95%, 59.95%, 64.95% or 69.95%)
  • Purchase APR 35.95% variable (or 44.93%, 49.91%, 54.95% or 59.95%)
  • Interest rate may reduce by 5% a year for "good behavior"
  • No annual fee

Aqua Start: New to Credit

The Aqua Start Credit Card is Aqua's entry-level card, with the least stringent income and credit history requirements. Initial credit limits are lower than average, between £100 and £300, giving you the chance to demonstrate good management of your financial obligations in a lower-risk situation. Aqua Start accounts are reviewed every four to six months; if you have stayed within your credit limit and made at least the monthly minimum payments on time, your credit limit is likely to increase at some point.

It is important to note that the interest rate is much higher than average on the Start card. To every extend possible, pay the full balance each and every month, or as much of the balance as you can. That way, you can avoid or limit paying any interest charges altogether.

Summary

  • Can be a first credit card (applications with no credit history are considered)
  • Initial credit limits between £100 and £300
  • Potential to increase credit limit with good management of account
  • 2.95% foreign transaction fees
  • Cash withdrawal fee 3% (£3 minimum)
  • Cash APR 59.95% variable (or 69.95% or 79.95%)
  • Purchase APR 49.94% variable (59.95% or 69.95%)
  • 49.9% APR (variable)
  • No annual fee

Summary of Aqua Cards

For...CardPurchase APR (variable)Quick Overview
Rewards and TravelAqua Rewards34.9%0.5% cashback; no non-sterling transaction fees
TravelAqua Advance34.9%No non-sterling transaction fees
Bad CreditAqua Classic35.9%Interest rate may reduce by 5% a year & credit limit may increase, for "good behavior"
New to CreditAqua Start49.9%Potential first credit card; credit limit may increase, for "good behavior"

Aqua Credit Card Minimum Credit Limit

Credit limits vary by type of Aqua Credit card. The Initial, which is marketed as a first credit card for those without any UK credit history, therefore offers the lowest initial credit limit range, from £100 to £300. The other three cars—Classic, Advance and Rewards—sport higher credit limits, as you can see in the following table. In general, by demonstrating responsible financial management of their account (e.g., paying on time and staying under the credit limit), a cardholder's credit limit may increase.

Initial Credit Limit Range
Aqua Initial£100to£300
Aqua Classic£250to£1,200
Aqua Advance£250to£1,200
Aqua Rewards£250to£1,200

Voluntarily Decreasing an Aqua Credit Card Limit

Sometimes, cardholders prefer to decrease their credit limit—perhaps to avoid accumulating an unmanageable amount of personal debt. In this case, you may request a lower credit limit by calling 0333 220 2691. You may be charged for this call, as it is an 03 number that is charged at a standard national rate. Please check what it will cost from your mobile or land-line provider before calling. Aqua lines are open from 8am-9pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Aqua Credit Card Payments

You can make payments to Aqua via:

  • Direct Debit
  • Post
  • Standing Order
  • Online
  • GIRO
  • Telephone Banking Service

You can find more information on a particular Aqua payment method here.

Aqua Credit Card Payment—How Much?

While you are probably aware that making at least the minimum monthly payment is important for a good credit rating and to avoid fees and charges, it's also important to understand why you may want to pay more than the minimum amount due each month.

Basically, by paying only the minimum amount you will extend the time to become debt free and also pay more in interest charges. By paying a larger amount each month, you can become debt free sooner and also reduce to total interest paid over the life of the debt. Paying as much of your outstanding balance as you can afford each month is generally a good strategy.

The chart below shows how making larger monthly payments equates to lower total interest charges over the life of a £1,000 debt, assuming a 34.9% APR. Notice how only paying the minimum amount due each month (initially around £50 but declining each month, based on a percentage of the remaining balance) results in interest charges about 6X times larger than maintaining a constant £50 payment.

chart showing how larger monthly payments means less overall interest credit card charges
Paying More Each Month = Lower Overall Interest Charges

In the following chart, you can see paying more per month also means you'll be debt free (a lot!) sooner.

chart showing how larger monthly payments means paying down credit card balance sooner
Paying More Each Month = Pay Down Credit Card Balance Sooner