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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Last update: Oct 22, 2014

best-credit-cards-for-bad-credit While your options are unfortunately limited when you have damaged or bad credit, you need to start from somewhere in rebuilding your credit. Our Editor's Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit is the perfect place to do so because the products listed below (some of which originate from CardHub advertising partners) are all tailored to building credit in an efficient, inexpensive manner. We consider them to be the best bad credit credit cards because they have some of the lowest membership and one-time fees and they all report monthly to the major credit bureaus. While there are occasionally some unsecured options on this page, we always recommend getting the best secured credit card if you're willing to place a refundable security deposit.

Secured Card Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit for Secured Card Security Deposit / Low Fees
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

capital one secured credit card Apply Now

  • Min Deposit: $49, $99, or $200
  • Annual Fee: $29
  • Monthly Fee: None
  • One-time Setup Fees: None
  • Regular APR: 22.9% (V)
  • Editor's Notes: While the Capital One Secured MasterCard charges a higher annual fee than certain other cards in its class, the fact that it can be a partially-securemore
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Harley-Davidson® Secured Credit Card

harley davidson secured credit card Apply Now

  • Min Deposit: $300
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Monthly Fee: None
  • One-time Setup Fees: None
  • Regular APR: 22.99% (V)
  • Editor's Notes: Don’t let the branding fool you, the Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card is one of the best secured cards on the market given that it doesn’t charge amore
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Unsecured Card Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit for Unsecured Card No Security Deposit / High Fees
Credit One Bank® Credit Card with Gas Rewards

credit one credit card Apply Now

  • Annual Fee: $35 - $99
  • Monthly Fee: None
  • One-time Setup Fees: None
  • Regular APR: 17.90% - 23.90% (V)*
  • Learn More »
About our Editor's Picks

Our editors' recommendations for the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit are a reflection of their own subjective opinions, and they should not be relied upon as the sole basis for choosing your credit card. We work hard to present you with the most accurate credit card information, however, the credit card terms and conditions do not originate from us and thus we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information. Before applying for a credit card we recommend that you verify the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card company's web site. Please let us know if you find any differences.

Ad Disclosure: Certain offers originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on a card's details page using the designation "Sponsored Card", where applicable. Advertising status does not affect which cards show up on this page but may impact the order in which they appear. At CardHub we try to list as many credit card offers as possible and currently have more than 1,200 offers, but we do not make any representation of listing all available offers.

Ask our Experts

How do I know if I have bad credit?

By: Odysseas PapadimitriouThere are a few easy ways to check your credit standing. First, you can pay to check your three major credit scores (a score between 300-619 is considered bad). Alternatively, you can use a free credit estimator that will give you an accurate approximation of your credit standing. Finally, if you are late on any kind of bill, your credit usage consistently approaches your limit, you have declared bankruptcy in the last three years and/or you have been more than 60 days late on a bill in the last nine years, you most likely have bad credit and should consider getting one of the best credit cards for bad credit.

How do I build credit?

By: John KiernanCredit building is all about diluting negative information with positive information. Credit cards are great for this purpose because information about their use is reported to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis. Therefore, by using a credit card responsibly, you are increasingly surrounding past mistakes with information about responsible use, thereby devaluing its importance. Interestingly, you don't even need to make purchases in order to build credit. It's considered responsible use to simply maintain a card at zero balance and in good standing. This is why when our editors look for the best credit cards for bad credit, they focus on identifying the credit card offers that report to all three credit bureaus and have the lowest fees rather than those with the lowest interest rates.

What's the difference between a secured credit card and an unsecured credit card?

By: Ross GarnerSecured credit cards require you to place a refundable security deposit in opening them, but have lower fee structures than unsecured credit cards as a result. They are generally regarded as the best bad credit credit cards because they are fairly cheap and they make it impossible to spend beyond your important feature for people who have made mistakes using credit in the past. Unsecured credit cards do not require security deposits and have high fees but provide revolving lines of credit, making them the best credit cards for people with bad credit who need access to credit because of an emergency.

Help others find the best credit card by sharing what your deciding factor was when choosing your card (customer service, interest rate, fees, convenience, rewards, etc.)

October 13, 2014
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By: Cammie Alexander
After looking through countless cards, I ended up choosing the Capital One Secured Mastercard. The application process was very quick and to the point and I received my card within the week. It's allowed me a great opportunity to rebuild my credit and so far I have no seen any hidden fees with this card. The annual fee sucks to have but I know it's a necessary evil when my card is one that is for people with bad credit. Also, the annual fee really isn't that much in the grand scheme of things. Their online bill pay is great and I've never had a problem with it.
October 13, 2014
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By: Carl Bailey
I got a First Premier Mastercard that is unsecured to rebuild my credit and although it does not have the best APR the rates and fees seem pretty reasonable for someone who has bad credit and is trying to re-establish themselves and their credit score. It has a yearly service charge to carry the card but I think the benefits of rebuilding your credit outweigh the service charge.
October 10, 2014
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By: Tina Newby
I am very satisfied with my Capital One Mastercard. The application process was easy and immediate. It was only a few days before I received my card. Although there is an annual fee, this is to be expected with bad credit, it is not as high as others I looked at. What made the difference, far and away, is the credit score monitoring tool that comes free and is so simple to use. I look forward to every time the score changes as I attempt to clean up my credit. I am so pleased with Capital One, I would share it with anyone!
September 15, 2014
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By: Ryan Smith
I was not impressed at all I was not even allowed to get a card even with bad credit, not even a chance for a deposit. I hate how society has put a score on getting credit when more then half the population has bad credit. Thanks Capital One for not supporting your product, and highly recommend for people that are looking for a credit card to not start here.
September 9, 2014
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By: Gennie Groover
The Capital One secured Mastercard is the best one to build credit back up. The fees are low compared to other cards and allows you to get your credit score back up to where it needs to be. No hassle and can use most places without a problem.
September 9, 2014
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By: Tracy Shollenberger
After filing bankruptcy nobody wanted to give me any credit so I decided to get a credit card to build my credit score. I got a capital one secured credit card and I am really happy with my decision. This card has low fees and it provides me with money to use when I need it. It has really helped to build up my credit score and it actually brought my score up high enough that I was recently able to get a mortgage pre approval.
September 9, 2014
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By: Roshan Jackson
I received a credit card through Credit One Bank and as a college student I had a lot of student loans and no other company would allow me to get a credit card in which in my opinion is needed to have a good life I had a low credit rating due to some missed payments but Credit One is helping me get back on my feet.
September 5, 2014
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By: Nick Hennen
I obtained my Capital One Platinum card at a time when I was unemployed and had no steady income. Nevertheless, I was allowed a $1000 limit, and a relatively low interest rate. If you’re in a situation like I was, I recommend Capital One Platinum from MasterCard.
September 5, 2014
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By: Jill Girardi
For me, Capital One has always been the best credit card for me. After my bankruptcy, Capital One was the first company to give me a chance. I received an unsecured platinum credit card with an annual fee. It has a relatively low rate, flexible payment options and periodic reviews for credit line increases. The Capital One website is easy and functional. Using the card, I have managed to build my credit back up to a fair rating in just a few years. I also travel outside of the U.S. frequently and I have been able to use the card with absolutely no problems. Additionally, they have an excellent fraud more
August 27, 2014
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By: Christine Brown
The Credit One Credit card is a good card to help build or rebuild your credit. This is one of the very first cards that I ever applied for. Their payments are very manageable each month. I was given 2 credit increases in 2 months which was nice, but what I didn't like was that they charge you around $24.99 to increase your credit limit, I feel like this is ridiculous considering my Capital One Premier card is also very generous and they do not charge you to increase your credit limit. They also offer a credit tracking tool to give you your credit score, although it seems to inaccurate, more
July 30, 2014
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By: Shaneeka Anderson
Like many college students, I had many credit cards throughout college that I should not have had. As a result, my credit was beyond bad. As a financially responsible adult, I began to take the steps needed to repair my credit, and a secured or bad credit, credit card were on my to do list. After shopping around, I decided to go with Capital One. To my surprise, I was approved for their unsecured card. The interest rate was not the best, but due to my situation, I knew that was going to happen. There are no other fees, so I could deal with interest. I was just thankful that more
July 29, 2014
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By: Lenny Deadski
I have questionable credit. So when I look for a credit card, I need it to be understanding with respect to credit score. I have found a card that fits the description in the Capital One Secured Mastercard. The fees are high and so is the APR but it was the cheapest option. It also gave me the highest credit limit. After factoring price and credit limit, this card was a no brainer.
July 29, 2014
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By: Julius Guzman
Credit One is a great credit card to get your credit back on track. Sure there are fees involved, but consider it an investment to help boost your low credit score. Your APR will generally be lower than other bad credit cards out there as well.
July 29, 2014
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By: Stephanie Collings
Credit One is the best card out there for those with bad credit. I got one and after 3 on time payments they increased my credit limit by 150!! Plus I love the gas rewards I get.
July 21, 2014
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By: Jordan Jackson
I really enjoy the Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card due to the fact that it has no annual fee AND no monthly fee. It also has a decent APR at 22.99 percent. Overall I would recommend this card to anyone, I've already got a lot of my friends using it. Excellent card!
July 17, 2014
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By: Kennady Collins
When I was 18 and first went to college, I ended up defaulting on a student loan and my credit was destroyed. Two years later, I took it upon myself to start rebuilding my credit. The only credit I could get at the time was through a secured credit card, so I went to work looking for one that would suit my needs. Ultimately, Capital One Secured Mastercard was the card I ended up choosing since it had a low initial deposit, and being a broke college student I really couldn't give up a few hundred dollars for a deposit. I have recommended this card to two of my good more
July 12, 2014
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By: Meredith Green
After messing up my credit in my teenage years, I had been rejected by too many credit card companies to count. Then a good friend told me about his secured card through Capital One. I logged on to their site to check it out, and ended up applying for the Capital One Secured MasterCard, which I was actually able to get! I've been using the card for about 8 months and it has been great, and I'm repairing my credit while I use it. I would definitely recommend a Capital One Secured MasterCard to anyone with bad credit.
July 1, 2014
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By: Thomas Hawkins
The Capital One secured card has one of the lowest start up fees you can find. I really like this card and I had to get it to start rebuilding my credit. Even though my score isn't to bad I still couldn't get approved for another card. Capital One approved me and made the start up process super easy!! Awesome card to have for emergencies in case car breaks down or anything else unexpected!
July 16, 2014
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Stoikos Savage
I don't understand how you consider a secured card as awesome for rainy day situations vs. keeping the cash in your savings/checking. If you're on a tight budget, like I am, the secured card just seems like me paying ransom to use my own money. Am I missing something about this particular secured card? To me, it seems like the only upside to a secured card is that you can rebuild credit with it..
June 26, 2014
Photo of Aly B.
By: Aly Baker
The best credit card for bad credit is the Capital One Silver card. It is somewhat easy to qualify for, with reasonably high credit limits. If you are enrolled in the credit steps program, which is to help people build their credit, the credit limit will be automatically increased after paying the minimum due for at least five months.
June 26, 2014
Photo of David A.
By: David Armstrong
I have less than good credit so it's not easy finding a card that provides great features. There are some out there though. One is Merrick Bank's Visa Card. They actually lock you into a low interest rate for the first year. This is good for saving money and rebuilding your credit. They also have the best customer service I have ever used. When I had a problem it didn't take 3 days to resolve. It was done the same day and one phone call. The card also comes with features you would come to expect from good credit issuers. Overall, I would recommend Merrick Bank for those that have more
June 20, 2014
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By: Amanda Fischer-Duncan
In my opinion the Harley Davidson card is the best secured card there is. A lot of cards take advantage of people with low or bad credit. They do this by not only charging high interest which is understandable with it being a higher risk but they also charge an annual fee. The Harley card does have the high interest but it has no annual fee with it. So if you pay your balance off each month you can build credit without having to pay interest or monthly fees.
June 10, 2014
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By: Brutus Smith
I'm going to choose the Capital One secured Mastercard because it has no foreign transaction fees. I travel a lot and those foreign transaction fees can really add up. I will save even if it has the small $29 annual fee. I also notice that it has the longest grace period of 25 days. A long grace period makes a huge difference because you have more time to make a payment and avoid interest charges.
June 10, 2014
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By: Ahmad Younes
I recommend the Capital one secured credit card for people like me who had problems in their past managing their credit or racked up a few delenquincies. I was approved for this card for the minimum suggested deposit although i have defaulted on the same card 2 years ago !! and they still approved me. This should tell you something about the quality and support of this copany. I recommend increasing your credit line little by little by depositing a small amount every month and before you know it your limit is higher. I am happy with the card
June 9, 2014
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By: Stephanie Silva
The Capital One secured credit is a great pick for those with bad credit. I got this card after having some deliquesces on my record that made it hard to get any kind of credit card once I paid those. I needed to get my credit up and this card approved me. The fees are not to bad , the credit limit is a little low but that is ok since I just need something to get my credit up. This is a great credit card to do that and I am very happy with it so far!
May 26, 2014
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By: Isaac Bachicha
The Capital One secured credit card was a great first credit card for myself. I didn't have any credit so getting other cards was difficult. I used this card as a stepping stone to build my credit and develop a history and it worked perfectly for that.
May 21, 2014
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By: Tracy Shollenberger
The Capital One Secured MasterCard is the best card if you have bad or no credit at all. I fell on some hard times a while back and my credit got really bad. I was unable to get any unsecured credit cards or loans and when I went to apply for a mortgage they denied me due to my bad credit and suggested a credit card to build up my credit again, so I got the Capital One Secured MasterCard and it has since helped me repair my credit and get back on track. The APR for this card is not bad and with the additional unsecured balance they add more
May 5, 2014
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By: Bob Jones
I enjoy the Capital One Secured Mastercard. I had never used a credit card before and was denied a car loan due to not having any credit history. I was also having trouble signing up for any normal credit cards. Enter the Capital One secured card! Signing up was really easy and I was able to use the card to build some credit history. A year later I was able to easily take out my car loan! The APR may be a bit on the high side but that's the price you pay for having bad/no credit. This is the perfect transition card to get you started back on the more
May 5, 2014
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By: Liz Sutton
I think the best is Capital One. They offer an unsecured card for those of us with bad credit and over time your limit is increased. The rates aren't great but given the circumstances of bad credit there aren't many out there that are. Over time they will increase your credit limit if you show yourself to pay on time and be responsible. I started out with a card at a $500 limit and have since been given an increase twice on this card, granted my credit has also improved but my one time payments helped. I am glad they offer this to some of us who have made silly more
April 29, 2014
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By: Robert Brasher
I signed up for the Credit One unsecured card and have been very pleased with the results.Though there is an annual fee, it was a better option than providing a deposit for a secured card. The interest rate was acceptable since my credit was in a bad state but I expect that to go down soon. I have been pleased with the impact this card has had on my credit rating, not to mention the great level of customer service I have received when needed. If you need to repair your credit, look at the Credit One card. It has done great for me.
April 26, 2014
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By: Marilynn Sorenson
The card from Credit One Bank is the best one for me because I am trying to rebuild credit and could not easily qualify for other cards with lower interest rates. I find the terms of the arrangement fair and try to do my best to make more than the minimum payment each month in order to improve my credit rating and score while, at the same time, keeping within my budget. The card's website is easy to access and use and offers customers many tools they can use to keep track of their accounts and credit. So far, I am satisfied with this card and hope that I can more
April 26, 2014
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By: Katie Walters
The Visa Platinum Credit One card has helped my credit immensely. I went from a low 530s score up to 570s in the first few months. The annual fee isn’t bad and the interest is lower than many other bad credit cards. You also get your credit score for free each month. My payment each month is $35 which is pretty low. You also get gas rewards so I use this card at the gas station and pay it off each month. If you’re looking for a card and have crummy credit, definitely give this one a shot. It helped my credit start to improve.
March 21, 2014
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By: Jason Scanlon
Capital One's card is excellent for people with bad credit. They give you a brand name that you're not ashamed to use, and have low payment options. You can even choose your due date if you need to, which can be very handy as sometimes due dates fall at some of the worst times of the month for me. They work with you if you have to make payment arrangements, and the annual fee isn't gouging like some cards. Overall, this is a fine card to have if you're trying to rebuild your credit.
March 21, 2014
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By: Mercedes Burt
I have to say that I love the Credit One Bank Card. I've been very wary of credit cards because I wasn't careful enough as a young adult. This card is great though. You get pre- approved without any effect on your credit score and there are no minimum deposits. i also love the gas rewards aspect of it. Everyone knows that gas is more expensive than ever these days. It is really nice to be able to use this card to earn points that'll make it much cheaper to fill up my car!
February 28, 2014
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By: Ermine Vita
Capital One offers the best options for those with bad credit or no credit at all. They really give you a fighting chance to rebuild your credit. While their secured card is great, I prefer the unsecured. They offered me a small credit limit at first, but within six months they had raised it significantly. It really helped that the APR was lower than some others too. I continue to stay with Capital One ever after rebuilding my credit disaster.
February 19, 2014
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By: Michael Meza
The best card here is the Credit One with gas benefits. Gas is expensive these days and gas rewards really help out these days! I use the card a lot so I can earn gas rewards!
February 19, 2014
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By: Fred Gearge
The Capital One secured Mastercard is by far the best for rebuilding bad credit. So long as you keep your payments up to date you will have no problem rebuilding credit, as the card reports to the three major credit score agencies. there are no processing or application fees but there is a payable monthly fee of $29 and an APR of 29.9% which is variable. As long as you keep your credit in line you will be awarded an increase in your credit limit and it is accepted anywhere just like a regular credit card.
February 11, 2014
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By: Sophie Ogasawara-Neko
I got the Credit One Bank Credit Card with Gas Rewards a few years ago after my divorce destroyed my credit and I needed something to serve both as emergency funding and a ladder to climb back up to a respectable credit score. As far as these poor credit credit cards go, it's definitely the least demanding in terms of there not being a deposit, and the annual fee is manageable. The gas rewards actually helped pay for that several times over, as it helped me save tons of money on fuel even though I only used the card sporadically. It took a little while, but that card helped me more
February 11, 2014
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By: Michael Meza
The best card is the Capital One Secured Mastercard. For one, even though the annual fee is $29, it is not that high compared to others. Secondly, there is no monthly fee! This is a huge plus because a lot of banks hide feeds on cards and accounts. The regular APR is 22.9 % which is not too high. Also, I like how they do the minimum deposits on the account. I do the $49 minimum a lot, and it is not hard to do if you just plan your bank deposits accordingly. I urge everyone to try out this card, it is a great card to have.
January 15, 2014
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By: Steve Theman
The best credit card of this genre is the Capital One Secured Mastercard. The Regular APR gives me a second chance to rebuild my credit score, and the annual fee of twenty nine dollars is completely affordable for my low salary. I have made the minimum deposit, and found it very within my means as well. The partially secured credit line had helped me in times of emergency when my car broke down in the middle of the road, and I did not have any cash to get back home.
January 15, 2014
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By: Jeremy Stephens
To me, the best credit card for people who have bad credit and want to rebuild themselves financially is the USAA Platinum Mastercard. This card has a slightly higher spending limit than similar cards and has a low APR of 13.00%. Also, there is no annual fee.
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