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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Last update: Mar 16, 2015

best credit card deals Damaged or bad credit will limit your credit card options. But there is a path to rebuilding your credit, and our Editor's Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit is the best place to get started. The cards described below (some of which are issued by CardHub advertising partners) are all tailored to building credit in an efficient, inexpensive manner and were selected by CardHub’s editors out of more than 1,000 offers for their suitability to people with bad credit. We consider them to be the best credit cards for bad credit because they have some of the lowest fees on the market and they all report to the major credit bureaus. While there are occasionally some unsecured options on this page, a secured credit card is your best bet if you are able 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: Best Partially Secured Card. While the Capital One Secured MasterCard charges a higher annual fee than certain other cards in its clamore
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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: Best Fully Secured Card. Don’t let the branding fool you, the Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card is one of the best secured cards onmore
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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)*
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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
EXPERT’S ANSWERS

How do I know if I have bad credit?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThere 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 Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorCredit 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 means.an 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.
COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

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.)

 
Mar 24, 2015
By:
Having bad credit can really make it hard to get credit card. I applied for many and only the Capital One secured Mastercard I got approved for. It has a high interest rate although this card wil allow you to build credit quicker than most because it is only a partially secured credit card.
Mar 24, 2015
By:
When I was younger and did not realize how important my credit score would be down the road, I blew through my credit. I was forced to take the secured credit route in order to help rebuild my credit to purchase a home. I was pushed toward the Capital One Secured MC. I have been happy with it. The annual fee is minimal and something that is affordable unlike so many others. My biggest pro toward this card is there is nothing due at start up, no fees, etc. That is important because so many of them require something up front and for me that wasn't an option. For me the high interest rate can be a pain especially if I am having a hard time with funds for that billing cycle but I expect it because of my credit. I think this is a good first card for someone looking for a secured card.
Mar 24, 2015
By:
I messed my credit up pretty bad when I was in my early 20s but I found that that wouldn't deter me from still getting a credit card which was great news. I found the Capital One® Secured MasterCard to be a great option for me. I use it wisely now. The only downfall is that it does have an annual fee although small. The upside is that there is no processing fees at the start. I highly recommend this card for those who are having trouble having a card that will accept them due tot their bad credit.
Mar 2, 2015
By:
When I was younger I screwed up my credit and was unable to find a good credit card that would help me as I grew into an adult. When I cam across the Capital One Secured Mastercard, it became my first card and helped me build up my credit. With a pretty small deposit, I was able to get a decent credit line and work my way up from there. The only complaint I have aside from the high interest rate (which is to be expected with a card like this) is the annual fee. I am not a fan of monthly or annual fees on stuff like this. All-in-all a good card for helping to get your credit score up though.
Mar 2, 2015
By:
I recently got a Netspend card for my federal tax return. I thought maybe it would be a good card for me to keep around since I have horrible credit, but I qucikly found out that they have way too many surcharges for my taste. I don't understand why the worse your credit is, the more you are charged for absolutely nothing. I guess they are covering costs of bad customers, but sheesh.. This is a prepaid card, so you'd think they'd cut some slack. Nope! You are charged for almost everything you do with this card. I guess it's back to restoring my credit so that I can have a decent credit card in my wallet.
Feb 10, 2015
By:
I had bad credit and I'm still working on improving it a little more these days, but I have the Capital One Secured MasterCard and have been using it for a little over a year now. There was a small amount that I had to put on the account to start using it, but that's a given with all secured credit cards. I had to call their customer service center a few times and go online to get more information about using the card, and the information was very easy to access in almost every circumstance. Using the credit card helped me to establish a spending pattern which in turn improved my credit rating, since I was always quick to reload the card and continue spending responsibly. If you are willing to do a little work and stay ahead of the game with this card, it can help you get out of the bad credit blues in no time. Great card for almost anyone.
Jan 16, 2015
By:
The Capital One Secured Mastercard isn't the best credit card out there, but it's a viable option if you have bad credit and are willing to pay attention so you don't get hit with excessive late fees and interest rate hikes. The grace period is good and the late fee isn't too bad, and customer service is willing to work with you on most issues. It's easy to access your account information, and making payments is simple too.
Jan 9, 2015
By:
Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is best one for me.. more info can be found on their page: http://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/secured-mastercard/
Dec 26, 2014
By:
The best credit card to date for so many reasons is the Digital Federal Credit Union secured card. It's the only one I've come across that really does not charge you for transferring funds or taking out cash. When I got it, the APR was just 10.6% (it's a little bit higher now, but it goes back and forth regularly). Also, it's a VISA so it can be used pretty much anywhere (I've never encountered a situation in which I wasn't able to use it). Also it really helps you establish or rebuild credit in a simple organic way, with no confusing fees and numbers. And, finally, my favorite part about this card is that to join you make a donation to a nonprofit schools organization. How cool is that?! I've never heard of any other card doing that.
Dec 18, 2014
By:
I got the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® because my credit score has taken a hit for the worst these past few years and I needed a card to help me get my score up. One of the things I like about this card is that there is no monthly fee. I have seen other cards that do that and those charges do add up. Unfortunately, there is an annual fee but I think that is pretty standard nowadays and $29 is not too bad for an annual charge. I think this card is the best one for people like me who have bad credit, primarily because it is easy to get and will help you rebuild your credit. There is an initial amount that you have to deposit but it can be as low as $49. I highly recommend this card. It has come in handy for me.
Nov 13, 2014
By:
The best credit card for bad credit would have to be First Premier Bank. It is one of the cheaper initial fee cards, at $95.00 initial fee. Unfortunately, the yearly fee is $75.00 and there is a monthly fee of about $6.25 but it will be reported to my credit and that will help a lot! Captial One wants at least $200 for a deposit and that just isn't doable for most people. The interest rate is very high for the First Premier but honestly, you shouldn't be overspending to where you can't afford the interest. I am only in my first month but am very happy with their services so far.
Oct 22, 2014
By:
I also agree with Cammie in that the Capital One Secured Mastercard is the best choice from what I've seen mentioned here. In particular, it's nice to have a pseudo safety cushion when you're attempting to rebuild your credit. The easy payment terms and lower interest (compared to most other rebuilding cards) make this a quick sale to me. The annual fee isn't that bad compared to most other cards. I actually prefer to know all of the restrictions up front, of which Capital one has been entirely truthful about. All in all, I really enjoy having this card in my wallet. IT's done wonders for my credit rating while at the same time allowing me to rest easy in knowing their great customer service has my back.
Oct 13, 2014
By:
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.
Oct 13, 2014
By:
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.
Oct 10, 2014
By:
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!
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