Ad Disclosure

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Last update: Sep 2, 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
  • Learn More »
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
  • Learn More »
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
EXPERT’S ANSWERS

How do I know if I have bad credit?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou There 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 Credit 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 Garner Secured 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.)

 
August 27, 2014
Photo of Christine B.
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 of a roundabout credit score not the actual score. Overall it is a decent card to have if you are establishing credit.
July 30, 2014
Photo of Shaneeka A.
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 I did not need a secured card. I have already been approved for a credit limit increase, and will continue to use the Capital One card to help rebuild my credit.
July 29, 2014
Photo of Lenny D.
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
Photo of Julius G.
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
Photo of Stephanie C.
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
Photo of Jordan J.
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
Photo of Kennady C.
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 friends, and they would also agree that this is an extremely safe way to help rebuild your credit.
July 12, 2014
Photo of Meredith G.
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
Photo of Thomas H.
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
Photo of Stoikos S.
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 problems due to poor credit and are also looking for a good card that will help you turn things around.
June 20, 2014
Photo of Amanda F.
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
Photo of Brutus S.
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
Photo of Ahmad Y.
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
Photo of Stephanie S.
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
Photo of Isaac B.
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
Photo of Tracy S.
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 to the card it allows me to have a back up option in case of an emergency .
May 5, 2014
Photo of Bob J.
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 right credit path!
May 5, 2014
Photo of Liz S.
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 financial decisions in the past or have had unforeseen circumstances.
April 29, 2014
Photo of Robert B.
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
Photo of Marilynn S.
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 use it as a stepping stone to better deals in the future.
April 26, 2014
Photo of Katie W.
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
Photo of Jason S.
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
Photo of Mercedes B.
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
Photo of Ermine V.
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
Photo of Michael M.
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
Photo of Fred G.
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
Photo of Sophie O.
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 pull myself out of the pit.
February 11, 2014
Photo of Michael M.
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
Photo of Steve T.
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
Photo of Jeremy S.
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.
January 9, 2014
Photo of James L.
By: James LeGrand
The best way to start dealing with bad credit is to talk to your bank. they can offer options for people who can not get approved for a credit card.
January 3, 2014
Photo of Billy M.
By: Billy Maney
The Credit One Card with Gas Rewards is a really good credit card for someone who has bad credit.The annual fee is pretty high and the interest rate is a bit unattractive but for a starter credit card it is a good way to build a good credit history.It is a Visa and can be used almost anywhere which is also nice.If you are looking for a good credit card to establish credit i would recommend applying for this one today.
December 17, 2013
Photo of Theshack O.
By: Theshack Ofsin
When searching for a credit card I discovered a couple of options: secured or unsecured. I guess like most people, I didn't have a lot of dough to put up for a secured card, so I explored the Credit One Bank Visa card. Not too bad of a deal so far, but there is an annual fee that is pretty steep. But, when you compare that one time cost with putting up perhaps three to four times as much for a secured card, it makes sense for a struggling photographer like myself. So far I've been very happy and pretty glad to have the Credit One Bank Visa card in my wallet for emergencies. I use it a few times a month, and I also pay it off every month, and their online portal makes it rather simple.
December 17, 2013
Photo of Scott S.
By: Scott Spurlock
When searching for a credit card I discovered a couple of options: secured or unsecured. I guess like most people, I didn't have a lot of dough to put up for a secured card, so I explored the Credit One Bank Visa card. Not too bad of a deal so far, but there is an annual fee that is pretty steep. But, when you compare that one time cost with putting up perhaps three to four times as much for a secured card, it makes sense for a struggling photographer like myself. So far I've been very happy and pretty glad to have the Credit One Bank Visa card in my wallet for emergencies. I use it a few times a month, and I also pay it off every month, and their online portal makes it rather simple.
December 16, 2013
Photo of Lindsay W.
By: Lindsay Whitehead King
Luckily I have good credit now, but when I was younger it took me a little time to figure out how to be responsible. My first credit card was a Capital One Secured Mastercard. The apr was high (around 22.99%) but that is to be expected when you have poor, or short credit history. The best thing about that credit card, is their willingness to work with you. I was able to lower my interest rate after showing a timely payment history. They also refunded a late fee several times for me, when the website malfunctioned and I couldn't make a payment. All in all, Capital One was really fair to me, and I feel like they treated me as a valued customer. A lot of credit companies really try to take advantage to those that need a little bit of help, but Capital One was honest with me from the beginning.
December 11, 2013
Photo of Carry H.
By: Carry Houman
in my humble opinion one of the best credit cards for someone with bad credit to use and feel safe with is the Capital One Secured Mastercard. In the past I've had my identity comprised and my credit score tarnished, due in part to a large bank who shall remain nameless. In my effort to restore my credit, i came upon the Capital One Secured Mastercard, and i am truly glad i did. It's everything i want in a credit card, with the piece of mind that Capital One has my back!
December 11, 2013
Photo of Skye H.
By: Skye Harris
In my experience, Capital One Secure Mastercard is the best option if you don't have very good credit. They generally always accept you, and if you have bad credit you can use them to try to get your credit up. They have low rates, and if you ever run into trouble, they're more than willing to help you out instead of charge you over and over. I'm new to the credit world, and this card has helped me build credit and start learning more about what credit actually is. I highly recommend this card for anyone with bad credit.
November 15, 2013
Photo of Billy M.
By: Billy Maney
One of the best cards for bad credit is Capital One Secured Mastercard.It may be a secured card but the annual fee is very low and you can start out with a very small deposit and after making your payments on time for several months you will likely have good enough credit built up to qualify for an unsecured card.This is also great starter credit card.
November 17, 2013
Photo of Card Hub
Card Hub
Hi Billy. This is a good choice. You could also take a look at Harley-Davidson Secured Credit Card. It has no annual fee and a rate of 22.9%. However it requires a deposit of $300 in order to start using it and there's also a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
November 4, 2013
Photo of Gregory S.
By: Gregory Stancil
I would definitely have to say that the Credit One Bank Credit Card is the best option for those with bad credit. My decision is based upon the fact that the card, unlike similar cards for those with bad credit, doesn't require a security deposit. Yes, the fees may be higher but only a little bit higher. The annual fee is between $35-$75 which is very reasonable and the card also has gas rewards. I'd definitely go with the Credit One Bank Credit Card.