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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Last update: Nov 18, 2014

best credit card deals 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 credit cards for bad credit because they have some of the lowest fee structures available and they all report to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis. 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 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 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.)

November 13, 2014
Photo of Nicole R.
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 more
October 22, 2014
Photo of Billy S.
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 more
October 13, 2014
Photo of Cammie A.
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
Photo of Carl B.
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
Photo of Tina N.
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
Photo of Ryan S.
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
Photo of Gennie G.
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
Photo of Tracy S.
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
Photo of Roshan J.
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
Photo of Nick H.
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.
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