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Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If you've made some missteps along the way and now have bad credit (or below-average credit), applying for one of the following credit cards could be a good first step to a fresh start (certain offers are sponsored). To rebuild your credit history you must make on-time payments to all of your creditors and maintain balances below your credit limits. By doing so, positive information will get added to your major credit reports each month and will dilute the effects of previous mistakes like bankruptcy, foreclosure, charge-offs or missed payments.

Before you apply for a credit card for poor…show more

    4 4,584 reviews

    Capital One® Secured MasterCard®


    capital one secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $49, $99 or $200
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 24.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • No annual fee, with all the credit building benefits
    • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
    • Free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker
    • Your minimum security deposit gets you a $200 credit line
    • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness with no additional deposit required
    • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone, or using our mobile app
    • It’s a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
    3 3,029 reviews

    Credit One Bank® Credit Card with Gas Rewards


    credit one credit card
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 17.90% - 23.90% (V)*
    • Annual Fee $35 - $99
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    3 376 reviews

    Primor® Secured Visa Gold Credit Card


    primor secured visa gold card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 9.99%
    • Annual Fee $49
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    3 123 reviews

    Primor® Secured Visa Classic Credit Card


    primor credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 13.99%
    • Annual Fee $39
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    3.5 2,009 reviews

    Open SkySM Secured Visa® Credit Card


    open sky credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 17.5% (V)
    • Annual Fee $29
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • Build Your Credit, with monthly updates to all 3 credit bureaus.
    • Control Your Finances, start with a security deposit and credit line as low as $200.
    • Extra Credit When You Need It, increase your credit line up to $5000.
    • Avoid paying interest, no interest charged on new purchases if the balance is paid in full by the due date each month.
    • Easy funding options, with 4 ways to fund and NO checking account needed.
    • After your Account is open for one year or more Capital Bank will charge you a Credit Limit Increase Fee of $25.00 each time you add Deposit Funds and increase the Credit Limit and a Credit Limit Decrease Request Fee of $25.00 each time you request a reduction in your Credit Limit.
    • Apply in less than 5 minutes.
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Open SkySM Secured Visa® Credit Card
    3 1,447 reviews

    First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 14.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $39
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • Full-feature Platinum MasterCard secured credit card.
    • No credit history or minimum credit score required for approval.
    • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus to help build credit.
    • Set your own credit limit, which is secured by your deposit of $300 - $2,000.
    • Deposit held at FDIC-insured bank.
    • 24/7 access to your account online.
    • The First Progress Platinum MasterCard Secured Card requires no credit history or minimum credit score for approval, but the refundable security deposit must be provided before a card can be issued. The new CARD Act regulations also require all credit card issuers to verify the identity of every applicant before approval. We can usually complete this identity verification using fast, automated methods, but it is sometimes necessary for us to contact an applicant in order to verify his or her identity. Applicants will receive their cards more quickly if they respond promptly to our call or letter relating to this verification process. Virtually every applicant who successfully provides the refundable security deposit and passes the identity verification step will be approved for the card. If you have applied for the card and have a question or want to check the status of your application, please call First Progress toll-free at (888) 403-4783.
    • Receive your card more quickly with new Expedited Processing option.
    • See More Details & Reviews About The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    3.5 798 reviews

    First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    platinum secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 19.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $29
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • Full-feature Platinum MasterCard secured credit card.
    • No credit history or minimum credit score required for approval.
    • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus to help build credit.
    • Set your own credit limit, which is secured by your deposit of $300 - $2,000.
    • Deposit held at FDIC-insured bank.
    • 24/7 access to your account online.
    • The First Progress Platinum MasterCard Secured Card requires no credit history or minimum credit score for approval, but the refundable security deposit must be provided before a card can be issued. The new CARD Act regulations also require all credit card issuers to verify the identity of every applicant before approval. We can usually complete this identity verification using fast, automated methods, but it is sometimes necessary for us to contact an applicant in order to verify his or her identity. Applicants will receive their cards more quickly if they respond promptly to our call or letter relating to this verification process. Virtually every applicant who successfully provides the refundable security deposit and passes the identity verification step will be approved for the card. If you have applied for the card and have a question or want to check the status of your application, please call First Progress toll-free at (888) 403-4783.
    • Receive your card more quickly with new Expedited Processing option.
    • See More Details & Reviews About The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    3 579 reviews

    First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress mastercard secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 11.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $44
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • No credit history or minimum credit score required for approval.
    • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus to help build credit.
    • Deposit held at FDIC-insured bank.
    • Set your own credit limit, which is secured by your deposit of $300 - $2,000.
    • The First Progress Platinum MasterCard Secured Card requires no credit history or minimum credit score for approval, but the refundable security deposit must be provided before a card can be issued. The new CARD Act regulations also require all credit card issuers to verify the identity of every applicant before approval. We can usually complete this identity verification using fast, automated methods, but it is sometimes necessary for us to contact an applicant in order to verify his or her identity. Applicants will receive their cards more quickly if they respond promptly to our call or letter relating to this verification process. Virtually every applicant who successfully provides the refundable security deposit and passes the identity verification step will be approved for the card. If you have applied for the card and have a question or want to check the status of your application, please call First Progress toll-free at (888) 403-4783.
    • Receive your card more quickly with new Expedited Processing option.
    • See More Details & Reviews About The First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    3.5 582 reviews

    Milestone Gold MasterCard® Credit Card


    milestone credit card
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 23.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee $35-$99*
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
    • Fast and easy instant decision
    • Choose your custom card design - Free
    • Free online account access
    • Zero Liability – you’ll never be held liable for unauthorized charges made to your card
    • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
    • Previous bankruptcy OK
    • *Dependent on credit worthiness
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Milestone Gold MasterCard® Credit Card
    3.5 168 reviews

    USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card


    usaa secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $250
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 9.9% - 19.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee $35
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • It’s a real credit card that helps you build or improve your credit score.
    • The card is secured by an interest-earning CD that you establish and is guaranteed to grow
    • Your credit can improve when you avoid going over your limit and make payments on time
    • Retail and Travel Benefits: Collision damage waiver coverage pays for physical damage and theft to most rental vehicles
    • Security: Zero liability coverage for unauthorized transactions if your card is lost or stolen
    • Special Benefits for Military: Get 4% APR on all balances for up to 12 months during deployment or PCS. After 12 months, the regular APR of between 9.90% and 19.90% will apply. This rate will vary with the market based on the prime rate
    • Cash Advance Fee is waived when you transfer funds electronically from your USAA credit card to your USAA Bank deposit account
    • See More Details & Reviews About The USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card
    X
    Credit Score
    Excellent Credit 721 – 850
    Good Credit 661 – 720
    Fair Credit 620 – 660
    Bad Credit 300 – 619
    Limited Credit Less than 3 years
    of credit history

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    Ask our Experts

    Expert’s Answers

    How do I know if I have bad credit?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThere are both qualitative and quantitative criteria that may help you determine if you have bad credit. From a quantitative perspective, a FICO score in the 300-619 range is considered “bad.” If you do not know your credit score and want an interactive way in which to approximate it, try our Free Credit Check. Alternatively, if any of these are applicable, you have bad credit:
    1. You are late on a credit card, loan or medical bill or payment
    2. The balances on your credit cards are near your limits
    3. You have declared bankruptcy in the last three years
    4. You have been more than 60 days late on a medical bill, credit card or loan payment in the last nine months.
    It is important to note that mistakes on your credit history can misrepresent you as having bad credit. Since you are legally entitled to free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian—every 12 months, you should make sure to check them for mistakes yearly. To do so, visit AnnualCreditReport.com, and report any discrepancies. It is important to check the report from each agency thoroughly and file any necessary credit report disputes because inaccuracies can significantly damage your credit score and the information from each source may differ (all three reports can be accessed at annualcreditreport.com).

    How do I improve bad credit?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorSimply put, get a credit card for bad credit and use it responsibly. In order to improve bad credit, you must begin infusing positive information into your credit report that will negate past negatives such as bankruptcies, defaults and late payments, and a credit card for bad credit is the easiest tool for developing a pattern of positive credit usage. It represents the easiest option because people with bad credit have better chances of getting approved for a credit card than any other type of loan or line of credit. As a matter of fact, secured credit cards (the most widely used type of bad credit credit card) offer guaranteed approval, which means you can benefit no matter how bad your credit may be.

    No matter what type of bad credit credit card you wind up getting, it will report information about your use to the major credit bureaus every month. As long this information reflects on-time payments and low credit utilization, your credit score will benefit. Additionally, it is important to note that you don’t need to make purchases with a credit card in order to benefit. Simply maintaining a credit card at zero balance and in good standing adds positive information to your three major credit reports each month.

    How to get a credit card with bad credit

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOA lot of people with bad credit routinely apply for credit cards and get rejected, causing them to wonder if a credit card is even attainable with bad credit. If this describes your situation, simply go for a secured credit card. All you must do to get such a card is provide a valid Social Security Number, declare that you have enough income to afford the monthly minimum payment (usually 3% of your balance) and most importantly be prepared to put down a refundable deposit of at least $200. In the very rare event that you get declined for a secured card, try applying for one from a different bank until you get approved. While we typically discourage multiple credit card applications in a short time frame because of the damage they can do to your credit, when you have bad credit, the benefit of getting a credit card ASAP outweighs any such damage. Besides, when you’re applying for secured cards, it’s only a matter of time before you find a bank that will approve you.

    What are the different types of credit cards available to people with bad credit?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorIt’s possible to get three different types of credit cards with bad credit: secured credit cards, partially secured credit cards and unsecured credit cards for bad credit. Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit that doubles as your credit line and protects the issuer from the threat of default, thereby making it unnecessary for the issuer to charge high fees. As a result, secured credit cards are typically a low-cost means of building credit.

    Partially secured credit cards require a security deposit as well, but the credit line you receive exceeds the amount of this deposit. Therefore, spending beyond your means is a greater risk than with a fully secured credit card, and you might have to pay higher monthly or annual fees.

    Unsecured credit cards are what most people think of as “regular” credit cards. While they do not require a security deposit, they tend to have low credit lines and very high fees. They also require greater discipline from users when it comes to spending since there is no security deposit to act as a safety net. What’s more, these cards are not always available, depending on the policies of the various credit card companies that cater to consumers with bad credit history.

    How long will it take for my bad credit score to improve?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOEveryone’s credit situation is different. Some people have bad credit because of serious issues like bankruptcy and foreclosure, while others may have had problems making minimum payments. In general, however, you should see improvement in your credit score in roughly 18 months as long as no new negative information is added to your credit reports and you are maintaining 1-2 credit cards in good standing monthly. It is possible to expedite this process somewhat by opening a secured credit card and aggressively adding to your deposit over time. The more credit you have available, the greater credit score improvement you will see.

    Community Discussion

    Ask a question or help others find the best credit cards for bad credit by sharing some tips.

     
    Aug 20, 2015
    By:
    Secured credit cards are great for those who have poor credit or are trying to establish credit. One of the best secured credit cards out there is the CapitalOne Secured Mastercard. You only need to have $49 deposit to secure the credit card. This is the lowest deposit amount on the market. Granted it is a small limit but it's a place to start. If you already have great credit than a secured card is not for you. An unsecured card will give you a lower interest rate and better rewards programs. I would only recommend a secured credit card for those who have bad credit and are trying to rebuild/repair their credit or those who do not have a credit profile and are trying to build one.
    Aug 19, 2015
    By:
    Secured credit cards are difficult, as they tend to require a large deposit, and have much higher fees than a standard credit card. Even with bad credit or bankruptcies you should try and apply for market rate credit cards before falling back to a secured card. Before taking a card carefully consider origination fees, monthly fees and the APR rate, and how much the APR can change.
    Aug 10, 2015
    By:
    For those with little or bad credit, a secured card is for sure the option to go with. Depending on how much you deposit you can increase your limit. For those with bad credit who don't get a secured card you're looking at a credit of line usually $300-500 and many people will only find that useful for rebuilding your credit.
    Aug 10, 2015
    By:
    I think that secured cards are the best personally. You decide on your credit limit based on how much you want to put down. Some cards will even extend your limit past this amount. I fee like it helps to keep you responsible with your credit, rather than just looking at it like free money. I chose the Capital One Secured MasterCard. This card seemed the best for my situation. Make sure your card works for you! Also, secured cards are not just for people with bad credit. Students or beginners can benefit from this too!
    Aug 1, 2015
    By:
    I don't want a secured card is there anything else for bad credit?
    Aug 6, 2015
    Photo of Card H.
    You can find a list of available unsecured credit cards for bad credit here: http://www.cardhub.com/credit-cards/bad-credit-unsecured/. Keep in mind that most of these cards will charge high fees without providing you with much spending power.
    Jul 20, 2015
    By:
    I would give Capital One an A+ in the credit card industry. I have had some credit problems in the past from divorces and bad choices. I have been trying very hard to fix my credit and credit score. Capital One came to the rescue without me even asking they ask me to let them help rebuild my credit score and life. They offered me a $300 credit line to start with no interest for nearly a year. I have always paid on time and for that they allowed me to increase my credit from the $300 to $500. Thank you Capital One.
    Jul 20, 2015
    By:
    I chose my Capital One card because it was one of the few companies that would let me get a credit card. They started me off with a low credit line of $300. If I make my payments on time for six months it gets raised to $500. This is a good amount of credit for me to work with to ensure I don't go overboard.
    Jul 12, 2015
    By:
    If you are new to the credit card scene, or if you are still recovering from a financial blow, a secured credit card is the way to go. A secured credit card is funded with your own money, which means your limit is based on what you can actually afford. The benefits of this method mean it is more unlikely of you to exceed your limit unless you fail to "add funds" or make a payment, which can accumulate fees. Of course, secured cards do not offer the rewards unsecured cards have to offer, such as cash back or points. If you are looking for a card to rebuild your credit alone, stick to secured until your ready to venture.
    Jul 10, 2015
    By:
    Personally, I think that secured credit cards are the best way to go for rebuilding one's credit score. They are easier to get, because there is less risk to the credit card company. And there is less risk to the user as well. This is because money is put down ahead of time to be borrowed against, rather than borrowing the money from the credit card company.

    There are many good secured cards that one can go with. But personally, I like the DCU secured platinum visa. The interest rate is fairly low for a secured card, and there is no annual fee.
    Jun 29, 2015
    By:
    The best credit cards are secure ones. Having more security on the card will prevent fraudulent charges and will make a person have a lesser chance of being a victim of identity theft. Since one already has bad credit, it's best to try to stay away from problems relating to your credit if one has an unsecure one. For instance, if you have an unsecure card, one is more likely to become a victim of theft. One's credit score will take a beating until the problem is sorted out by the credit card company. Sometimes one's credit score will never be cleared because of the identity issue.

    I know my parents had their credit card stolen and it was fixed about 6 months later. By then, their credit score lost 50 points and was irreversible because of fraudulent charges.
    Jun 12, 2015
    By:
    Secured credit cards would be better for people who have bad credit. You need to show creditors that you are responsible with money. The way a secured credit card works is you have to put money into your credit card before you can use it. I would recommend the Capital One® Secured MasterCard. There is no annual or monthly fee and the minimum deposit can be as low as $49.
    Jun 9, 2015
    By:
    Honestly, secured credit cards are much better than unsecured credit cards. Having a credit card requires lots of responsibility and taking the necessary precautions to protect your information is vital. This is why having a secured credit card is superior to the having an unsecured credit card. The most important thing is using the credit card responsibly.
    Jun 9, 2015
    By:
    If you are trying to fix your credit I would recommend a secured card. Typically the cards that will approve you while your credit is in poor status bury you in fees. Those can include high start-up fees, high annual fees and even monthly charges.
    Better deals can be had by opening an account as this poses lower risk to the creditor and is typically passed on to the customer by giving you more favorable terms.
    Jun 19, 2015
    Photo of Tryce S.
    Do you have any particular cards in mind?
    Jun 2, 2015
    By:
    I have tried to get a credit card and my score is not good how can I fix it
    Jun 3, 2015
    Photo of Card H.
    You may want to put down a deposit on a secured credit card. As long as you pay your bill on time, positive information will begin to be relayed to the major credit bureaus each month, thus gradually devaluing the negative records currently in your files.

    You can learn more in our guides to Credit Improvement (http://www.cardhub.com/edu/improve-credit-score/) and Bad Credit (http://www.cardhub.com/edu/bad-credit-guide/).
    May 31, 2015
    By:
    I have real bad credit I owe a few companies and some went to collections I'm looking to improve my credit and see if theires is any credit cards i can be able to get and qualify for
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