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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 4,224 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
    • Get 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 All Reviews & Details About The Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
    3 2,808 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
    • Rewards Details
    • Unlimited 1% cash back gas rewards
    • Rewards post to your account automatically each month.
    • Additional Info
    • Get Pre-Qualified without affecting your credit score
    • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
    • Zero fraud liability protects you from unauthorized charges
    • *Cash Advance Fee: Either $5 or 8% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. Credit lines less than $400 will not receive a Cash Advance Transaction Fee in the First year (Introductory period).
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Credit One Bank® Credit Card with Gas Rewards
    3 237 reviews

    Primor® Secured Visa Gold Credit Card


    primor secured gold credit 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 93 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 1,799 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 All Reviews & Details About The Open SkySM Secured Visa® Credit Card
    3 1,399 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 All Reviews & Details About The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    3.5 757 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 All Reviews & Details About The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    3 562 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 All Reviews & Details About The First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    3 280 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 All Reviews & Details About The Milestone Gold MasterCard® Credit Card
    3.5 102 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 All Reviews & Details 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.

     
    May 22, 2015
    By:
    If you are trying to rebuild your credit I would recommend a secured credit card through Capital One. They have a great program where you put the money down on the card and whatever you put down on it is what your credit limit or line is. You then make payments like you would with a credit card and then over time once you build trust they will increase your credit line and take it off of the secured. It gives you the flexibility of a real credit card at the same time reports to the 3 major credit bureaus.
    May 7, 2015
    By:
    I attempted using the "bad credit" credit cards to build my credit but it did not help. When considering such an option as a credit card you must take into account the fact that you must know you will have the money to pay the debt you will incur. Credit card use should be taken seriously and no matter how many cards you get if you cannot make the payments sufficiently it will hurt more than it will help. Take into account your income, job stability and the economy as well before applying.
    May 6, 2015
    By:
    having a secured card can improve my credit?
    May 20, 2015
    Photo of Jake F.
    Assuming you pay off the balance every month. Yes
    May 21, 2015
    Photo of Card H.
    Yes, secured cards report information to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis and can therefore help you improve your credit standing -- as long as you pay your bill on time and avoid maxing out your card.
    Apr 20, 2015
    By:
    When I was first building up my nonexistent credit, I was looking for ways to do that without taking out a loan and making payments with interest. I was able to get an unsecured card instead from my bank, and with paying that off in full every month, it was really easy to boost up my credit score. So when I had to get an apartment or a loan for a car, I was finally able to without paying higher interest rates for having such a low credit score. I'd highly recommend it.
    Mar 24, 2015
    By:
    I was trying to buy my first home and our realtor suggested that I get a card to improve my credit score. My credit limit was not very high but after using the card, paying on it and being responsible with it, my credit score went up. This of course did not happen over night, it took almost two years for it to get to a safe place where banks even considered my application for a home. It also allowed me to get other types of cards for stores like JC Penny, Target, etc.
    Mar 8, 2015
    By:
    Can u get a credit card with credit limit with a credit score of 505 an no checking or savings account
    Mar 9, 2015
    Photo of Ana M.
    You can apply for a secured credit card, in which case you won’t need a checking or savings account. With secured credit cards, you are required a minimum security deposit and your line of credit is equal to the deposit.
    May 20, 2015
    Photo of Jake F.
    Usually they require a bank account to transfer the deposit though don't they?
    Feb 27, 2015
    By:
    How do I get a card
    Mar 2, 2015
    Photo of Margie C.
    Read the “Expert’s Answers” section, which you can find above, on this same page, and then you can choose a card from the list that best suits your needs and apply for it.
    Feb 21, 2015
    By:
    I have had to rebuild my credit slowly over the last decade, due to my own mismanagement of it in the past. That is why have a chance at credit worthiness was possible, by using a credit card with a limit that I consistently paid off...this really helped build my reputation with the credit card bureaus, department stores and other local companies. I was able to get more lines of independent credit, by paying off limited credit card balances consistently. It really helped my bad credit predicament.
    Jan 7, 2015
    By:
    I don't have a high credit score nevertheless if you or whomever can help me and give me a chance id highly would appreciate it cause i really would like a second chance please
    Jan 12, 2015
    Photo of Terrance M.
    Best way to increase your credit score is to try and apply for one of the cards on this page. Usually, your credit limit will be very limited, sometimes around $250-500. This is so the credit agency is not taking a big risk at all. Just use the card each month at least a few times and make sure to pay it off. Slowly, your credit score will rise, and within 1-2 years you'll be able to get a better credit card.
    Dec 19, 2014
    By:
    After I got through my divorce, my credit really wasn't very good so went applied and was approved for a Capital One card that I was able to use to improve my credit score with. I started out with a $500 credit limit, I used that for fairly small purchases that I knew I would be able to afford to keep up with the payments and never maxed out the credit limit. After about 2 years of using the card and faithfully making monthly payments, my credit wasn't perfect, but it did show that I was responsible and was able to keep up on my monthly payments.
    Dec 19, 2014
    Photo of Ana M.
    Keep up the good work! And think about all the money you’re saving by improving your credit  Miss I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T.
    Dec 20, 2014
    Photo of Elsa G.
    I like that my card has the same rewards all the time. It lets me have a clear goal for what I am looking for. I have American Express card and I love to use it.
    Nov 30, 2014
    By:
    When I was younger I had phone bill that I never kept up with so I got sent to collections and it affected my credit score. I ended up using the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card to help improve my score. I made sure to pay everything on time and within about a year my score went up.
    Dec 1, 2014
    Photo of Card H.
    Great work! Any tips for people facing the same uphill struggle?
    Dec 1, 2014
    Photo of Joe W.
    @Card Hub: I have one: set up automatic bill payments and automatic transfers to a savings account. It neutralizes forgetfulness and mandates saving. Just make sure to plan out what you can afford.
    Nov 22, 2014
    By:
    thank you for the help to repair my credit
    Nov 23, 2014
    Photo of Card H.
    It's our pleasure! Hope things are going well for you :)
    Nov 20, 2014
    By:
    After being pretty irresponsible as a youth during college with the credit cards that I had, I found myself about 12k deep in debt that I never thought I would make my way out of. I worked hard and eventually was able to pay all of it off - but not after the damage to my credit was pretty bad. (in the 500's). My wife and I were hoping to buy a house and I knew rebuilding my credit would be key in making this seemingly impossible dream happen. I soon found out about the First PREMIER Bank MasterCard Credit Card which I was able to get approved for, despite my credit history. (At the time, I was making quite a large salary which definitely helped get me approved for it.) Apparently, secured cards aren't always the best route when it comes to rebuilding your credit score, so it seemed like a good choice.

    Sure, there are some fees associated with it, but after a short time of using it (making sure to pay the balance off every other month or so), my credit score soon found it's way back to life and we were able to finally get approved for a mortgage. There's no way that I would've been able to do this without that card. It might not be perfect for everyone, but for me, it was the key to rebuilding my credit, so I highly recommend that you look into getting one.
    Oct 14, 2014
    By:
    I had a Capital One unsecured card that worked well for me. I was somewhat of a "prepaid" card in that there was a deposit. You used it as you would another credit card, but could only spend up to the amount you had deposited. It recorded similarly to traditional credit cards and significantly helped my credit when I was trying to build. After a couple of years, I withdrew the deposit and closed the card.
    Oct 16, 2014
    Photo of Joe W.
    Are you sure this was an unsecured card? Capital One actually offers a partially secured card that provides a higher credit line than the amount of your deposit. I ask because prepaid cards do not help you build credit.
    Dec 8, 2014
    Photo of Cou P.
    That sounds like a interesting idea I might look into. I only have one credit card at the moment and at times i get lost with all the technical terms the company uses. This seems like a pretty straight forward, easy to follow way to help build a credit line without being overly anxious.
    Sep 7, 2014
    By:
    A few years ago i had a car loan that i did not keep up with that resulted in my credit going bad. I need a card in order to obtain a rental car. I looked into getting a secured card. It had been such a life saver. All i needed was the initial deposit and i was approved.
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