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Credit Cards for Bad Credit

4.0 4.0 - 4,078 reviews for top rated card

If you've made some credit missteps along the way and now have bad credit (or below-average credit), applying for one of the credit cards listed below could be a good first step to a fresh start (some of these offers originate from CardHub advertising partners). 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…show more

    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 22.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee $29
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Limited History, Bad
    • 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—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®

    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

    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 Fair, Limited History, Bad

    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

    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 Limited History, Bad
    • 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

    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 Fair, Limited History, Bad
    • 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

    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 Fair, Limited History, Bad
    • 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

    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 Fair, Limited History, Bad
    • 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

    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 Good, Fair, Bad
    • 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

    USAA Secured Credit 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
    • When you apply, you'll also be opening a USAA two-year Certificate of Deposit, an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit
    • Your CD is a security deposit — the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit
    • Earn interest on your CD — your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments
    • Collision damage waiver coverage pays for physical damage and theft to most rental vehicles with a MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of $50.00 or less when the eligible card is used to initiate and pay for the entire rental transaction
    • Zero liability coverage if your card is lost or stolen
    • Travel Accident Insurance
    • See All Reviews & Details About The USAA Secured Credit Card

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    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.

    -- Questions --

    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

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

     
    Feb 21, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Blake Ford Hall--

    Feb 21, 2015
    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 8, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Brad Alexander--

    Jan 8, 2015
    I have tried an unsecured card in past after struggling with bad debt for some time. I didn’t love the fees on the unsecured credit card, but I knew that once I got this card paid off, I could go back to a “normal” credit card and an improved situation. I think this a pretty effective strategy at building better credit.
    Jan 7, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Anthony Rivas--

    Jan 7, 2015
    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.
    Jan 12, 2015
    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 18, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Wendy Pollard--

    Dec 18, 2014
    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.
    Nov 30, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Ivan Kuznetsov--

    Nov 30, 2014
    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.
    Feb 16, 2015
    Photo of Card H.
    Feb 16, 2015
    Great work! Any tips for people facing the same uphill struggle?
    Feb 16, 2015
    Photo of Joe W.
    Feb 16, 2015
    @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:

    --Comment from Michael Morgan--

    Nov 22, 2014
    thank you for the help to repair my credit
    Nov 20, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Jason Ibarra--

    Nov 20, 2014
    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:

    --Comment from Cayla Rossell--

    Oct 14, 2014
    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.
    Dec 8, 2014
    Photo of Cou P.
    Dec 8, 2014
    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:

    --Comment from Sarah Malpass--

    Sep 7, 2014
    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.
    Jul 29, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Stephanie Collings--

    Jul 29, 2014
    I had an unsecured credit card to help with my credit but I didn't keep it very long because of the fees and interest rates. I used it consecutively for 3 months and then paid balance in full each month. This made my credit score go up and I was able to get another card within six months with a better rate
    Jul 13, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Cindi Hounton--

    Jul 13, 2014
    I agree with others that a secured card is the way to go, but want to caution people about watching out for people who want to profit off of your bad credit. There are companies out there that will give you a secured credit card and you have to pay them to keep your money! When I had struggles with my credit I asked my local credit union, Rivermark Credit Union, and they offered me a secure card for free and paid me interest on the money I used to secure it. They said that if I made payments for 6 months they would turn it into an unsecured card. Twenty years later, I still have this card and it was a turning point for responsible credit use.
    Feb 16, 2015
    Photo of Ana M.
    Feb 16, 2015
    I’m really glad to hear about your success story! I think others will agree that it gives them heart in their fight to improve their credit. And, just to note, one of the great things about most secured cards is that they prevent issuers from having to take advantage of their customers to make money. The fact that you’re placing a security deposit means you won’t have to pay expensive fees for access to very little money. Secured cards are definitely the best way to rebuild credit.
    Jun 9, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Tracy Bright--

    Jun 9, 2014
    When you have bad credit, getting a secured card is the best way to go. You can't possibly be late, since you have to have the money in the account to spend it. Therefore, the bank is more willing to work with you, and since you're always on time, they report it on your credit. It really is the best and the quickest way to rebuild your credit. This being the case, the deciding factor with a secured card should be how well they report. Some companies don't report as well, or as often, as they should. I have the Capital One secured mastercard, and have found that Capital One reports pretty well. I have yet to have an issue where they didn't report on time.
    May 26, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Jill Sanders--

    May 26, 2014
    I used the capital one secured mastercard. This is great for anyone who has a less than perfect credit rating. The advantage of having a secured card is that you literally can never be past due. This helped me get my credit back on track after years of it being in the gutter. Essentially after getting this card your credit will start to improve as long as you keep the account open and make the payments (which is what the secured part is for), recommended for anyone.
    May 5, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Adrian Hughes--

    May 5, 2014
    I got an offer in the mail for my Capital One credit card. Even though I had bad credit, I was looking to repair it so I went ahead and tried to get one. I was approved and have been using it carefully for just over 2 years now. My credit score is slowly but surely increasing.
    Apr 27, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Sam Hammond--

    Apr 27, 2014
    I got into credit trouble right after I graduated from college. I was able to finally get an unsecured credit card. It absolutely can help you rebuild your credit score, but I'd also recommend knowing what you're doing and keeping your eyes open and expectations in check. You will have a small credit limit on the card, especially at first. You'll pay a higher interest rate. I used my card to make a few small purchases each month, I let a small amount of the balance roll over, and got my limit raised fairly quickly. Within a year or so, I started getting offers for cards at better interest rates. It can work, you just have to use it smartly and as a tool to help you build your financial standing.
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