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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 4,967 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 24.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
    • 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 3,475 reviews

    Credit One® Visa® with Credit Line Increase Reviews


    credit one credit card
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 18.15% - 24.15% (V)
    • Annual Fee $35 - $99
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, terms apply
    • Rewards post to your account automatically each month
    • Additional Info
    • Zero fraud liability protects you from unauthorized charges
    • Get Pre-Qualified without harming your credit score
    • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
    • Pick your payment due date to fit your schedule
    • Free online monthly credit score tracking included
    • Choose your card design from our premium gallery, fee applies
    • Email or text alerts to remind you when your payment is due
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Credit One® Visa® with Credit Line Increase Reviews
    3 563 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
    3.5 168 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 2,288 reviews

    Open SkySM Secured Visa® Credit Card


    open sky credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 17.64% (V)
    • Annual Fee $35
    • 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 1,512 reviews

    First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress platinum select mastercard
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • 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 $200 - $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
    3.5 845 reviews

    First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress platinum elite mastercard
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • 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 $200 - $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
    3 600 reviews

    First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress platinum prestige mastercard secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • 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 $200 - $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
    3.5 961 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
    3.5 258 reviews

    USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card


    usaa secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $250
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 10.15% - 20.15% (V)
    • Annual Fee $35
    • Monthly Fee None
    • Minimum Credit Bad
    • Rewards Details
    • Additional Info
    • Best for members rebuilding or establishing credit. It's a real credit card — not a debit or prepaid card
    • Determine your own credit limit ($250 to $5,000) with an interest-earning CD.
    • Retail and Travel Benefits: Collision damage waiver coverage pays for physical damage and theft to most rental vehicles.Identity theft resolutions services provides assistance should you become the victim of identity theft.Extended warranty extends your manufacturers or U.S. store brand warranties for up to one year.Travel accident insurance provides coverage for you and your family members when your card is used to purchase common carrier travel tickets.
    • Security: Chip card technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.You are not liable for unauthorized purchases. Get account balances and transaction history by sending a text message.Access your account on usaa.com or from a mobile device.
    • 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 10.15% and 20.15% will apply. This rate will vary with the market based on the prime rate. Special 4% SCRA rate: When you have a balance on your account at the time you enter active military duty, get 4% APR on that existing balance until one year after you complete active duty.
    • 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.

     
    Nov 12, 2015
    By:
    I think that it is better for people with bad credit to get an unsecured credit card if they are able to qualify for one. A secured card is a good way to build your credit if you are unable to qualify for an unsecured card. Having to put a large deposit down can lead to having a small amount open on your card and can be hard to pay off quickly.
    Nov 12, 2015
    By:
    I would recommend a secured card for someone with bad credit. A close friend of mine had some bad credit due to health issues. He went with a secured card because it afforded him the ability to make easy payments , build his credit , and not over charge it. An unsecured card should only be used for dire situations.
    Dec 28, 2015
    Photo of Timothy P.
    I already have a secured card and an unsecured card
    Nov 9, 2015
    By:
    As another poster has mentioned, I would recommend using a secured card that has the potential to graduate to an unsecured card. As long as you have the capital to invest, a secured card could end up providing you with a larger credit line than you otherwise would have been eligible for. Also, there are some secured credit cards that don't actually report as secured; which could give your credit rating a slight boost. If you're rebuilding, or just beginning to build you credit, I definitely recommend starting with a secured card over the likes of cards designed for those with "bad credit;" these cards have insanely high interest rates, and more fees than you count on 2 hands.
    Oct 27, 2015
    By:
    Is it possible to get a credit card with poor credit without paying a security deposit?
    Oct 30, 2015
    Photo of Card H.
    Yes, it is possible, but we don’t recommend it unless you truly need access to an emergency line of credit. So-called unsecured credit cards for bad credit tend to charge prohibitive fees without offering much spending power in return. Nevertheless, you can check them out here: http://www.cardhub.com/credit-cards/bad-credit-unsecured/ .

    If you’re mainly interested in a way to build credit, you may want to reconsider your stance on security deposits. You’ll get the full amount back if you close your account with no balance, and the presence of this deposit is the reason why you can find secured cards with no annual fee. You can compare secured cards here: http://www.cardhub.com/credit-cards/secured/ . Hope this helps.
    Oct 22, 2015
    By:
    The Capital One Secured MasterCard is the best card for bad credit in my personal opinion. The fact that the minimum deposit for a card like this is only $49 is perfect for people who are on a budget, and the lack of an annual and monthly fee is an absolute godsend for those who are watching their money each and every month.
    Oct 19, 2015
    By:
    I think that a secured credit card would be better for people than a unsecured credit card. With a secured credit card you can have a limit that is what you put on there. That's money that you deposit. It is reported as credit though so that could help build credit I guess. I have unsecured credit cards though because I don't have the money to make a deposit.
    Oct 6, 2015
    By:
    I feel as if a secured card that has the potential to become unsecured is the best option for people who have bad credit and are actively seeking to improve their credit. It leaves less risk for the person and the company and gives them an opportunity to learn the skill of managing their money. The card that I would recommend isn't on here, but if you have the opportunity to get the secured card from Discover, I recommend it. It has the best options available with a fairly low APR.
    Oct 5, 2015
    By:
    I think a person with bad credit should only use secured credit. Its very hard for people with bad credit to get a credit card at least this will give them a chance to better their credit history and work their way back up to a unsecured credit card.
    Sep 28, 2015
    By:
    Things are very expensive. I am looking for a credit card that is not prepaid and has no down payment.
    Oct 11, 2015
    Photo of Card H.
    Unfortunately, you’ll likely have to choose between expensive and a security deposit. Secured cards tend to be far cheaper for credit building because the deposit that you place is refundable (you’ll get back the full amount, minus any unpaid balances, when you close your account) and it protects issuers enough against the threat of not being repaid that they don’t need to charge high fees. Unsecured credit cards for bad credit, on the other hand, tend to be quite pricey in a non-refundable sense precisely because they do not necessitate a deposit.

    Pretty much the only time you should use an unsecured credit card for bad credit is if you need an emergency loan. Most secured cards are ill-suited to that task because the spending limits they provide are usually equal to the amount of your deposit. So, if you absolutely need an unsecured card, the Credit One Visa (http://www.cardhub.com/d/credit-one-credit-card-676c/) is a decent option. But if you don’t, an offer like the Capital One Secured Card would save you more money in the long run.
    Sep 27, 2015
    By:
    Getting an unsecured credit card is really hard for people with bad credit, but I think they are the best way to go. You can easily get a secured credit card if you make a deposit on it. The best thing about an unsecured credit card is that it will impact your credit more than a secured card.
    Sep 27, 2015
    By:
    To me, unsecured credit cards are the best for a bad credit history. I have had bad credit when my house was foreclosed on, and had very bad credit. I feel so much more comfortable with the unsecured card, compared to the other. I know that with unsecured cards, I don't even have to put down a deposit. Its also pretty convenient that I can make a payment any time that I want to. I think it is way more convenient than secured cards. It basically has less of a risk than secured cards, and that is the best part.
    Sep 12, 2015
    By:
    Based on experience I would recommend an unsecured credit card with a low interest rate AND low initial credit limit as the best choice for someone who has bad credit.
    As others have said, many folks with bad credit can't afford to put a chunk of money down in advance. If they could do that, they would simply be paying cash. Also, secured credit cards do not impact your credit history the same way that correctly managing a traditional card. The goal for everyone should be to have as good a credit rating as possible. The best way to do that is with on time payments (preferably in full) with a traditional unsecured credit card.
    Sep 12, 2015
    By:
    Based on experience I feel that a secured credit card company is best for people that have had bad credit. Less of a risk for the company and less of a risk for the consumer that is using the credit card. I think it is best for people to put money down, I think they manage their credit card use better while they are realizing it is their money that will be lost if they don't pay on it anymore. And at the same time they can earn having good credit back based of their timely payments made each month. I actually prefer a secured card.
    Sep 11, 2015
    By:
    I put a hurting on my credit right after getting out of college. It took me a long time to work through it and get myself back into a good financial condition. For that reason I do not like having a credit card but I feel it is a necessity to have one if an emergency happens. So I keep it deep in my wallet and use will power to keep it there. I use a debit card for all my purchases otherwise.
    Sep 6, 2015
    By:
    If you have bad credit, I think the better choice is to get a secured credit card. Your initial deposit may take some saving up, but overall it is easier to get approved when you have a deposit. The deposit can help you learn to manage your finances better, because it limits what you can spend to what you have. As your credit score improves, you can put in additional funds to increase your spending limit. A secured credit card will not only be a lesson in money management, but also help rebuild your credit profile overall.
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