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Unsecured Credit Cards

Unsecured Credit Cards

No one would blame you if you had to ask, "What is an unsecured credit card?" The truth though is that unsecured credit cards are simply what we all think of as “normal” credit cards. People often call them unsecured cards in order to differentiate them from their secured counterparts and indicate that you don’t need to place a security deposit in opening one. The quality of your credit history determines the unsecured credit card offers that you may be eligible for. Therefore, the first step in finding the best unsecured credit card for your needs is adjusting the filters on the left side of the page in order to pare down the displayed offerings to only those that match your credit standing. Then simply determine whether rewards, a low interest rate, or no annual fee will save you the most money in light of your spending and payment habits and go ahead and apply for an unsecured credit card online.

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    Chase Freedom®

    chase freedom credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES 15 months
    • 0% TRANSFERS 15 months ;   Fee.....3%
    • REGULAR RATE 13.99% - 22.99% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE None
    REWARDS Cash Back
    BONUS $100
    BASE EARN 1%
    MAX EARN 5%
    • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
    • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between October 1 – December 31, 2014 at Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
    • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
    • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases

     
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    4

    Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express

    blue cash preferred credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES 15 months
    • 0% TRANSFERS 15 months ;   Fee.....3%
    • REGULAR RATE 12.99%-21.99% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $75
    REWARDS Cash Back
    BONUS $150
    BASE EARN 1%
    MAX EARN 6%
    • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
    • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
    • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • Terms and restrictions apply.

     
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    3.5

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

    capital one ventureone rewards credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES until September 2015
    • 0% TRANSFERS Not Offered
    • REGULAR RATE 11.9% - 19.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE None
    REWARDS Miles
    BASE EARN 1.25 miles / $1
    MAX EARN 1.25 miles / $1
    • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles on every purchase, every day.
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel.
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
    • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases.
    • Travel when you want—no blackout dates.
    • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn

     
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    4.5

    Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

    capital one venture rewards credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES Not Offered
    • 0% TRANSFERS Not Offered
    • REGULAR RATE 13.9% - 20.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $0 for 1st yr, $59 after
    REWARDS Miles
    BASE EARN 2 miles / $1
    MAX EARN 2 miles / $1
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel.
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
    • Travel when you want—no blackout dates.
    • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn

     
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    3.5

    Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card

    capital one platinum prestige credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES until December 2015
    • 0% TRANSFERS until December 2015 ;   Fee.....3%
    • REGULAR RATE 10.9% - 18.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE None
    REWARDS None
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    3.5

    Citi® Double Cash Card

    citi cashreturns mastercard
    • 0% PURCHASES 15 months
    • 0% TRANSFERS 15 months ;   Fee.....3% (min $5)
    • REGULAR RATE 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $0*
    REWARDS Cash Back
    BONUS None
    BASE EARN 1%
    MAX EARN 2%
    • The only card that earns you cash back TWICE on every purchase with:
    • 1% cash back when you buy
    • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
    • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories

     
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    3.5

    Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

    capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES until June 2015
    • 0% TRANSFERS until June 2015 ;   Fee.....3%
    • REGULAR RATE 12.9% - 22.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE None
    REWARDS Cash Back
    BONUS $100
    BASE EARN 1.5%
    MAX EARN 1.5%
    • One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
    • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards.
    • Cash back doesn't expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn

     
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    3.5

    Chase Slate®

    slate credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES 15 months
    • 0% TRANSFERS 15 months ;   Fee.....None
    • REGULAR RATE 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $0
    REWARDS None
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    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    blue cash credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES 15 months
    • 0% TRANSFERS 15 months ;   Fee.....3%
    • REGULAR RATE 12.99%-21.99%
    ANNUAL FEE $0
    REWARDS Cash Back
    BONUS $100
    BASE EARN 1%
    MAX EARN 3%
    • Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.
    • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
    • Earn Cash Back: 3% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • Terms and restrictions apply.

     
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    3.5

    Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®

    barclaycard arrival world mastercard credit card with no annual fee
    • 0% PURCHASES 12 months
    • 0% TRANSFERS 12 months ;   Fee.....3%
    • REGULAR RATE 14.99% - 18.99% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE None
    REWARDS Miles
    BASE EARN 1 mile/$1
    MAX EARN 2 miles/$1
    • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit.
    • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases.
    • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.
    • Book the travel you want — airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase.
    • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits.

     
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    Before you apply for a credit card we recommend that you review and verify the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card company's web site. Please let us know if you find any differences.

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    Ask our Experts
    EXPERT’S ANSWERS

    What are the pros & cons of unsecured credit cards?

    By: Odysseas PapadimitriouFirst of all, it’s important to note that when you consider the pros and cons of unsecured credit cards, you’re essentially comparing them to secured credit cards. With that being said, the pros of unsecured credit cards are: 1) No security deposit is needed, which allows you to stay more liquid; 2) They provide a line of credit; 3) Rewards are both more prevalent and more lucrative.

    On the other hand, the cons of unsecured credit cards are: 1) They are harder to get approved for, since the lack of a security deposit exposes banks to potential losses and defaults; 2) They enable you to spend beyond your means.

    Are there different types of unsecured credit cards?

    By: Odysseas PapadimitriouGiven that no security deposit credit cards are what most people refer to when they use the generic term “credit cards,” there are, of course, many different kinds. Unsecured credit cards vary on a number of levels, including their target consumer market (e.g. business, student), their specific features (e.g. rewards, 0% APR) and the minimum credit standing required for approval (e.g. good credit, fair credit). One type of card that may lead to some confusion is what’s known as a partially unsecured credit card. These cards, which we list on the Secured Credit Cards page, may require a security deposit that is smaller than the credit line that you get (the Capital One Secured Credit Card is a good example).

    So, with all of the different types of credit cards with no security deposit, you may be wondering which is best. The list of “best unsecured credit cards,” changes constantly and varies based on both your credit standing and needs. Therefore, checking out our Editor’s Best section could be a great starting point.

    Who should & shouldn’t get an unsecured credit card?

    By: John KiernanWhether or not you should apply for an unsecured credit card depends on your credit standing:

    Damaged Credit: If you have damaged credit, your focus should really be on rebuilding your credit standing. Aside from the fact that unsecured credit cards for bad credit might not even be available, secured cards are much better suited to accomplishing this objective for three reasons: 1) They are much easier to get approved for, since they require a security deposit; 2) The security deposit makes high fees unnecessary and secured cards thereby cheaper alternatives; 3)The fact that the security deposit equals your credit line makes it impossible to spend beyond your means.

    Limited Credit: From a credit card company’s perspective, people with limited or no credit history can be put into one of two groups: students and everyone else. The focus of anyone with limited or no credit should be building credit as inexpensively as possible. With this in mind, whether the card is secured or unsecured doesn’t really matter and college students should focus their search on no annual fee student cards, while everyone else should check out all of the no annual fee credit cards for limited credit.

    Good or Excellent Credit: Pretty much anyone in this category should opt for an unsecured credit card, given that the rewards, interest rates and lines of credit simply cannot be matched by secured cards.

    I have bad credit; can I get an unsecured credit card?

    By: Odysseas PapadimitriouThe new credit card law (the CARD Act) has made it generally not profitable for credit card companies to offer unsecured credit cards to people with bad credit. The reason for this is that the law prevents issuers from charging fees that total more than 25% of a card’s credit limit during the first year. Since it is difficult to manage the inherent risk involved with offering unsecured cards to people with bad credit without these fees, most companies have ceased doing so. Nevertheless, you might want to check back from time to time in order to see if a new unsecured credit card offer has been added to our database.

    How does the economy impact unsecured credit card offerings?

    By: John KiernanFor people with the highest credit scores, the economic landscape does not affect the overall availability of unsecured credit card applications but does impact the terms that are offered. During times of financial hardship, interest rates rise and rewards fall. During times of financial recovery, credit card companies are very competitive in their pursuit of the most exemplary consumers and offer initial rewards bonuses and 0% introductory interest rates as part of their courtship.

    On the other hand, the economy dictates whether unsecured credit cards for fair or limited credit history are available at all. When times are tough, issuers become more conservative and usually do not wish to incur the added risk of offering credit cards with no security deposit to unproven consumers. During those times, secured cards are the only option available.
    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

    Help others find the best credit card by sharing what your deciding factor was when choosing your card (customer service, interest rate, fees, convenience, rewards, etc.)

     
    October 6, 2014
    Photo of Brutus S.
    By: Brutus Smith
    I use the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card for my daily purchases. It was the first unsecured credit card that I qualified for, so I'm very loyal to them. I also do all my banking with them, so it's very convenient. It's wonderful that this card has no annual fee. I wish that they had 3% cash back on all purchases, but it's currently 1% for purchases, 2% for grocery stores, and 3% for gas. I really don't like that they limit the cash back to the first $1,500 per quarter. Once I hit my limit, I'm forced to use another card. Cash Back is the best thing that's more
    September 27, 2014
    Photo of Marino J.
    By: Marino Johns
    I use the Target Visa credit card since I shop at Target quite a bit. The one thing I would add to this are reward points or cash back. I would add more ways to gain points and also more periods where you can get more cash back like what Discover did for 3 months where they gave 5% cash back instead of the normal 1%.
    August 2, 2014
    Photo of Aloysius C.
    By: Aloysius Chien
    I've only just started using the TrueEarnings card from Amex and Costco since I finally decided to take the plunge and get a Costco membership. Let me tell you, I'll never look back! The free membership is a huge plus. The only thing I would change is the max earn is 3%, which means I won't always be using this card for everything I can when I have a 6% Amex I can get more cashback on. Otherwise, this card rocks!
    June 29, 2014
    Photo of Amanda F.
    By: Amanda Fischer-Duncan
    I primarily use the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. If I could add anything it would be to extend the interest free period. When I got the card it was only 6 months at 0%. I would also add more bonuses so that you can get more cash back on a quarterly basis if you had spent so much on the card.
    May 29, 2014
    Photo of Melissa L.
    By: Melissa Lapila
    I primarily use the TD Bank Extras Visa the most. I would not add any features as it gives cash back as well as rewards points for gift cards. I especially appreciate the low monthly payment and no interest for 18 months on new purchases over $750. The real plus is the high credit limit extended. I would however appreciate TD Bank waiving other fees if you hold both their credit card and deposit accounts. That would be a marked improvement over the Bank of America deals that are coming close to rivaling it. However for an easy to get high credit limit card it's TD Bank Visa all the more
    May 10, 2014
    Photo of Jennifer M.
    By: Jennifer Merriman
    The unsecured card I primarily use is the Capital One Platinum Prestige. I got the card without any intention of using it, but shortly after I got it my bank card went bad and I had to use this card until my debit card was replaced. I liked that there is no annual fee, and no interest for an introductory period. Interest also stayed low as long as I paid on time.
    April 4, 2014
    Photo of Jessica W.
    By: Jessica Walls-Lavelle
    The unsecured credit card I use most is the Chase Visa. I use it because I accrue Priority Club points, which I can use for free hotel rooms. I do have to pay an annual fee, which generally is a deal breaker for me, however with this card I get a free hotel room per night. The annual fee is less than $50, so I look at it like I am paying the fee for a free hotel room, which is a decent deal. I am also automatically a platinum member of Priority Club for having the card, so I get things like free upgrades and gifts at check in.
    March 24, 2014
    Photo of Franklin C.
    By: Franklin Cooper
    i need unsecured credit cards.
    March 24, 2014
    Photo of Card H.
    Card Hub
    On this page you can find a wide selection of unsecured credit cards.
    March 19, 2014
    Photo of David P.
    By: David Price
    The best unsecured card that I am using is the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. I use it almost on a weekly basis whenever I go out to buy groceries. Even though there is an annual fee, the 6% cash back makes this card worthwhile because I spend so much whenever I go to Safeway or Ralph's. The 3% cash back on gasoline is nice, but I only use this as a backup whenever the Chase Freedom has 5% cash back on gasoline. If I could add anything to this card, I would like to see additional cash back for dining at restaurants. This would really make this card my daily more
    March 5, 2014
    Photo of Marc L.
    By: Marc Lin
    The best unsecured credit card I use daily is the Discover IT card. I like it because this card offers a generous rebate on everything I buy everyday (I do not use cash anymore.) A full 1% on anything at all, plus another 5% rebate on certain categories that change every three months. PLUS when I cash in the rebates for a merchant gift card (they have many to choose from too) I get another $5 added to the gift card as a "thank you" gift! IT is awesome in my opinion. The customer service is second to none too. They are seemingly on top of any issues I can more
    February 23, 2014
    Photo of Michael M.
    By: Michael Meza
    I have the First Premier Bank card. Man this is a bad card and has high interest and hidden fees. Do not get this card. I am trying to pay it off as fast as possible. The card has an interest rate that is extremely high, and they hide that in small print on their opening sign up statements. Also, it pre charges you a certain amount to even use the card! What a scam, I will never use this card again. I have learned from getting this card to really read the fine print and the details of the card agreement terms.
    February 6, 2014
    Photo of Jared B.
    By: Jared Bissonnette
    I have the Capital One VentureOne rewards card, and I am very happy about it. There are some things I wouldn’t mind changing, however. There is no annual fee which is ideal, but they also do not give you any cash back. They give miles instead, which is great but it is certainly not as great as getting cash. I also think they should let you earn a little more than 1.25 miles/ $1, but that is just me.
    February 2, 2014
    Photo of Greg K.
    By: Greg Kempisty
    My first card requiring "good" credit was the green Cash Rewards card that was converted to the QuickSilver Cash Rewards by Capital One. With this card, I enjoy unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Even better, I can redeem it at any time, and it NEVER expires! I am not sure there is anything I would change with this card; my interest rate is close to the upper limit (nearly 20%), but I guess I am on the lower end of the "good" credit spectrum, so I cannot complain!
    January 16, 2014
    Photo of James L.
    By: James LeGrand
    When it comes to unsecured cards my personal favorite would have to be the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Mainly because of how easy it is to get one and how simple it is to maintain. The rewards add up quick and customer support is fantastic.
    March 13, 2014
    Photo of Casi D.
    Casi Danielle
    I completely agree with you. This card is amazingly easy to use,and I am really happy with it. The rewards add up quick and customer support is fantastic.
    January 9, 2014
    Photo of Scott M.
    By: Scott Moore
    I really enjoy the flexibility my Capital One card gives me. If I am having a week I am running a little short on funds, I can use this everywhere I shop. I don't have good credit, the limit is manageable and I do my best to only use whatever I can pay in full. It may not have an attractive APR or any rewards, but it's building my credit and a little cushion when I need it. The only thing I would change would be a much lower standard APR.
    January 3, 2014
    Photo of Jim L.
    By: Jim Louie
    I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and it is one of the better cards out there. The benefits of Ultimate Rewards really make this card worthwhile. However, I do wish that the point earnings were better. I would like 3% points categories and although the 2% category covers travel there really isn't anything for gas, which is something that I use often. These two additions would really make this card my daily driver.
    March 13, 2014
    Photo of Justin P.
    Justin Parker
    I also have this card and the Ultimate Rewards really are great... If you can ever accumulate enough points to get them. Some of the costs on the rewards are rather outlandish for what you have to spend in order to earn points. I tend to be a conservative spender, so I do not always rack up reward points quickly. I also agree with your point on gas rewards - that little addition would be fantastic and really increase my usage of the card. All of that being said, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a great rate, in my opinion, and is one of the best unsecured cards you can more
    December 3, 2013
    Photo of Amy F.
    By: Amy Fisher
    I have used the Capital One Venture Rewards card for a long time now. It is my favorite unsecured card to use. The bonuses are awesome, and I got a great APR from them. There's no annual fee, and customer support is always very friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend this card to anyone.
    December 3, 2013
    Photo of David C.
    By: David Chau
    The Chase Freedom card is one of the best unsecured credit cards I hold. I signed up and received a great bonus if I spent $500 in the first 3 months. The bonus alone was amazing and something you don't see from other cards. I love how easy it is to get the bonus and it was a surprisingly easy process to go through. I also get great rewards from this card as I rack up points all the time and get to cash them out for little gifts to myself every once in a while.