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Unsecured Credit Cards

No one would blame you if you had to ask, "What is an unsecured credit card?" It’s actually what most people think of as a “normal” credit card. The term “unsecured” is simply used to differentiate ordinary cards from secured credit cards, which require users to place a refundable security deposit.

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 (some cards are from our partners) to only those that match your credit standing. Then simply determine…show more

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one ventureone
    • 0% Purchases until March 2016
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 11.9% - 21.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1.25 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Excellent, Good
    • 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
    • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
    • 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
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

    Citi Simplicity® Card


    citi simplicity credit card
    • 0% Purchases 18 months
    • 0% Transfers 18 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards Rate None
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be12.99% - 22.99% based on your creditworthiness.
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
    • No late fees - EVER.
    • No penalty rate - EVER.
    • No annual fee - EVER.
    • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Citi Simplicity® Card

    Citi® Double Cash Card


    citi double cash card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards Rate 1% - 2% cash back
    • Rewards Bonus None
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • 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
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Citi® Double Cash Card

    Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card


    capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until December 2015
    • 0% Transfers until December 20153% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.9% - 22.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1.5% cash back
    • Rewards Bonus $100
    • Minimum Credit Excellent, Good

    Chase Slate®


    chase slate
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 monthsNo Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards Rate None
    • Minimum Credit Excellent, Good
    • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" two years in a row by Money Magazine
    • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days.
    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
    • $0 Annual Fee
    • NEW Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Chase Slate®

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express


    american express blue
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99%-21.99%
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards Rate 1% - 3% cash back
    • Rewards Bonus $100
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in 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% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®


    barclaycard arrival world mastercard credit card
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers 12 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 14.99% or 18.99%
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $89 after
    • Rewards Rate 2 miles/$1
    • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit.
    • Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
    • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

    Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card


    capital one platinum prestige
    • 0% Purchases until June 2016
    • 0% Transfers until June 20163% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 10.9% - 20.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate None
    • Minimum Credit Excellent, Good
    • Get 0% intro APR on all purchases until June 2016; 10.9%-20.9% variable APR after that
    • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until June 2016, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
    • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
    • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
    • Enjoy extended warranty protection on eligible items purchased with your card
    • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone, or using our mobile app
    • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
    • 100% free Capital One® Credit Tracker — see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card

    Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one venture
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 12.9% - 22.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0 for 1st yr, $59 after
    • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Excellent, Good
    • 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
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

    Chase Freedom®


    chase freedom
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 13.99% - 22.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1% - 5% cash back
    • Rewards Bonus $100
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Named a Best Card for Cash Back by MONEY® Magazine
    • 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 you 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 4/1/15-6/30/15 at Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond®, H&M®, and Overstock.com®.
    • 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
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Chase Freedom®
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    Credit Score
    Excellent Credit 721 – 850
    Good Credit 661 – 720
    Fair Credit 620 – 660
    Bad Credit 300 – 619
    Limited Credit Less than 3 years
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    Ask our Experts

    Expert’s Answers

    What are the pros & cons of unsecured credit cards?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOFirst 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 Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOGiven 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 Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorWhether 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 Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThe 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 Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorFor 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

    Ask a question or help others find the best credit card by sharing some tips.

     
    Feb 26, 2015
    By:
    I had gotten myself into some debt issues some years back, and I had hurt my credit score. I essentially had to start fresh and need to get back on my feet again with an prepaid credit card. If you have to go this route, I highly recommend going with Capital One because they are a big name in the credit card business and a reputable one. Like other commenters have mentioned, my unsecured card was more of a prepaid one in that I had to make a deposit which was the amount of money that I had to spend on the card. For example, if you put down $500, you typically have $500 to spend (unless there is an additional security fee which you get back down the road provided you use the card responsibly). In my case, I was sure that I did not overspend on the card so that I could build my credit again and not be stuck with unsecured cards.
    Feb 11, 2015
    By:
    I use the Citi Simplicity card as my unsecured credit card. When my credit score was bad because I’d gotten myself into some debt problems, I opened this card to try to improve it. 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. This card is better than a lot of other unsecured card because intro rate on purchases is 0% for 18 months and the interest rates are fairly low. However, the drawbacks of an unsecured card are that you can’t typically earn points or bonuses like gas or travel rewards and cash back like you can on other cards.
    Oct 23, 2014
    By:
    Six years back, when I arrived US from India for an IT job. My credit score was zero. As I have my salary direct deposit on BOA, I went to the BOA bank and they suggested me secure credit card to build my credit. I opened $300 credit and then raised it to $500 in 6 months. After an year BOA changed that secured credit card to a real credit card of limit $2000. After one more year, I could buy a car on auto loan with the credit score. The interesting fact is that the interest rate is really very low for this so I am still maintaining it. To the people who come to US as alien, the secured credit card is the only way to build credit history.
    Oct 6, 2014
    By:
    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 offered by credit cards. If you use it to buy your needed items, it's like getting paid to spend money.
    Sep 27, 2014
    By:
    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%.
    Aug 2, 2014
    By:
    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!
    Jun 29, 2014
    By:
    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
    By:
    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 way !
    May 10, 2014
    By:
    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.
    Apr 4, 2014
    By:
    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.
    Mar 24, 2014
    By:
    i need unsecured credit cards.
    Mar 24, 2014
    Photo of Card H.
    On this page you can find a wide selection of unsecured credit cards.
    Mar 19, 2014
    By:
    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 driver!
    Mar 5, 2014
    By:
    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 come up with.
    Feb 23, 2014
    By:
    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.
    Nov 17, 2014
    Photo of Roberta Y.
    True that. I too, had to learn the hard way with them. When my daughter came to me and asked me about getting a credit card with them, I vehemently told her to steer clear.
    Feb 6, 2014
    By:
    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.
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