Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Have bad credit? Consider a card designed to help you rebuild your credit history and improve your score. But heads up - some may have a security deposit or fee. New to credit cards? See offers from our partners for students or those with no credit. Looking for more? Go to CreditCards.com to browse card offers for other categories like 0% APR and cash back, or check out our expert's list of the best credit cards of 2018.

Looking for more? Go to CreditCards.com to browse card offers for other categories like 0% APR and cash back, or check out our expert's list of the best credit cards of 2018.

Apply Now Credit Needed
Limited, Bad
  • 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
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • 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
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Limited, Bad

Discover it® Secured Card

Discover it® Secured Card

757 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair/New to Credit
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line.
  • You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Fair/New to Credit
See Rates & Fees

Total VISA® Unsecured Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Bad/Fair
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine VISA card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Processing Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Select your favorite card design from our gallery, for free!
  • No-Fee credit line increase opportunities!
Apply Now at Mid America Bank & Trust's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Terms*
Annual Fee
See Terms*
Credit Needed
Bad/Fair

Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card

Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card

2,446 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Bad Credit
  • Find the card that's right for you without affecting your credit score.
  • Show off your personality by selecting from a variety of card designs, a fee may apply.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV, terms apply.
  • Set up custom email or text alerts so you'll always be aware of your payment due date, when your payment posts, or if your available credit runs low.
  • Don't get stuck with a payment date that doesn't work with your schedule. Credit One Bank allows you to choose your monthly payment due date. Terms apply.
Apply Now at Credit One Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.15% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Credit Needed
Bad Credit

First PREMIER® Bank MasterCard® Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair/Bad Credit
  • Must have a checking account to qualify
  • A credit card offer for those currently building credit history
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Quarterly FICO score on your monthly billing statement.
  • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals
  • Make your payments on time each month, and keep your balance low relative to the credit limit, for positive marks on your credit report.
  • The next First PREMIER Bank credit card customer could be you!
Apply Now at First PREMIER® Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Issuer Website
Annual Fee
See Issuer Website
Credit Needed
Fair/Bad Credit

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Bad Credit
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Our card reports monthly to all three major bureaus and approval is based upon a fully-refundable security deposit.
  • We can approve you at any credit score, no minimum required.
  • No processing or application fees required.
  • Full-featured Platinum MasterCard, accepted for car rentals, hotels, and millions of other locations worldwide.
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
Apply Now at First Progress's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
9.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$49
Credit Needed
Bad Credit

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking

2,446 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Bad Credit
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • This unsecured card requires no deposit and can help build your credit
  • Track your progress with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
Apply Now at Credit One Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.15% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Credit Needed
Bad Credit

First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Bad Credit
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
Apply Now at First Progress's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$29
Credit Needed
Bad Credit

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
Apply Now at Capital Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
18.64% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$35
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair/Bad Credit
  • Must have checking account to qualify.
  • Unlike some other issuers, we may approve those currently building their credit history.
  • Monthly reporting to the major Consumer Reporting Agencies.
  • Issued by FDIC-insured First PREMIER® Bank.
  • Only you can build a good credit history. Make your payments on time each month, and keep your balance low relative to the credit limit, for positive marks on your credit report each month.
  • Top 20 Issuer of MasterCard Credit Cards
Apply Now at First PREMIER® Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Issuer Website
Annual Fee
See Issuer Website
Credit Needed
Fair/Bad Credit

Comparing Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Updated: February 19, 2018

CreditCards.com's Best Credit Cards for People with Bad Credit:

Here’s the good news about bad credit – it’s a temporary state. No matter how low your credit, with a change in habits and consistency, you can improve your score within months. Here, we look at:

  • What do cards for bad credit offer?
  • How to properly use a credit card for bad credit
  • What happens to me if I miss a card payment?
  • What should I do if I miss a card payment?

Not sure where to start? We can help:

What do cards for bad credit offer?

  • Credit building. The greatest advantage to a card for bad credit is that you can build your credit. That said, make sure your card issuer reports your good credit habits to the 3 major credit bureaus.
  • No annual fee. Cards for bad credit or no credit will sometimes be offered with no annual fee.
  • Unsecured credit. Some secured cards will evaluate your credit after several months to see if you qualify for an unsecured line of credit. In some cases, you can get an unsecured card right away for bad credit, although there may be fees.
  • Rewards. For example, the Discover it Secured Card lets you earn 2% cash back on restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter. It’s 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Choose your payment date. The Credit One Visa Credit Card allows you to pick the date when your payment is due.
  • FICO score. Some cards, such as the First Premier Bank Mastercard, provide your quarterly FICO score on your monthly statement.
  • No processing or application fees. Some cards for bad credit don’t charge processing or application fees.
  • Car rentals and hotels. Many hotels and car rental businesses require a credit card to make reservations or require you to present one when you arrive. A credit card for bad credit can be used for that, although you want to make sure the company doesn’t put a hold on your card that exceeds you credit limit.

How to properly use a credit card for bad credit

  1. Pay on time. The single most important aspect of building credit is on-time payments. It takes months to build good habits (and a good score). It takes one late payment to drop your score as much as 100 points. You can also face late fees and a rise in your interest rate for late payments.
  2. Put a small charge on it. To keep your account active, place a small charge on your card each month. You can’t build credit if your card is canceled for inactivity.
  3. Pay in full. The second most important aspect of building credit is your utilization ratio, which is your balance by your available credit. You want to keep it as low as possible. How? By paying in full each month.
  4. Pay multiple times a month. While you’re at it, pay in full multiple times a month, because you don’t know when the issuer will send your data to the credit bureaus. Also, because you have a low credit limit with a starter card, you have less room for maintaining a low utilization ratio. If you have $500 in available credit, and you have a balance of $250, that means your ratio is at 50%, which is much too high. You want the ratio as close to 0% as possible.
  5. Check your credit. Regularly check your credit with the 3 major credit bureaus for errors. Have the bureaus correct any errors you find.

What happens to me if I miss a card payment?

  • Impact on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the harder a late payment can hit you. FICO data shows that a payment that is 30 days late can cause a 90- to 110-point drop for a consumer with a 780 score who has never missed a payment.
  • Late fee. Even if you are a day late on paying your credit card, you can face a late fee. Some issuers, such as Discover, have cards that don’t charge a late fee your first time.
  • Interest rate hike. If you regularly miss payments, the issuer may raise your interest rate. That means you will pay more each month if you carry a balance.
  • Lose your card. If you violate the card agreement enough, you can lose the card altogether.

What should I do if I miss a card payment?

  • Call your card issuer. Don’t put your head in the sand. As soon as you realize you’ve missed a payment, contact the issuer and make it right.
  • Make a budget. That missed payment is a wakeup call – establish on a spreadsheet or app a realistic budget, with room for fun and saving. Also, set up reminders so that you don’t forget again.
  • Raise the money. Have a balance you’re struggling to pay down? Look at taking on a part-time job or selling unwanted items on Craigslist. Or use your new-found budgeting skills to cut costs and pay off the debt.
  • Stay current on your other accounts. While you work to resolve the late payments, keep paying your other accounts on time.
  • Consider automatic debits. While not a cure-all, automatic payments can help you pay on time. Keep in mind that if you debit the minimum due on a credit card, you are paying interest if there’s a balance carried over.
  • Monitor your credit report. That late payment will stay on your account for 7 years, but newer habits will have greater importance. That said, regularly check your credit reports for errors and have the credit bureaus correct them.

Recap: Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit 2018

CardAnnual FeeDeposit RequirementInstant Approval
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®$0$49, $99, or $200 (Refundable)Yes
Discover it® Secured Card$0$200 (Refundable)Yes
Total VISA® Unsecured Credit CardSee Terms*NoneYes
Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card$0 - $99NoneYes
First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard® Credit CardSee Issuer WebsiteNoneYes
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card$49$200 or more (Refundable)Yes
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking$0 - $99NoneYes
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card$29$200 - $2,000 (Refundable)Yes
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card$35$200 or more (Refundable)Yes
First PREMIER® Bank Credit CardSee Issuer WebsiteNoneYes

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* For additional rates, fees and costs see issuer's website for detailed pricing and terms.