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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

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by Heather Swick | Updated Jun. 20, 2019

Overview of the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If you have missed payments, defaulted on debt, or underwent bankruptcy, you may find it difficult to qualify for a new line of credit. This is often indicated by your credit score dipping below 549, which signals to lenders that you may be a risky debtor. However, that does not mean that the situation is hopeless. On the contrary, there are many lenders who will consider and approve applicants with bad credit. Typically, these cards come with security deposits that also set your credit limit. While you will likely start with a low line of credit, secured credit cards can serve as excellent stepping stones to higher credit and, in turn, better credit card offers. Read below to see some of the best credit cards for bad credit. See More



Best Capital One Credit Card for Poor Credit

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  • With responsible card use, this card can help you build credit – all with no annual fee
  • Unlike prepaid or debit cards, this card regularly reports to the 3 major credit bureaus which helps build credit when used responsibly
  • Your security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 is determined based on your creditworthiness which will give you an initial credit line of $200
  • After you make your first 5 monthly payments on time, you can gain access to a higher credit line with no additional deposit
  • Manage your account 24 hours a day from anywhere – by phone, online or on the Capital One mobile app
  • The Capital One Secured Mastercard is accepted at millions of locations around the world

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

26.99% Variable

Benefits

If you have less than perfect credit, then using a credit card is one of the best ways to build your credit score back up. However, finding a quality card from a reputable issuer can be a struggle. Capital One Secured Mastercard tends to be one of the best for anyone with poor credit.

This card requires a refundable security deposit, which will act as your credit line. Depending on your credit score, your deposit will be either $49, $99 or $200. This will give you an initial credit line of $200. If you want to have access to more, you can deposit up to $3,000 before your account opens.

Once you make your first five monthly payments on time, Capital One will increase your credit line without requiring an additional deposit. To help track your progress, you will have access to your credit score each month through CreditWise.

Things to Consider

Most secured credit cards have a very high APR and Capital One Secured Mastercard is no different. You will receive a variable 26.99% APR on all purchases. This means it’s critical that you pay your balance in full each month. If not, your purchases will start accruing finance charges. This card doesn’t have an annual fee.

Verdict

Even though it has a high APR, Capital One Secured Mastercard is one of the best cards available for anyone with poor credit. This card will give you all the tools needed to build your credit score back up.

Best Low Interest Credit Card for Bad Credit

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  • Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000! Low fixed 13.99% interest rate on purchases - with no penalty rate!
  • No minimum credit score requirements! We invite all credit types to apply! No processing or application fees!
  • Helps strengthen your credit with responsible card use. Reports to three national bureaus
  • Fast, easy application process. Choose your credit line and open your Personal Savings Deposit Account to secure your line.

Annual Fee

$39

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

13.99%

Benefits

A secured card is one of the best ways to build your credit, and they’re accessible for people with poor credit. Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card comes with that foundation, plus some decent bonuses. It’s a basic secured card that does its job well. If building credit is your primary concern, this card reports to all three credit bureaus, which will help boost your score. Additionally, your credit line can be anywhere from $200 to $5,000 - it depends on how much money you put down as a security deposit. One of this card’s most attractive features is its low APR of 13.99% , which is rare with secured cards. You also won’t need a credit check with this card, meaning your report won’t be dinged when you apply.

Things to consider

There are some fees associated with this card, so take that into consideration when you’re applying. There is a $39 annual fee, plus a late fee of up to $29, a $5 or 5% cash advance fee (whichever is greater) and a 3% foreign transaction fee. You will also need to prove that your monthly income exceeds your monthly expenses by at least $100 to be eligible for this card.

Our verdict

Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card is our pick for a low fixed interest rate in a secured card. You’re going to have some upfront costs with a secured card, but that low 13.99% APR, credit reporting and lack of a credit check are great features worth the cost.

Best Rewards Credit Card for Bad Credit

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  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It’s a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can’t help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • Intro Offer: We automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

10.99% for 6 Months

Regular APR

25.24% Variable

Benefits

If you have poor or limited credit, most of the credit cards you qualify for aren’t going to offer you any rewards. You will commonly see high APR rates and fees, but cash back bonuses are rare. Discover it® Secured gives you the best of both worlds: a credit-building secured card with some impressive rewards. There is 1% cash back on every purchase, plus 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 each quarter. Also, at the end of your first year, all of the cash back you’ve earned will be doubled. There is no annual fee, and your credit usage will be reported to all three major credit bureaus to help you boost your score. And another important bonus - you can be upgraded to unsecured after successfully using this secured option.

Things to consider

Despite the rewards, this is still a secured card and there is a high APR. Discover it® Secured has an APR of 25.24% Variable, so if you’re prone to carrying a balance, you’re going to rack up some interest payments with this card.

Our verdict

If you want rewards while you’re improving your credit, this is our recommendation. You’ll receive bonuses in addition to working toward stronger credit, which can be a hard combination to find. This is an excellent secured card option with impressive user reviews. Just remember to keep your balance low, and you’ll enjoy cash back rewards along with credit benefits.

Methodology SmartAsset has developed a quantitative and independent system for evaluating the relative value of a credit card offer versus other offers in the marketplace. Our system evaluates cards based exclusively on their features, such as their rewards earning rate (if applicable), fees, perks, and rewards program redemption options. The annual rewards values on this page are calculated using annual spending assumptions in various categories such as, but not limited to, gas, restaurants, airfare, and US supermarkets. These spending assumptions are built on research that SmartAsset has conducted on existing cash back credit cardholders. Our promise with our credit card recommendations is that we will always strive to have the most comprehensive, accurate, and objective method of evaluating credit card offers. Any recommendations are solely determined by the result of this research and model, and is never influenced by any fees, commissions, or other forms of compensation that SmartAsset may receive from credit card issuers for leads generated on our website.

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