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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

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by Sam Lipscomb | Updated Sep. 16, 2020

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 for Cash Back

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  • Fast, easy, and secure - check to see if you pre-qualify
  • Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases - Terms Apply
  • Cash back posts automatically each month to your account
  • Account will be reviewed for credit line increase opportunities automatically
  • $0 fraud liability - no responsibility for unauthorized charges
  • Multiple card designs available - pick a card that fits your personality (extra fee may apply)
  • Credit One Bank members may receive exclusive offers through Visa discounts
  • Travel accident and auto rental collision insurance

Annual Fee

$0 to $95 for the first year. After that, $0 to $99.

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

17.99% - 23.99% Variable

Details

The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa with Cash Back Rewards earns unlimited 1% cash back on eligible gas, grocery and telecommunication purchases. The card also offers free prequalification for all applicants, so you can see if you’re approved before the issuer does a hard credit check. It also comes with free access to your FICO credit score.

TThe annual fee is determined on an applicant-to-applicant basis and can range from $0 to $99. There is, however, an unavoidable foreign transaction fee of $1 or 3% of each purchase, whichever is greater.

Why We Like It

When it comes to credit cards for those with weak credit, there aren’t many that come with cash back rewards. While this card’s cash back rate of 1% on select purchase isn’t fantastic, it’s still a luxury that many with bad credit don’t typically have access to. With free prequalification and the opportunity for a relatively low or nonexistent annual fee, this card is a great option for anyone with bad credit looking to simultaneously rebuild their credit profile and earn rewards.

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Best for 0% Intro APR

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  • For the first 6 months, receive an introductory APR of 0%
  • Helps to establish credit history - reports every month to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use anywhere Mastercard is accepted - car rental, hotels, and more!
  • Secure your credit line with a fully refundable deposit of $200 - $2,000, which is submitted with application
  • Access your account online anytime 24/7
  • Nationwide Program is not yet available in AR, IA, NY, or WI
  • See Card Terms

Annual Fee

$49

Purchase Intro APR

0% for the first 6 months

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

12.99% Variable

Details

With the Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard Secured Credit Card, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR on all purchases for the first six months you’re a cardholder. After that, your APR will become a low rate. With this card, your credit will be reported to each of the three major credit bureaus every month, which can help you increase your credit score if you manage your card well.

You’ll only be able to start using your card after you make a security deposit of anywhere from $200 to $2,000. The amount you deposit will also equal your card’s credit limit. This is a Mastercard, so cardholders can enjoy all the fraud protections and other benefits Mastercard has to offer. To own this card, you’ll have to pay a $49 annual fee.

Why We Like It

The Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard Secured Credit Card, is a great option for anyone with bad credit looking to get their score and profile back on track. The intro and ongoing APR offers are some of the best on the market when it comes to credit cards designed for those with a low credit score. Despite the $49 annual fee, the card can be especially useful for anyone looking to take advantage of a card with low interest.

Best for No Credit Check

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  • OpenSky will consider anyone for approval - no credit check is necessary
  • You must choose and provide a refundable security deposit (min. $200) that becomes the credit line on your Visa card
  • OpenSky reports to the 3 major credit bureaus, which can help build credit quickly when credit is used responsibly
  • Most customers with this card who had no credit earned a record with the bureaus in 6 months
  • There is an "OpenSky Card" community in Facebook for insights and shared experiences
  • Get credit tips and credit education on the OpenSky website to help support you on your journey
  • You will find the Cardholder Agreement at the bottom of the application page for further details of the card

Annual Fee

$35

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

17.39% Variable

Details

The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card, carries a $35 annual fee and is designed to help those with bad credit rebuild their score and practice good credit habits. Your credit limit is reflective of the amount of money that you put down as a security deposit, and you can be approved without a hard credit pull. When it comes to the size of your deposit, it can be anywhere from $200 to $3,000.

Every month, OpenSky will send your credit report to each of the three main credit bureaus, which will help your credit grow if you make payments on time and keep your balance under control. As a Visa, this card grants cardholders access to a plethora of purchase protections and other Visa-specific perks.

Why We Like It

The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card, can help you build your credit while practicing sustainable credit usage behaviors. The $35 annual fee is less than desirable for a secured card, but it shouldn’t be prohibitively high. Though the card can legitimately help you build your score, you don’t need a hard pull on your credit to gain approval. This could be a big plus for anyone who has a particularly poor credit score and history.

Compare Similar Secured Card Offers

Best Basic Unsecured Card

More Details

  • Fast, easy, and secure - check to see if you pre-qualify without harming your credit score
  • Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases - Terms Apply
  • Credit lines are between $300 and $3,000 depending on credit history
  • Account will be reviewed for credit line increase opportunities automatically
  • Choose your monthly due date for convenience and flexibility - terms apply
  • $0 fraud liability - no responsibility for unauthorized charges
  • Reports to the major credit bureaus every month which helps rebuild credit with responsible use
  • View your Experian credit score for free, terms apply

Annual Fee

$0 to $95 for the first year. $0 to $99, after that depending on credit.

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

17.99% - 23.99% Variable

Details

The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa for Rebuilding Credit shares similarities with the top card on our list, with a few key differences. For example, this card earns 1% cash back on eligible gas, grocery, cable, satellite TV, mobile phone service and internet purchases. You’ll also have access to fraud protections.

When you open your account, your initial credit limit will be anywhere from $300 to $3,000. Where you fall on this scale depends on your credit score and history. If you end up with a low limit, you’ll have the opportunity to increase it with on-time payments and other good credit behaviors.

This card does carry an annual fee of $0 to $99, as well as high fees for cash advances. However, you won’t know more about your specific rates and fees until you’re approved, as they differ for each cardholder based on credit history.

Why We Like It

Despite some real drawbacks, this card is one of the best unsecured cards available to those with bad credit. The card’s rewards program is very solid, as it applies to a number of important categories. Again, if you receive a low starting credit line, it could be an issue if you need to make large purchases or carry a balance. On the flip side, the card’s simplified approval process and willingness to increase your credit line should help with that.

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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