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Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit

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by Elizabeth Smith & Heather Swick | Updated Apr. 30, 2019

Overview of the Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit

If you've had some bad luck with credit, you may find that a lot of credit cards require good or excellent credit for approval, making it difficult to qualify for new credit cards. This not only makes it challenging to get access to a line of credit but build credit as well. Luckily, a number of issuers have introduced high-quality credit cards for consumers with fair credit. Today, poor credit offers range from cards with cash back to those with low interest rates. Keep reading to see our picks for the best credit card offers for poor credit. See More


Best Rewards Credit Card for Poor Credit

More Details

  • 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
  • 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

Need to build or rebuild your credit score but don't want to miss out on rewards? Look no further than the Discover it® Secured. You earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on anything else. All for no annual fee. Discover it® Secured also comes with an introductory 10.99% APR deal on balance transfers for the first 6 months. And in the first year, Discover matches whatever cash back you earn. Discover reports your activity to three major credit bureaus and reviews your account every seven months to see if you can transition to a new card. Discover it® Secured also provides tools to help you spend responsibly. You receive free monthly access to your FICO® credit score, email alerts, text reminders and 24/7 customer service.

Things to consider

As a secured card, you’ll have to put down the security deposit before opening an account. The Discover it® Secured also comes with high APR on balances and cash advances. There’s no sign-up bonus, but it’s one of the only secured cards with cash back rewards.

Our verdict

Very few cards available to those with poor credit offer so much. We think Discover it® Secured card is the best card out there for building credit while earning rewards.

Best Capital One Credit Card for Poor Credit

More Details

  • 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

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 Poor Credit

More Details

  • 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

Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card is a great tool for improving your credit score. Applicants with limited or no history can get approved. There isn’t even a credit check! You can easily establish a credit limit between $200 and $5,000. Green Dot Bank issues your card and the application process is fast, easy and free. Since your activity is reported to all three nationwide credit bureaus, it’s easy to establish or re-establish your credit with responsible use. The best part of Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card is its low 13.99% interest rate. Even unsecured cards charge more. There’s also no penalty rate and a generous 25-day grace period. Since it’s a MasterCard, it’s accepted almost anywhere.

Things to consider

You’ll have to put down the security deposit equal to your desired credit line when you open up a new account. Plus, there’s a $39 annual fee and additional fees for most card activity, from cash advance to foreign transaction. There are no balance transfer options.

Our verdict

As long as you pay the balance in full every month, Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card is one of the best options for building or rebuilding credit. We think it’s a solid option for people with limited credit history looking for a low fixed-interest rate.

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 balance transfer 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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