Credit Cards for Rebuilding Bad Credit Ratings

It’s easy to find yourself in the bad credit range, but what might be difficult is qualifying for any form of credit when you have poor credit. Simple mistakes like missing payments and making paying late can have a devastating effect on your credit score. Even if you haven’t made mistakes and have no credit because you’re just starting out, you could end up in the same credit range as those with poor credit and bad credit. Fortunately, various financial institutions and credit card issuers offer an opportunity for a second chance with specific products designed for those with bad credit. Card options available for those with poor credit include both unsecured credit cards and secured credit cards, as well as gas station and store credit cards.

If your credit is below 550 FICO, your best option is the Emporium Card.

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at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR n/aregular APRSee website for Details*

no fees

Up to $5,000 Spending Limit in Less than 60 Seconds! Shop from over 100,000 brand name products such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, Gucci, Prada and much more with low easy payments.

Less than Perfect Credit Accepted. Approval is quick and easy. Must be 18 years or older, have a valid checking account and a verifiable source of income.

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Our best options for bad credit above 550 FICO are Total Visa® Card or Indigo® MasterCard® for Less than Perfect Credit - a card with high chances of approval even after a bankruptcy

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at issuer’s secured site
fair credit
bad credit
intro purchase APR n/aregular APRsee terms*

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

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read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR n/aregular APR23.9%

Pre-qualify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score

All credit histories considered

Mobile account access at any time

Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards

Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.

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Another great card for bad credit  is Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Building Credit .

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at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
no credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.65 - 24.15% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 15.65-24.15%
rewards 1% on gas and groceries, terms apply 

See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score

1% cash back on gas & groceries, terms apply

This is a fully unsecured credit card with no deposit requirement

$0-$99 annual fee

read review

 

Secured Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit

One of the best ways to easily start rebuilding your credit rating is through a secured credit card. These cards are specifically designed for those with poor credit and because of the potential risk involved, require a security deposit, usually of at least $200. The card issuer holds the security deposit in the event that you default on the account, but in the meantime, you receive a credit card with a credit line in the amount of the deposit. The benefit of a secured credit card is it looks like any other card, and as you use it and make your payments, your activity is reported to the credit bureaus, allowing you to increase your credit rating.

Some of the most popular options available for secured credit cards include the following:

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR23.24% (V)
intro BT APR 23.24% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1x-2x miles per dollar +5,000 bonus
  • 2x miles on gas and groceries
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • get 5,000 bonus on first card use

 

$25 annual fee

$0 first-year fee

reports to credit agencies

24 days grace period

unsecured card offer after 12 months

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U.S. Bank offers a few secured credit card options such as the AeroMexico Visa Secured Credit Card. What makes these cards stand apart from the others is that they include rewards programs for earning miles and points when you use your card. Secured credit cards with rewards programs are rare, so this is one of the limited chances you have to earn a little extra with your card. The AeroMexico card has a $25 annual fee and an APR of 22.99%. In addition to the AeroMexico Visa, U.S. Bank offers a regular secured card without any rewards and cards that allow you to earn miles with LifeMiles, LANPASS, and SKYPass if you fly those airlines more frequently.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
no credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR9.90 - 19.90% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 3% BT fee

$35 annual fee

reports to 3 bureaus

no penalty APR

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For members of the military and their family members who are in the process of rebuilding credit, the USAA Secured Credit Card is a solid option. This card has a $35 annual fee, but you could qualify for an APR as low as 9.99%. This is a fairly low APR, even for unsecured cards, and is virtually unheard of when it comes to secured credit cards. USAA financial products are also known for being supportive of members of the military and providing opportunities to waive fees and take advantage of lower APRs.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
no credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.99 - 24.99% (V)
intro BT APR 24.99% no BT fee

no annual fee

bad credit or no credit 

25 days grace period

read review

This card allows you to reestablish your credit rating with one of the most popular credit card issuers available. It also includes CreditWise, which lets you keep track of your credit score and monitor your credit as you work to improve it. There is no annual fee, and the APR is 24.99%. It is also one of the few secured credit cards that do not have an annual fee at all, which can save you money each year.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR23.24% (V)
intro BT APR 10.99% for 6 months 3% BT fee
rewards $1-$2 cash back

$1 cash back on all purchases

$2 cash back on gas and dining with $1000 quarterly limit

 

no annual fee

25 days grace period

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Although Discover cards are also among the most popular brands, the Discover it Secured Card is not a guaranteed approval card. In the past, the only people who were offered the card were those who did not qualify for the unsecured version. If you do qualify for this card, you can get 1% cash back on every purchase you make with the card and 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter. This card has no annual fee and an APR of 23.24%. Plus, you get free access to your FICO score.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR20.24 - 20.24% (V)
intro BT APR 20.24-20.24% 3% min $10

$39 annual fee

reports to 3 major credit bureaus

25 days grace period

read review

Bank of America also provides a secured card for building credit with its BankAmericard Secured Credit Card. This card has an APR of 20.49% and an annual fee of $39. The difference with this card is that your account is reviewed after 12 months, and you may qualify to have your security deposit returned while you continue to use your card. In this case, your card would then be unsecured since the deposit is no longer necessary.

Unsecured Cards with no Security Deposit

There are credit card issuers that provide unsecured cards without security deposits for people with poor credit. These cards typically carry higher APRs and annual fees but work just like any other credit card. The difference is that you have a decent chance of being approved if you’ve had credit problems in the past. These cards are not guaranteed and even though they are for those with fair credit, you may still be declined when you apply. However, if you prefer to use an unsecured credit card or don’t have a security deposit for one of the other cards, you might want to give this type of card a shot.

Even with unsecured cards, it’s important that you examine the terms and make sure you understand the costs that the cards carry. Both of the following cards allow you to rebuild your credit without paying a security deposit.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
no credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.65 - 24.15% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 15.65-24.15%
rewards 1% on gas and groceries, terms apply 

See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score

1% cash back on gas & groceries, terms apply

This is a fully unsecured credit card with no deposit requirement

$0-$99 annual fee

read review

One of the most popular issuers of this type of card is CreditOne, which offers a few different cards, the CreditOne Visa with 1% Cash Back, actually awards 1% cash back for your purchases, which is rare with credit cards for bad credit. The Credit One credit cards also include access to your credit score free to monitor and manage your credit as you work on repairing and rebuilding. The APR for Credit One cards ranges between 15.65% to 24.15%. The annual fee is based on your credit score and will be from $0 to $75 the first year and $0 to $99 the next year. The first year, the annual membership fee will be deducted from your available credit. After that, the annual fee is divided into 12 monthly payments.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR n/aregular APR23.9%

$35-$99* annual fee

Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score

Less than perfect credit is okay

Mobile account access at any time

Protection from fraud if your card is stolen

Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.

*Dependent on credit worthiness

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The Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered is another unsecured option for those with poor credit. This card includes MasterCard Gold benefits and allows you to see if you prequalify online before affecting your credit. It comes with a $300 credit limit and an annual fee of $35-$99, which is deducted from your limit when you get the card. The APR for purchases is 23.9%.

Gas Station and Store Credit Cards

Gas station and store credit cards are also options if you have bad credit. Most of these credit cards can only be used in specific gas stations or retailers, but you get a line of credit and can use the card within the store just as you would any other credit card. When you make your payments on time and manage the account responsibly, you build a positive credit rating over time. If you prefer an unsecured option for rebuilding your credit, consider one of the following gas station or store credit cards for bad credit:

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR n/aregular APRSee website for Details*

no fees

Up to $5,000 Spending Limit in Less than 60 Seconds! Shop from over 100,000 brand name products such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, Gucci, Prada and much more with low easy payments.

Less than Perfect Credit Accepted. Approval is quick and easy. Must be 18 years or older, have a valid checking account and a verifiable source of income.

read review

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR 0% for 6-24 months regular APR17.15 - 23.15% (V)
intro BT APR not allowed 
rewards $25 bonus on opening $5 back on $500
  • $5 back on every $500 spent on the card
  • 5¢ per gallon on Murphy USA and Walmart gas

 

no annual fee

$25 bonus

read review

This card has no annual fee and offers a 10% discount on your first purchase with the card. Plus, you can take advantage of special financing offers which allow you to pay down your purchase within a specific amount of time without interest. You also get free access to your FICO score, which can be helpful especially if you are working on improving your credit score.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
fair credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR26.99% (V)
rewards intro 10c/gallon for 60 days 

no annual fee

not a major card

Chevron and Texaco gas stations use only

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The Chevron and Texaco Credit Card allows you to earn fuel credits that can help decrease the amount you spend when you fill up at the pump. This card can only be used at Chevron and Texaco stations, but new cardholders get 10 cents in fuel credit per gallon for the first 60 days as a cardmember. For consumers with bad credit, this is a good way to save on gas and build your credit rating.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
bad credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.99% (V)
rewards 1-5 points per $1
  • earn 5 points for every dollar spent in Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta
  • 1 point on every dollar spent anywhere else
  • $5 for every 500 points

 

  • no annual fee
  • 5 reward points per dollar
read review

Old Navy is another popular retailer that provides a store card. This card, however, can be used for Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta purchases. In fact, you get 5 points for each dollar you spend at these stores, which can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases. You also get special opportunities for savings and discounts and other store events that are exclusive to cardholders.

Steps to Rebuild Credit

It isn’t easy rebuilding credit, but if you follow a few easy steps, you’ll see an improvement in your credit score, and with good credit comes better opportunities and lower interest rates. Here are the steps you need to follow to rebuild or build a positive credit rating:

  1. Pay all bills on time. If you have missed payments, catch those up as soon as possible.
  2. Periodically check your credit reports and make sure errors are corrected immediately.
  3. Get a credit card, whether secured, unsecured, gas, or store card, and manage the account responsibly.
  4. Do not max out your card. Use less than 30% of your overall available credit.
  5. Continue to use your card wisely and over time you’ll see your credit score improve.

 

 



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