With imperfect credit or without a credit history at all, people try to avoid a hassle of applying for a credit card and look for easier solutions.
Let’s have a look at the most popular options. You can jump to the article section using quick links below or read the full article:
Best cards are the ones that are easy to get approved for, provide a credit line with no security deposit and doesn't charge excessive fees. If you have a Poor or Bad credit rating - the best unsecured credit cards available are Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with 1% Cash Back or Indigo® MasterCard® for Less than Perfect Credit
If you are in post-bankruptcy or a bad credit situation - the best 'real credit card' options for you (neither secured nor prepaid) are Indigo® MasterCard® for Less than Perfect Credit or a Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered.
All these options are perfect credit building or credit rebuilding solutions.
|intro purchase APR||regular APR|
|intro BT APR|
This unsecured card requires no deposit and can help build your credit
Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds
Receive 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply
$0-$99 annual fee
There are two types of retail credit cards: private-label cards like a Target card or a Macy’s card, and cobranded cards like Costco True Earnings AmEx (replaced by Costco Anywhere card recently) or Barnes & Noble MasterCard.
Private-label credit cards are not accepted anywhere outside the store chain that issued the card. These cards usually offer good in-store deals, but what matters more is that approval is easier if you have credit problems. Most of these cards in the US are issued by either GE Capital Retail bank or Comenity bank, so if you were declined by one of them you still have a chance with the other bank.
Note: Too many applications within a small period of time can damage your credit score.
Any cards from the list below will be a safe bet in terms of easy application. Many of them are instant approval – that means you can get a card immediately.
Here’s a short list of our top picks for bad credit or no credit by GE Capital Retail bank:
Comenity bank issued retail credit cards:
Other retail cards with easy approval:
Co-branded cards are simply regular credit cards with maximum rewards on a particular store chain purchase and special in-store perks. These cards are usually not as easy on the approval.
Aside from a credit score, there are many other parameters involved with every application. For example, you have lower chances of approval with an annual income lower than $10,000 - $14,000.
no annual fee
3% back on Amazon
2% back on gas, dining and drugstores
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® Credit Card with its 1% cash back on gas and groceries can be a good and easy option for gas purchases.
Credit One Bank automatically monitors every account for credit line increase opportunities each month. We'll let you know as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line. A fee may apply.
See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score. Find the card that's right for you in less than 60 seconds.
Eligible purchases will automatically get you 1% cash back, terms apply.
There are many private label and co-branded gas cards that are similar to store cards and easy to get. Some of our favorites for easy approval are Marathon VISA card (by Comenity bank), BP Gas card (Chase), Chevron and Texaco card (GE bank), and Shell credit card.
The idea with gas cards is similar to retail cards.
Prepaid cards are easiest to get but they are mostly useless for building a credit history. These cards do not extend a line of credit and therefore do not report to credit agencies; similar to using a debit card or checking account.
Secured cards are one of the last resorts if you are turned down for a credit card. Secured cards work perfectly fine for building or rebuilding a credit history and they are very easy to get. The only real drawbacks are that you usually do not get any rewards or bonuses with these cards, you will usually pay an annual fee, and they typically charge a high APR. Another inconvenience is that you are not using your bank’s money (even with 20-25 days grace period) because your credit limit generally equals the amount of the security deposit you put in the bank.
A Digital Credit Union Secured credit card is our favorite in this category with its 11.5% APR. You can qualify for membership with DCU if you are eligible through employment, or you can easily make a small $10-$15 to one of nine participating non-profits to become a DCU member.
Another good secured card is a USAA if you are eligible through a military connection.
If you are a student, you may not have enough credit established to qualify for many cards.
Student cards are offered by almost all major banks and have decent rewards, normal APR’s, and are covered by the CARD Act for your protection. You can find our best picks in the students category.
Several banks offer credit cards designed specifically for people with no credit, bad credit, or bad to fair credit. Our favorites are Total Visa® Card, Indigo® MasterCard® for Less than Perfect Credit and Capital One Platinum.
Most banks will offer to check if you are pre-qualified for a card offer without affecting your credit score. It also helps to see the APR and an annual fee that the bank can offer for your situation (because usually credit card APR will vary widely depending on your creditworthiness). Pre-qualification does not pull your credit score and usually requires no more than your name and four digits of your Social Security Number. Be aware that pre-qualification it is not an application, but rather, checking if you meet certain criteria.
After you are prequalified for an offer, you need to submit an application and still have a chance to be turned down. Experts say that in low credit categories only about 80% of prequalified applications are finally approved.
Below you can find some of the best easy to get credit cards for every situation: for bad credit, after previous bankruptcy, secured or prepaid cards, gas and store cards.
|groceries||Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with 1% Cash Back||bad credit considered, 1% on eligible purchases, terms apply||high APR|
|store credit||Walmart Credit card||easy to get, instant card||accepted at Walmart stores only|
|gas and groceries||Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®||1% on eligible purchases, terms apply, bad credit is ok, good for rebuilding credit, pre-qualification available||low limits, high APR|
|no credit check||AccountNow Prepaid||no credit check||activation fee, $1 transaction fee|
|building credit with secured card||DCU Platinum Secured||low APR, low fees||$500 minimum deposit|
|building credit||Total Visa® Card||unsecured credit card to rebuild bad credit||processing fees|
|rebuilding credit||Indigo® MasterCard®||previous bankruptcy or bad credit is ok, good for rebuilding credit, pre-qualification available||low initial credit limit|
|first credit card||Capital One Platinum||good for no credit/average credit, no annual fee||high APR, low limit|