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:
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 Visa® Credit Card with its 1% cash back on gas and groceries can be a good and easy option for gas purchases.
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.
If your credit score is lower than 550 FICO, your chances of getting an unsecured credit card are low. One of the rare opportunities for you is the Emporium Card.
The card is an unsecured credit card, that works as the store card for the Emporium online store. No fees and an average APR makes this card a great choice if you got denied of credit by major banks. It will also help you building your credit.
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, Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Building Credit and Capital One Platinum.
|intro purchase APR||regular APR|
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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
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.
|1||Emporium Card||store/catalog||$5,000 limit||limited acceptance, not a major credit card|
|2||Total Visa® Card||unsecured card for bad credit||real credit card to rebuild bad credit||processing fees|
|3||Indigo® MasterCard®||unsecured credit card for bad credit||previous bankruptcy or bad credit is ok, good for rebuilding credit, pre-qualification available||low limits, high 23.9% APR|
|4||Milestone® MasterCard®||unsecured credit card for bad credit||previous bankruptcy or bad credit is ok, good for rebuilding credit, pre-qualification available||low limits, high 23.9% APR|
|5||Credit One Platinum||unsecured credit card for bad credit||1% cash back on gas purchases, bad credit is ok, good for rebuilding credit, pre-qualification available||low limits, high APR|
|6||Discover it® Secured Card||secured credit card||2% cash back on gas purchases, bad credit is ok, good for building credit||limited Worldwide acceptance, security deposit needed|