Updated: 05/15/2017

Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit are Real - Pick One

unsecured cards for bad credit

With bad credit, it becomes a problem to find a real credit card with no security deposit and that is not prepaid or debit.

Banks are hesitant to extend unsecured lines of credit to those who slipped in the past and have damaged credit history.

Do not worry, we found great cards that are easy to get with bad credit and will help you rebuild your credit rating.

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Top Editor's Picks

Let’s have a look at our top editor's picks for 2017's best unsecured cards for bad credit

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.15 - 24.65% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 16.15-24.65%
rewards 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply 
bad credit / no credit required

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

read review
intro purchase APR n/aregular APRsee terms*
fair credit / bad credit required

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

read review

Credit Cards for Subprime Lenders

With a 500-600 Credit Score

Take a look at is a Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® – you can easily start rebuilding your credit history with this card.

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.15 - 24.65% (V)
rewards 1% on eligible purchases, terms apply 
bad credit required

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.

read review

intro purchase APR n/aregular APR23.9%
bad credit required

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.

read review

One of a few issuers playing on that field is a Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered by Mid-America Bank&Trust. The card can be obtained with a minimum score of 600+ and is a real unsecured credit card.

intro purchase APR n/aregular APR23.9%
bad credit required

$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

read review

With No Credit History

If you have no credit, the best option will be Capital One Platinum card. The card is friendly to people with no credit and helps you to build a new credit history and apply for a better card later.

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.99 - 24.99% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer no BT fee
no credit required
  • no annual fee
  • for average or no credit
  • high 24.99% APR
read review

Store and gas cards

One of the most useful advice for rebuilding credit will be to get a store card and a gas card. Cards that you can get from big department stores and gas stations are usually loyal to people with low credit scores and are easy to get.

intro purchase APR n/aregular APRSee website for Details*
bad credit required

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

Many of these cards offer instant guaranteed approval and unlike some other subprime cards, they do not charge a processing fee for an application. 

Be aware that a great majority of retail cards is issued by either GE capital retail bank or by Comenity bank. So if you were turned down by one of these banks, the best idea would be to apply for a card that is backed by a different bank.

Do not submit too many applications at once; many applications and credit inquiries in a short period is a threat to your credit score. You can find a short list of retail cards in our article

Back to Secured Cards

if your score is below 500, or you were denied for unsecured credit card

There is nothing bad about having a secured card – some of them offer low fees and modest APR. Consider USAA secured card if you have ties with the military or a DCU secured card (no annual fee, 11.5% APR). Aero Mexico card offers you good travel rewards in exchange for a small annual fee.

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR13.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 13.49-23.49% 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

 

bad credit required

$25 annual fee

$0 first-year fee

reports to credit agencies

24 days grace period

unsecured card offer after 12 months

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR10.40% to 20.40%*
intro BT APR no intro offer 3% BT fee
bad credit / no credit required

Best for members rebuilding or establishing credit

It's a real credit card — not a debit or prepaid card.

Determine your own credit limit ($250 to $5,000) with an interest-earning CD.

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR12.00% (V)
intro BT APR n/a no BT fee
bad credit / no credit required

no annual fee

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.99 - 24.99% (V)
intro BT APR 24.99% no BT fee
bad credit / no credit required

no annual fee

bad credit or no credit 

25 days grace period

$49-$200 security deposit

read review

Good secured cards allow you to build a credit history in the same manner as unsecured ones. Take into account that an important factor of your credit score is a debt utilization – how much of your combined credit lines are you using. In that aspect, sometimes having a bigger limit secured card can be more beneficial for your credit score than having a low limit unsecured card.  

After a period of good use of a secured card, you have an option to move to an unsecured card if your credit is sufficient. 

If Denied - no Credit Check Cards

If you were denied for an unsecured and secured credit cards, there are plenty of cards with no credit check to choose from.

intro purchase APR N.A.regular APR13.99% (V)
bad credit / no credit required

$39 annual fee

reports to major credit bureaus

25 days grace period

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR17.89 - 17.89% (V)
intro BT APR 17.89% 5% BT fee
bad credit required

25 days grace period

reports to credit bureaus as unsecured card

read review

Cards to Avoid

Many second chance offers and cards that are marketed for people with bad credit use deceptive tactics and may lead you to more debt and even worse credit rating.   

Many credit cards for bad credit have very high fees - Surge card, Verve card - annual fee and sometimes a one-time application fee (processing fee) can add up to $200 per year, which is extremely high.

I would also not recommend catalog or merchandise cards like Horizon Gold, Net First Platinum, Next Millenium, Gettington credit, Fingerhut credit - these are cards that can be used only for shopping in one online mall.

Many of those cards are frequently changing names and rebranding to get rid of bad online reputation

Your credit situation is not so desperate that you need to be stuck on one overpriced online mall to do your shopping.

How to use a secured card to rebuild credit

If your credit is poor, your main credit goal is to rebuild your score. Only after your credit rating gets into a fair or average category you will be able to apply for cards with rewards, cash back or miles.

The road to a good credit starts with your first secured card, then you add additional unsecured credit cards and manage them responsibly. A credit builder loan will be a good supplement to credit cards to get different types of credit on your file.

Quick credit building guide

1. Apply for a secured card. The bigger the limit you can get (it depends on the amount you can but to the bank as a security deposit) the better - it will help you to maintain low balance to available credit ratio. Best suggestions here are Capital One Secured card and SDFCU Secured card - both cards has no annual fee and offer good terms.

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR7.49 - 7.49% (V)
intro BT APR 7.49% no BT fee
bad credit / no credit required

no annual fee

7.49% APR

no BT fee

no credit check

read review

2. Use your first card extremely cautiously. That means never use more than 30% of your credit available (I know it is hard when your limit is just a couple of hundreds). Never forget that this card is only a tool for building your credit history and nothing else.

3. Get a one-year credit builder loan from a bank. Many banks offer this type of loans - it works very similarly to a secured card. Having a loan on your credit file, helps you to improve a 'credit mix' factor in your credit score - you will have two different types of credit in your credit history.

4. Always keep track of our credit score. Many banks offer free FICO score monitoring, you can also subscribe to one of the commercial credit monitoring services. Knowing your actual score helps to understand the direction where you are heading.

5. After 6 months of keeping your account in good standing, you can apply for an unsecured credit card. I would recommend getting a Credit One Card - it is the most loyal to poor credit card today. Another option is a Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered.

6. After several months of responsibly using your secured credit card, unsecured credit card, and a credit builder loan, your credit rating should be in low 600's. Now you are ready to apply for Capital One credit card. 

7. After a year from the beginning, you will be able to close your credit builder loan. If you did everything right, your credit score by that time will be already in 650+ range, which is fair credit.  

Unsecured card after bankruptcy

It is surprising, but many people see a flow of new credit card offers in their mailbox after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  A person can file a Chapter 7 only once in every eight years, and a great majority of people file only once in a lifetime.

Many unsecured credit cards and 'second chance' offers are available in that situation. Our recommendation is a Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered - this card is marketed for people after bk and offers decent terms.

intro purchase APR n/aregular APR23.9%
bad credit required

$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

read review

Here's another card that can approve you after Chapter 7.

intro purchase APR n/aregular APR23.9%
bad credit required

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.

read review

Summary

2017's Best Unsecured Credit CardsWith bad credit your options for unsecured cards are limited. However several banks offer regular credit cards even for people after bankruptcy. Consider all pros and cons and start working on your credit with a new credit card.

Here are best 2017's secured and unsecured credit cards for bad credit ranked by our editor

Best for Card Pros Cons
cashback, credit rebuilding 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
after bankruptcy Indigo® MasterCard® previous bankruptcy or bad credit is ok, pre-qualification available low limits, high APR
after bankruptcy Milestone® MasterCard® previous bankruptcy or bad credit is ok, pre-qualification available low limits, high APR
building new credit Capital One Platinum no annual fee, credit limit increase opportunities no cashback, average credit needed, high APR
building credit DCU Platinum Secured low APR, no annual fee security deposit required
building credit USAA Secured card low APR available with military connection only
building credit with no credit check primor® Secured MasterCard Classic no credit check annual fee
building credit with no credit check Capital Bank OpenSky Secured  no credit check, reports as unsecured security deposit required

 

Comments

Discover and Capital One are the best

ulogin_googlepl..., 02/08/17

Discover's card is a great addition to your wallet because of their strong security to protect your account, plus after the first six months of on-time payments, they often return your security deposit and raise your limit. Capital One reviews your account after every fifth payment for limit increases, if you've been good about making your payments, and the increases are generous too. Capital One will even give you a credit line higher than your deposit. When I began, I gave them $250 for a $...read in full
Discover's card is a great addition to your wallet because of their strong security to protect your account, plus after the first six months of on-time payments, they often return your security deposit and raise your limit. Capital One reviews your account after every fifth payment for limit increases, if you've been good about making your payments, and the increases are generous too. Capital One will even give you a credit line higher than your deposit. When I began, I gave them $250 for a $400 limit, and it is now much higher because of my good history. In addition, my history with one account let me obtain other Capital One-issued cards.
helpful comment? Yes / No 0/0
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