- 1 Unsecured Credit Cards for Fair Credit
- 2 6 Easiest Good Credit Cards to Get Approved for After Bankruptcy
- 3 credit cards for really bad credit scores
- 4 credit cards for really bad credit scores
- 5 How Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit Work
- 5.1 How to build credit with no credit or bad credit
- 5.2 What's the difference between an unsecured card and secured card?
- 5.3 What does it mean to have an "unsecured credit card for bad credit"?
- 5.4 Is getting an unsecured credit card worth it?
- 5.5 Best unsecured card for bad credit
- 5.6 One of our best unsecured cards. with CASH BACK!
- 6 10 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
- 6.0.1 1. Capital One Secured MasterCard
- 6.0.2 2. Discover it Secured Credit Card
- 6.0.3 3. Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card
- 6.0.4 4. U.S. Bank LANPASS Visa Secured Card
- 6.0.5 5. USAA Secured Card American Express or Visa Platinum Card
- 6.0.6 7. Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card
- 6.0.7 8. Unity Visa Secured Credit Card
- 6.0.8 9. Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa Card
- 6.0.9 10. DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card
Unsecured Credit Cards for Fair Credit
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6 Easiest Good Credit Cards to Get Approved for After Bankruptcy
We have created the list of the easiest good credit cards to get approved for after bankruptcy, to help people with financial troubles to build up their credit. Bankruptcy will destroy your FICA score, but in most cases, you will have at least a few more credit options left.
Banks and credit companies issue secure credit cards that offer credit recovery features to users with bad and poor credit. In some cases, you can also opt for a regular credit card. For getting this type of card, you will need to pass a strict screening. The bank will take into consideration your salary and the amount of debt you have.
Most companies won’t provide clear criteria for getting these cards, and applicants usually find out the result of their application, after the screening process ends. In addition to this, each credit company has its criteria for issuing cards to people with bad and poor credit.
Still, there are many different cards that are available to consumers, and we have taken into account several criteria to determine their availability for people, who went through Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When it comes to secured credit card deals, most companies require you to put several hundred dollars on your account. This fund is then used as a deposit in case something goes wrong. The deposit amount usually determines your credit line, and you get the same amount of money as the one you paid. These strict rules make secure credit cards sound more like prepaid debit cards, but unfortunately, people who filed for bankruptcy don’t have too many options to choose from when it comes to credit.
Apart from secured credit cards, people with credit issues can also apply for prepaid debit cards. Banks offer plenty of different debit plans for people with bad or no credit. Many of these cards are adapted to satisfy the needs of high school and college students. If you need more information about debit card options, check out the Insider Monkey’s list of the Easiest Prepaid Debit Cards to Get for Teens.
As the main source for making our list, we have visited Card Rates one of the most popular credit card review websites in the world. There, we have found five regular and five secured credit card options, available to users who have filed for bankruptcy. We listed all the cards and then we have visited their product pages to find out required deposit amounts, annual fees, and other specifics. After that, we have chosen six cards (secured and regular ones) and ranked them on our list.
Since there are no unique criteria among the banks and credit companies, people with poor credit can easily get refused when applying for any of the cards we have mentioned in our list of the easiest good credit cards to get approved for after bankruptcy.
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How Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit Work
"My credit score is horrible."
I hate hearing this. But it also excites me!
It excites me because I know the person saying it has a way out. I know how they can rebuild their credit.
How to build credit with no credit or bad credit
If your credit score is between 550-649, you're usually considered to have poor credit.
If your credit score is below a 550, you're usually considered to have bad credit.
Both of these labels come with potential hardships, including but not limited to the inability to secure loans, get great credit cards, get a mortgage, or even lease a car.
If you have no credit or are in the poor-to-bad credit range, perhaps you fell into a difficult times, or were a victim of identity theft, or made some poor financial decisions in the past.
Either way, the good news is you can build credit with some very specific tactics.
Credit scores are made up of different factors, one of the most important being payment history. Do you pay on time? Do you pay the full amount owed every month?
To build credit you have to practice responsible use with your credit cards, meaning you'll pay your statement balance in full every month.
When lenders see a payment history of on-time payments in which you pay back the full amount owed (your "statement balance") every month, they start to like you!
And over time, they see you aren't a risk to them - you won't borrow their money and not pay it back.
With consistent responsible use, your credit score will likely increase.
Unfortunately, with poor or bad credit, it's very difficult to get a lender to trust you! And that means the big banks usually won't approve you for the best credit cards (like ones with huge signup promotions or low APRs) since they're worried about getting their money back.
Thus you have two options:
- an unsecured card made for those with damaged credit, or
- a secured card made for those with damaged credit
What's the difference between an unsecured card and secured card?
Almost all credit cards available today are "unsecured" which means you don't have to pay a security deposit in order to use the card. You simply apply for the card, and if you're approved they mail it to you.
Sometimes there's an annual fee, or sometimes there's an application fee, but you don't have to provide any money upfront with an unsecured card.
On the other hand, a "secured" card means that you provide money upfront to the lender as a security deposit. It's cash collateral that becomes your credit line for that account, meaning if you put $400 into the account, you will have $400 in credit available.
Banks offer secured cards because there is little risk to them -- you already gave them your money! So they don't have to worry about not getting paid back since they have your cash as collateral if you don't pay off purchases on the card.
Secured cards for bad credit can be a great way of rebuilding credit with responsible use. You can spend on the card up to your security deposit, pay it back every month, rinse and repeat. You can usually increase your credit line by adding to your security deposit.
The issue with a secured card is that it requires the security deposit! And you may not have $400 lying around.
That's where unsecured cards for bad credit come in.
What does it mean to have an "unsecured credit card for bad credit"?
If you have damaged credit, it's almost impossible to get a big bank to give you a credit card without collateral which means they usually only offer secured cards.
Fortunately, some companies cater specifically to people who have no credit or poor credit, and they offer unsecured credit cards (we discuss one of those cards below).
These unsecured credit cards require you to pre-qualify, which means they require your information including Social Security Number, to accurately identify you and determine whether you're eligible for approval.
These cards don't require a security deposit. "But why would the lender trust me if I have bad credit and don't give them collateral?" you might ask.
The answer is because most of these unsecured cards for bad credit have an annual fee and a variety of other fees should you decide not to pay them back in full every month.
"Fees?! I hate fees!" Yes me too, but unfortunately if your credit score isn't great, your options are limited.
Though almost all unsecured cards have such fees, building your credit for the long run should be the top priority, even if you have to pay to play. You're investing in your future happiness.
You don't want to be turned down when one day you want a loan! Plus your interest rates on everything - credit cards, loans, your mortgage - would likely be much lower with a higher credit score, thus saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time.
Is getting an unsecured credit card worth it?
Absolutely not if you don't think you can make your payments on time, or if you're not 100% committed to building your credit back up, or if you're not organized enough to make sure you pay by the due date.
If you can commit to having a credit card and managing yourself with responsible use then an unsecured credit card may definitely be an option for you.
Unsecured credit cards are best for those who need emergency cash and can pay it back quickly. Essentially an unsecured card can act as an emergency loan.
Unlike a secured card, you don't need to put up money upfront which makes it best when emergency funds are needed. You'll likely start with a low credit limit but it may quickly increase with responsible payments.
Best unsecured card for bad credit
Unsecured cards have gotten a bad rap because in the past predatory banks hid many of the fees and APRs from the consumer so people didn't realize what they were getting themselves into when they signed up.
Fortunately the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was passed by Congress is 2009 with the aim of protecting consumers and making fees clear and conspicuous.
It's extremely important to read through the terms of any credit card you're considering! And thankfully our team here at FinanceBuzz.io does just that before making any card recommendations.
One of our top unsecured cards for those with no credit or credit in the poor-to-bad range is the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa®.
One of our best unsecured cards. with CASH BACK!
The first thing when considering any new card is the bank offering it. Is the bank legit? Will they help me improve my credit score?
With Credit One Bank®, we believe they are indeed committed to helping their cardholders.
Credit One Bank® has served Americans since 1984, and they are A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau.
They currently have over 7 million US cardholders who have been historically overlooked by other banks because of their less than perfect credit.
The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® is an unsecured credit card with no deposit required. Those who are happiest with the card understand the fees involved and make their payments.
The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® reports to the three major credit bureaus, so with responsible use you can show lenders that you're able to make your monthly payments in time and in full.
It's one of the few unsecured cards for bad credit that has no application processing fee.
However, there is an annual fee. Again, consider the fee an investment in your future!
Credit One Bank® assesses its annual fees based on your creditworthiness and their secret sauce of judgment.
The first year annual is anywhere from $0-75, with subsequent years $0-99.
Amazingly, this unsecured card offers up to 1.1% CASH BACK on purchases! So while you work to improve your score, you can even earn money back. Not too bad considering the options available in the market.
Additional benefits include:
- Free Monthly Credit Score Tracking
When you're committed to building back your credit, consider the options available to you!
Disclaimer: This content and the opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been provided, commissioned, or endorsed by the credit card issuer. All information was accurate at the time of this post but card terms and conditions may change at any time.
10 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
If your credit score has taken a nosedive, you'll need to start using credit responsibly to rebuild it. This can get tricky, however, since many forms of credit require good credit to qualify to use them. That's where credit cards for bad credit come in; these credit cards are easier to qualify for and report credit behavior to credit bureaus, which can help build credit back up.
"Before someone with a low credit score opens a new credit card, he or she should consider [several] factors to determine if it is a smart financial decision or not," said Ken Chaplin, a senior vice president for TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus that track U.S. consumers' credit histories. Some of the factors you'll want to consider before applying for a credit card include your history of on-time payments, your financial stability and the credit card's features.
Comparing different credit cards for bad credit is also an important step. The best credit cards for bad credit are easy to qualify for, have lower APRs and low fees, report credit usage to the three major credit bureaus, offer credit card rewards or provide tools that help consumers track and rebuild their credit.
This list of the 10 best credit cards for bad credit will help you quickly find an option to fit your needs and financial habits.
1. Capital One Secured MasterCard
- Credit limit up to $3,000
- No annual fee
- Free access to credit-tracking tools
This option is a secured credit card, which means new cardholders will be required to provide a refundable cash deposit to secure the card once their application is approved. For a Capital One Secured MasterCard, the deposit amounts are fairly low at $49, $99 or $200, based on creditworthiness.
Steven Hughes, a financial mentor and founder of financial literacy advocacy organization Know Money, Inc., named the Capital One Secured card as a top credit card for bad credit. "While the interest rate is high on this secured card (24.99%, barring you don't have a late payment), there's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, [which] help you save some money when travelling," Hughes said.
The card also offers free access to Capital One Credit Tracker, which provides real-time free access to your credit score as well as tools to help you simulate and compare how different actions would affect your credit score. Capital One also reports to all three major credit bureaus -- TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
2. Discover it Secured Credit Card
- Credit limit up to $2,500
- Cash-back rewards are doubled after first year of use
- Free FICO credit score reported on each monthly statement
The Discover it Secured Credit Card requires a refundable deposit of $200 to open, though a cardholder can deposit more to increase their credit limit up to $2,500. The card has no annual fee and an APR of 23.24%. Discover also includes a report of the customer's current credit score from FICO, the most commonly used credit score, with each credit card statement and through its online account management, helping cardholders track their progress toward rebuilding credit.
Cardholders have the chance to earn cashback rewards with a Discover it Secured card -- 1 percent back on all purchases and 2 percent back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 a quarter). For new Discover it account holders, all cash back earned in the first 12 billing cycles is doubled and applied to the account.
Lastly, the Discover it Secured Credit Card offers customers the chance to transition from a secured card to an unsecured card and have their deposit returned after one year of responsible credit management.
- APR as low as 9.24%
- No annual fee, balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee
- Earn reward points
The nRewards Secured Credit Card from Navy Federal Credit Union is a truly affordable option to rebuild credit. "Navy Federal's nRewards Secured Credit Card is an award-winning card with no 'sign up' fee, annual fee, balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee," said Matt Freeman, manager of credit card products at Navy Federal Credit Union.
The nRewards Secured card requires a higher security deposit of $500 to open, but comes with few fees and low APRs that start at just 9.24% and only reach as high as 18.00%.
"Also rare is that you can earn rewards (one per $1 spent on purchases with no limit on points earned), which is not the case with most secured cards," Freeman said. Rewards points are valid for up to four years with no limits on points earned, and cardholders can redeem points for rewards like gift cards to popular restaurants, department stores or even a cash card.
4. U.S. Bank LANPASS Visa Secured Card
- Credit limit up to $5,000
- Earn miles, with 5,000-mile bonus for first use
- No annual fee for the first year
U.S. Bank's LANPASS Visa Secured Card is a credit card for bad credit that still offers the chance to earn miles with South American airline LAN Airlines. Cardholders earn one LANPASS mile for every $1 charged to the card with no cap on miles, and will also get a 5,000-mile bonus for first using the LANPASS Visa Secured Card. They also get a 10 percent discount on LAN purchases up to $500 each year.
To open a LANPASS Visa Secured Card, the account opener must make a security deposit of at least $300 and up to $5,000 for a larger credit limit. This card has a 23.24% APR and no annual fee for the first year, after which the fee is $25.
5. USAA Secured Card American Express or Visa Platinum Card
- Earn interest on your security deposit
- No penalty APRs
- Low APRs of 10.15% to 20.15%
USAA offers two similar secured cards that are both among the best credit cards for bad credit: the USAA Secured Card American Express and the USAA Secured Card Visa Platinum.
Opening either card requires a minimum security deposit of just $250, with the option to deposit more to increase the credit limit up to $5,000. A unique perk of the USAA Secured Cards from American Express and Visa, however, is that rather than hold your deposit in any old account, USAA puts it in one of its two-year certificates of deposit where it will earn interest for the cardholder.
These cards also offer low rates, from 10.15% to 20.15% APR and has no foreign transaction fees. They also have an annual fee of $35.
- Instant pre-qualification with no impact to credit score
- Credit score monitoring through a partner
- No security deposit required
Applying for loans or credit cards means that lenders often perform a hard credit pull, which is an inquiry into your credit history that can count against you or temporarily ding your score.
But the Milestone Gold MasterCard offers a pre-qualification process that won't incur a hard credit pull, "which is great because it won't further dent credit, and you may qualify even if you've had a prior bankruptcy," said Priyanka Prakash, a financial specialist for business loan search site FitBiz Loans.
As an unsecured, subprime credit card, the Milestone Gold MasterCard requires no security deposit to open an account, which will have a $300 credit limit. The Milestone Gold MasterCard also provides cardholders with all benefits of a Gold MasterCard, which includes identity theft resolution, extended warranty coverage and price protection on purchases.
The card has an annual fee of $35 to $59, depending on creditworthiness, and a 23.90% APR.
7. Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card
- Open with $200 security deposit
- Low 17.70% APR
- FICO score reported monthly on card statements
Merrick Bank's Secured Visa Card can be secured with a deposit as low as $200. The card's credit limit will match the security deposit, allowing the cardholder to get a limit as high as $3,000. The Merrick Bank Secured Visa card reports to all three major credit bureaus to help build credit.
Cardholders also have access to monthly reporting of their FICO credit score through Merrick Bank's online credit card account management. These regular updates are useful to monitor progress in building credit and to alert the cardholder to potential credit issues.
The Merrick Bank Secured Visa card carries a lower 17.70% APR, which is especially competitive for those with poor credit. It charges a $36 annual fee for the first year, after which the fee is charged at $3 a month.
8. Unity Visa Secured Credit Card
- Lower fixed APR at 17.99%
- $250 security deposit
- Credit limit up to $10,000
The Unity Visa Secured credit card stands out for its interest rate, which is fixed at 17.99% APR through the expiration date of the card. Unlike most credit cards that carry a variable APR that the issuer can raise at any time, a Unity Visa Secured cardholder will lock in this lower APR for as long as they are using their card. It also offers an introductory rate of 9.95% APR for balance transfers for the first six months.
A new account holder can secure a Unity Visa Secured card with as little as $250, and can provide a deposit of up to $10,000 to secure a credit limit of the same amount.
The Unity Visa Secured credit card also provides a complimentary "How to Rebuild Credit Program" that walks new cardholders through the concepts of good credit management and what they'll need to do to effectively build their credit.
9. Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa Card
- Pre-qualification that won't affect credit
- Free online monthly credit score tracking
- Payment options and protections
The Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa is another unsecured credit card that offers a pre-qualification process to applicants. This allows applicants to see if they meet the card's requirements without incurring a hard pull and potential ding to their credit score.
For those with low credit scores, the Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa might carry a higher annual fee. "But the upside is that you can earn 1 percent cash back on groceries and gas, which is hard to come by in a card for people with bad credit," Prakash said.
Cardholders can sign into their online account to view monthly tracking of their credit score. They also have the option to pick a new due date by which their payments must be made within six days before or after the original date.
The Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa also offers a credit protection program, which will cancel payments due to the card for up to six months if the cardholder becomes involuntarily unemployed or disabled.
10. DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card
- Low APR of 11.75%
- Apple Pay compatibility
- No annual fee
Rounding out the list is the Vsia Platinum Secured Credit Card from DCU, a credit union with locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Its biggest benefits are its low costs, like no annual fee and a low interest rate starting at 11.75% APR. The card also has no fees on cash advances or balance transfers.
This credit card does not require a deposit, but is instead tied to the balance of the cardholder's DCU savings account. The DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card then has a credit limit equal to the savings account balance, which the cardholder borrows against.
The DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card also offers all of the convenience of a Visa card, including compatibility with Apple Pay. It also gets the cardholder access to benefits like free auto rental collision damage waiver, Visa travel insurance coverage and travel services, and extended warranties on many purchases.
Some banks and credit unions mentioned might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions.
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