10 Expert Picks: Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” (2018)

10 Expert Picks:  Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” ([current_year])
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Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: September 3, 2015
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

Having a credit card is practically a necessity in our modern day and age. Without one you’ll have a hard time renting a car, making a hotel reservation, buying an airline ticket and many other things.

Credit Score Chart

Responsible use of a credit card can also be a good way to rebuild poor credit after dealing with debt or other financial stumbles. But what if you have bad credit and a low credit score making it difficult to qualify for a credit card? Not to worry, because we’ve identified some of the best credit cards available for folks with a less than perfect credit score.

Many of these issuers specialize in subprime, or poor credit, consumers and won’t require a perfect credit score to qualify. Here are our top 10 expert-reviewed unsecured credit cards for bad credit:

First PREMIER

Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, First PREMIER Bank issues several cards designed to help people rebuild their credit. Use is subject to available credit. Depending on your credit, you may be offered a secured product.

  • Checking account required
  • Application response in 30 seconds
  • Know the score! Quarterly FICO score on your monthly billing statements
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Your First PREMIER Bank credit card activity is reported to the Consumer Reporting Agencies each month. Making your payment on time and keeping your balances low relative to the credit limit will result in positive marks on your credit report
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
6 minutes See issuer website Yes 9.5/10
  • Checking account required
  • A manageable credit limit can help you stay in control
  • This is a credit card - not a debit or prepaid card
  • Track your progress. Your quarterly FICO Score is provided for free on your monthly billing statement
  • Make your payments on time each month, and keep your balance low relative to the credit limit, for positive marks on your credit report
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes See issuer website Yes 9.5/10
  • Checking account required
  • Monthly reporting to the major Consumer Reporting Agencies
  • We provide a response in 60 seconds or less
  • Apply today, and if approved, pay a Program Fee to access your available credit (additional fees and charges apply)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes See issuer website Yes 9.5/10
  • Must have checking account to qualify
  • A good choice for those with less than perfect credit
  • Credit card response in 60 seconds or less
  • First PREMIER Bank may approve you when other issuers will not
  • Apply today, and if approved, pay a Program Fee and you could begin enjoying a manageable credit limit (subject to available credit, additional fees and charges)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.4

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10

First PREMIER Bank is the 10th largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards in the US.

Total VISA

The Total VISA card reports to all three major credit bureaus, so responsible use can help rebuild bad credit.

  • 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
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10

Most applicants can expect a response in just seconds when applying online.

Credit One Bank

Prospective Credit One cardholders can see if they pre-qualify by going online to the Credit One website and filling out a quick form.

  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Track your progress with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
  • Make paying your bill easier with the ability to choose your payment due date, terms apply
  • Stay in-the-know with customizable account alerts via email and text
  • Receive 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases, terms apply
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 19.15% - 25.24% Variable Yes 9.0/10
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds
  • Receive 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply
  • Enjoy more buying power with credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • View updates to your Experian credit score with free online access, terms apply
  • Access your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 19.15% - 25.24% Variable Yes 9.0/10

Your Credit One card will come with free credit score tracking so you can see your progress.

Best of the Rest

If the other offers on the list didn’t appeal to you, these credit cards from Fingerhut, Milestone, and Indigo are also designed for those with poor credit.

  • Holiday gifts they'll like, payments you'll love! Use your line of credit to shop over 550,000 items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
  • Fast, easy online application process and a quick decision
  • Not an access card
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
 
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10
  • Applying is quick and easy with a fast decision process
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 23.90% Yes 9.0/10
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • All credit histories considered
  • Online servicing available 24/7 at no additional cost
  • Unsecured credit card, no security deposit required
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 23.90% Yes 8.0/10

Remember to compare offers to make sure you get the best interest rates and lowest fees.

Choose Your Card (and Use It) Wisely

Having a poor credit score can be a challenge, but these “bad credit” credit cards can help you to get back on track. Prefer to rebuild with a secured credit card?

A number of issuers offer secured credit cards for subprime consumers. Regardless of the type, Using any of these recommended cards wisely and paying your bill on time each month can not only give you the flexibility you need, but also boost your credit score, too. Even if you’ve got bad credit, these cards can help you turn around your finances and start building a positive credit status from this point forward.