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Guides

11 Best “Credit Repair” Credit Cards (Learn to Rebuild Your Credit Score)

Ashley Dull 3/24/17

Maybe you’ve made some mistakes with money in the past that have left your credit score lower than you want it to be. The good news is that reading this article shows you understand the importance of having good credit, and you’re seeking ways to improve it. You may have heard that using a credit card can help repair your credit, so you’re now in search of a credit repair credit card. Now for the bad news: that’s not exactly true.

There aren’t credit cards that “repair” your credit, per se, but rather help to rebuild your credit score slowly with responsible use. Basically, this means that if you’re looking for a quicker fix, you’re better off going with a credit repair company, which we’ll help explain in more detail later. But if you’re looking for a loan that can help improve your score over time as long as you follow a few basic rules, then a credit card for bad credit can be a great solution. We’ll take a look at both options and explain why we like each.

First, Decide Between Unsecured & Secured Credit

First things first — there are two different credit card options for people with poor credit, and those are unsecured and secured. Unsecured is what the majority of cardholders carry, and does not require any money down to get a line of credit. Secured, on the other hand, does require a deposit to secure a line of credit, hence its name.

Oftentimes, the amount you’re able to put down as a deposit is the credit limit you’ll be issued, and most issuers have minimums for this amount, usually ranging between $300 and $500. Secured credit cards are generally for people on the lower-end of the credit score spectrum (less than 620), as the deposit is the issuer’s way of protecting itself in the event a payment is missed, in which case it’s then deducted from the deposit.

8 Best Unsecured Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit, by Issuer

The nice thing about most unsecured cards is that they offer reward potential, such as cash back on purchases like gas and groceries, even if you have bad credit. This, of course, depends on the card itself, but we’ve bulleted out the highlights of each card below for you to evaluate based on what you’re looking for.

We’ve broken this list down by issuer to help you decide which bank you wish to do business with.

First PREMIER

First PREMIER is our highest-rated issuer for poor credit because of its mission to give individuals across the country “a second chance at having a credit card.” Visit the bank’s positive testimonials from customers it has helped over the past 25+ years.

★★★★★
4.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • We may approve those currently building their credit history
  • Application response in 30 seconds
  • Know the score! Quarterly FICO score on your monthly billing statement
  • 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
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 6 minutes

Our top First PREMIER offer welcomes everyone to apply for this MasterCard — even those working to rebuild their credit. Once your account has been open for 13 months, your account can be considered for a credit limit increase. This offer is, unfortunately, not available to residents in New York or Wisconsin due to state laws.

★★★★★
4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • Monthly reporting to the major Consumer Reporting Agencies
  • We provide a response in 60 seconds or less
  • No security deposit required
  • Apply today, and if approved, pay a Program Fee to access your available credit (additional fees and charges apply)
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 minutes
★★★★★
4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • A manageable credit limit can help you stay in control
  • This is a credit card - not a debit or prepaid card
  • Apply today and if approved, pay a Processing Fee and to begin enjoying your available credit (additional fees and charges apply)
  • Make your payments on time each month, and keep your balance low relative to the credit limit, for positive marks on your credit report
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 minutes
★★★★
4.4 /5.0 Stars
  • Must have checking account to qualify
  • A good choice for those with less than perfect credit
  • Credit card responses in 60 seconds or less
  • First PREMIER Bank may approve you when other issuers will not
  • Apply today, and if approved, pay a Processing Fee and you could begin enjoying a manageable credit limit (subject to available credit, additional fees and charges)
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 minutes

First PREMIER and its sister organization, PREMIER Bankcard, are the 12th-largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in America, and was recognized as one of the healthiest banks in the country by DespositAccounts.com in 2015.

Credit One Bank

Credit One Bank is the fastest-growing issuer in America, with a 4.6 out of 5 rating based on more than 3,600+ reviews.

“This card has been great to use. This bank really cares about you and how happy you are with their services.” — Malden, MA

The Platinum Visa is available in more than 20 unique card designs, and free credit score tracking is included — a necessary feature for anyone looking to monitor and rebuild their credit.

★★★★
4.3 /5.0 Stars
  • Receive 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply
  • Make paying your bill easier with the ability to choose your payment date. Terms apply.
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Zero fraud liability protects you from unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit with free online access to your credit score
  • Show off your style with a premium card design, a fee may apply
  • Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
  • Email or text alerts to remind you when your payment is due
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 16.99% - 24.99% (Variable)*
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes
★★★★
4.3 /5.0 Stars
  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without affecting your credit score
  • This unsecured card provides opportunities to raise your credit score
  • Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
  • Monitor your credit with free online access to your credit score
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply
  • Zero fraud liability protects you from unauthorized charges
  • Email or text alerts to remind you when your payment is due
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 16.99% - 24.99% (Variable)*
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 Minutes

Credit One also allows you to choose your payment due date, so keeping up with your payments is more manageable based on your own pay schedule.

Best of the Rest

The following cards have earned honorable mention for their ability to help anyone with a low score access a line of credit.

★★★★★
4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • 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
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 Minutes

Something to note about credit cards for bad credit is that they usually carry high interest rates, so it’s beneficial to pay off the balance in full each month and avoid paying interest altogether. It’s in your best interest to pay zero interest, always!

3 Best Secured Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit

Secured cards work well for those who do not need a large amount of credit (equal to the deposit), but also have the capital to put down for it. This is truly an option for someone who isn’t necessarily in need of a loan, but rather using the card to rebuild their credit. This works because payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, who keep record of your credit history, aka your credit report.

Below are three of our expert’s favorite secured credit cards:

★★★★
4.0 /5.0 Stars
  • Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000. Super Low Fixed 9.99% interest rate on purchases - with no penalty rate.
  • No minimum credit score requirements. We invite all credit types to apply. No processing or application fees.
  • Helps strengthen your credit with responsible card use. Reports to three national bureaus.
  • Fast, easy application process. Choose your credit line and open your Personal Savings Deposit Account to secure your line.
  • See additional primor® Secured Visa Gold Card details
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 9.99%
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes
★★★
3.0 /5.0 Stars
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Get Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Not available in: NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 19.99% (V)
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 minutes
★★★
3.0 /5.0 Stars
  • Credit line secured by your fully-refundable deposit of $200-$2,000 submitted with application.
  • Pay off your balance and get your deposit back any time.
  • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus to establish credit history.
  • Not available in: NY, IA, AR, or WI.
  • No credit history or minimum credit score required.
  • See if you are pre-approved in 60 seconds or less.
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 9.99% (V)
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes

Secured cards typically refund the deposit amount in full when the account is closed (assuming it wasn’t used to cover a missed payment), but be sure to read the fine print.

How to Rebuild Credit Using a Credit Card

Now that you understand the difference between unsecured and secured, and have hopefully decided which is best for your credit and spending needs, the next step is learning how to use the card to achieve your credit repair goals.

First and foremost, choosing a card that reports payments to the credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor. Otherwise, your credit card is useless for improving your credit. A prepaid card, for example, will not have any effect on your credit score as prepaid cards do not report card activity to any of the bureaus. Some cards may only report to one or two bureaus, while others will report to all three.

Simply being approved for a card and having it won’t magically improve your score, though it can have immediate effects on your credit utilization ratio or your mix of accounts, which is just a part of the factors that determine your credit score.

This chart shows how heavily each factor is weighted when determining your credit score. Photo credits: cafecredit.com

The reality is having a credit card can hurt your score the same as it can help improve it. It all comes down to responsible usage of the card, which can be done by following a few best practices:

  • Always pay your bill on time. On-time payments are the most heavily weighted factor used to determine your credit score.
  • Keep your credit utilization below 30%. This means if you have a limit of $1,000, never have a balance of more than $300 on your card. Using a high percentage of your available credit hurts your credit score.
  • Pay more than the minimum each month, if possible. Better yet, always pay your balance in full to avoid paying interest. This is especially true for cards with rewards, otherwise, the interest paid will outweigh the rewards earned.

Remember, this can be a slow rebuilding process, and only works if the card is used responsibly. Especially if you have past negative marks on your credit report, which can take a full seven years to be removed. Responsible use of one credit card will have little effect if you have multiple derogatory marks looming on your credit reports. These can have a significant impact on a credit score, but the following credit repair companies may be able to help you remove them and improve your credit history and score more quickly.

Hire a Credit Repair Company if You Need a Quick Fix

If you want to repair your credit because you have a big purchase coming up, such as a mortgage or auto loan, you’re probably better off hiring a credit repair company. Most offer free consultations and can evaluate your credit report for items they can work to have removed on your behalf.

It’s reported that as many as 1 in 5 Americans have errors on their credit reports, and a credit repair agency can help to have these errors removed for you. Here are our top three recommendations for reputable credit repair services:

★★★★★
4.9 /5.0 Stars
  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2394
  • Most results of any credit repair law firm
  • Clients saw over 9 million negative items removed from their credit reports in 2016
  • More than 500,000 credit repair cleints helped
  • Cancel anytime
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Better Business Bureau A+
In Business Since 2004
Monthly Cost $79.95
Our Expert Review 4.9/5.0 (see review)
★★★★★
4.5 /5.0 Stars
  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2393
  • Average 40-point increase in Transunion credit score during first four months
  • Free access to your credit report summary
  • Three-step plan for checking, challenging and changing your credit report
  • Online tools to help clients track results
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Better Business Bureau A+
In Business Since 1997
Monthly Cost $99
Our Expert Review 4.5/5.0 (see review)
★★★★★
4.5 /5.0 Stars
Better Business Bureau A+
In Business Since 1989
Monthly Cost $59
Our Expert Review 4.5/5.0 (see review)

Some credit repair agencies even offer a money-back guarantee, and our top-rated service, Lexington Law, helps its clients see 85% of negative items removed.

So, is a Credit Card or Credit Repair Really Right for You?

To recap, a credit card offers access to credit and an opportunity to rebuild credit slowly with responsible use, whereas credit repair services can remove negative items from your credit reports to have a potentially larger impact in a shorter amount of time.

It really depends on how many past “mistakes” you may have made and how they’re impacting your credit today, as well as your ability to be approved for a credit card. Credit can be a complicated subject matter, but you’re seeking ways to understand and better it, and for that alone, you’re ahead of most. Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge, choose a credit repair solution that works best for you, and stick to your credit repair goals.

About Ashley Dull
Ashley is the Finance Vertical Manager at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on BadCredit.org and CardRates.com. Ashley works closely with experts and industry leaders in every sector of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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