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10 Best Visa Credit Cards for Bad Credit in 2018

Adam West 2/20/18

When it comes to a long day of shopping, few things are as inconvenient — and potentially embarrassing — as getting to the front of the line and finding out the store doesn’t accept your credit card network. This usually means scrabbling through your wallet for some way to pay, or, worse, slinking out of the store without your selections.

As the first major credit card network, Visa has long held the lion’s share of the credit card market, and the network is still one of the most likely to be accepted, particularly on an international scale. Additionally, Visa has a large number of bank issuer partnerships, making it possible for most consumers to find the right Visa card for them.

And this is true even for those consumers with poor credit. Not only can you find Visa card issuers with flexible credit requirements, but you may have your pick of secured, unsecured, rewards, and prepaid card options.

Unsecured | Rewards | Secured | Prepaid

Best “Unsecured” Visa Credit Cards for Bad Credit

The most common type of credit card, and the one most likely to come to mind is your everyday unsecured card, which doesn’t require a down payment or any other form of security. Because unsecured cards present the highest risk to issuers, they will be the hardest to obtain for those with poor credit, unless you choose an issuer that specifically lends to subprime consumers like our expert-rated picks below.

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

You’ll need an active checking account to apply for the Total VISA® Credit Card. You can choose from one of six card designs, and qualifying applicants will receive an initial $300 credit line.

4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • You may be eligible for a Credit Line Increase after six months
  • Easy and secure online application
  • Receive your card more quickly with optional Expedited Processing (additional fee applies)
  • Get a result in as little as 60 seconds upon completion of the online application
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See Terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 10 Minutes

Approved First Access Visa cardholders will receive an initial $300 credit line and may be eligible for credit line increases after six months of on-time payments. You can request credit line increases every six months (so long as your account is in good standing), with no fee for the request or increase.

While unsecured credit cards won’t require any sort of down payment, your new card may come with a variety of other fees, including an annual or monthly maintenance fee, an initial processing fee, or other program fees.

Best “Rewards” Visa Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Credit cards with purchase rewards are a rarity in the subprime market, with Credit One Bank standing out as one of the few issuers to offer them. Credit One Bank has been issuing credit cards for more than 20 years and offers a range of subprime cards for all credit types. All Credit One credit cards report to the three credit bureaus, so they can be used to build your credit score by making on-time payments each billing cycle.

4.3 /5.0 Stars
  • 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
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 19.15% - 25.24% Variable
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 Minutes

The exact APR and annual fee you are offered for your Credit One credit card will vary based on your credit profile. Low-risk applicants will be offered the lowest rates and fees.

4.3 /5.0 Stars
  • 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
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 19.15% - 25.24% Variable
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes

Whether you are offered cash back rewards will depend on your credit risk. You may be offered one of five different rewards packages, or you may not be offered any rewards.

5. Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®

As with the other Credit One offerings, the Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® may offer cash back rewards to applicants with acceptable credit profiles, as well as a varying APR and annual fee.

  • Qualifying applicants can get 1% cash back, terms apply
  • Rewards automatically post to your account each month
  • Annual fee between $0 and $99, depending on your credit

With your Credit One credit card, you can choose to pick your credit card design from a range of available options. Keep in mind that a fee may apply for custom cards.

All Credit One applicants will need to go through pre-qualification before applying for a Credit One credit card. Pre-qualification can be completed quickly online and uses a soft credit pull that won’t impact your credit score.

Best “Secured” Visa Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Secured credit cards are good options for those with poor credit because they are secured by a fully refundable deposit made when you open the account. Since there is minimal risk to the card issuer, secured cards often have lower interest rates and fees than subprime unsecured credit cards, but will operate exactly like an unsecured card in all other respects.

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

The Primor® Secured Visa Gold Card has a great interest rate, particularly for credit cards designed for poor-credit consumers. Your credit line will depend on the size of your deposit, with a maximum limit of $5,000.

7. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a solid option for any credit score, as it doesn’t require a credit check to qualify. Deposits start at $200, and your credit line will be equal to the size of your deposit.

  • Minimum deposit amount of $200
  • No credit check necessary to apply
  • Pay a $35 annual fee

You can request a credit limit increase from OpenSky at any time. A credit limit increase will require an additional deposit, and you may be assessed a fee.

8. Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card gives you a credit limit equal to your deposit, with a maximum credit limit of $10,000. You can increase the size of your credit limit at any time by adding to your deposit. Additional deposits must be made in increments of $100.

  • Minimum deposit amount of $300
  • Potential to upgrade to unsecured card
  • Pay a $25 annual fee

Wells Fargo will periodically review your account, and those cardholders who demonstrate responsible credit card use with their Wells Fargo Secured card may qualify for an automatic upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

So long as you keep your secured credit card account in good standing — i.e., don’t default on your balance — your full deposit will be returned to you when you close the account. If your secured credit card balance becomes delinquent, the credit card issuer may close your account and use your deposit to cover the delinquent amount.

Best “Prepaid” Visa Credit Cards for Bad Credit

As a line of credit, a credit card will impact your credit score from beginning to end, starting with the hard credit inquiry from the application. Depending on your situation, you may wish to avoid the credit complications entirely, but you may not want to miss out on the convenience of paying with plastic. A prepaid Visa card can be a good compromise, offering the ability to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted without impacting your credit profile.

3.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with free Direct Deposit
  • No CreditCheck to Get a Card. No ChexSystems Check. No Existing Bank Account Required.
  • $0 Activation fee. No Minimum Balance. No risk of Overdraft fees.
  • $15 Bonus with qualifying Direct Deposit. Never pay to cash your paychecks and get your pay faster.
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate N/A (Prepaid)
Reports Monthly No
Application Length 10 Minutes

With the AccountNow® Gold Visa® Prepaid Card, you can enjoy direct deposits and online shopping without a credit check. There’s no minimum balance and zero activation fees, plus reload using MoneyGram®, Western Union®, Reload @ the Register™, and Visa ReadyLink.

3.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Easy to sign up. Set up your secure PIN and load money to your card with cash or checks or enroll in Direct Deposit.
  • Enroll in Direct Deposit and get your pay up to two days early. Certain restrictions apply. See card site for details.
  • Easy Online Bill Pay to practically anyone — pay your rent, utilities or a friend.
  • Shop online and in stores - everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
  • Your funds are FDIC-Insured through MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card accounts are subject to ID Verification.
  • Access to over 23,000 fee-free MoneyPass® ATMs from coast-to-coast. Get cash or check your balance at no additional cost.
  • Click on "Apply Now" to learn more about Midnight Prepaid Visa RushCard.
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate N/A (Prepaid)
Reports Monthly No
Application Length 10 Minutes

Cardholders can use the Midnight Prepaid Visa® RushCard anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, paying either a flat monthly fee or a per-purchase fee. Fund your card with direct deposit, MoneyGram®, Western Union®, Reload @ the Register™, MoneyPaks®, or Ingo.

Get a Card Accepted Nearly Everywhere

Whether you spent hours browsing to pick out the perfect items, or just minutes tracking down the items on your carefully crafted list, no shopper wants to get to the checkout counter and be unable to check out due to an incompatible credit card network. With a Visa in your wallet, the odds of a merchant turning away your card are minuscule, giving you the confidence to shop without worry.

About Adam West
Adam is a Contributing Editor at Digital Brands, Inc., where he writes and edits articles for BadCredit.org and CardRates.com, among other websites. With more than a dozen years of experience in newspapers, Adam now works closely with finance experts and industry leaders to ensure readers are always in the know.
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