10 Best Mastercard Cards for Bad Credit in 2018

10 Best Mastercard Cards for Bad Credit in [current_year]
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Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: April 24, 2018
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

People who are rebuilding bad credit tend to be limited in the number of cards they can obtain. That’s why choosing a card that will be accepted everywhere you shop can be important.

Nearly universally known, Mastercard is the second largest credit card network, processing over 67 billion yearly transactions and accepted in more than 200 countries around the world.

Given its reach, it’s safe to say a Mastercard credit card in your wallet will give you the ability to make purchases just about anywhere. Now the question comes down to, which Mastercard to choose?

Unsecured | Secured

Best Unsecured Mastercard Credit Cards for Bad Credit

An unsecured credit card is one that typically doesn’t require a deposit to open. Because unsecured credit lines are extended without any form of collateral, they represent the largest risk to the credit card issuer.

The high risk associated with unsecured financing means it’s harder to get with bad credit, making subprime options your best bet in many cases.

Rates and fees for unsecured subprime cards will often be higher than those for other card types, so compare your options carefully before applying.

First PREMIER | Others

Best First PREMIER Mastercards

First PREMIER is one of the biggest Mastercard issuers in the country, offering a range of unsecured subprime credit cards aimed at those with poor credit who are looking to rebuild.

  • 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

While First PREMIER offers multiple card options, there is little difference between the products. Each will provide the same terms, rates, and fees, and all First PREMIER cards will report to the three major credit bureaus. Depending on your credit, you may be offered a secured product.

Best of Other Unsecured Mastercards

While First PREMIER has a good many cards, it’s hardly the only name in the game. Several other popular subprime credit card issuers offer Mastercard credit cards to those working to rebuild bad credit.

  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere that Mastercard® is accepted
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • 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
  • 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

Each individual issuer will have its own specific rates, terms, and fees, as well as variations in credit limits and score requirements. If one issuer doesn’t meet your needs, another may have the right card.

Best Secured Mastercard Credit Cards for Bad Credit

So long as you can provide the required deposit, secured credit cards are often one of the easiest credit products to obtain. The collateral provided for a secured credit card means less credit risk to the issuer, and many secured cards have low — or no — credit score requirements.

In most cases, the size of your deposit will determine your credit line, allowing you to potentially obtain a much higher limit than possible with an unsecured subprime card. With responsible use, some secured cards can even be upgraded to an unsecured credit card automatically.

No Credit Req’s | Upgradable

Best Secured Cards with No Credit Score Requirements

To obtain a First Progress Mastercard, you’ll need to deposit at least $200, but you can provide up to $2,000 for a higher credit limit. There are no specific credit history or score requirements to qualify.

  • Credit line secured by your fully-refundable deposit of $200-$2,000 submitted with application
  • Good for car rental, hotels; Anywhere credit cards are accepted
  • 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
  • Just pay off your balance and receive your deposit back at any time
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.99% (V) Yes 7.5/10
  • Credit line secured by your fully-refundable deposit of $200-$2,000 submitted with application
  • Good for car rental, hotels; Anywhere credit cards are accepted
  • 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.
  • Just pay off your balance and receive your deposit back at any time
  • Click for for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 9.99% (V) Yes 7.5/10

Secured cards from First Progress give you the option to choose between a lower APR and higher annual fee, or a lower fee and higher APR. Those prone to carrying a balance may get more value out of a lower APR, though you should avoid carrying a balance in either case.

Best Secured Cards that Can Be Upgraded

By nature, secured credit cards aren’t really cards that you intend to keep for very long. In most cases, they’re simply a tool to build your credit enough to qualify for a better-quality unsecured card.

With some secured cards, this would mean canceling the card when your credit improves. With the cards below, you can skip that step by automatically graduating from a secured card to an unsecured one.

The issuers of these cards will review your credit progress and payment history every few months. When the issuer feels that you’re ready to responsibly handle unsecured credit, your secured card will be automatically upgraded to an unsecured card and your deposit returned.

9. SunTrust Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards

While the SunTrust Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards has a modest annual fee, it offers purchase rewards, a competitive APR for purchases and balance transfers, and no penalty APR for late payments.

SunTrust Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards

  • Earn 2% cash back on up to $6,000 in combined gas and grocery purchases each year
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Pay a $32 annual fee

You’ll need at least a $300 deposit to open a SunTrust Secured Credit Card but may be able to deposit up to $5,000, depending on your credit profile. Your initial deposit amount will determine your credit limit.

10. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t offer rewards or fancy promotions, but it also doesn’t charge an annual fee or balance transfer fee, and it won’t charge a penalty APR if you miss a payment.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

  • Get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • 24.99% APR (variable)
  • Pay no annual fee

Depending on your credit profile, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® may actually be semi-secured, offering a larger credit line than your deposit. The minimum credit line will be $200, with a minimum required deposit of $49, $99, or $200 based on your creditworthiness.

Find a Network that Works for You

Many people have had the unfortunate experience of finally making it to the head of the checkout line, only to be told that merchant does not accept the credit card they wish to use.

When rebuilding poor credit, it’s unlikely you can qualify for a wide variety of credit cards, meaning your everyday card needs to be versatile.

With a widely accepted Mastercard in your wallet, you limit the odds of hearing the dreadful words that you’ll need another payment method.