2017‘s Best Reviews: Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit

Advertiser Disclosure

Unsecured credit cards are what most people think of when they think of a credit card: the issuer grants the cardholder a credit line without requiring a security deposit, and the cardholder pays monthly payments when there is a balance on the account. Some of the products listed below are unsecured, fee-based products:

All Results | Unsecured Cards | Prepaid Cards | Secured Cards | Bankruptcy OK

  • Checking account required
  • A credit card offer for those currently building credit history
  • Application response in 30 seconds
  • Quarterly FICO score on your monthly billing statement
  • Reports to the major Consumer Reporting Agencies
  • 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.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
6 minutes See issuer website Yes 9.5/10
  • Fingerhut offers all sorts of awesome products, like clothing, electronics, furniture and more
  • A WebBank/Fingerhut Credit Account could help you build your buying power by reporting your on-time payments to all three credit bureaus
  • There's no annual fee and no application fee
  • See the complete WebBank/Fingerhut Credit Account terms and conditions
  • 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
  • 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
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • You may be eligible for a Credit Line Increase after six months
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Processing Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • 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
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10
  • 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 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
  • No security deposit required
  • 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
  • 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
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 16.99% - 24.99% (Variable)* Yes 9.0/10
  • 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
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 16.99% - 24.99% (Variable)* Yes 9.0/10

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for People With Bad Credit

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  • Specializes in bad credit, no credit, bankruptcy and repossession
  • In business since 1999
  • Easy, 30-second pre-qualification form
  • Bad credit applicants must have $1500/month income to qualify
  • Click here for application, terms, and details.

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★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
Varies 1999 3 minutes 9.5/10

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4.9

Overall Rating

Better Business Bureau In Business Since Monthly Cost Reputation Score
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Review Breakdown: Unsecured Credit Cards

Ready to choose a new credit card? Our finance experts have compiled the summary table below to give you a quick glance at all the best unsecured credit cards for people with a bad credit history. As you review each card, take into consideration its interest rate, credit-bureau reporting, and overall review rating. If you see a card you'd like to learn more about, simply click on the card name to visit the card issuer's website.

Here are 2017's best unsecured cards for bad credit:

Best Unsecured Credit Cards Bad Credit
Rank Unsecured Card Interest Rate Reports Monthly Expert Rating
1 First PREMIER® Bank MasterCard® Credit Card See issuer website Yes ★★★★★4.8
2 Fingerhut Credit Account See issuer website Yes ★★★★★4.8
3 Total VISA® Credit Card See terms Yes ★★★★★4.7
4 First Access Visa Card See Terms Yes ★★★★★4.6
5 First PREMIER® Bank Gold Credit Card See issuer website Yes ★★★★★4.6
6 First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card See issuer website Yes ★★★★★4.6
7 Surge MasterCard® See terms Yes ★★★★★4.5
8 PREMIER Forward® MasterCard® Credit Card See issuer website Yes ★★★★4.4
9 Credit One Bank® Platinum Credit Card with Rewards 16.99% - 24.99% (Variable)* Yes ★★★★4.3
10 Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® 16.99% - 24.99% (Variable)* Yes ★★★★4.3

6 Things to Know About Unsecured Cards (for Poor Credit, No Credit, or Fair Credit)

Ashley Dull

Expert Guide By:

Ashley Dull, Finance Editor

Most credit cards are unsecured, but there are many different kinds of unsecured cards for all types of credit ratings. Unsecured credit cards get their name from the fact that the debt is unsecured, i.e, not backed by collateral. There’s much to know about unsecured credit cards, so let’s start from the top.

1. What is an Unsecured Credit Card?

An unsecured credit card is a card that doesn’t require a cash deposit to secure the line of credit, unlike its secured credit card counterpart. While there are different options for unsecured cards, your credit score will determine which unsecured cards you’re best qualified for.

2. What’s the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Credit?

The main difference between secured and unsecured credit is that a secured credit card requires the applicant to make a deposit upon approval, which is the bank’s way of protecting itself if payments are not made. This amount typically varies between $49 and $3,000, and is oftentimes equal to the amount of credit issued (credit cards that require a lesser deposit than the credit limit given are known as partially secured cards). Secured cards are best suited for those with low credit scores or limited credit history.

Unsecured credit cards – cards that do not require a deposit – are also available to those with poor credit, but getting approved for an unsecured card can be harder than it is for secured cards. In terms of purchasing abilities, unsecured credit and secured credit work the same way.

3. What are the Types of Unsecured Cards?

Unsecured cards come in many different forms, but there are two primary differentiators: rewards type and credit type. The better your credit, the better the unsecured card you’ll qualify for. Those with good credit scores (700 and above) will qualify for the best rewards programs, APRs, and sign-up bonuses.

Unsecured cards offer a variety of rewards programs for cardholders to earn air miles, cash back, points toward merchandise and travel, or even perks like 0% APRs for a duration of time after approval, usually up to 18 months. With a lower credit score, you may not receive the same perks, but there are still options and advantages for subprime applicants.

For Poor Credit (650 Credit Score or Less)

Because banks view applicants with poor credit scores as the riskiest borrowers, these types of unsecured cards may come with other requirements attached, such as a minimum gross annual income or having a checking account with direct deposit. Even so, some credit cards for bad credit still offer a modest 1% cash back on purchases, and with responsible use, you can help improve your credit and eventually qualify for better offers.

When applying for these types of cards, it’s important to read the terms and conditions so as not to fall victim to predatory lending. These issuers tend to know applicants are oftentimes in a situation of financial need and may charge high interest rates and fees. Be sure to shop around for the best offer.

For No Credit (No Credit History or Score)

Having little-to-no credit history can actually put you at an advantage over those with a poor credit history. This is because you haven’t had the opportunity to prove yourself a creditworthy borrower yet, as opposed to someone who took out a line of credit and missed or defaulted on payments, causing them to have a poor credit score.

While you still won’t qualify for the best unsecured cards until you show that you’re a responsible borrower, you will have plenty of good options open to you – especially if you’re a student. Student credit cards offer rewards for good grades and cash back on purchases, and most have no annual fee. This is true for non-students, as well. Several credit cards for no credit offer rewards, no annual fee, and fair APRs.

For Fair Credit (651-700)

Fair credit applicants will see perks and terms similar to those offered to applicants with limited credit histories — not the best of the best, but certainly not the worst. Unsecured credit cards for fair and average credit are available with rewards programs and introductory offers, but be sure to apply for just one offer, as each time you apply for a credit card a hard inquiry is made to your credit report. This can negatively affect your score by a few points each time an inquiry is made and remain on your credit report for up to two years.

With No Deposit or Processing Fees

As mentioned, an unsecured credit card is one that doesn’t require a deposit upon approval. Fees, however, can definitely become a burden when you have bad credit. Many cards for poor credit carry processing fees, annual fees, and even monthly maintenance fees – this is why it’s important to read the terms and conditions of a card before applying. Each of the review sections above has a green link that will take you to the corresponding page for those offers. You are then able to compare cards and review terms and conditions.

4. Which Type is Easiest to Apply for and Get?

The application process for all credit cards is fairly similar — you’ll be required to provide your personal identifying information, such as your address and Social Security number, as well as your employment information and income. After the application is submitted, most issuers will let you know within minutes if you’ve been approved for the card.

Knowing which cards are open to you based on your credit rating will help your chances of being approved. That said, if you have bad credit, don’t apply for an unsecured card for good credit because you want the rewards or a higher credit limit, as you’ll very likely be denied. All of the cards listed on this page are open to poor credit applicants, but if you have a really poor credit score (sub 600), getting approved for a secured card may be easier.

5. Are There “Guaranteed Approval” Cards?

The only card that is guaranteed to anyone is a prepaid credit card that you can buy and load the money onto yourself. “Guaranteed” unsecured cards still have requirements attached, such as having a checking account or meeting the minimum income. Cards that tout themselves as having “guaranteed approval” are usually the ones to watch out for, as they are notorious for having high interest rates and fees. As with any credit card, be sure to read the terms so you fully understand what you might be getting yourself into.

6. Can I Use an Unsecured Card to Build Credit?

Yes, so long as it’s used properly. What this means is keeping your credit utilization low — most experts recommend below 30% — e.g. if you have a $1,000 credit limit, 30% of that would be a $300 balance. And even more importantly, always pay your bill on time, as this is the biggest influencer to your credit, accounting for 35% of your FICO credit score.

Lastly, be sure to choose a credit card that reports to all three credit bureaus, so your responsible borrowing behavior will lead to positive marks on your credit report. Most unsecured credit cards do, but if we haven’t stressed this enough by now, read the fine print!

Information Warranty & Disclosure: Great efforts are made to maintain reliable data on all offers presented. However, users should check each provider’s official website for updated terms, details and conditions for each offer before applying or signing up. Our site maintains strict terms of service and may accept compensation for paid ads or sponsored placements in accordance with these terms. Users must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for financial offers as per the terms presented on provider websites.

* FICO scores/credit scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.