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The 4 Best Credit Cards for People with Bad Credit

Linsey Knerl 3/27/18

Are you dealing with the consequences of bad credit decisions? While it may seem that your days of great credit card offers and easy applications are over, you still have options.

In fact, we’ve identified four better than the rest credit cards designed to reward good behavior and encourage a rebuilding of your credit profile. To sign up for any of these cards, simply visit our credit cards reviews page.

Check out our best bets for consumers with less-than-stellar credit histories:

1. Credit One® Bank Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards

Fuel is such a common purchase for most Americans that rewarding its purchase only makes sense. Use your card responsibly and you’ll see 1 percent cash back with no limits when you buy gas. The application process is friendly, promising no hard credit queries for pre-approvals.

★★★★
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

Credit One® has been around since 1984, offering credit solutions for those with sub-par credit with the benefits of VISA. Users can enjoy fraud protection, competitive rates and automatic reviews for credit line increases with responsible use.

2. TOTAL VISA® Credit Card

This card boasts a super streamlined application process and promises approval within seconds. The rate on this card is fixed (29.99 percent at the time of this article) and offers the benefit of having your payment history reported to all three credit bureaus. This can speed up repair of your credit history and FICO score.

★★★★★
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

This card provides all the benefits of a VISA card. Cardholders simply pay a $89 application fee to obtain a $300 initial credit limit, which is subject to an annual fee.

3. First PREMIER® Bank Gold Credit Card

For times when Mastercard will suit you better, this card gives you an approval response in about a minute. A checking account is required to be approved.

★★★★★
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
  • No security deposit required
  • 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

First PREMIER Bank® has been around since 1929 and is a four-time recipient of Mastercard’s Performance Excellence Award. It is one of the top 20 issuers of Mastercard accounts in the country. Use is subject to available credit.

4. Milestone Gold Mastercard® 

Get pre-approved with no hit to your credit score with this card that offers a free custom design of your choice! Accepted where Mastercard is welcome, even those with previous bankruptcies have been approved. This card also offers easy online account access which can aid in monitoring and care of your new credit line.

★★★★★
4.5 /5.0 Stars
  • 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.
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 23.90%
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes

The Milestone Gold® card is issued by Mid America Bank & Trust Company out of Missouri. Their Mastercard card benefits include fraud protection, extended warranties, and purchase protection.


All of these cards are typical of subprime cards in that they require a money upfront, which may include application fees, annual fees or processing fees. Limits may be lower than traditional cards, and interest rates are usually at the high end.

In return, however, you are given the opportunity to start again with the convenience and benefits of an actual credit card, instead of just a debit or pre-paid gift card.

Now that you’ve chosen and been approved for your new card, there are some important but simple steps you can take to keep your credit health moving in the right direction.

Some things you can do regularly to ensure proper care of your new account include:

  • Review your recent transactions to be aware of any fraudulent charges and to stay on top of your balance. Setting up online access is the easiest way to get real-time updates to your account.
  • Pay your balance a minimum of every 21 days to keep interest from accruing.
  • Avoid missed payments by setting up automatic payment plans with your bank. Try to pay a bit more than the minimum amount due, if you cannot afford to pay the balance in full.
  • Communicate with your card issuer if you have questions about charges, issues with making payment or would like to change your due date or method of payment. They want to keep your business and will work with you to keep your account in good standing.

Opening your first credit card after bouncing back from some bad money decisions is an important first step in reclaiming your financial freedom. What are you looking for in a new card?

Photo credit: consumerscu.org

About Linsey Knerl
Linsey is a freelance blogger, author and public speaker with a passion for helping everyday families earn more and live better. She shares her expertise for parents who want to start budget-friendly businesses from home at 1099Mom.com.
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