10 Expert Picks: Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” (2020)

10 Expert Picks:  Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” (2020)
GUIDE
Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Updated: January 24, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Having a credit card is practically a necessity in our modern day and age. Without one you’ll have a hard time renting a car, making a hotel reservation, buying an airline ticket and many other things.

Credit Score Chart

Responsible use of a credit card can also be a good way to rebuild poor credit after dealing with debt or other financial stumbles. But what if you have bad credit and a low credit score making it difficult to qualify for a credit card? Not to worry, because we’ve identified some of the best credit cards available for folks with a less than perfect credit score. Keep reading for our expert picks for best credit cards for bad credit as well as some helpful advice about how to use credit cards wisely.

Many of these issuers specialize in subprime, or poor credit, consumers and won’t require a perfect credit score to qualify. Here are our top 10 expert-reviewed unsecured credit cards for bad credit:

Total Visa® Card

The Total Visa® Card reports to all three major credit bureaus, so responsible use can help rebuild bad credit.

  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (subject to 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

Most applicants can expect a response in just seconds when applying online.

Credit One Bank

Prospective Credit One cardholders can see if they pre-qualify by going online to the Credit One website and filling out a quick form.

  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Eligible purchases earn 1% cash back rewards automatically, terms apply
  • Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history
  • Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Manage your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • View your Experian credit score online for free, terms apply
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 17.99% - 23.99% Variable Yes 9.0/10

Your Credit One card will come with free credit score tracking so you can see your progress.

Best of the Rest

If the other offers on the list didn’t appeal to you, these credit cards from Fingerhut, Milestone, and Indigo are also designed for those with poor credit.

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
  • 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
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • 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 24.9% Yes 9.0/10
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Online servicing available 24/7 at no additional cost
  • Unsecured credit card, no security deposit required
  • 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 24.9% Yes 8.0/10

Remember to compare offers to make sure you get the best terms.

Secured Cards

Although secured credit cards require a deposit, that deposit is completely refundable so long as you keep your account in good standing and close your account with a $0 balance.

  • Invest your tax refund to improve your credit by making the refundable deposit for your new secured card today
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI *See Card Terms.
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
  • 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
  • Invest your tax refund to improve your credit by making the refundable deposit for your new secured card today
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI *See Card Terms.
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
  • 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

Although major banks tend to have more stringent qualification requirements, these secured cards from major issuers still accept a range of credit types and scores.

9. Discover it® Secured

The Discover it® Secured card comes with no annual fee and a competitive APR while still offering bonus rewards for gas and restaurant purchases. Additionally, approved applicants can enjoy an introductory balance transfer offer providing 10.99% on qualifying transferred balances for six months.

Discover it® Secured Card

  • Earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined gas and grocery purchases each year
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Pay no annual fee

The minimum deposit amount required to open a Discover it® Secured card is $200, and the size of your deposit will determine your credit limit. Your maximum credit limit will be set by Discover based on your income and ability to pay, but will not exceed $2,500.

10. Capital One Secured Mastercard

The Capital One Secured Mastercard is another good no-annual-fee option for building credit. What’s more, this card has a variable minimum down payment that depends on your individual credit risk, meaning well-qualified applicants may only be required to put down $49 for a $200 credit line.

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
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Pay no annual fee

Cardholders who make their first five payments on time may be eligible for a credit line increase with no additional deposit. This card is also upgradable; cardholders who show responsible credit use may be automatically upgraded to an unsecured card.

Choose Your Card (and Use It) Wisely

Having a poor credit score can be a challenge, but these “bad credit” credit cards can help you to get back on track. Prefer to rebuild with a secured credit card?

A number of issuers offer secured credit cards for subprime consumers. Regardless of the type, Using any of these recommended cards wisely and paying your bill on time each month can not only give you the flexibility you need, but also boost your credit score, too. Even if you’ve got bad credit, these cards can help you turn around your finances and start building a positive credit status from this point forward.

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