10 Expert Picks: Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” (2018)

10 Expert Picks:  Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” ([current_year])
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Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Updated: October 26, 2018
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

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.

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

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 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

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.

  • 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
  • Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities
  • 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
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 19.99% - 25.99% 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
  • 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
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • All credit histories considered
  • 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 23.90% 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.

  • 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 Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card details
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details
★★★★

4.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 9.99% Yes 9.0/10
  • 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
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • 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 20.49% (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.
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • 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 10.49% (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.