11 Best “Credit Repair” Credit Cards (Learn to Rebuild Your Credit Score)

11 Best “Credit Repair” Credit Cards (Learn to Rebuild Your Credit Score)
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Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
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.

Maybe you’ve made some mistakes with money in the past that have left your credit score lower than you want it to be. The good news is that reading this article shows you understand the importance of having good credit, and you’re seeking ways to improve it. You may have heard that using a credit card can help repair your credit, so you’re now in search of a credit repair credit card. Now for the bad news: that’s not exactly true.

There aren’t credit cards that “repair” your credit, per se, but rather help to rebuild your credit score slowly with responsible use. Basically, this means that if you’re looking for a quicker fix, you’re better off going with a credit repair company, which we’ll help explain in more detail later. But if you’re looking for a loan that can help improve your score over time as long as you follow a few basic rules, then a credit card for bad credit can be a great solution. We’ll take a look at both options and explain why we like each.

First, Decide Between Unsecured & Secured Credit

First things first — there are two different credit card options for people with poor credit, and those are unsecured and secured. Unsecured is what the majority of cardholders carry, and does not require any money down to get a line of credit. Secured, on the other hand, does require a deposit to secure a line of credit, hence its name.

Oftentimes, the amount you’re able to put down as a deposit is the credit limit you’ll be issued, and most issuers have minimums for this amount, usually ranging between $300 and $500. Secured credit cards are generally for people on the lower-end of the credit score spectrum (less than 620), as the deposit is the issuer’s way of protecting itself in the event a payment is missed, in which case it’s then deducted from the deposit.

4 Best Unsecured Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit, by Issuer

The nice thing about most unsecured cards is that they offer reward potential, such as cash back on purchases like gas and groceries, even if you have bad credit. This, of course, depends on the card itself, but we’ve bulleted out the highlights of each card below for you to evaluate based on what you’re looking for.

We’ve broken this list down by issuer to help you decide which bank you wish to do business with.

Credit One Bank

Credit One Bank is the fastest-growing issuer in America, with a 4.6 out of 5 rating based on more than 3,600+ reviews.

“This card has been great to use. This bank really cares about you and how happy you are with their services.” — Malden, MA

The Platinum Visa is available in more than 20 unique card designs, and free credit score tracking is included — a necessary feature for anyone looking to monitor and rebuild their credit.

  • 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

Credit One also allows you to choose your payment due date, so keeping up with your payments is more manageable based on your own pay schedule.

Best of the Rest

The following cards have earned honorable mention for their ability to help anyone with a low score access a line of 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
  • 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
  • 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

Something to note about credit cards for bad credit is that they usually carry high interest rates, so it’s beneficial to pay off the balance in full each month and avoid paying interest altogether. It’s in your best interest to pay zero interest, always!

7 Best Secured Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit

Secured cards work well for those who do not need a large amount of credit (equal to the deposit), but also have the capital to put down for it. This is truly an option for someone who isn’t necessarily in need of a loan, but rather using the card to rebuild their credit. This works because payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, who keep record of your credit history, aka your credit report.

Below are three of our expert’s favorite secured credit cards:

  • 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

Secured cards typically refund the deposit amount in full when the account is closed (assuming it wasn’t used to cover a missed payment), but be sure to read the fine print.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Citi® Secured Mastercard®

This card may not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it offers a low minimum deposit requirement and charges no annual fee. Cardholders also get desktop and mobile online banking access to manage their account from anywhere.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • Provide a security deposit of $200 up to $2,500 for a credit line equal to your deposit
  • Enjoy 24/7 online account access
  • Pay no annual fee

While this card’s APR isn’t the lowest around, it does offer a grace period on new purchases that allows users to avoid paying interest when they pay their balance in full each month.

11. U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card

The minimum deposit amount for this card is $300, and the size of your credit line will be equal to the size of the deposit. And while this card has a small annual fee, it allows users to put down a security deposit of up to $5,000 for a fairly high credit line.

U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card

  • Provide a security deposit of $300 up to $5,000 for a credit line equal to your deposit
  • Deposit earns interest in a secured savings account
  • Pay $29 annual fee

The card also has several user benefits that include online banking access, automatic bill pay features, and $0 fraud liability for unauthorized card purchases.

How to Rebuild Credit Using a Credit Card

Now that you understand the difference between unsecured and secured, and have hopefully decided which is best for your credit and spending needs, the next step is learning how to use the card to achieve your credit repair goals.

First and foremost, choosing a card that reports payments to the credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor. Otherwise, your credit card is useless for improving your credit. A prepaid card, for example, will not have any effect on your credit score as prepaid cards do not report card activity to any of the bureaus. Some cards may only report to one or two bureaus, while others will report to all three.

Simply being approved for a card and having it won’t magically improve your score, though it can have immediate effects on your credit utilization ratio or your mix of accounts, which is just a part of the factors that determine your credit score.

Credit Score Breakdown

This chart shows how heavily each factor is weighted when determining your credit score. Photo credits: cafecredit.com

The reality is having a credit card can hurt your score the same as it can help improve it. It all comes down to responsible usage of the card, which can be done by following a few best practices:

  • Always pay your bill on time. On-time payments are the most heavily weighted factor used to determine your credit score.
  • Keep your credit utilization below 30%. This means if you have a limit of $1,000, never have a balance of more than $300 on your card. Using a high percentage of your available credit hurts your credit score.
  • Pay more than the minimum each month, if possible. Better yet, always pay your balance in full to avoid paying interest. This is especially true for cards with rewards, otherwise, the interest paid will outweigh the rewards earned.

Remember, this can be a slow rebuilding process, and only works if the card is used responsibly. Especially if you have past negative marks on your credit report, which can take a full seven years to be removed. Responsible use of one credit card will have little effect if you have multiple derogatory marks looming on your credit reports. These can have a significant impact on a credit score, but the following credit repair companies may be able to help you remove them and improve your credit history and score more quickly.

Hire a Credit Repair Company if You Need a Quick Fix

If you want to repair your credit because you have a big purchase coming up, such as a mortgage or auto loan, you’re probably better off hiring a credit repair company. Most offer free consultations and can evaluate your credit report for items they can work to have removed on your behalf.

It’s reported that as many as 1 in 5 Americans have errors on their credit reports, and a credit repair agency can help to have these errors removed for you. Here are our top three recommendations for reputable credit repair services:

  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2394
  • Most results of any credit repair law firm
  • Clients saw over 9 million negative items removed from their credit reports in 2016
  • More than 500,000 credit repair clients helped since 2004
  • Cancel anytime
  • Click here for sign-up form, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Better Business Bureau In Business Since Monthly Cost Reputation Score
See BBB Listing 2004 $89.95 10/10
  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2393
  • Average 40-point increase in Transunion credit score during first four months
  • Free access to your credit report summary
  • Three-step plan for checking, challenging and changing your credit report
  • Online tools to help clients track results
  • Click here for sign-up form, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Better Business Bureau In Business Since Monthly Cost Reputation Score
A+ 1997 $99 9.5/10

Some credit repair agencies even offer a money-back guarantee, and our top-rated service, Lexington Law, helps its clients see 85% of negative items removed.

So, is a Credit Card or Credit Repair Really Right for You?

To recap, a credit card offers access to credit and an opportunity to rebuild credit slowly with responsible use, whereas credit repair services can remove negative items from your credit reports to have a potentially larger impact in a shorter amount of time.

It really depends on how many past “mistakes” you may have made and how they’re impacting your credit today, as well as your ability to be approved for a credit card. Credit can be a complicated subject matter, but you’re seeking ways to understand and better it, and for that alone, you’re ahead of most. Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge, choose a credit repair solution that works best for you, and stick to your credit repair goals.