6 Best Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit (Feb. 2024)

Best Instant Approval Credit Cards

You don’t have to have excellent credit to get the best instant approval credit cards. Whether it’s a secured card or an unsecured credit card, all kinds of credit cards are created specifically for people with bad credit. A secured card requires a cash deposit for approval whereas an unsecured card does not.

An instant approval credit card lets you know whether you’re approved for the card within seconds of applying. You can quickly prequalify for a card before applying to see your approval chances, though the issuer will often need more information for final approval, which can still happen within minutes.

Unsecured Cards | Secured Cards | FAQs

Unsecured Cards With Instant Approval

An unsecured card doesn’t require a cash deposit to secure a line of credit as a secured card does. Your credit score is a large determinant of which unsecured card you qualify for.

Applicants with bad credit are generally charged higher interest rates and may face fees not commonly found on cards for applicants with a good credit history. Here are seven unsecured cards that provide an instant approval decision:

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Monthly Credit Score – Sign up for electronic statements, and get your Vantage 3.0 Score Credit Score From Experian
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000 (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 29.99% APR (Variable) Yes 8.5/10

The Surge® Platinum Mastercard® is a subprime card option that welcomes applicants of all credit types. It’s designed to help people rebuild their credit. If you pay the balance off on time each month, positive payment history will be reported to each major credit bureau.

As an unsecured card, the Surge Mastercard® does not require a security deposit to access your initial credit limit, regardless of your credit score and history.

  • $400 credit limit doubles to $800! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Initial Credit Limit of $400.00 (Subject to available credit)
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • Access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Checking Account Required


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 29.99% Yes 7.5/10

The FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® says you can apply now and receive an approval decision instantly. You can use this card everywhere Mastercard is accepted, including online.

This card rewards on-time payments by doubling your credit limit after six months of positive payment history. The APR is high, but not as high as some other cards for poor credit. This card also charges an annual fee and a monthly maintenance fee after the first year of card ownership.

  • Greater access to credit than before - $700 credit limit
  • Get a Mastercard accepted online, in store and in app
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • $0 liability* for unauthorized use
  • Access your account online or from your mobile device 24/7
  • *Fraud protection provided by Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. If approved, you'll receive the Mastercard Guide to Benefits that details the complete terms with your card.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes See terms Yes 9.0/10

The Milestone® Mastercard® is designed for subprime applicants with low credit scores who are considered a high credit risk. As such, no minimum credit score is needed for approval.

This instant credit card, like others aimed at people with poor credit, also charges an annual fee that is based on an applicant’s FICO score.

Secured Cards With Instant Approval

A secured card requires a deposit as collateral before receiving instant approval. When used responsibly, it can help people with bad credit rebuild their credit. It can also help people with no credit history establish a line of credit.

The credit limit is primarily based on the deposit amount. If a $300 deposit is required, then the credit limit will be $300. The security deposit is completely refundable after the account is closed or upgraded to an unsecured account.

  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back* on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Get free monthly access to your FICO score in our mobile application
  • Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Fund your card with a low $200 refundable security deposit to get a $200 credit line
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes with our mobile first application
  • Choose the due date that fits your schedule with flexible payment dates
  • Fund your security deposit over 60 days with the option to make partial payments
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • *See Rewards Terms and Conditions for more information


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 25.64% (variable) Yes 7.0/10

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card offers a low ongoing APR and the opportunity to build credit in exchange for a security deposit and modest annual fee.

This secured Visa credit card requires no credit check for approval, which means it’s virtually guaranteed approval if you can provide a Social Security number and deposit.

  • Choose your own credit line - $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score.¹ Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • ¹ Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 25.24% (V) Yes 7.5/10

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card approves applicants with any credit history or none at all. Credit limits for this secured Mastercard range from $200 to $2,000, based on the amount of a cardholder’s refundable security deposit.

Submitting a credit card application doesn’t hurt your credit score because no credit inquiry will be recorded on your credit report. You determine how much of a deposit you want to make on the card.

  • 1% Cash Back Rewards on payments
  • Choose your own credit line - $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score.¹ Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • ¹ Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 15.24% (V) Yes 7.5/10

The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is another type of secured Mastercard that doesn’t require a minimum credit score or credit history for approval.

The online application is quick and easy to fill out, and you can be quickly approved even if you have damaged credit or no credit history. The card has one of the lowest APRs for a secured card, which will lower your cost of credit if you carry a balance.

What is an Instant Approval Credit Card?

Instant approval isn’t always as instant as it sounds. An instant approval credit card may require a few more steps after you fill out the initial application.

Most unsecured credit cards offer instant prequalification, which requires you to provide some basic information about yourself. While not a final approval, prequalification is a good indicator that your application will be approved. Basic requirements for preapproval include:

  • Being 18 or older
  • Having a Social Security number
  • Providing your permanent address
  • Disclosing your gross monthly income and housings costs (rent or mortgage payments)

A hard pull on your credit report isn’t done in this early step, so your credit score won’t be affected. The card issuer may later ask for more detailed information about your finances so it can make a final decision, but processing this extra data should take less than a minute.

Approval can be faster when applying for a secured card account. The main requirement is that you make a cash security deposit as collateral, and a credit check may not be required.

Another version of an instant approval card is one in which an instant card number is given to you upon approval. You can reach out to the issuer directly to see whether this is an option. If you need access to your spending limit right away, you may also be able to request expedited shipping.

How Do I Qualify For an Unsecured Instant Approval Credit Card?

Qualifying for an unsecured instant approval credit card is easy. You fill out a short online form, which should only take a few minutes or less, and prequalification is usually done within a minute.

But that’s only a prequalification. You may still need to provide more information to the card issuer, such as verifying your income. Your credit score will also be checked.

Surge Prequalification Screen

You can prequalify for most cards on the issuer’s website without affecting your credit score.

Some unsecured cards don’t require a credit history for approval, and being approved allows you to start building your credit profile. These cards will have basic features and low credit limits, but making timely payments on them can help build your credit score within six months. That can help make you eligible for better cards with more benefits and rewards.

What is the Easiest Credit Card to Get Approved For?

If you can afford a cash deposit, a secured credit card is the easiest kind of credit card to get approved for.

The deposit can be as low as $200 and is fully refundable when you cancel the card, minus any outstanding balance. If you don’t make a payment, the issuer will likely withdraw your missed payment amount from your deposit. If you continue to miss payments, the account will be closed.

Almost all secured cards set the credit limit at the cash deposit amount. If you come up with $500 cash, say, from a tax refund, you can send the cash to your secured card issuer and raise your credit limit. It’s kind of like using a debit card or a prepaid card, though the deposit is only used if you don’t make a payment on the amount due each month.

Unsecured cards can be a little more difficult to get, though the issuers we recommend all offer cards to people with bad credit. If you have fair credit to excellent credit, you should qualify for a card elsewhere that doesn’t have a high interest rate characteristic of cards for people with low credit scores.

Another easy type of credit card to be approved for is a store credit card. A store card is tied to a retailer, such as Target, Walmart, Apple, or Amazon, and can be approved in minutes in the store or online.

Department store clerks often ask customers at check-out whether they’d like to apply for a store credit card and get an immediate discount on their purchases. The cards can only be used at the retailer they’re tied to.

Can I Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Yes. That’s the point of an instant approval card aimed at consumers with bad credit. The card issuers expect applicants to have bad credit, and make that clear on the credit card application.

The Milestone® Mastercard®, for example, doesn’t require a minimum credit score for approval. It even accepts applicants with bankruptcies.

The average Milestone cardholder reported a FICO credit score below 600, with more than one-third of reviewers reporting having a credit score below 550.

Milestone Cardholders Average Credit Score Graphic

The Milestone® Mastercard® has few cardholders with credit scores above 650, which makes sense for a card that’s meant to be a credit-rebuilding tool. With a score above 650 and good credit, consumers may be more likely to qualify for an entry-level prime credit card with better features and little or no fees.

Do I Need a Credit History to Get a Secured Credit Card?

No. Secured credit cards are meant for people with poor or no credit, so not having a credit history won’t be a problem.

More than 26 million Americans have no recorded credit history to generate a credit score, a status known as being credit invisible. Building a credit history and credit score through a secured card, which usually happens within six months of opening an account, will help the credit invisible.

After establishing a credit score, it will likely fall in the fair to good range. A bad credit score will only be issued if the card is used irresponsibly by missing or making late payments, or by using up most of the card’s credit limit.

Having a lot of recent negative factors on a credit report can take several months to years to repair. Some negative items stay on a credit report for seven to 10 years, but they’ll have less impact as they age. As new, positive information is reported to the credit bureaus, a credit score will gradually improve.

Eventually, you won’t worry when a credit check is made in your name.

Will I Have to Pay a Deposit to Open an Account?

For a secured card, yes, you’ll need to pay a deposit to open an account. The credit card is secured by your cash deposit, which is what the issuer requires to offset the risk it’s taking by giving a credit card to a consumer with a low credit score.

The deposit is refundable when you close the account, minus any outstanding balance or fees owed. Unsecured credit cards don’t require a deposit.

Secured vs Unsecured Chart

Paying a deposit generally makes obtaining the card much easier, and may not require a credit check for approval.

Will a Secured Credit Card Build My Credit Score?

Building credit is one of the main reasons to get a secured credit card. Most credit card companies report to the three major credit bureaus.

This is important because not every potential creditor uses the same credit report when performing a credit check to see whether you’re eligible for a loan or credit card. If the three major bureaus receive information from the new secured credit card you’re getting, then on-time payments and other credit report information from the card will be available to any future creditor.

Just as a secured card can help you build your credit score, it can also lower it if the card is mismanaged. Always pay your bill on time and keep your balance below 30% of the available limit. That means, if you have a credit limit of $300, never carry a balance above $90 on the card.

Pay for a small recurring bill, such as a Netflix or Spotify subscription, with the card and set up automatic payments so you’ll never miss a card payment. After a few months of this positive behavior being reported to the bureaus, you should have an improved credit score.

Can I Get a Business Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Operating a business can be difficult without a credit card. A bad credit score appearing during a credit check can make it harder to get a credit card, though not impossible.

The easiest type of business credit card to get with bad credit is a secured business credit card. One example is from the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card from Bank of America. Credit lines start at $1,000 and up, depending on how big of a secured deposit you want to make.

Using a secured business credit card responsibly by paying the credit card bill on time each month will help you rebuild or establish your credit as a business owner. After six months to a year of paying your bills on time and staying within your credit limit, you should be able to move on to an unsecured card and improve your credit score even more.

Your Best Options For Instant Approval Credit Cards

The best instant approval credit cards are aimed at people with bad credit and make it easy for them to apply and be approved for a line of credit.

But because a bad credit score is seen by credit card companies as a sign that you won’t pay your credit card bills, many of the unsecured cards charge interest rates of 25% or higher, fees to set up an account and maintain it each month, and an annual fee. And unsecured cards often provide a low initial credit limit.

While you may not yet qualify for top rewards cards like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express or lucrative Chase Ultimate Rewards points, some of the cards featured above have modest perks, including fraud protection, cash back, and monthly reporting to each major credit bureau. But many cards don’t allow a balance transfer nor do they offer a 0% introductory APR.

Secured cards can be easier to get, requiring a deposit of $200 or more to open an account. The hope is that you can graduate to better credit cards by using these cards to build your credit and raise your score above 600. Once there, you should be able to get a better credit card with lower interest rates and fees, and more perks.

All of your hard work responsibly using your card will be worth the effort when you can get a card with better terms.

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