11 Best Subprime Credit Cards in 2022

Best Subprime Credit Cards

When looking for a great steak dinner, many meat lovers choose prime beef for its quality and flavor.

Similarly, when looking for new customers for a great rewards credit card, many card issuers go for prime and super-prime consumers because of their good credit scores and positive payment histories.

But just as certain chefs excel at using cuts of meat that others snub, some credit card issuers specialize in providing credit to subprime applicants who need to build credit. And like the wide variety of dishes that can be made with various cuts and types of beef besides prime, credit cards for the subprime market are varied as well. Below, we’ll take a look at our choices for the best subprime credit cards.

Unsecured | Secured | Bankruptcy OK | Prepaid

Best “Unsecured” Subprime Credit Cards

The most sought-after type of credit card is typically an unsecured card, as they don’t require a deposit to open or maintain. Because they have no collateral security, however, unsecured credit cards are often harder to obtain with poor credit than secured cards.

Harder, but not impossible. Many of our expert-rated credit card issuers offer unsecured credit cards for a range of credit scores, no deposit required.

  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based customer service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • You can build‡ or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • ‡Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10
  • 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!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • 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
  • 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 24.99% - 29.99% (Variable) Yes 8.5/10

+See More Unsecured Subprime Cards

Although unsecured credit cards don’t require a deposit, most will come with some sort of fee, most frequently an annual fee.

An abundance of fees is especially common among unsecured cards designed for subprime consumers. These cards will often have the expected annual fee, as well as some sort of program or processing fee to open the account. They may also have monthly maintenance fees, too.

Most fees, including annual fees and processing fees, will generally be charged when you first open your account, reducing the amount of credit you initially have available until the fees have been paid.

Best “Secured” Subprime Credit Cards

As the name suggests, secured credit cards are secured by an initial deposit that acts as collateral for the credit line. Thanks to that deposit, secured credit cards are lower risk to the issuer and, thus, can be easier to obtain than unsecured cards.

With most secured credit cards, the size of your deposit will dictate the size of your credit line, up to a specific maximum. Most of our top-rated secured cards require a deposit of $200 or more.

  • Earn 2% cash back on everyday purchases at Amazon, Uber, Uber Eats, Whole Foods, Netflix, Spotify, and more! And 1% cashback on everything else.
  • No credit check or U.S. credit history required. No SSN required for non-US citizens.
  • Build U.S. credit history from day 1 at major credit bureaus (get $25 when you build your credit score to a 700+ credit score within 12 months of use).
  • Get unsecured in as little as 4 months!
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no minimum security deposit.
  • Premium benefits like Cell Phone Protection (including cracked screens) and Car Rental Insurance coverage.
  • Click here for terms and conditions.
  • Click here for official site and application.
   
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 10.24% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10
  • Our mobile app helps you keep track of your spending and payments for greater financial control.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based customer service agents are there to help.
  • Monitor your progress with monthly credit reports (updated quarterly).
  • After 13 months you could be eligible for a credit limit increase (Terms & Conditions apply).
  • If approved, make your first six monthly minimum payments on time and we may send you an offer to apply for an unsecured credit card. Some restrictions apply.‡
  • ‡ If you apply for the second account, which is unsecured, you will be approved if you can demonstrate the ability to pay your bills, meet our minimum income requirements, do not reside in New York or Wisconsin and are not covered under the Military Lending Act.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10
  • Initial refundable deposit of $300 becomes your credit limit
  • 1% Cash Back rewards on every purchase
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 Score from Experian (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard is accepted
  • Mastercard Zero Liability Protection (subject to Mastercard guidelines)
  • 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 19.99% Variable Yes 8.5/10

+See More Secured Subprime Cards

While unsecured credit cards for subprime consumers often come with huge fees, one of the best things about a secured credit card is that your deposit is fully refundable, so long as you maintain your account in good standing.

So, if you close your account with a $0 balance, you’ll receive your full deposit back from the issuer. (Keep in mind that this is just your deposit; it won’t include any actual fees, like annual fees, that you may pay.)

However, if you default on your debt — are more than 120+ days past due — the issuer will use your deposit to cover any owed amount, including both the principal, the interest fees, and any late fees.

That’s not the end of it, though. If you wind up owing more than your deposit can cover, you’ll still be on the hook for the remainder of your debt. You’ll also be in a lot of credit score trouble, too, as a defaulted account can drop your score by dozens of points.

Best “Bankruptcy OK” Subprime Credit Cards

Although you can wind up with bad credit from any number of poor credit behaviors, bankruptcy can do some of the most damage, and recovering from a bankruptcy can often take significant time and effort.

One of the best ways to help improve a post-bankruptcy credit score is to work on rebuilding a positive payment history with new credit. And while finding new credit with a bankruptcy on your report can be challenging, some issuers, like those below, will give many consumers a chance.

  • 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.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes See Terms Yes 8.5/10
  • Checking Account Required
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • The First Access Visa Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10
  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved.
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • Nearly half of OpenSky cardholders who make on-time payments improve their FICO score 30+ points in the first 3 months
  • Your refundable‡ deposit, as low as $200, becomes your OpenSky Visa credit limit
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • Enjoy protection from unauthorized purchases with $0 fraud liability
  • ‡View the cardholder agreement
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 17.39% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10

+See More Bankruptcy OK Subprime Cards

An important distinction to make when it comes to finding a credit card after bankruptcy is the after part. You’ll generally need to wait until your bankruptcy is completed before you’ll qualify for new credit.

Essentially, few credit card issuers — or any type of lender, really — will want to risk having their debt added to an open bankruptcy, where it may be discharged along with everything else.

A good way to find out what creditors will see when they pull your credit reports is to pull your credit reports yourself.

It won’t hurt your credit score to check your own credit, and it will show you if your bankruptcy status is reporting correctly, as well as if any accounts failed to properly discharge.

Best “Prepaid” Subprime Cards

While not technically credit cards, prepaid cards can allow you to make non-cash purchases if you’re currently in the middle of a bankruptcy or have struggled to find a card through any credit issuers.

Prepaid cards can be loaded — then reloaded — with funds and used to make purchases anywhere the network (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) is accepted. Our prepaid card options all accept direct deposits and bank transfers.

  • Move money from your PayPal account to fund your prepaid card account.
  • Earn cash back and personalized offers, just for using your card.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • Card issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Click PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® for additional features & program details, and to request a Card.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 9.5/10
  • Brink’s gives you the peace of mind you deserve. Securing cash and valuables since 1859.
  • With Brink’s Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster* than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • *Card issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Mastercard Debit cards are accepted. “Apply Now” for full details.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.4

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.5/10
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your card.
  • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.5/10

+See More Prepaid Cards

Given that prepaid cards aren’t actually associated with a line of credit, prepaid cards won’t generate debt or accrue interest fees (though some cards will have monthly or annual usage fees).

Additionally, because they aren’t credit products, prepaid cards don’t require certain credit scores to open or maintain, and they won’t report payment behaviors to the credit bureaus. In some ways, prepaid cards are most similar to debit cards.

But while the lack of credit reporting means prepaid cards can’t hurt your credit score, remember that it also means prepaid cards can’t help your credit. You can’t establish or build a credit history or score with prepaid cards.

Go from Subprime to Prime with Responsible Card Use

If the waiter at your favorite steakhouse offered you a choice between prime beef and subprime beef, few diners are likely to take the lesser option given their druthers.

For the average credit card issuer, the choice between a prime borrower and a subprime borrower is equally clear. But, just as there are those happy to roast a bit of choice or select beef when prime isn’t an option, a number of credit card issuers are happy to offer credit to subprime consumers who are looking to rebuild.

When you do find a credit card with subprime credit, be sure to use it responsibly so that you can improve your credit score. After six to 12 months of building a positive payment history, you may find prime issuers a lot more receptive to your applications.

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