12 Best Subprime Credit Cards in 2018

12 Best Subprime Credit Cards in [current_year]
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Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: May 17, 2018
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

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 a few 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.

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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

+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.

  • 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

+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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • You may be eligible for a Credit Line Increase after six months
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Processing Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured Visa® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10

+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.

  • Trust Brink's with your money. Securing cash and valuables since 1859.
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with Direct Deposit.
  • Access your money whenever, wherever you are. Use your mobile phone and online Account Center to check your balance, send money, find reload/ATM locations and much more.
  • Let alerts help you stay connected to your money. Know when your card is used, direct deposit arrives, transaction details and your available balance.
  • Shop securely Online with a Virtual Account so you don't have to use your card number.
  • Add extra protection for shopping in stores by putting your photo on your card.
  • Earn Cash Back via the PayBack Rewards program from restaurants, shops and more.
  • $10 Purchase Cushion When You're A Little Short.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 8.0/10
  • Easy to sign up. Set up your secure PIN and load money to your card with cash or checks or enroll in Direct Deposit.
  • Enroll in Direct Deposit and get your pay up to two days early. Certain restrictions apply*
  • Easy Online Bill Pay - pay your rent, utilities or a friend*.
  • Shop online and in stores - everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
  • Your funds are FDIC-Insured through MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card accounts are subject to ID Verification.*
  • * Certain restrictions apply. See card site for details. Click on "Apply Now" to learn more about Midnight Prepaid Visa RushCard.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

3.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 8.0/10

+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.