Best Subprime Credit Cards in 2024

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.

  • $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
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.7

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 35.90% Fixed Yes 7.5/10
  • Earn 3% Cash Back Rewards* on Gas, Groceries and Utility Bill Payments
  • Earn 1% Cash Back Rewards* on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit subject to credit approval
  • Prequalify** without affecting your credit score
  • No security deposit
  • Free access to your VantageScore 4.0 score from TransUnion®†
    *See Program Terms for important information about the cash back rewards program.
    ** Prequalify means that you authorize us to make a soft inquiry (that will not affect your credit) to create an offer. If you accept an offer a hard inquiry will be made. Final approval is not guaranteed if you do not meet all applicable criteria (including adequate proof of ability to repay). Income verification through access to your bank account information may be required.
    † Your credit score will be available in your online account starting 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required.) The free VantageScore 4.0 credit score provided by TransUnion® is for educational purposes only. This score may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.7

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
7 minutes 29.99% or 36% Fixed Yes 8.0/10
  • Earn 1% cash back rewards^^ on payments made to your Revvi Credit Card
  • Perfect credit not required
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Checking account required
  • Opportunity to request credit limit increase after twelve months, fee applies
  • *See Rates, Fees, Costs & Limitations for complete offer details
  • ^^See Revvi Rewards Programs Terms & Conditions for details
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.7

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 35.99%* Yes 8.0/10

+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.

  • No credit check to apply
  • Adjustable credit limit based on what you transfer from your Chime Checking account to the secured deposit account
  • No interest* or annual fees
  • Chime Checking Account and qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more required to apply. See official application, terms, and details link below.
  • The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by The Bankcorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
  • *Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and OTC advance fees may apply. View The Bancorp agreement or Stride agreement for details; see back of card for issuer.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.8

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A Yes 9.5
  • 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
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.6

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 25.64% (variable) Yes 7.0/10
  • 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.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.6

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.24% (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.

  • 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
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.6

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 25.64% (variable) Yes 7.0/10
  • 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.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.6

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.24% (V) Yes 7.5/10
  • 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.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.5

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

+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.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.6

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 9.5/10
  • With 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 Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs apply.
  • Card issued by Pathward N.A., Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa debit card is accepted.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.5

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.5/10
  • Greenlight is a debit card for kids, managed by parents
  • Parents set flexible controls and receive real-time alerts while kids monitor their balances, set goals, and learn how to manage money
  • Feel secure knowing Greenlight blocks unsafe spending categories
  • Receive Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection
  • Upload a photo of your choice to create a unique custom card
  • Debit cards are FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • Easily turn your Greenlight card on or off and receive real-time spending notifications
Our Rating
★★★★★

4.5

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.0/10.0

+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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