9 Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit (Feb. 2024)

Credit Cards For Poor Credit

Finding credit cards for poor credit histories may sound like an impossible task, but don’t lose hope. Not only can consumers with poor credit obtain certain cards, but some of the cards will also help to rebuild credit along the way. While most people recognize the importance of knowing their consumer credit score, as with many things in life, a credit score can be a matter of opinion. Whether you have “fair” credit, “poor” credit, or just plain “bad” credit will depend on exactly which scoring model — and which version of that model — is used to calculate your credit score.

Of course, regardless of which model is used to calculate your score, or which title your score is given, a low credit score is bad news. Not only does a low credit score mean you’ll see higher interest rates and fees, but it makes it more difficult to even obtain a new line of credit.

Fortunately, a number of credit card issuers specialize in providing credit opportunities to those with poor credit (or worse), offering both unsecured and secured credit cards. Those who want to make purchases with a card without dealing with credit qualifications can check out the prepaid offers. In this article, we’ll explore each of these options — unsecured, secured, and prepaid cards — to help you determine which tactic might be the best suited for your unique financial situation.

Unsecured (3) | Secured (3) | Prepaid (3)

Best Unsecured Cards for Poor Credit

Although it may be easy to forget, your credit card is, in effect, a loan. The bank backing your credit card is lending you the money you use to make credit card purchases, doing so with the understanding that you are responsible for repaying those funds in the agreed-upon time frame (i.e., by your statement’s due date).

The most common type of credit card, an unsecured card requires no security deposit or other money down to access the line of credit extended to you by the issuing bank. At the same time, because the bank has no way to guarantee it will receive that money back, unsecured credit cards come with higher interest rates and credit requirements than lines of credit secured by a deposit.

  • $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
  • 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.


Overall Rating

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


Overall Rating

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

When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will run what is called a hard credit inquiry, or credit pull, to determine your creditworthiness — even issuers offering credit cards for bad credit. Each hard credit pull will have a small negative impact on your credit score, with multiple recent hard credit pulls acting as a warning sign to potential lenders.

Credit Pull Types Diagram

If you’re unsure about whether you’ll qualify for a particular unsecured credit card, you may want to check for pre-qualification offers before risking a hard credit pull. This process will require a soft credit inquiry to get a more general idea of your credit, and will not have any effect on your credit. Pre-qualification isn’t a guarantee of acceptance, but it can be a good indicator of your chances.

Best Secured Cards for Poor Credit

While those with low credit scores can likely qualify for an unsecured credit card, you may be stuck paying large fees for the privilege. Those who would still like to build (or rebuild) their poor credit, but who don’t want to be saddled with fees — or absurdly high interest rates — can choose to obtain a secured credit card instead.

Unlike unsecured cards, secured credit cards require an initial deposit, which acts as security against the potential for default. In other words, if you don’t pay the balance on your secured credit card as agreed (paying on time and making at least the required minimum payment), the bank will use your deposit to cover its losses.

  • No credit check to apply
  • Adjustable credit limit based on what you transfer from your Chime Checking Account to the secured 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 Stride Bank, N.A., Member 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 fees may apply. See here for details.


Overall Rating

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


Overall Rating

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.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.24% (V) Yes 7.5/10

With most secured credit cards, the amount of money you initially deposit when opening the account will also dictate your card’s credit limit. So, if you deposit $500 when you open your account, your available credit line will be $500. Many secured cards have a cap on the size of the deposit you can make, usually around $2,000 to $5,000.

Because your total available credit is one of the numbers used to calculate your utilization rate — an important factor in calculating your credit score — applicants are often encouraged to make as large a deposit as possible. This will provide you with a higher credit limit, potentially improving your credit utilization rate, which can, in turn, boost your credit score.

Best Prepaid Cards for Poor Credit

In some cases, an applicant may not want a traditional credit card, but may still wish to take advantage of many of the benefits of paying with plastic. For them, the best option may be to obtain a prepaid credit card. Similar to a secured credit card, prepaid cards require an initial deposit to use the card.

Unlike secured cards, however, a prepaid card is not actually a line of credit. Instead, a prepaid credit card behaves more like a gift card, with each purchase reducing the amount of the initial deposit until the entire amount is spent. Once empty, prepaid cards require the cardholder to reload the card, by making another deposit, to continue use.

  • 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.


Overall Rating

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.


Overall Rating

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


Overall Rating

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

Since prepaid cards aren’t actually credit products, obtaining and using a prepaid card will not have any impact on your credit (negative or positive). You can’t use a prepaid card to establish new credit or to rebuild existing credit, as the prepaid card issuer won’t be reporting to any of the credit bureaus.

Credit Card Types Chart

Other than having to be reloaded — and having no impact on your credit — prepaid cards act just like regular credit cards when used to make purchases. For instance, a prepaid card issued by Visa can be used to make purchases at any location that accepts Visa credit cards, including online retailers.

Responsible Card Use Can Improve Your Credit Score

Depending on where you look, your creditworthiness may be displayed by a score, a color, or just an adjective. Of course, no matter if you call it “poor” or “bad” — or even just give it a bright red frowny face — having a bad credit history and low credit score is never good.

Most importantly, a low credit score is a strong indicator of financial risk to potential creditors. Even lenders specializing in subprime borrowers will check your credit to determine your creditworthiness before making a decision about your credit card or loan application, and your rates and fees will reflect this fact.

The best way to ensure you are able to qualify for the credit products you need is to build — or rebuild — a healthy credit history. A pattern of good financial behaviors over time, such as paying your credit card balance as agreed each month, will help improve your credit score, demonstrating your creditworthiness to future lenders and making you a better potential borrower.

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