Does Chase Approve Bad Credit?

Does Chase Approve Bad Credit
Matt Walker
By: Matt Walker
Updated: August 12, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

We often hear from readers who wonder whether Chase approves bad credit, and while the answer may not be what you want to hear, it isn’t all bad.

Chase is one of America’s leading credit card issuers. The institution has remained steadfast in only issuing lines of credit to applicants with a positive credit history.

But as times change and competition within the credit card industry heats up, the bank has made a few exceptions with some of its entry-level cards. Those changes could make it easier for you to add the Chase card that you’ve always dreamed of to your wallet.

Chase Approvals | Alternatives | FAQs

Chase is Unlikely to Approve Bad Credit

Chase doesn’t have an exact credit score that it requires for credit card approval, but none of the cards in the bank’s extensive portfolio are marketed to consumers who have bad credit.

The closest option is the Chase Slate® credit card that occasionally accepts applicants with credit scores in the mid-500s. By occasionally, we mean fewer than 8% of cardholders have a score below 600. Technically, a credit score above 580 is assigned a credit rating of “fair.”

Chase Slate® credit card

Chase doesn’t offer a credit card for bad credit, but you may be approved for the Chase Slate® card with a fair or better credit score.

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card also considers applicants who have limited credit, but that is not the same as having bad credit.

Limited credit essentially means that you’re just starting out in your credit-building journey – as many students are — and haven’t built up enough data points to generate a stable score. Bad credit means you have a history of mistakes that have your score lower than the average consumer’s.

So, while Chase may not jump on the chance to issue you a credit card, that doesn’t mean you can’t work your way up to the Chase card of your dreams. It will take a little time and effort, but you won’t regret the result.

Try These Cards Instead & Use Responsibly to Build Credit

If you need a little work on your credit score before applying for a new Chase credit card, you should consider one of the options below.

These cards specifically work with consumers who have bad credit histories. And they report your payment and spending history to the three major credit reporting bureaus. With responsible behavior, you can improve your credit score over time and possibly upgrade cards faster than you think.

  • 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.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10

The Fingerhut Credit Account is a closed-loop credit card, but it boasts all the credit-building possibilities of a traditional credit card. You can only use this revolving credit account online at Fingerhut and its select partners to purchase name-brand items at discount prices.

The company will report your payment history to the credit reporting bureaus, which can help if you make on-time payments and keep your balances low.

  • 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
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Multiple card designs available
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Rebuilding credit depends on factors like making on-time payments, keeping balance below credit limit and paying at least the minimum monthly payment
  • Offer not guaranteed; response provided in seconds
  • Click here for rates and fees.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See Terms Yes 8.5/10

After paying the program fee upfront, new Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card members receive an initial $300 credit limit when you activate your card. You can use this card at any merchant or service provider that accepts Visa in the US, including most online sellers and bill-pay services.

  • 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.


Overall Rating

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

All new First Access Visa® cardmembers receive an initial $300 credit limit — minus your first year’s annual fee upon activation. After your first year, monthly service fees will be charged directly to the card.

First Access claims that it often approves applicants that other issuers won’t, which makes it a promising option if your score is very low.

  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • 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 Fraud Liability Protection (subject to Mastercard guidelines)
  • Checking Account Required
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes 24.99% - 29.99% (Variable) Yes 8.5/10

The Surge Mastercard® has lower fees than many other cards on this list — which is a plus if you’re looking to lower your overall cost of credit. You could also end up with a higher initial credit limit with this offering, as the opening credit lines for new cardholders range from $300 to $1000.

  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 9.0/10

If you don’t have a firm understanding of your credit score, the Milestone® Mastercard® may be for you. That’s because the issuer offers multiple credit cards for consumers with varying credit histories.

After you fill out one prequalifying form, Milestone will attempt to match your creditworthiness to one of the cards in its portfolio. Many users report being approved for a card they didn’t think they’d qualify for.

Which Chase Card is Best for Bad Credit?

Unfortunately, the answer is none. That’s because none of the credit cards in the Chase portfolio are specifically designed for applicants who have bad credit.

The closest you may come is the entry-level Chase Slate®, which advertises that it considers applicants who have fair credit histories. According to FICO, that level starts around the 580 range.

But that doesn’t mean you’re forever locked out of the Chase cardholder club. Quite often, all you need is a little work to improve your credit score before applying.

By lowering your current credit card balances, paying off other debts, and making continued on-time payments, you can begin to see the sort of credit score shift you’ll need to finally add that elusive Chase card to your wallet.

But it’s vital to refrain from applying for a card you likely won’t receive. Every time you apply for any type of loan or credit, the lender places a hard inquiry on your credit report to gain access to your information. The inquiry lives on your report for two years, but the lender can only make this inquiry with your consent.

A few of these inquiries are okay, but once you start to accumulate six or more, you can see a dip in your credit score due to excessive applications. By applying for a card you likely won’t receive, you’re taking on an unnecessary hard inquiry.

Wait until the time is right — i.e., your credit score meets the card’s qualifying range — and apply with confidence.

Who Does Chase Use for Credit Checks?

Chase uses all three credit reporting bureaus to check an applicant’s credit history. It’s difficult to determine which report the bank will pull for your application because the bank bases its pull on your location and the card you’re applying for.

In other words, Chase Slate® applicants in Oklahoma may have their TransUnion credit report pulled, whereas applicants for the same card in Virginia may have their Equifax credit report pulled.

Below is a chart showing which bureau’s reports are most commonly pulled by Chase bank in each state:

Chase Bureaus

Each bureau maintains an independent credit report associated with every American who has applied for financing, whether it’s a line of credit or a loan. Some credit issuers access and report to all three bureaus. Some only use one and others may use two of the three.

That means one of your creditors may report your account history to one bureau, but the other two have no record of the loan. This could work to your advantage if you have late payments. It can also hurt you if you have a track record of on-time payments.

Whenever you apply for a credit card, you want the issuing bank to see the best possible version of your credit report. But you can’t choose which bureau the bank uses to pull your report.

Chase doesn’t publish its pull methodology, so there’s no surefire way to know which score the bank will see when you apply for a card. We can only speculate based on data.

How Hard is it to Get Approved for the Chase Freedom®?

This relies greatly on your current credit score. If you have a very low score, you’ll need to work harder to raise your scores to the level Chase requires from its applicants. If you’re right on the cusp of qualifying, you may only need a few credit score tweaks to add a Chase card to your wallet.

The Chase Freedom® card has higher acceptance standards than the Chase Slate®. Reportedly, the card only considers applicants who have a good credit score — which starts at 670. That said, some cardholders report being approved with a score as low as 645.

But if you’re firmly in the “bad” credit category, you may find yourself 100 or more points away from qualifying. While that sounds like a lot, you can still get there with some patience, planning, and persistence.

  • Pay down as much of your current debt as possible: The total amount you owe accounts for 30% of your overall credit score. Large debt amounts can weigh you down. Paying down that debt can relieve some pressure and help your score float back to the top.
  • Always pay on time: The only thing more important than your current debt is your previous payment history. This accounts for a whopping 35% of your overall credit score. If you have recent late payments, defaults, bankruptcies, or other derogatory marks on your credit report, you may find yourself facing an uphill battle.
  • Wait it out: Certain negative items live on your credit report for up to seven years. Thankfully, their impact lessens over time — as long as you replace the negative data with positive account data.

Your most recent activity always weighs heavier on your credit score than older derogatory marks. So, a late payment two months ago will hurt way more than a late payment two years ago. Lenders understand mistakes happen, they just don’t want to see the mistakes happen regularly — or recently.

You can often improve your credit score simply by paying down debts and building a positive payment history that, over time, replaces previous mistakes. After all, those two factors account for a combined 65% of your credit score.

While this takes time, it’s worth the effort to develop the discipline needed to maintain a great credit score over the long haul.

Improve Your Credit to Get a Chase Credit Card

It’s said that anything good is worth waiting for. That holds true in the credit card world, where Chase sits comfortably among the most popular card issuers. But to become part of the club, you must generally have at least a fair credit score — though “good” credit is more likely to earn you an approval.

If you aren’t quite there yet, don’t worry. You can still leverage one of the alternative cards above to improve your credit score and help you upgrade to the Chase card of your dreams.

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