12 Best Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards

12 Best Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards
GUIDE

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Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Updated: October 29, 2019
Our popular “How-To” series is for those who seek to improve their subprime credit rating. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

Below, we’ll take a look at the 12 best “guaranteed approval” credit cards, but of course, the concept is not as straightforward as it may seem. As a marketing term, “guaranteed” is a powerful concept that can encourage us to make purchases we wouldn’t otherwise make. But as we all soon come to learn, the term “guaranteed” can represent a spectrum of actualities. For example, your satisfaction may be guaranteed — but the manufacturer gets to decide if you’re actually satisfied.

In the consumer credit card industry, most guarantees are more a matter of relativity than reality. “Guaranteed approval” credit cards, for instance, will still have requirements, such as making an upfront deposit for a secured credit card, to really guarantee your approval.

And the options that exist for guaranteed deposit-free credit will have their fair share of fees and limitations, including store cards that restrict where you can make purchases. With most unsecured subprime cards, your odds of approval are generally closer to “pretty good” than they are to “guaranteed” — though selecting the right card can improve your chances significantly.

Unsecured Cards | Secured Cards | Bankruptcy OK | Prepaid Cards

Unsecured Cards with No Deposit Required

If you have your heart set on unsecured credit, select the card that best fits your personal spending habits. For instance, if you plan to carry a balance, select the lowest interest rate to minimize your fees. You should also compare annual and/or maintenance fees to ensure you get the best value.

Most important, of course, is that your new credit card report to all three credit bureaus so that your responsible card use will help build your credit over time. The majority of subprime card issuers will expect you to have an active checking account, and many will request proof of income. Our top picks include options for general use cards as well as popular store options.

  • 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 program 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
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured Visa® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • 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
  • If approved, pay a Program Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

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

+See More Unsecured Cards

Unsecured cards are often sought out by those with poor credit because they won’t require a deposit to activate. However, these cards typically come with higher interest rates than secured cards. Subprime cards also often charge a variety of additional fees, including program or processing fees.

Moreover, many of these fees are charged when you open your account, eating into your initial credit limit right out of the gate — and costing you interest fees if not paid off in your first billing cycle. By the time all of your fees are added up, a secured card (and its associated deposit) could end up being a more affordable choice.

Secured Cards with No Credit Minimums

For those struggling with credit, secured credit cards are appealing options because most don’t have any particular minimum credit score requirements. This means secured cards really can be guaranteed approval cards — provided you make your required deposit. It’s the deposit that actually secures your card, acting as surety against potential default on your credit card debt.

Beyond the deposit, a secured credit card can be used in exactly the same way as an unsecured card, including to make online purchases. In most cases, the total credit limit of your secured credit card will depend on the size of the deposit you make in combination with your credit score. The larger your initial deposit, the higher your credit limit will be until you reach the maximum available limit on the card. Our top picks have available credit limits of up to $2,000.

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Receive your card more quickly with new expedited processing option
  • No credit history or minimum credit score required for approval
  • Quick and complete online application
  • Full-feature Platinum Mastercard® secured credit card
  • Nationwide program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 20.74% (V) Yes 7.5/10
  • Receive your card more quickly with new expedited processing option
  • No credit history or minimum credit score required for approval
  • Quick and complete online application
  • Full-feature Platinum Mastercard® secured credit card
  • Good for car rental, hotels; Anywhere credit cards are accepted!
  • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus to establish credit history
  • Click for for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 10.74% (V) Yes 7.5/10

+See More Secured Cards

Although coming up with the initial deposit can be tough, and you may be tempted to throw down as little as possible, it can really pay off to put down a bit more. In particular, your credit utilization rate — how much of your available credit you are actually using — contributes to 30% of your credit score.

As an example, consider a card with a balance of $100. With a credit limit of $300, that card has a utilization of 33%. On the other hand, the same balance on a card with a limit of $1,000 would equal a utilization of 10%, which can mean a significant credit score increase.

Your deposit doesn’t just disappear into the abyss, either. It is held in a sealed savings accounts until you either close your card or are automatically upgraded to an unsecured card by the issuing bank, at which time it is returned to you in full.

Bankruptcy OK Cards with No Wait

Although it should always be the option of last resort, bankruptcy can be a boon to consumers with no other alternatives. At the same time, as far as most mainstream issuers are concerned, credit reports with bankruptcy discharges may as well be sporting a scarlet letter “B” across its pages.

That’s where the subprime market comes in. These issuers embrace most bad-credit consumers, even those coming out of bankruptcy. Be prepared to pay higher interest rates than you would for prime or even secured credit cards, and compare fees to find the most affordable options. Our top-rated cards for post-bankruptcy will all report to the credit bureaus to help build your credit over time.

  • 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 program 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
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured Visa® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • 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
  • If approved, pay a Program Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

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

+See More Bankruptcy OK Cards

Your new credit card can play a huge role in rebuilding your credit — provided you use it responsibly. Paying your bills on time, in particular, is one of the easiest ways to build your credit score, especially after a bankruptcy, because your payment history is a whopping 35% of your FICO credit score.

What’s more, credit scoring models understand that we all have a past. As such, models will take the age of your negative marks into consideration when determining your score. The older your negative accounts become, the less impact they will have on your credit score.

Even better, bankruptcy discharges will come off your credit report entirely in no more than 10 years, so your score will reflect only your post-bankruptcy behavior at that point. Make sure that behavior reflects positive credit habits.

Prepaid Cards with No Credit Check

Although not technically a credit card in the traditional sense (prepaid cards aren’t actually lines of credit), credit-network-branded prepaid cards can be used for many of the same purposes as regular credit cards, including as a way to make online purchases. For instance, a Visa-branded prepaid card can generally be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

You aren’t required to have a checking account to use a prepaid card and, in fact, a popular use of prepaid cards is as a checking account alternative. Many of the most popular prepaid cards, including our favorite picks, will also allow you to set up direct deposits for your prepaid card, so you can conveniently receive your paycheck without needing to hit the bank.

  • 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 Card Account on the go and enroll to get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • Subject to card activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply. Issued by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. Click for full details.
  • See additional Brink's Prepaid Mastercard® Details.
  • 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
  • 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.
★★★★

3.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.0/10

+See More Prepaid Cards

For many, the real draw of a prepaid card is that it doesn’t require a credit check of any kind, so prepaid cards are about as guaranteed approval as it gets. As convenient as that can be, however, having no associated credit line also means no associated credit line reporting. Unlike unsecured and secured credit cards, prepaid card issuers won’t report to the credit bureaus, so you can’t use a prepaid card to build your credit.

Additionally, because prepaid cards aren’t associated with credit lines, they do require that you put funds on the card before use. This can usually be done online or by phone, and most cards won’t require a minimum balance.

Build Your Credit to Expand Your Options

Overall, seeing the word “guaranteed” can be a bit heady; after all, once you eliminate the risks from a particular purchase or venture, you only have success, right? Well, when something seems too good to be true — it often is. Such as the fact that guaranteed approval credit cards aren’t always actually guaranteed, and even those that are may have a few contingencies in the fine print.

Unfortunately, when you have poor credit and are struggling to find a credit card, there are few easy ways out. Instead, take a few minutes to figure out what you really want out of your new card, then do your research to find it. With such a wide range of credit cards for bad credit, there’s something for just about anyone.

Whatever card you select, be sure to keep your balances low, and always, always, always pay your statements on time. As your credit improves, so, too, will your available credit card options. Who knows, with enough hard credit-building work, perhaps one day every card will have guaranteed approval.