Best Instant-Approval Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Instant Approval Credit Cards Bad Credit

Not so long ago, in the grand old days of dial-up, surfing the world wide web was less an activity you used to pass the time and more an exercise in extreme patience. As we waited for images to load, pixel by agonizing pixel, we all daydreamed of a better future, one where data speeds were high and cat videos ruled the digital world.

The edge-of-our-seat impatience of those days isn’t gone in the broadband-era; if anything, it’s gotten worse. We want everything to be like our web pages: instant and on-demand. This applies to our viral videos, our television shows — and our finances.

But while a buffering video is simply inconvenient, that credit card application may just be the key to vital financing. This can be especially true when you have poor credit and are trying to rebuild. Luckily, the internet holds part of the answer; with online credit card applications, almost any card can be instant-approval, you just need to choose wisely. Keep reading to see our top choices for instant approval credit cards for people with bad credit.

Unsecured | Secured | Bankruptcy OK | Prepaid

Best “Unsecured” Cards for Bad Credit

Although one of the newest types of credit to appear on the scene, unsecured credit cards rose in popularity throughout the latter half of the 20th century, and today there are hundreds of millions in the US alone. Unlike charge cards, unsecured credit cards are revolving, meaning you can carry a balance (for which you’ll likely be charged interest fees).

Unsecured credit cards are called “unsecured” because they require no security deposit to open the account (in contrast to secured credit cards). This can make them particularly appealing to those with poor credit looking to rebuild. Our top-rated unsecured credit cards for poor credit accept a range of credit types and provide low credit limits that are easy to maintain.

  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • You can build* or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10

+See More Unsecured Cards

While unsecured credit cards don’t require a security deposit, those aimed at subprime (poor credit) consumers will likely come with high fees, including annual maintenance fees. You may also be required to pay a program or processing fee when you open the account, which will decrease your initial available balance.

Best “Secured” Cards for Bad Credit

Similar to unsecured credit cards, secured credit cards are also revolving credit lines, so cardholders may carry a balance from month to month. Unlike unsecured cards, however, secured credit cards require an up-front deposit to open the account. The deposit acts as security for the creditor, ensuring any debt will be repaid — one way or another.

Because creditors have this extra security, secured credit cards are typically the easiest type of credit to obtain, even with bad credit. With most secured credit cards, the size of your deposit will dictate the size of your credit line (up to the maximum amount). The secured cards on our list include options for credit lines of up to $5,000 for qualified applicants.

  • Earn 2% cash back on everyday purchases at Amazon, Uber, Uber Eats, Whole Foods, Netflix, Spotify, and more! And 1% cashback on everything else.
  • No credit check or U.S. credit history required. No SSN required for non-US citizens.
  • Build U.S. credit history from day 1 at major credit bureaus (get $25 when you build your credit score to a 700+ credit score within 12 months of use).
  • Get unsecured in as little as 4 months!
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no minimum security deposit.
  • Premium benefits like Cell Phone Protection (including cracked screens) and Car Rental Insurance coverage.
  • Click here for terms and conditions.
  • Click here for official site and application.
   
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 11.74% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10
  • Initial refundable deposit of $300 becomes your credit limit
  • 1% Cash Back rewards on every purchase
  • 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 Liability Protection (subject to Mastercard guidelines)
  • Checking Account Required
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.99% Variable Yes 8.5/10
  • Our mobile app helps you keep track of your spending and payments for greater financial control.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • If approved, make your first six monthly minimum payments on time and we may send you an offer to apply for an unsecured credit card. Some restrictions apply. ‡
  • ‡ If you apply for the second account, which is unsecured, you will be approved if you can demonstrate the ability to pay your bills, meet our minimum income requirements, do not reside in New York or Wisconsin and are not covered under the Military Lending Act.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10

+See More Secured Cards

While the fees you pay for an unsecured credit card are simply that — fees you don’t get back — the deposit you make for a secured credit card doesn’t just disappear. Instead, it sits in a protected savings account, and may even accrue a small bit of interest. When you cancel your secured credit card or upgrade it to an unsecured card, your deposit (plus any earned interest) will be returned to you.

Best “Bankruptcy OK” Cards for Bad Credit

For consumers who have become buried under an insurmountable pile of debt, the bankruptcy process can (sometimes literally) be lifesaving. Many types of unsecured debts can be eliminated through bankruptcy, removing the debt burden and allowing you to move forward and start again. Unfortunately, bankruptcy isn’t exactly the “clean slate” that many people hope for — at least not so far as your credit is concerned.

To many future creditors, particularly those in the prime market, bankruptcies are about as scary as being trapped in the woods with a horror movie villain, and they’ll be quick to tell you — and your bad credit — to take a hike to avoid the risk. The creditors on our list, however, are made of sterner stuff, and won’t be scared off by your bad credit or your bankruptcy.

5. Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

This offer is currently not available.

N/A

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
N/A N/A N/A N/A

+See More Bankruptcy OK Cards

As with any credit card designed for people with bad credit, those accepting applicants with recent bankruptcies will likely charge high fees, including program or processing fees and annual maintenance fees. You’ll also likely end up with an APR about as scary as that movie villain, so be sure to always pay your full balance before your bill’s due date to avoid the horror of high interest fees. Paying your bills on time is also one of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy credit score.

Best “Prepaid” Cards for Bad Credit

If any card can be said to have “instant” approval, it has to be a prepaid card. Why? Well, prepaid cards aren’t technically credit cards at all, as they aren’t associated with an actual credit line of any type. Instead, you’ll pre-load your prepaid card with cash, spending only as much as you put on the card yourself.

And since there’s no credit line attached, there’s also no credit check required, meaning your credit will have no impact on your ability to qualify. At the same time, prepaid cards with a network logo — think Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover — will operate almost exactly like regular credit cards when it comes to making purchases, usable anywhere its network is accepted. Our top picks will even accept direct deposits, making payday simple.

  • 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 account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • *Card issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Mastercard Debit cards are accepted. “Apply Now” for full details.
  • See additional Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® Details.
★★★★★

4.6

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
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

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

4.4

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 9.5/10

+See More Prepaid Cards

The caveat to keep in mind when dealing with prepaid cards is that the lack of credit association can be a double-edged sword. While your credit won’t influence your ability to obtain the card, the card won’t have any influence on your credit, either. In other words, prepaid cards won’t report to the credit bureaus, so you can’t use prepaid cards to build your credit history or improve your score.

Pick the Right Card for Instant Approval

Whether it’s for a video of a kitten playing piano or for a decision on an application for new credit — waiting stinks. And while waiting to see the Great Meowzart’s newest symphony can make you impatient, waiting to see if you’ll get that all-important credit card can make you stressed out and anxious.

While increasing your bandwidth can do wonders for your streaming speeds, there’s little your internet provider can do to help with your credit card application. Your best option for avoiding the nail-biting wait is to apply online — and to choose your card carefully. The more qualified you are for the card, the more likely you are to be approved quickly online. And remember, if you’re approved this can be a great opportunity to begin turning your credit score around. Paying on time each month can be the first step to seeing that low credit score begin to increase.

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