Pre-Approved Credit Cards For Bad Credit in 2021

Pre Approved Credit Cards For Bad Credit
GUIDE
Adam West
By: Adam West
Posted: November 23, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

For people in search of a little wiggle room in their budgets, pre-approved credit cards for bad credit can make a big difference. Credit cards provide a valuable safety net for emergency purchases, giving cardholders the option to pay over time. 

The following credit card options can help bad credit borrowers bridge the gap and help rebuild credit at the same time with responsible use.

Unsecured Cards For Bad Credit With Pre-Approval

Unsecured credit cards are what most people think of when they think about credit cards in general. An unsecured credit card doesn’t require a deposit for approval and may help you build credit over time. Some unsecured cards also offer special balance transfer interest rates so that you can pay down an existing credit balance more quickly.

The following companies offer credit card options to borrowers with bad credit while keeping upfront costs to a minimum. You can see whether you prequalify before applying for the card on each issuer’s website by following the “Apply Here” buttons below. If you choose to apply, you should receive an instant approval decision.

  • 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.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

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

Surge Mastercard®, offered through Continental Finance, is one of several unsecured credit card options for bad credit borrowers. The card offers some standard features and can help cardholders rebuild credit by establishing a positive payment history.

The Surge Mastercard® functions in all the ways a standard credit card does and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. While the card doesn’t offer any rewards, it is a solid option to help get your credit history back on track.

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • 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
  • Checking Account Required
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.99% – 29.99% (Variable) Yes 8.0/10

Another offering by Continental Finance, the Reflex Mastercard® offers all the standard features of a credit card for people with low credit scores. This unsecured credit card helps people build their credit history and provides the security of Mastercard Fraud protection to ensure they’ll never have to pay for charges they didn’t make.

Although the interest rate (APR) and fees can be somewhat steep for some borrowers, the Reflex Mastercard offers standard benefits. This credit card company welcomes applicants with a wide range of credit scores.

  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas and automotive purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR Shop, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • View your free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 23.99% variable Yes 9.0/10

While the purpose of most pre-approved credit cards for bad credit borrowers is to help build credit history, some cards also offer perks. The Credit One Bank® NASCAR® Credit Card is a great deal for NASCAR fans and still a good deal for anyone interested in earning cash back rewards on their pursuit to better credit.

Whether you’re a huge NASCAR fan or just a car fan in general, the Credit One Bank® NASCAR® credit card provides an opportunity to rebuild your credit history while getting cash back.

  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Online servicing available 24/7 at no additional cost
  • Unsecured credit card, no security deposit required
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 8.0/10

For many bad credit borrowers, getting approved for a credit card can be tricky. The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically for those with “less than perfect credit,” according to the credit card company. While it doesn’t have as many added perks as some of the other cards on this list, it can still help you along your credit-building journey.

If you’re looking for a standard unsecured credit card with a modest credit line that reports to every major credit bureau, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® may be just right.

  • Credit lines range from $500-$1,350 which double to $1,000-$2,700 after your account qualifies. No security deposit required.
  • Double your credit line by making at least your minimum payment on time each month for the first 7 months your account is open.
  • See if you are pre-approved within minutes, without affecting your credit score.
  • Build or rebuild your credit. As you pay your bill every month, we report to all three major credit reporting agencies.
  • Get 100% U.S.-based customer service & get your FICO® Credit Score for free each month
  • Card issued by Merrick Bank, Member FDIC.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 19.45% to 28.45% Variable Yes 7.5/10

This card includes a key benefit in the name: the ability to double your line of credit in a short time frame by making consistent on-time payments. The Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card regularly earns positive ratings from cardholders. 

Merrick Bank is FDIC insured, and this card provides a solid opportunity for people with poor credit to earn more trust with the credit bureaus. 

  • See if you Prequalify without harming your credit score
  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone service, internet, cable and satellite TV services, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • View your free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • This unsecured card requires no deposit and can help build your credit
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts
  • Manage your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Show off your personality by selecting from a variety of card designs, a fee may apply
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 23.99% Variable Yes 9.0/10

Preapproved credit cards for bad credit that include rewards programs are rare, especially when paired with competitive terms. The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit comes very close to a standard unsecured card for people with good credit while still being a second chance credit card option for those with bad or fair credit.

Secured Cards With No Credit Check

Secured credit cards can be an easier option for people with poor credit, but you’ll need to come up with enough extra money to pay for an initial deposit. The initial deposit on a secured card establishes the line of credit, and over time (and with good payment history), can be refunded to the cardholder.

These cards are good choices if you want to build credit, have the money available upfront, and want to avoid a credit check.

  • 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 10.24% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10

One advantage of a secured credit card that an unsecured card doesn’t have is that it is easier to increase your line of credit with a secured card. The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card app makes it easier than other similar cards to add to your line of credit. The secured card also comes with a solid rewards program and other benefits to help you with building credit.

This card gives you access to all of the privileges and perks of a credit card with a security deposit amount of your choosing. Low on fees and high on convenience, it’s a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to run the risk of a credit inquiry.

  • Better than prepaid…Go with a secured card! Load one time – keep on using
  • Absolutely no credit check or minimum credit score required
  • Automatic reporting to all three national credit bureaus
  • 9.99% low fixed APR – Your rate won’t go up even if you are late
  • Activate today with a $200 minimum deposit – maximum $1,000.
  • Increase your credit limit up to $5,000 by adding additional deposits anytime
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.4

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 9.99% Fixed Yes 7.5/10

Credit cards for consumers with a limited or bad credit history are expensive because of the interest rate credit card companies typically assess. The APR for credit-builder accounts is often high, and with most credit cards, in general, the interest rate is a variable rate that’s subject to change. 

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card comes with the very big benefit of a low fixed rate to make it easier to improve your credit. Just beware of the lack of an interest-free grace period. 

  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 17.39% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10

While the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn’t come with perks like cash back or rewards points, the card terms are simple. One key feature for people with bad credit is that there’s no credit check, and the credit card issuer doesn’t require a bank account to open an account, unlike many of the other options on this list.

What Does Credit Card Pre-Approval Mean?

Pre-approval is a process that lenders use to screen applicants for different credit offers. The process uses broad factors in an applicant’s credit report from one of the three credit bureaus to make an initial decision on whether a borrower is a good candidate for the card.

The credit card company does a soft credit check, looking at general information in your credit report. A soft credit check is different from a hard credit check, which requires your Social Security number and reviews in-depth information regarding payment history, the amount of debt you already have, and any derogatory marks on your report.

The pre-approval process helps both you and the credit card issuer decide whether a particular card is right for you or if there’s another option that would suit you better. 

Does Pre-Approval Guarantee Approval?

Unfortunately, it is possible to be pre-approved for a credit card and still be declined when you formally apply. This is because the bank or lender takes a deeper look at your income and credit history, including any derogatory marks on your credit report, when you apply. 

Pre-approval can help tell you whether a credit card is likely to be a good fit for your needs, but it isn’t a guarantee. 

Photo of a denied credit card application.
Unfortunately, it is possible for your application to be denied after being pre-approved.

Pre-approval is a good way of helping you narrow down the potential cards you may qualify for, and the process also helps banks and lenders find potential customers who may be a good fit for a credit card offer. Because the pre-approval process is less thorough than a hard credit check, however, the final approval may not come through.

Will Pre-Approval Hurt My Credit?

Pre-approval does not hurt your credit. In fact, it doesn’t appear on your credit report at all. 

Pre-approval uses a soft credit check, which doesn’t delve into your full payment history, debt-to-income ratio, or who you’re already borrowing from. Instead, the information is very general, just enough for a credit card issuer to make an initial decision as to whether they’d like you to apply. 

Because this type of credit check doesn’t make it to your credit reports, it won’t further lower a bad credit score, unlike a hard credit check that most issuers conduct during the full application process. However, the effect of a hard credit check is usually minimal — about five credit score points — so you shouldn’t let it deter you from applying for a credit product you need.

How Do I Use a Credit Card to Build My Credit?

If you want to work toward good credit or even excellent credit, a credit card can help speed up the process. By using your card responsibly, you begin to build a positive credit history. But there are some specifics as to how to build credit with a credit card.

First, you should try to avoid letting your credit utilization exceed 30% of your credit limit. This can be tricky, especially if your credit limit is low to begin with. 

By keeping your balance within the 30% range, however, you’re showing future creditors that you know how to manage your money and that you can be responsible with the credit you’re given.

The second step to using your credit card to build credit is to make consistent, on-time payments. You don’t have to pay the balance in full every month, but you do need to make at least your minimum monthly payment consistently. Making a single late payment can significantly harm your credit score.

Chart showing how to build payment history with a credit card.

If you can afford to pay a little over your minimum due, this can help offset high interest fees and keep your balance where it should be in the minds of creditors you want to impress.

It’s also important to avoid opening and closing accounts, even credit cards, frequently. Before you sign a contract with one of the credit card companies from this list, make sure the terms and conditions work for you. Closing accounts can lower your credit score because it can increase your credit utilization ratio if you maintain balances on your other card accounts.

Being consistent and keeping your balance low won’t improve your credit overnight, but over time it shows creditors that you’re a risk worth taking, and your credit rating and credit history will gradually improve.

Are There Any Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards?

Yes! If you want a credit card without the risk of a credit check, any of the secured credit card products on this list can help. Secured credit cards require an upfront deposit as insurance against the line of credit, meaning that your credit history isn’t a factor. In this sense, they are guaranteed approval credit cards.

Since your deposit guarantees that the credit card issuer will get its money, you’re guaranteed approval on your application. If you fail to pay back your balance, the credit company can hold onto your deposit. 

  • 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 10.24% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10

In theory, the refundable security deposit means there’s no reason for them to deny you. However, some secured cards from major issuers, including Capital One, Citi, and Bank of America, will still run a hard credit check when you apply.

Secured credit cards may require you to open a bank account with the issuing bank, and you cannot use the refundable deposit to pay your bill. For bad credit borrowers who have the upfront money to fund their line of credit, a secured card can be a convenient method to avoid the risk of rejection.

Can I Use Pre-Approved Credit Cards For Bad Credit For Business?

If you’re a business owner with bad credit or limited credit history, these cards can seem like a good option to help extend your buying power. However, while there are no restrictions for how you can use your line of credit once you have it, there are better choices for a business credit card.

Several credit card companies offer cards tailored to business purchases with more flexible payment terms and better interest rates, among other perks. Depending on your business or industry, it can be beneficial to have more flexible credit card terms, especially when it comes to irregular invoicing. 

Two men at a business lunch.
It’s best to keep your business credit separate from your personal credit, and business credit cards can help you do that.

Business cards also tend to include rewards for certain types of expenses, whereas the cards on this list do not offer such perks.

Remember that it’s important to avoid mixing personal and business credit as much as possible. Keeping your business accounts separate from your individual credit history can help you build personal and business credit. 

Pre-Approved Credit Cards For Bad Credit Tell You What You Qualify For

When you find yourself in a tough spot financially and need access to emergency buying power, pre-approved credit cards for bad credit can be a big help. The three secured cards offer guaranteed approval, but the unsecured cards will at least tell you whether you’re likely to receive approval if you choose to apply.

In addition to giving you the ability to make emergency purchases, these cards can also help you build your credit history more quickly and rebuild your credit reputation.

To get the most out of your secured or unsecured credit card, make sure to check the terms and conditions before you sign. If possible, compare the annual percentage rate for each card, and in the case of secured cards, check to see if you have the option to upgrade to an unsecured card later on. By making your monthly payments on time and using your credit responsibly, you can boost your credit rating and improve your odds of getting better credit and loan offers in the future.

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