9 Best Second-Chance Credit Cards of 2020

Second Chance Credit Cards
GUIDE
Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Updated: June 23, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

In 1742, Thomas Gray wrote, “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis a folly to be wise.” Since then, the phrase “ignorance is bliss” has been used to imply the idea that if you don’t know about a particular problem, you can’t very well be bothered by it.

Sadly, consumer credit puts the lie to Mr. Gray’s famous words. In fact, the credit damage that can result from a lack of personal financial awareness proves, indisputably, that credit ignorance is most certainly not credit bliss.

As easy as it can be to wind up with damaged credit, however, it can be remarkably difficult to repair the results of financial ignorance. Luckily — through second chance credit cards — many credit card issuers will offer you another opportunity to fix your credit mistakes through responsible credit card use. In the article below, we’ll present some of our expert picks for the best second chance credit cards around today, including unsecured and secured options.

Unsecured | Secured | Bankruptcy OK

Second-Chance Credit Cards with No Deposit Required

Although “bad credit” can refer to a wide range of credit scores and credit report problems, it’s often fairly simple to determine if you have bad credit: your applications for new credit keep getting rejected. Typically, those with credit scores below 580 will have the hardest time obtaining credit, as will consumers whose credit reports show recent missed payments, defaulted accounts, and/or bankruptcy discharges.

When issuers in the prime credit card realm won’t give you the time of day, you may need to turn to a subprime issuer to obtain an unsecured credit card. Unlike secured credit cards, unsecured cards won’t require an initial deposit to open your credit account and start making purchases. Our top-rated issuers for unsecured cards for bad credit include options for cards in both the Visa and Mastercard networks.

  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you're Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See website for Details* Yes 8.5/10
  • 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
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

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

+See More Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit

Unsecured credit cards are typically more appealing to consumers thanks to the lack of a deposit, but that doesn’t mean there are no upfront costs. In particular, the majority of unsecured subprime cards will have a variety of associated fees, including sizeable annual fees, as well as processing or program fees that will be due when you open the account.

Additionally, be prepared to see fairly high interest rates on your unsecured card. Most unsecured credit cards geared toward those with poor credit will have APRs well over 25%, and, those with the worst credit can expect to be charged an interest rate of 29% or more. You’ll also want to be careful to always pay your bill on time, as many bad-credit credit cards will charge a penalty APR if you make a late payment or miss a payment.

Second-Chance Credit Cards with a Security Deposit

A wide range of issuers offer secured credit cards as low-risk credit options for those who need to build credit. The reduced risk is thanks to the security deposit required to open a secured credit card, which essentially acts as collateral against default, thus ensuring the issuer has a way to recoup its money.

Without fear of losing extended funds, secured credit card issuers can afford to be more flexible with their credit requirements, and some issuers will skip the credit check entirely. Even better, without the necessity of offsetting potential losses with fees, secured cards often charge much lower fees and APRs. Indeed, the secured cards on our list charge interest rates less than half the size of those charged by a typical subprime card.

  • Invest your tax refund to improve your credit by making the refundable deposit for your new secured card today
  • 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 *See Card Terms.
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.99% (V) Yes 7.5/10
  • Invest your tax refund to improve your credit by making the refundable deposit for your new secured card today
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI *See Card Terms.
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
  • Click for for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 9.99% (V) Yes 7.5/10

+See More Secured Cards for Bad Credit

Another key benefit to using a secured credit card over an unsecured subprime card is that you can potentially access a much higher credit limit with your secured card. Your credit limit will be directly proportional to the size of your deposit (up to the maximum deposit amount), meaning you can increase your credit limit by providing a larger deposit — improving your credit utilization rate along the way.

That deposit doesn’t simply disappear when you hand it over, either. It lives in a protected, interest-bearing savings account as long as your account remains open and in good standing. When you close the account — or, in some cases, are upgraded to an unsecured credit card — your deposit (and any applicable interest) will be returned to you. In the event you default on your credit card, the deposit will be used to cover your outstanding balance.

Second-Chance Credit Cards for Post-Bankruptcy

The option of last resort for consumers who have been completely overwhelmed by debt, filing for bankruptcy is often the most difficult credit event to overcome. Not only does having a bankruptcy discharge on your credit report cause your credit score to sink like the Titanic, but the bankruptcy itself acts as a giant warning beacon to future creditors of the metaphorical credit iceberg ahead.

On the other hand, some issuers understand that bankruptcy is sometimes a necessary evil, and that you can come out of the other side of bankruptcy with a new financial outlook and the determination to remake your financial future. With that in mind, if ever there were a definition for “second-chance credit cards,” it would likely involve the expert-rated cards on this list, provided by issuers who know bankruptcy isn’t the end — but a new beginning.

  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds—without affecting your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit card, prepaid card, or secured credit card with deposit requirements.
  • Credit One Bank evaluates every account for credit line increase opportunities. We'll let you know as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
  • Zero Fraud Liability protects you if your card is ever lost or stolen. Rest easy knowing you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
  • Access your account easily from your computer, smartphone, or tablet at CreditOneBank.com or the Credit One Bank Mobile App. You can make payments, see recent transactions, and update your account preferences all at the click of a button.
  • Carry a card that makes you smile by choosing from over 20 unique card designs in Credit One Bank’s card gallery. A fee may apply.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 17.99% - 23.99% Variable Yes 9.0/10
  • 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.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

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

+See More Bankruptcy OK Cards for Bad Credit

As with any unsecured credit card designed for subprime applicants, those cards available to consumers dealing with post-bankruptcy rebuilding won’t have the most appealing interest rates or fee schedules. Be prepared for APRs over 25% (and likely closer to 30%), as well as a range of fees that include annual fees, as well as program or processing fees that will need to be paid when you open the account.

When trying to rebuild after a bankruptcy (or in general), perhaps the most important thing to look for in a new credit card is that it reports your activity to all three credit bureaus. Building up a recent history of on-time payments will show that you’ve made positive changes to your credit behavior.

Get Another Chance at Building a Strong Credit Profile

In some situations, Thomas Gray had it absolutely right — ignorance truly can mean bliss. For example, there are certain food items that are absolutely delicious… so long as you don’t know the particulars of the dish’s components. And of course, Gray could never have envisioned something like Facebook or Instagram, but sometimes I think I’d be more blissful if I was ignorant of social media and its endless scroll of FOMO-inducing photos and petty arguments between people I hardly know in real life.

At the same time, when it comes to consumer credit (and personal finances in general), ignorance is rarely bliss — and frequently a source of big trouble.

The first step to eliminating credit ignorance is to regularly check all three of your consumer credit reports. You are legally entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major bureaus every year, which can be obtained through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also check your scores and reports through any number of free credit monitoring websites and apps.

Beyond knowing what’s on your credit report, you also need to know what factors are influencing your reports and scores. For instance, simply knowing you have a low credit score does you little good if you don’t know how to fix that low score. Perform your due diligence before taking on any new credit products to ensure you won’t do your credit more harm than good.

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