9 Best Second-Chance Credit Cards (Feb. 2024)

Second Chance Credit Cards

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.

  • PREMIER Bankcard credit cards are for building credit.
  • Start building credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time each month.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • Credit Limit Increase Eligible after 12 months of consistent responsible account management.
  • We report monthly to the Consumer Reporting Agencies to help you build your credit.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider 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 receive a response in 60 seconds.
  • 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.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider Website Yes 9.0/10
  • Earn 3% Cash Back Rewards* on Gas, Groceries and Utility Bill Payments
  • Earn 1% Cash Back Rewards* on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit subject to credit approval
  • Prequalify** without affecting your credit score
  • No security deposit
  • Free access to your VantageScore 4.0 score from TransUnion®†
    *See Program Terms for important information about the cash back rewards program.
    ** Prequalify means that you authorize us to make a soft inquiry (that will not affect your credit) to create an offer. If you accept an offer a hard inquiry will be made. Final approval is not guaranteed if you do not meet all applicable criteria (including adequate proof of ability to repay). Income verification through access to your bank account information may be required.
    † Your credit score will be available in your online account starting 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required.) The free VantageScore 4.0 credit score provided by TransUnion® is for educational purposes only. This score may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
7 minutes 29.99% or 36% Fixed Yes 8.0/10

+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.

  • 1% Cash Back Rewards on payments
  • Choose your own credit line - $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score.¹ Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • ¹ Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.24% (V) Yes 7.5/10
  • No credit check to apply
  • Adjustable credit limit based on what you transfer from your Chime Checking Account to the secured account
  • No interest* or annual fees
  • Chime Checking Account and qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more required to apply. See official application, terms, and details link below.
  • The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
  • *Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply. See here for details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A Yes 9.5
  • 1% Cash Back Rewards on payments
  • Choose your own credit line - $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score.¹ Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • ¹ Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 15.24% (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.

  • PREMIER Bankcard credit cards are for building credit.
  • Start building credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time each month.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • Credit Limit Increase Eligible after 12 months of consistent responsible account management.
  • We report monthly to the Consumer Reporting Agencies to help you build your credit.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider 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 receive a response in 60 seconds.
  • 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.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider Website Yes 9.0/10
  • 1% Cash Back Rewards on payments
  • Choose your own credit line - $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score.¹ Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • ¹ Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.24% (V) Yes 7.5/10

+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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