9 Best Second-Chance Credit Cards of 2022

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.

  • 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
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • 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
  • 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
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 24.99% – 29.99% (Variable) 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Total Visa active cardholders get exclusive access to free Credit Monitoring powered by TransUnion!
  • 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
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes See Terms Yes 8.5/10
  • 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.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10
  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved.
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • Nearly half of OpenSky cardholders who make on-time payments improve their FICO score 30+ points in the first 3 months
  • Your refundable* deposit, as low as $200, becomes your OpenSky Visa credit limit
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • *View the cardholder agreement
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 17.64% (variable) Yes 7.0/10

+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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