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9 Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit (2018): No Deposit Required

Ashley Dull 7/19/18

Although it can often appear complex from the outside, the world of finance is actually based on a remarkably simple concept. Indeed, at its heart, finance is built on the idea that every action has a certain amount of risk and a certain amount of reward, and you always want your rewards to outweigh your risks.

This concept can be illustrated easily by the way most institutions approach consumer lending, where consumer risk is determined based on each consumer’s credit reports and scores. In general, those consumers who represent the least amount of risk (i.e., those who have the best credit reports and highest credit scores) are easily approved for new credit and given low interest rates.

Conversely, consumers whose low scores indicate financial risk will have a harder time finding credit. While some may benefit from opening a secured credit card by providing a cash deposit, not everyone can afford the lump sum needed for a secured card. Unsecured credit cards, on the other hand, won’t require a deposit to open, but may have higher fees and interest rates. Check out the top unsecured card providers for less-than-perfect credit below.

Credit One | Fingerhut | Other Issuers

Credit One Bank: Unsecured Cards for Poor Credit

Founded in San Rafael, California in 1984, Credit One Bank has been headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada since 1998. Serving over 7 million consumers nationwide, the bank has made a name for itself by providing subprime cards to consumers with bad credit. Credit One is also known for being the Official Credit Card of NASCAR.

In addition to reporting to the major credit bureaus, your Credit One card will also provide you with your credit score each month. Our picks for Credit One Bank credit cards will also have one feature that’s pretty rare in the subprime card market: cash back rewards. That’s right, qualified purchases made with your Credit One credit card can earn you 1% cash back.

4.3 /5.0 Stars
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds
  • Receive 1% cash back on eligible purchases, terms apply
  • Enjoy more buying power with credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • View updates to your Experian credit score with free online access, terms apply
  • Access your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 17.49% - 25.49% Variable
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 Minutes
Reputation Score 9.0/10
4.3 /5.0 Stars
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Track your progress with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
  • Make paying your bill easier with the ability to choose your payment due date, terms apply
  • Stay in-the-know with customizable account alerts via email and text
  • Receive 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases, terms apply
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 17.49% - 25.49% Variable
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes
Reputation Score 9.0/10

The exact cash back program in which you will be enrolled will depend on the exact card and your individual creditworthiness. Depending on your level of qualification, your cash back rewards may be limited to certain eligible categories or apply to all eligible purchases made with your Credit One card.

Additionally, your exact interest rate, credit limit, and annual fee will also vary based on your credit and card choice, with some qualified candidates receiving $0 annual fee. If charged an annual membership fee, the first year’s fee posts as a lump sum when you open your account. Additional annual fees will be charged as recurring monthly payments after the first year.

Fingerhut: Unsecured Card for Poor Credit

Established more than 60 years ago, Fingerhut spent several decades as a mail-order catalog company before going digital in the 1990s. Today, the giant online retailer carries thousands of products across hundreds of categories, selling everything from bath and bedding to tires and tools.

Similar to a store credit card, a Fingerhut Credit Account can be a good way to get back on track with your credit — all while finding deals on tons of popular items. Even better, applying for your Fingerhut account won’t require paying an application or processing fee, and you won’t be stuck with an annual fee, either. (See complete WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account Terms and Conditions.)

4.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 5 Minutes
Reputation Score 9.0/10

While you’ll only be able to use your Fingerhut Credit Account to make purchases through Fingerhut, it will still act the same as a traditional credit card in many other respects, such as reporting your payment activity and account balances to the major credit bureaus. This means paying your Finger account on time each month can help build (or rebuild) your credit history.

As with a regular credit card, your Fingerhut account will also charge interest on balances you carry from month to month. To avoid paying interest on your Fingerhut purchases, be sure to pay your balance in full before the end of each billing cycle (usually 27 days after the start of the cycle).

Other Issuers: Unsecured Cards for Poor Credit

Despite each providing credit to millions of Americans, First PREMIER, Fingerhut, and Credit One are hardly the only names in the subprime credit card world. Consumers looking for an unsecured credit card for rebuilding their bad credit should compare all of their options to ensure they’re getting the best offer possible.

Our top-rated unsecured card picks will all report to the three major credit bureaus, so responsible use of your new card can help improve your credit score over time. Each option will also provide a simple online application, making it quick and easy to start your new credit journey.

4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Processing Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 Minutes
Reputation Score 8.5/10
4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • You may be eligible for a Credit Line Increase after six months
  • Easy and secure online application
  • Receive your card more quickly with optional Expedited Processing (additional fee applies)
  • Get a result in as little as 60 seconds upon completion of the online application
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See Terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 10 Minutes
Reputation Score 8.0/10
4.7 /5.0 Stars
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Initial Credit Limit of $500.00! (subject to available credit)
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere that Mastercard® is accepted
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 Minutes
Reputation Score 8.5/10

Keep an eye out for any annual fees or processing fees that your new card may require. These fees will likely be charged to your account as soon as it is opened, immediately reducing your available credit, and will need to be paid in full to avoid paying interest on the charges.

Regardless of the issuer, most unsecured credit cards will require that applicants have an active checking account to qualify. You’ll also need a regular source of income, though minimum income requirements will vary by card and issuer.

Responsible Card Use Can Foster Better Credit

As complicated as it may seem from the outside, understanding the basics of consumer finance can be easy once you learn the key concept of risk versus reward — and where your credit falls on that all-important risk spectrum. In general, good credit equals low financial risk, and low risk equals happy lenders.

That said, some lenders are happy taking on a bit more risk, and without requiring a deposit — but it’ll cost you. The best way to beat the high interest rates is also the best way to improve your credit so you can graduate to a prime card. In short, pay your credit card in full and on time each billing cycle; in next to no time, your credit (and your lenders) will thank you.

About Ashley Dull
Ashley is the Finance Vertical Manager at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on BadCredit.org and CardRates.com. Ashley works closely with experts and industry leaders in every sector of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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