2020‘s Best Reviews: Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit

Unsecured credit cards are what most people think of when they think of a credit card: the issuer grants the cardholder a credit line without requiring a security deposit, and the cardholder pays monthly payments when there is a balance on the account. Our reviews follow strict editorial guidelines. Some of the products listed below are unsecured, fee-based products:

All Results | Unsecured Cards | Prepaid Cards | Secured Cards | Bankruptcy OK

Advertiser Disclosure
  • 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
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10
  • 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.


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.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

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


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See website for Details* Yes 8.5/10
  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Eligible purchases earn 1% cash back rewards automatically, terms apply
  • Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history
  • Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Manage your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • View your Experian credit score online for free, terms apply
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

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


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 17.99% - 23.99% Variable Yes 9.0/10
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 9.0/10
  • 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.


Overall Rating

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

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Review Breakdown: Unsecured Credit Cards

Ready to choose a new credit card? Our finance experts have compiled the summary table below to give you a quick glance at all the best unsecured credit cards for people with a bad credit history. As you review each card, take into consideration its interest rate, credit-bureau reporting, and overall review rating. If you see a card you'd like to learn more about, simply click on the card name to visit the card issuer's website.

Here are 2020's best unsecured cards for bad credit:

Best Unsecured Credit Cards Bad Credit
Rank Unsecured Card Interest Rate Reports Monthly Expert Rating
1 Fingerhut Credit Account See issuer website Yes ★★★★★4.8
2 Total Visa® Card See terms Yes ★★★★★4.7
3 First Access Visa® Card See Terms Yes ★★★★★4.7
4 Surge Mastercard® See website for Details* Yes ★★★★★4.7
5 Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit 17.99% - 23.99% Variable Yes ★★★★4.3
6 Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Access 17.99% - 23.99% Variable Yes ★★★★4.3
7 Milestone® Mastercard® with Choice of Card Image at No Extra Charge 24.9% Yes ★★★★4.2
8 Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card 24.9% Yes ★★★★4.2

6 Things to Know About Unsecured Cards (for Poor Credit, No Credit, or Fair Credit)

Ashley Dull

Expert Guide By:

Ashley Dull, Finance Editor


Most credit cards are unsecured, but there are many different kinds of unsecured cards for all types of credit ratings. Unsecured credit cards get their name from the fact that the debt is unsecured and not backed by collateral.

Here we’ll answer seven common questions about unsecured credit cards and provide details on each type of unsecured credit card.

1. What is an Unsecured Credit Card?

An unsecured credit card is a card that doesn’t require a cash deposit to secure the line of credit, unlike its secured credit card counterpart. While many different types of unsecured cards exist, your credit score will determine which unsecured cards you’re best qualified for.

2. What’s the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Credit?

The main difference between secured and unsecured credit is that a secured credit card requires the applicant to make a deposit upon approval, which is the bank’s way of protecting itself if payments are not made. This amount typically varies between $49 and $3,000 and is oftentimes equal to the amount of credit issued.

Credit cards that require a lesser deposit than the credit limit given are known as partially secured cards. Secured cards are best suited for those with low credit scores or limited credit history.

Unsecured credit cards – cards that do not require a deposit – are also available to those with poor credit, but getting approved for an unsecured card can be harder than it is for secured cards. In terms of purchasing abilities, unsecured credit and secured credit work the same way.

3. What Are the Types of Unsecured Cards?

Unsecured cards come in many different forms, but there are two primary differentiators: rewards type and credit type.

The better your credit, the better the unsecured card you’ll qualify for. Those with good credit scores (670 and above) will qualify for the best rewards programs, APRs, and signup bonuses.

Unsecured cards offer a variety of rewards programs for cardholders to earn air miles, cash back, points, and even 0% APRs for a promotional period after approval, usually up to 18 months.

With a lower credit score, you may not receive the same perks, but there are still options and advantages for subprime applicants.

For Poor Credit (579 Credit Score or Below)

Because banks view applicants with poor credit scores as the riskiest borrowers, these types of unsecured cards may come with other requirements, such as having a minimum gross annual income or a checking account with direct deposit.

Even so, some credit cards for bad credit still offer a modest 1% cash back on purchases, and with responsible use, you can help improve your credit and, eventually, qualify for better card offers.

When applying for credit cards for poor credit, it’s important to read the terms and conditions so you don’t become a victim of predatory lending. These lenders prey on applicants who are oftentimes in a situation of financial need and charge exorbitant interest rates and fees.

Always shop around for the best credit card offer. Many credit cards for poor credit allow applicants to see if they prequalify online before submitting an official application.

For No Credit (No Credit History or Score)

Having scant or no credit history can actually put you at an advantage over those who have a poor credit history. This is because you haven’t had the opportunity to prove yourself a creditworthy borrower yet, as opposed to someone who took out a line of credit and missed or defaulted on payments, causing them to have a poor credit score.

While you still won’t qualify for the very best unsecured cards until you show that you’re a responsible borrower, you have plenty of good card options available to you – especially if you’re a student.

Student credit cards offer rewards for good grades and cash back on purchases and most have no annual fee. This is true for non-students, as well. — several credit cards for no credit offer rewards, no annual fee, and fair APRs.

For Fair Credit (580-669 FICO Score)

Fair credit applicants will see perks and terms similar to those offered to applicants with limited credit histories — not the best of the best, but certainly not the worst.

Unsecured credit cards for fair and average credit are available with rewards programs and introductory offers, but be sure to apply for just one offer, as each time you apply for a credit card a hard inquiry is placed on your credit report.

This can negatively affect your score by a few points each time an inquiry is made and remain on your credit report for up to two years.

With No Deposit or Processing Fees

As mentioned, an unsecured credit card is one that doesn’t require a deposit. Fees, however, can definitely become a burden when you have bad credit.

Many cards for poor credit carry processing fees, annual fees, and even monthly maintenance fees – this is why it’s important to read the terms and conditions of a card before applying.

Each of the cards above has a green link that will take you to the corresponding page for those offers so you can easily compare cards and review terms and conditions.

4. Which Type is Easiest to Apply for and Get?

The application process for all credit cards is fairly similar — you’ll be required to provide your personal identifying information, such as your address and Social Security number, as well as your employment information and income. After the application is submitted, most issuers will let you know within minutes if you’ve been approved for the card.

Knowing which cards are open to you based on your credit rating will help your chances of being approved. That said, if you have bad credit, don’t apply for an unsecured card for good credit because you want the rewards or a higher credit limit, as you’ll very likely be denied.

All of the cards listed on this page are open to poor credit applicants, but if you have a really poor credit score (sub 600), getting approved for a secured card may be easier.

5. Are There “Guaranteed Approval” Cards?

The only card that is guaranteed to anyone is a prepaid credit card that you can buy and load the money onto yourself. “Guaranteed” unsecured cards still have requirements attached, such as having a checking account or meeting the minimum income.

Cards that tout themselves as offering “guaranteed approval” are usually the ones to watch out for, as they notoriously charge high interest rates and fees. As with any credit card, be sure to read the terms so you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into.

6. Can I Use an Unsecured Card to Build Credit?

Yes, so long as it’s used properly. What this means is keeping your credit utilization low — most experts recommend below 30% — e.g. if you have a $1,000 credit limit, 30% of that would be a $300 balance.

And, even more importantly, always pay your bill on time, as this has the biggest influence on your credit score.

  • Payment history – 35%
  • Amounts owed – 30%
  • Credit history length – 15%
  • Credit mix – 10%
  • New credit – 10%

Lastly, be sure to choose a credit card that reports to all three credit bureaus so that your responsible borrowing behavior will lead to positive marks on your credit report. Most unsecured credit cards do, but it’s worth verifying with the issuer beforehand.

About The Author

Ashley Dull Finance Editor Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull is a finance editor for BadCredit.org, where she works with a team of finance experts and journalists who develop in-depth industry profiles and advice articles read by more than 15 million Americans. Her years of experience reporting on consumer credit scores and reports positions Ashley to make smart recommendations on ways to improve one’s credit and avoid predatory lending. She often serves as an expert source on financial topics for national media outlets, including CNN Money, MarketWatch, Money Matters, ABC News, Kiplinger, and NBC News. Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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* FICO scores/credit 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 financial product.