Credit Cards » Compare Credit Cards » Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in 2021
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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in 2021

Trying to get a credit card can be a daunting process, particularly when you have bad credit. Here are The Smart Investor select's picks

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If you have bad credit, you can use bad credit cards to build your credit and improve your credit score. You will need to develop good habits, but if you can get approval for a card, you can use it to boost your credit history.

Fortunately, there are companies that offer credit cards for bad credit. Here are The Smart Investor select's picks of top credit cards for bad credit:

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

On OpenSky Secure Website

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

Reward Details

No Rewards

Current Offer

No Sign Up bonus

Credit Rating

Limited – Fair

Annual Fee

$35

0% Intro

No

APR

17.39%
  • Overview
  • Card Features
  • Pros & Cons

The No Credit Check feature is probably the most exciting thing about the OpenSky Secured Credit Card. This is perfect for anyone trying to build credit, whether you’re just starting out or trying to rebuild previously damaged credit.

The OpenSky Secured Credit Card operates like the conventional unsecured credit card, except that it doesn’t check your credit. This means a poor credit score will have no impact on your account approval. You are only required to pay a refundable security deposit ($200 – $3000) when you create an account. This deposit is what determines your credit card limit. So if you deposit $400, your credit card limit is set to $400. And you can begin using it immediately.

This card can be used to make regular purchases wherever Visa is accepted. It offers you fraud protection and the ‘secured’ status of your card is kept confidential. You are even eligible for special Visa discounts. You can increase your credit card limit anytime by submitting a request or reclaim your FDIC-insured initial deposit in full after you close your account (provided your balances are paid in full).

  • APR: 17.39%
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Plan: No
  • Sign Up bonus: No
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: No
  • No Credit Check
  • Flexible Credit Limit
  • You Don’t Need A Bank Account
  • Reports To The Three Major Bureaus
  • No Grace Period
  • Annual Fee
  • No Signup Bonus
  • No Upgrade
  • $200 Minimum Deposit

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Indigo card

On Indigo Secure Website

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Reward Details

None

Current Offer

None

Credit Rating

Fair – Good

Annual Fee

$0 – $99

0% Intro

None

APR

24.90%
  • Overview
  • Card Features
  • Pros & Cons

The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is one of the few credit cards that approve applicants with a bankruptcy record and other less than perfect credit history.  You can prequalify for the Indigo Mastercard without affecting your credit scores. If you are looking for a credit card with no security deposit to help you rebuild your credit, consider Indigo Unsecured Mastercard.

There are no points or cashback rewards with this card. It reports on-time payments to all three of the major credit bureaus so the cardholder can build their credit history. The Indigo card is issued by Celtic Bank, which is better known for its commercial products than its consumer products.  

  • APR: 24.90%
  • Annual fee: $0 - $99
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Unknown
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1%
  • Rewards Plan: None
  • Sign Up bonus: None
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: None
  • Pre-Approval
  • No Annual Fee
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Reports To The Three Major Bureaus
  • Travel Protections
  • Low Average Credit Limit
  • No 0% APR Introductory Rate
  • No Signup Bonus
  • No Rewards
  • High APR

Discover It Secured

Discover It Secured review

On Discover Secure Website

Discover It Secured

Reward Details

1-2% cash back

Current Offer

Match Bonus for the first 12 months

Credit Rating

Limited – Average

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

12 months

APR

22.99%
  • Overview
  • Card Features
  • Pros & Cons

The Discover It Secured credit card is a great way to build your credit history while still earning cash back rewards like a normal credit card. This is a great credit card option for students as well as folks trying to repair their credit history. Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. 

Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit. Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if Discover can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.

  • Rewards Plan: Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • APR: 22.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Sign Up bonus: Discover automatically matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, no limits
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: Intro Balance Transfer APR is 10.99% for 6 months from date of first transfer
 
  • Build Credit History
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Flexible Redemption Options
  • Get Extra Money Redeeming as a Gift Card
  • Refer a Friend for Cash Back
  • Put Down a Refundable Deposit
  • 10.99% APR for Balance Transfers
  • Less Merchant Acceptance
  • High Purchase APR

Citi Secured Mastercard

citi secured mastercard review

On Citi one Secure Website

Citi Secured Mastercard

Reward Details

None

Current Offer

None

Credit Rating

Poor – Limited

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

None

APR

22.49%
  • Overview
  • Card Features
  • Pros & Cons

The Citi secured card is different from other secured credit cards. It is designed for individuals that have no credit or individuals with limited credit. Individuals with bad credit are not eligible to have this card. It's a great plus for you if you qualify because they don’t charge an annual fee, and they report all card activities to all the three main credit bureaus.

The Citi Secured Mastercard offers no rewards. Some of the benefits you can get from using this card include; free FICO score access, account alerts and flexible payment due date. However, there is a high annual percentage, which is one of the disadvantages of using this card.

Citi ranked 6th out of 11 card issuers with a score of 801, according to the 2020 J.D. Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study.

  • APR: 22.49%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Plan: None
  • Sign Up bonus: None
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: None
  • Build Your Credit
  • No Annual Fee
  • Protection
  • No Rewards/Intro 0% APR Periods / Sign Up Bonus
  • High Ongoing Variable APR
  • Put Down a Refundable Deposit

Credit One Bank Platinum Visa

Credit One Bank Platinum Visa

On Credit One Secure Website

Credit One Bank Platinum Visa

Reward Details

1% cash back

Current Offer

None

Credit Rating

Poor – Limited

Annual Fee

$39

0% Intro

None

APR

23.99% Variable
  • Overview
  • Card Features
  • Pros & Cons

The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa with Cash Back Rewards credit card is a card that is best utilized when someone is looking to build or rebuild their credit, while still being offered some type of rewards options for the card holder. It's available to those with a bad, poor or fair credit rating. The card’s limit is variable depending on your income and credit history. However, you can obtain an initial credit line of $300 to $3,000.

Credit One also automatically reviews accounts for opportunities to increase the credit line. You can also choose your payment due date to fit your financial habits. In addition to these benefits, you can also earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases.

  • APR: 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $1 or 3%
  • Rewards Plan: Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services.
  • Sign Up bonus: None
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: None
  • Build Your Credit
  • No Annual Fee
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • High Credit Limit
  • Annual Fee
  • High APR
  • Penalty Fees

Capital One Secured Mastercard

Capital One Secured Card review

On Capital One Secure Website

Capital One Secured Mastercard

Reward Details

None

Current Offer

No Sign Up bonus

Credit Rating

Poor – Limited

Annual Fee

None

0% Intro

None

APR

26.99%
  • Overview
  • Card Features
  • Pros & Cons

If you currently have zero credit history or poor history from a troubled past, it can be hard to qualify for most credit cards. This makes the Capital One Secured credit card a good option to help you show lenders you are responsible with credit and start building your score in a lower risk environment. The card has no annual fee and can help you build credit over time while automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months. You can deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line.

The card requires security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 refundable minimum security deposit. Capital One will monitor your account, and as you use it responsibly by doing things like making on-time payments, you may be able to earn back your deposit as a statement credit.

  • APR: 26.99%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Unknown
  • Rewards Plan: None
  • Sign Up bonus: None
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: None
  • Build Your Credit
  • No Annual Fee
  • Flexible Security Deposit
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • No Rewards
  • High APR
  • Refundable Deposit Needed

Compare the Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit

Not everyone has perfect credit, but does that mean that credit cards are out of your reach?

Fortunately, there are companies that offer credit cards for bad credit. So, here we’ll explore these providers and the card options that are open to you.

What Does Bad Credit Mean?

Your history of making payments on credit cards, loans or even utility bills is recorded on your credit file. Bad credit refers to having a poor history of paying your bills on time. It suggests to lenders that there is a likelihood that you will fail to make your payments on time in the future.

Bad credit makes it more difficult to borrow money, particularly at competitive rates, as you will be considered a riskier prospect than someone with an excellent credit score.

In terms of FICO scores, if you have a score of 579 or lower out of a possible 850, you are considered to have bad credit. If you have a score of 580 to 669, your score is fair. According to Experian statistics, 62% of borrowers with a bad credit score are likely to become delinquent on their debt repayment in the future.

This means that many lenders may be reluctant to offer you a credit card, so you will need to look for a specialized lender.

What Should I Look for in a Credit Card if I Have Bad Credit?

If you have bad credit, your options for credit cards will be more limited compared to someone with good credit. However, you will still have choices. So, it is important to look for the right card for your circumstances. Here are some of the things you should look for:

  • The Interest Rate: This is the primary factor that many people consider when looking for credit cards. It should also be your first point of comparison. Since you’re looking at cards for bad credit, the interest rates are likely to be higher, but you may still find some cards are more favorable than others.
  • The lowest Fees and Charges: Many credit card issuers have a fee structure with charges for a number of situations. So, it is important that you check what fees and charges apply to an account. While you may have every intention of making payments on time, ensure that late fees are not exorbitant, or if you tend to use your card when you travel, be sure there are no hefty foreign transaction fees.

For many consumers a lack of annual fee is an attractive feature of any credit card. Lenders have recognized this trend and today the majority of cards do not have an annual fee. However, savvy consumers want more from their credit card. In this chart created with US news data, you can see the percentage of no annual fee cards by card type.

The most obvious category is student cards, with 100% of cards not attracting an annual fee. This stands to reason as lenders typically want to attract students who will need to develop financial relationships that could last a lifetime. However, over 75% of balance transfer, cash back and low APR cards also don’t have an annual fee.

At the other end of the scale, you can see that travel cards that typically offer some excellent benefits are more likely to have an annual fee. Secured cards, which are usually offered for consumers with a low credit score or no credit history are also more likely to have an annual fee.

percentage of credit Cards with no Annual Fee by Card Type

  • Appropriate Rewards: There are lots of reward credit cards on the market, but the rewards tend to be less generous when you have bad credit. Don’t get so carried away that you’re being offered rewards that you don’t think about whether they are appropriate for your spending. Earning air miles for your spending will be next to useless if you never travel, or earning points in certain point categories are not worth it if you wouldn’t typically spend in these categories.
  • Low Annual Fee: Finally, check the annual fee. Many issuers waive the fee in the first year, but you will need to think long term and what annual fee will apply after this. Consider whether you can easily offset the annual fee with any rewards; if you can’t you may be better with a $0 annual fee non reward card.
  • Whether You Need a Deposit: Some bad credit cards require a deposit that is used to create your credit limit. This can be an easy way to get a card, but if you don’t have any spare cash, you will struggle to make the card work.

How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit?

If you have bad credit, you can use credit cards for bad credit to build credit and improve your credit score. You will need to develop good habits, but if you can get approval for a card, you can use it to boost your credit history.

  • Avoid Getting Too Many Cards: If you’ve had approval for one bad credit card, you may be tempted to sign up for others, but this can be a mistake. Each time you apply for a card, it is noted on your credit file. So, even if you get approved, it will show on your credit history. You should wait at least three months between applications. However, this will give you a few months to show you can handle your new card responsibly.
  • Ensure Your Payments are Always Made on Time: The biggest factor that affects your credit score is whether you make payments on time. If you’re late making payments or miss a payment altogether, it will create a negative mark on your credit history. So, be sure to ensure that you pay at least the minimum payment each month.
  • Keep Your Balance Low: Once you have a new card in your hand, you may be tempted to rush out and buy that large purchase you’ve had your eye on. But, this could impact your credit score. To calculate your credit score, the credit bureaus not only look at your payment history, but also your credit utilization ratio. This is a measure of your current credit card balances as a percentage of your total available credit. So, aim to keep your balance as low as possible, even if you get a credit limit increase.

Carrying a credit card balance can be a massive impediment to financial health. However, there are 0% credit cards that allow you to pay down your debt without incurring interest within the introductory period.

As you can see from this FED Survey of Consumer Finances data chart, the age group that tends to carry the highest credit card balances is the 75 and older age group with $8,000 on average. This is closely followed by the 45 to 54 age group with an average of $7,670.

Credit Card Balance by Age

  • Keep Your Old Accounts Open: The credit bureaus also look at the length of your credit history. So, even if you’re not using an old credit card, think seriously about whether you want to close out the account. Unless the account is attracting fees or you’ll be tempted to use the card, it is a good idea to keep the account open.

How to Get a Credit Card with Bad Credit?

Trying to get a credit card can be a daunting process, particularly when you have bad credit. However, you can make it a little easier with these steps.

  • Check Your Credit Score: If you’ve missed a few payments or had an application for credit rejected in the past, you may assume you have bad credit, but the only way to know for sure is to check your score. There are a number of sites that offer free credit score checks or you can purchase a copy of your report from one of the three main credit bureaus.
  • Forget About Cards Not Suited to Your Score: Once you know your score, you need to forget about applying for cards that are not aimed at your credit level. If a card needs a high credit score, even applying will lower your score further. You can usually spot cards aimed at good or excellent credit by the benefits offered. So, if a card has a low APR, excellent rewards and impressive promotional rates, you should look elsewhere.
  • Target Cards for Bad Credit: As we touched on above, there are issuers that have credit card options that are tailored for those with bad credit. So, you need to look for cards that are designed for your circumstances. This could be a secured credit card or one with very modest rewards; there are lots of companies that offer credit building cards that could help you.
  • Continue Making Payments on Time: While you’re researching your card options, you need to ensure that you continue making payments on time. Many utility companies report payments to the major credit bureaus, so you could add a few points to your score before you apply.
  • Pay Down Existing Balances: If you currently have other lines of credit, try to pay down the balances. As we discussed earlier, your credit utilization ratio will impact approval decisions. So, if possible, try to reduce your outstanding balances.
  • Don’t Apply for Multiple Cards: Each application will be recorded on your credit file, so don’t apply for multiple cards to try and get one approval. If you’re unsure if you will qualify, use a site that only performs a soft credit search. This will give you a good idea of your options without impacting your credit score.

Getting approval for a credit card for bad credit can take time, so don’t rush into any decisions. Take a little time to assess your options and only when you’re sure a card would benefit you, proceed with the application.

Are There Any Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards for Bad Credit?

Secured cards are the closest thing that you can get to a guaranteed approval card. These cards require you to provide a cash security deposit to secure your card. The card issuer holds this deposit in a separate account to provide assurance that if you fail to pay your bill, they can claim the funds. This protection for the issuer makes it easier for people with bad credit to gain approval.

However, most issuers will still perform a credit check, so you may still need to meet a minimum credit score.

As you’re using the card, your card issuer will report your activity and payments to the credit bureaus. So, you can use this card to improve your credit score. In fact, some issuers offer the option to upgrade to an unsecured card after a certain period of maintaining a good payment history.

How Long Does it Take to Build Good Credit From Bad Credit?

A good credit score is a record of good financial behavior over time. There are several factors that the credit bureaus consider when calculating scores. This includes:

  • Your Payment History: This typically accounts for 35% of your score. So, you need a track record of consistently making payments on time.
  • Your Length of Credit History: This accounts for approximately 15% of your score and covers how long your various credit accounts have been opened on average.
  • New Credit: This covers if you’ve opened new credit accounts within a short amount of time. Typically, you should leave three to six months at least between applications.
  • Credit Mixture: The credit bureaus will look at if you have experience managing different types of credit.

Credit_Score_Factors

So, making a few payments on time will not immediately build good credit. You will need to demonstrate to lenders that you are a trustworthy credit user and less risky prospect.

It typically takes at least six months to generate sufficient credit activity to establish a credit history. But, it can take years to establish a good credit score. It is a better idea to focus on creating good financial habits, and periodically check in to see how your score has improved.

What's the Best Credit Card Company?

This is a very subjective question, as you may have a different experience to someone else. However, JD Power does have a customer satisfaction survey each year that compares the different credit card companies.

The JD Power US Credit Card Satisfaction Study has been conducted for fourteen years. It measures the customer satisfaction with their credit card issuers across six factors. This includes:

  • Interaction,
  • Communication
  • Credit Card Terms
  • Key Moments
  • Rewards
  • Benefits and Services

The 2020 Survey, examined responses from over 29,000 credit card customers and covered a period from September 2019 to June 2020. In this study, American Express ranked the highest among national US issuers. This was followed by Discover and Bank America in second and third place respectively.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Like all financial products, credit cards for bad credit have both benefits and drawbacks. It is important to be aware of both the potential positives and negatives before you make a final decision. So, here we’ll look at just some of the most important points.

The Benefits

In spite of cards for bad credit are limited in terms of rewards, there are a couple of important benefits they can provide for cardholders :

  • They Can Help You Build Credit: Your credit history is essentially a track record of your debts and how you pay them back. When you open your new credit card account, the lender will report its activity to the credit bureaus. This means that every time you make a payment on time, you’ll start to improve your credit score.
  • Greater Flexibility: In the current climate, many establishments are only accepting card payments for purchases to minimize contact. So, carrying a credit card can provide greater flexibility.
  • Improved Security: Credit cards are frequently used as they offer an additional layer of security. If your card is lost or stole, you can have a hold placed on your card to avoid any fraudulent transactions.
  • Rewards: While they are less common, there are some credit cards for bad credit that offer rewards on your purchases. This means that you can earn cash back or other rewards on your everyday spending.
  • Pay Over Time: If you’re planning a significant purchase, it can be difficult to save a little each month. But, if you use your card, you can make your purchase and pay over time.

The Drawbacks

Credit cards for fair credit don't have many options such as cards for good and excellent credit. Here are the main drawbacks to consider:

  • A High Cost of Borrowing: Card issuers set their rates according to the level of risk you pose. With bad credit, your potential risk is high for the lender, so your rate is set accordingly. This means that if you carry a balance on your card, it is likely to be a very high cost of borrowing. This is before you factor in fees or cash advances etc.
  • You Need to Take Care To Avoid Further Financial Problems: If you’ve struggled with your finances in the past, having a card with even a small limit could be a temptation to slip into bad habits. If you will have difficulty using your new card responsibly, it could be more of a burden than a resource.
  • Applying Could Damage Your Credit: As we touched on above, the credit bureaus take note of every credit application. So, merely applying could damage your credit score. While you can offset this by using your card to build good credit habits, you need to be confident that you will get card approval.

What Are the Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards for Bad Credit?

The annual fee is a major factor to consider when choosing a credit card. Fortunately, there are some great no annual fee cards for bad credit.

The Discover It Secured Card not only has no annual fee, but also allows you to earn cash back. You can earn 2% at restaurants and gas stations with a limit of $1,000 combined per quarter, with an unlimited 1% on all other purchases. The card also has an introductory APR rate for balance transfers of 10.99% for six months. After this, the rate is 22.99% variable.

You can establish your credit line for this card by providing a security deposit of $200 or more. This is a refundable amount, but will help to establish your credit limit.

Another option is the Secured Mastercard From Capital One. When you make a $49, $99 or $200 security depot, you can obtain a $200 initial credit line. The more money you deposit, the increased chances of a higher credit line being awarded.

While this card does not offer rewards, you can be automatically considered for a higher credit line within 6 months. Capital One also monitors your account and if you demonstrate you’re using it responsibly, you can earn back your initial deposit as statement credit.

What are the Best High Limit Cards for Bad Credit?

If you need a high limit, there are still options with bad credit. The Petal 2 Visa is an advanced card that is designed to help you to build credit, yet it has no fees. In addition to a minimum $500 credit limit, you can earn cash back on your purchases.

What is really innovative is that you earn additional rewards for paying your card on time. You’ll earn 1% cash back immediately, but this can increase to 1.5% if you pay on time. There is also bonus cash back of 2% to 10% at selected merchants.

Another great high limit card for bad credit is the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit. This card is available to those with a bad, poor or fair credit rating. The card’s limit is variable depending on your income and credit history. However, you can obtain an initial credit line of $300 to $3,000.

Credit One also automatically reviews accounts for opportunities to increase the credit line. You can also choose your payment due date to fit your financial habits. In addition to these benefits, you can also earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases.

What is the Easiest Credit Card to Get with Bad Credit?

If you’re worried about qualifying for a card, there are some cards that are considered the easiest to get with bad credit. One such card is the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard.

This card has been specifically designed for those who don’t have perfect credit. Prequalification is easy and will not impact your credit score. Yet this is an unsecured credit card that does not require a security deposit. Additionally, your card payments will be reported to all of the major credit bureaus to help you build your credit history.

Another option is the OpenSky Secured Visa. This is a secured card, but does not require a credit check. You can set your own credit limit with a cash deposit of up to $3,000. Like the Indigo, all your account activity will be reported to the credit bureaus, helping you to qualify for an unsecured card in the future.

The OpenSky application process takes just five minutes, but you should be aware that there is a $35 annual fee.

What are the Best Easy Credit Cards for Bad Credit?

This follows on from the previous options, but there are some excellent easy credit cards. These are designed not only to be easy to qualify for, but also easy to use.

We’ve mentioned this card before, but the Secured Mastercard From Capital One should be considered in this category. This card allows you to make a small deposit for an initial credit line of at least $200. However, if you make a higher deposit, you could qualify for a larger credit line.

The main draw of this card is that it is simple to use. While it doesn’t offer any rewards, Capital One keeps an eye on your account and you’ll be automatically considered for higher credit lines. You can even earn back your deposit as statement credit.

Another option is the AvantCard credit card. This is a simple card with no fees and no security deposit required. It will help you to develop responsible spending habits. The annual fee can vary from $0 to $59 and there is no rewards program, but you can check your eligibility online without affecting your credit score.

What are the Expected Credit Card Rates for Bad Credit?

Credit card issuers calculate your rate according to your credit score and other factors. The cards usually have a variable annual percentage rate or APR. This means that the rate may fluctuate according to market conditions.

The rate is set by the lender looking at the benchmark prime rate from the Federal Reserve and then adding in percentage points according to your credit and the associated risk.

So, while the rate can vary significantly depending on your specific circumstances, the lender often provides an indication of the rates you may expect, depending on your qualification.

There are cards on the market today for bad credit that have a rate as low as 16% APR, but it is more typical to expect to pay a rate of 20-35%.

Of course, you will need to consider more than just the rate. For example, you may prefer a card that has a higher rate if you plan on clearing the balance each month or if it pays generous rewards. You may also prefer a higher rate card that does not have an annual fee.

This means that you will need to look at all the features of the card, not just the rate, before making your final decision.

What are the Best Store Credit Cards for Bad Credit?

If you’re concerned about card approval, you may prefer to look at store credit cards. These often have more flexible qualification requirements, so may be easier to get and more beneficial to use.

One great example of this is the Fingerhut Credit Account. This is a traditional credit account that allows you to shop up to your credit limit. You can pay your monthly bills and build your credit history. Additionally, after only three payments on time, you could qualify for a credit line increase. There are no hidden fees, so you can shop with confidence.

The JCPenney credit card allows you to earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on homewares, clothing, appliances and accessories. You can redeem a $10 rewards certificate for every 200 points you accumulate. The card has no annual fee and you’ll also receive up to 20% off your first card purchase.

So, if you regularly shop at JCPenney, you can accumulate some serious savings, despite the restrictions on the card for branded purchases only. However, the card has a steep 26.99% APR and you could incur late fees of $38.

What is the Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit?

As we discussed earlier, secured credit cards can be a great option for those with bad credit. These cards require you to provide a deposit that allows the lender to have the assurance that if you fail to pay, they can recover your debt from your deposit. However, many secured credit cards have the option to transfer to an unsecured card once you have established you can responsibly handle using the card.

One of the best secured card options is the OpenSky Secured Visa. This card does have a $35 annual fee, but the application does not require a credit check. The application takes just four steps and a few minutes of your time. Your limit is determined by the amount of your cash deposit and all your account activity will be logged on your credit history.

However, another good option is the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard. This card has a $29 annual fee, but you can pay off your balance and receive back your deposit at any time. The company uses a soft inquiry, so you should have no negative impact on your credit score. You can complete the application online and there is no minimum credit score that is required for approval.

You can receive a credit line according to your deposit, which is typically $200 to $2,000 that you submit with your application.

What are the Best Cards for Bad Credit With No Deposit?

If you can’t manage a deposit, there are still some solid choices for cards with no deposit. One of the best is the Credit One Bank Visa. This card is a great option to build credit. Your annual fee will be $0 to $99 depending on your credit score. However, you can earn 1% cash back on your purchases and get rewarded for responsibly using your card.

You can choose your payment date and Credit One will regularly review your account for opportunities to increase your credit limit.

Another option is the Surge Mastercard® by Continental Finance. This is one of the leading servicers of credit cards for American consumers with bad credit. You’ll be assessed for both an APR and annual fee when your account is approved. You can expect a credit limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit), but you may be eligible for a credit limit increase once you have made six monthly payments on time.

You can check for pre qualification on the site without impacting your credit score. The easy, fast application process will deliver results within seconds. Additionally, you can access your account 24/7 online.

As you can see, just because you have bad credit, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get a great credit card. Just be sure to check the full terms and conditions before proceeding with any application.

Credit Card Reviews Methodology

In order to determine the best possible credit cards, we look at things like fees, interest rates and rewards. We do this with companies that are associated with us as partners as well as other offerings. From there, we make a decision about what the best card is related to different categories and needs. We focus on interest rate cost & fees, especially the cost of carrying a balance, rewards – cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely usability – cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting. We also consider customer reviews.

We look at cards related to good or excellent credit ratings that will then provide a range of different benefits and improvements for someone who has these scores. We also look at low fees when it comes to those who have lower credit scores.