10 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in 2022

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Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

Bad credit is one of the most difficult problems faced by Americans. Even if you have a good income, you can have bad credit, and that can cause mayhem in the financial aspect of your life.

People with less-than-average credit scores can face serious problems when they are trying to apply for a loan or credit card. Luckily, there are a few options for credit cards for bad credit.

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Usually, a FICO score below 580 is regarded as a poor credit score. If your score is 579 or less, chances are that you have defaulted on your loans or missed any other payments. Despite having a bad score, you can probably get approved for the following credit cards.

1. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

  • APR:
  • Fees: Refundable deposit; no annual fee

The Capital One Platinum Secured card is a good credit card for bad credit if you can put down a refundable deposit of $49, $99 or $200 for a starting credit limit of $200. If you’re able, you can put down up to $1,000 for your deposit, and your credit limit will match the deposit — but you have to do this before the account is opened.

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People without a credit history can get approved and can even qualify for a higher limit within six months by simply making regular repayments of at least the minimum due.

2. Discover it Secured Credit Card

  • APR:
  • Fees: Refundable deposit; no annual fee

Another credit card for bad credit, the Discover it® Secured credit card lets you apply without any credit history. There are no annual fees, but the minimum security deposit is $200.

Unlike many secured cards, this one offers rewards — you can earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in purchases at restaurants and gas stations, along with 1% cash back on other purchases. Discover will also match your cash back for the first year with no limit.

3. Self Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa Credit Card

  • APR: 26.99% variable
  • Fees: Partially-refundable deposit; $25 annual fee

The Self Credit Builder Account is an installment loan with an optional secured Visa card. Eligibility does not require any credit history. You choose a plan and pay between $25 a month and $150 a month, which will be refunded minus fees and interest at the end of your loan period. Once you’ve made at least three monthly payments on time and have paid at least $100 in your balance, you can apply for the card.

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4. OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

  • APR: 19.64% variable
  • Fees: Refundable deposit; $35 annual fee

If you wish to build your credit, then the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is a great choice because of its low APR. You can start with a one-time refundable deposit starting at $200 and up to $3,000, provided you can match the deposit. Unlike many secured cards, it does not require a bank account. With regular, on-time payments, you can upgrade to an unsecured card.

5. Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

  • APR: None
  • Fees: Refundable deposit; no annual fee

If you want a credit card for bad credit that does not charge interest1 or annual fees and doesn’t ask for a minimum security deposit2, then the Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card3 is the best option. Tied to the Chime Credit Builder account, which does require an initial direct deposit of at least $200, this card’s credit limit matches the balance in your Credit Builder account.

An advantage of this setup is that Chime does not report credit utilization to the credit bureaus, so you can use your full balance without hurting your credit score, as long as you pay on time.

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6. Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • APR:
  • Fees: Refundable deposit; no annual fee

This is one of the best credit cards for bad credit because of the unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It even offers 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars, if you book through Capital One Travel, which is extraordinarily high for a secured card. The minimum deposit for this card is $200 for a $200 credit line. Although there are no annual fees, the variable APR is very high, so it’s even more important to pay off your balance each month to avoid paying the interest.

7. Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card

  • APR: 18.00%
  • Fees: Refundable deposit; no annual fee

You can apply for this credit card even with a low score of 300. There are no annual fees or balance transfer charges, and the variable APR is very low. It even offers one point per dollar spent in rewards. However, you must be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union to qualify for this card, and its membership is limited to U.S. military, former military and family members of military.

8. Mission Lane Visa Credit Card

  • APR: 19.99% – 29.99% variable
  • Fees: $0 – $59 annual fee

You can qualify for a Mission Lane Visa card with a score as low as 400. However, the potentially high APR can quickly add up your expenses if you don’t pay off your balance in full each month.

9. Tomo Credit Card

  • APR: None
  • Fees: No annual fee

Although Tomo has are no fees or interest, it does not have as many attractive rewards as other options. It does offer 1% cash back on purchases and does not require a credit check.

10. Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card

  • APR: variable
  • Fees: No annual fee

The Petal 1 Visa credit card offers cash backs between 2% and 10% at certain merchants, both local and national. You must meet the terms to get cash back, but offers are personalized when you get them. This card charges no annual fees, and you can freeze your account any time you want.

What Type of Credit Card Is Usually Given to Someone with Bad Credit?

If you have bad credit, you can either get a secured card — where you have to put down a deposit to get a credit card — or an unsecured card specially curated for subprime borrowers. If it is a secured card, the amount of the deposit is usually equal to the line of credit being provided.

Choosing a Credit Card When You Have Bad Credit

If you have bad credit, here are some steps you can follow before selecting a suitable credit card for yourself.

  • Decide upon secured vs. unsecured cards.
  • Keep yourself updated about your credit score.
  • Know what kind of fees you will have to pay.
  • Make sure you plan your expenses to avoid any defaults.

Final Take

There is plenty of misinformation about credit scores out there, which can make it harder to understand yours. Be aware of your credit score and what it means, and once you know where you stand, choose a credit card that suits your needs. It is always a good idea to be careful with your credit card payments so that you don’t end up over-extending your finances.

There are various ways to improve your credit score, and managing your credit cards wisely will give you a good start.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about credit cards for bad credit.
  • Can I get a credit card with a 500 credit score?
    • Yes, with a 500 credit score, you can get approved for credit cards like the Discover it Secured credit card, Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards credit card and OpenSky Secured Visa credit card.
  • What is the easiest card to get with bad credit?
    • The OpenSky Secured Visa credit card lets you have a credit card without any credit check as long as you can put down the deposit.
  • Can I get a credit card with bad credit and no money down?
    • Yes, you can get a credit card even if you have bad credit and don't want to put any money down. However, such credit cards often have high fees and APRs.
  • What is the easiest card to get approved?
    • You can get easy approvals for cards like the Discover it Secured card or other secured cards, because your deposit acts as collateral for your purchases.

Amber Barkley contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 22, 2022.

*Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC

1Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven location or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

2Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.

3To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

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About the Author

Suchetana Bhattacharyea is a financial writer and has a master’s degree in this field from the University of Calcutta. She writes about personal finance, real estate, law, cryptocurrencies, banking, economics and marketing. Suchetana has been a freelance writer for the last few years and has ghostwritten several books on finance.
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