More than 37 percent of Americans have not-so-stellar credit, according to Experian, a consumer credit reporting agency. Experian considers a credit score from 580 to 669 fair and from 300 to 579 very poor — and you typically get a score in that range by making late payments or carrying a high amount of debt.
A fair or poor credit score can work against you when you apply for a loan, because it indicates that you’re not a top-notch borrower. When you apply for a credit card, having a low score can really hurt, because only cardholders with the very best scores get the very best interest rates. To help take the sting out of looking for credit cards for bad credit, GOBankingRates identified the 10 best offers available right now. Peruse the chart for an overview, then dig into the details and decide on the best credit card for you.
|10 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit|
|Credit Card||APR||Annual Fee||Benefits||How to Apply|
|Capital One Secured Mastercard||24.99%||$0||Platinum Mastercard benefits|
Access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
|Citi Secured Mastercard||23.74%||$0||Citi Identity Theft Solutions|
|Credit One Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit||17.24% to 25.24%||$75||1% cash back on eligible purchases|
Free monthly Experian credit score
|DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card||12.75%||Apple Pay compatible|
Insurance, car rental, travel and warranty benefits
Free monthly Equifax score
|Discover it Secured Credit Card||24.24%||$0||2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations|
1% cash back on everything else
Match on cash back you earn at the end of the first year
Automatic reviews to see if you’re eligible for an account without a security deposit
Late payment won’t raise APR
|Primor Secured Credit Card||9.99% or 13.99%||$39 or $49||No-penalty APR|
Fixed interest rate
|Milestone Gold Mastercard||23.90%||$35, $49 or $75||Gold Mastercard benefits||Learn More|
|Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card||10.24% to 18%||$0||1 point per dollar spent|
Points redeemable for gift cards, merchandise, cash back or statement credit
|Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card||18.70%||$36||Worldwide acceptance|
Free, online tools to manage your account
|Unity Visa Secured Credit Card||17.99%||$39||Access to “How to Rebuild Credit” program||Learn More|
Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Now that you’ve seen the overview, check out each card’s details. Many of the best cards are secured cards. Here are 10 of the best credit cards for poor credit:
1. Capital One Secured Mastercard
- Security deposit of $49, $99 or $200
- Platinum Mastercard benefits
Although most easy approval credit cards for bad credit give you a credit limit equal to your deposit, Capital One offers a $200 credit limit for a deposit of as low as $49, depending on your financial history. Bonus: You’ll earn a higher credit line by making your first five payments on time. As you work on rebuilding your credit, monitor your progress with CreditWise, a free Capital One service that enables you to check your credit score via an app.
2. Citi Secured Mastercard
- Security deposit from $200 to $2,500
- Citi Identity Theft Solutions
- Purchase protection
This secured credit card requires a deposit of $200 to $2,500 to open, and your initial credit line will equal your deposit. The deposited funds stay in a collateral holding account, which doesn’t earn interest, for the first 18 months. You can set up account alerts and pay your bill online as you work to reestablish your credit with this card.
- 1% cash back on eligible purchases
- Free, online credit check
- Minimum credit line: $300
The Credit One Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit has a perk not common among credit cards for poor credit. You get 1 percent cash back for eligible purchases posted to your account each month. The initial credit line is just $300, but you can increase it as you prove your creditworthiness.
Unlike some credit cards for people with bad credit, this card might come with an annual fee, which could be as high as $75 for the first year and $99 thereafter. The bank provides detailed terms when you apply, so make sure if you have to pay an annual fee that it’s worth it for your personal situation.
Related: How to Get a Loan With Bad Credit
4. DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card
- Borrow against your DCU savings account
- Works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay
- Insurance, car rental, travel and warranty benefits
Credit unions like Digital Credit Union are often good places to find easy approval credit cards, even if you’ve had problems in the past. You secure the DCU Visa Platinum card with the funds in your DCU account, which earn interest. The card works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay and it protects you from fraud with an embedded EMV chip.
5. Discover it Secured Credit Card
- Security deposit from $200 to $2,500
- Free Social Security number alerts
- Free FICO credit score check
Unlike many credit cards for bad credit, the Discover it Secured card gives you 2 percent cash back for restaurants and gas station purchases and 1 percent on everything else, up to a $1,000 combined purchase limit. Discover also matches the cash back you earned at the end of your first year and checks your Social Security number against the data on risky websites. Once you’ve had the card for eight months, Discover reviews your account — if you’ve acted responsibly, you might get your security deposit back.
6. Primor Secured Credit Cards
- Security deposit from $200 to $5,000
- Available cards: Visa Gold, Visa Classic, Mastercard Gold, Mastercard Classic
Primor, a division of Green Dot, offers several of the best credit cards for people with bad credit. You can choose between two types of secured Visa and two types of secured Mastercards. The gold cards come with higher annual fees, but all of the cards enable you to choose your security deposit amount, which ranges from $200 to $5,000. The gold cards might be worth the higher fee if you plan to carry a balance — their interest rate is 9.99% APR vs. 13.99% APR for the classic versions.
7. Milestone Gold Mastercard
- No security deposit
- Quick prequalification available; no impact to your credit score
- Minimum $300 credit line
- Some account-opening fees
Milestone Gold Mastercard offers four credit cards for poor credit, based on different financial situations. You can see which card you prequalify for without impacting your credit score. All cards come with a 23.90% APR, but you could potentially pay an account opening fee of up to $50, and your annual fee could be as much as $99. If the card you choose comes with a maintenance fee, it will impact the amount in your credit credit line, so take care not to go over the limit. Note: The $70 and $75 annual fees goes up to $99 after the first year.
8. Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card
- Minimum $500 deposit
- Earn reward points for each dollar spent
- Cell phone insurance coverage and collision damage waiver
The Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards secured credit card uses your Navy Federal savings account funds to determine your credit limit, and you’ll need a minimum security deposit of $500. Unlike many credit cards for bad credit, it gives you one rewards point for every dollar you spend, which you can apply to your statement balance. It also provides cell phone insurance and a collision damage waiver, which are handy perks.
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9. Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card
- Security deposit from $200 to $3,000
The Merrick Bank Secured Visa requires you to make a security deposit from $200 to $3,000, and it links your credit line to the deposit amount. The card has an annual fee of $36, which you pay for up-front for the first year and then get billed for in increments of $3 per month after that. Because Merrick Bank reports your account information to the three major credit bureaus, you can reestablish and build your credit by using the card responsibly.
10. Unity Visa Secured Credit Card
- Credit limit ranges from $250 to $10,000, based on ability to pay and amount of security deposit
OneUnited Bank’s Unity Visa Secured Credit Card combines a typical secured credit card for bad credit with its “How to Rebuild Credit” program, which teaches you through everything you need to do to build your credit score. The annual fee is $39, and you might qualify for a credit line increase if you handle your account responsibly.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article. All fees and rates are subject to change at the issuers’ discretion, and some bonus offers might no longer be available on the issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page.