7 Best Credit Cards for People With a Credit Score Below 500

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You might think your credit card options are very limited if your credit score is below 500, but that is not the case. While some credit cards will be out of reach for now, there are plenty of secured and unsecured options for bad credit.

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As you build your credit and use credit cards responsibly, you might gain access to cards with better perks and lower APRs. The credit cards on this list can put you on the right path. Some might even come with rewards, so you won’t have to wait to start making use of some nice credit card perks.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards require you to put down a cash deposit and then extend a line of credit, typically equal to the amount you deposit. If your credit score is below 500, your approval odds may be higher for this kind of card.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card extends a $200 line of credit with a deposit as low as $49. You can also qualify for credit line increases as your credit improves. Plus, the deposit is refundable if you close the card or switch to an unsecured card.

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Lastly, this card has no annual fee. One downside to this card is that it doesn’t earn rewards.

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Rewards Credit Card

This card is a good choice if you want a secured Capital One card that offers cash rewards. It has no annual fee and lets you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back. It has a $200 minimum deposit, but you may qualify for a credit line increase after six months. The deposit on this card is also refundable, and you can upgrade to the unsecured Quicksilver Rewards card later.

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Discover It® Secured Credit Card

The Discover It Secured Credit Card has a minimum deposit of $200 — noticeably higher than the Capital One Platinum Secured card. However, the Discover card earns 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on purchases up to $1,000 each quarter. The $200 amount is pretty standard for most secured credit cards.

The Discover It earns 1% cash back on all other purchases. Another benefit is that Discover automatically matches all cash back dollar-for-dollar at the end of your first year.

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Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Technically, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa works more like a pre-paid Visa than your typical secured credit card. With this card, you open a Chime account and move money from that account into it, then use your card to spend. Chime reports to all three credit bureaus to help you improve your credit.

You can also adjust your credit limit. Plus, the card doesn’t require a credit check to open. However, the Chime card doesn’t earn rewards.

Unsecured Credit Cards

Unsecured credit cards are what may come to mind when you think about credit cards. They extend you a line of credit that doesn’t require a deposit. However, they might have higher APRs or fees than secured cards, especially if your credit score is below 500.

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

The Mission Lane Visa is an unsecured credit card that allows you to qualify with bad credit or no credit. Because it’s unsecured, it doesn’t require a security deposit. The starting credit limit is just $300, though it does give you the chance to increase it. It has an annual fee of up to $59, depending on your offer.

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FIT Mastercard® Credit Card

The FIT Mastercard is an unsecured credit card for which you may qualify with limited or no credit. The limit on this card is slightly higher at $400, but it comes with several fees, including an annual fee and a monthly fee. It also has a purchase APR of 29.99%, which is high, even for a bad-credit unsecured card.

On the plus side, you can increase your credit limit to $800 by making your first six monthly payments on time.

Petal® 1 Visa® Credit Card

The Petal 1 Visa has no annual fee, and you can qualify with limited to no credit. Credit limits start at $300 but can be as high as $5,000 for this card. One way to achieve a higher credit limit is by making on-time payments for the first six months.

The Petal 1 also earns 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants. It has a variable APR of 22.99% to 32.49% for purchases — the upper limit is high, especially if you carry a balance.

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About the Author

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who specializes in topics such as investing, banking and credit cards. He left his day job in 2019 to pursue his passion for helping people get out of debt and build wealth. You can find his work at outlets such as Business Insider, Forbes Advisor and SoFi.
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