The Best Second Chance Credit Cards

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If you have bad credit, you may feel like there are limited options for obtaining new credit to help repair your credit score This confusing process is particularly problematic if you need to make a large purchase or are trying to rebuild your credit score. Fortunately, credit card options are available for individuals with bad credit, including “second chance” credit cards.

At a Glance

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

Best for: Overall

The OpenSky Secured Visa is a very enticing offer for those who want to boost their credit score quickly but are wary of the negative impact a hard inquiry might have. OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years. Even better, you could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months

Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card

Best for: Graduating from Secured to Unsecured

The Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card is a useful tool for boosting your credit score thanks to its Double Your Line® feature. Pay a one-time $200 deposit (which acts as the credit line), make on-time payments for each of the first seven months, and you'll automatically have their credit line raised to $400 – without the need for additional security deposits.

Self Visa® Secured Credit Card

Best for: New to Credit

The Self Credit Builder Account and associated Secured Visa® Credit Card are an excellent combination for quickly building a positive credit history. Because the two accounts work together seamlessly, meeting the minimum requirements and paying on-time doubles the impact on your credit score.

Destiny® Mastercard®

Best for: Fair Credit

The Destiny Mastercard is an ideal credit card for anyone with bad or fair credit who want the purchasing power of Mastercard but without the security deposit requirement of a secured credit card. With a modest annual fee and manageable initial credit limit, the Destiny Card doesn’t care about your credit past – instead, it helps you focus on your credit repair journey.

What is a "Second Chance" Credit Card?

A “second chance” credit card is a special type of credit card designed specifically for anyone with a bad credit score. These credit cards help you rebuild your credit score by offering credit with lower limits and higher interest rates. These credit cards are called “second chance” because they give you a second chance to obtain credit after experiencing financial hardship or adverse financial events.

How Does a "Second Chance" Card Work?

“Second chance” credit cards work much like traditional credit cards. You apply for the credit card, and if approved, you receive a credit limit. You can use the credit card to make purchases like any other credit card. The most significant difference is that these credit cards often have higher interest rates and fees vs. traditional credit cards.

One of the benefits of a “second chance” credit card is that it can help you rebuild your credit score. Using your credit card responsibly by making on-time payments and keeping your balance low can help improve your credit score. However, misusing the card by making late payments or maxing out your credit limit can harm your credit score.

What are the Best "Second Chance" Credit Cards?

One of the biggest challenges consumers face when applying for a credit card is the credit check. While secured credit cards require a cash deposit to open, they aren’t always a guaranteed approval – which can deter many people from applying. Fortunately, there are several excellent secured cards that don’t require a credit check.

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

No Credit Check to Apply
  • Build credit with on-time payments
  • Reports to the three leading credit bureaus
  • Zero Fraud Liability
☆ Fast Online Application
☆ Credit Limits Between $200 and $3,000
☆ Access to OpenSky Knowledge Base
☆ 24/7 Online Account Access

The OpenSky Visa is one of the best secured credit cards on the market – and it is just as good as a “second chance” card if you find yourself striking out elsewhere. One reason why is that OpenSky requires no credit check. The card application process is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. Decisions are equally quick, making the entire process fast and painless.

The OpenSky credit education hub offers a range of articles on building credit, making it a useful partner in building up your credit knowledge as your payments build up your credit score. These topics include how to receive a free copy of your credit score, how credit scores are calculated, tips on boosting credit, and other advice related to the OpenSky card.

Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card

merrick bank double your line secured 224x141
Double Your Credit Line in 7 Months
  • Double your $200 credit line with on-time payments
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
☆ Quick Application
☆ Your Deposit Is Your Credit Line
☆ Build Credit with Responsible Use
☆ Get Your FICO® Score Free Each Month

The Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card is a useful tool for boosting your credit score thanks to its Double Your Line feature. The card requires an initial security deposit of $200. Once  cardholders make each of their first seven months, they will automatically have their credit line raised to $400 – without the need to add more funds through additional security deposits. This credit line increase is the perfect motivational tool on your credit journey – and can help you take the first step towards a brighter future with unsecured credit in as little as seven months.

Secured credit cards, like the Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card, are one of the best ways to quickly establish or rebuild your flagging credit When using the Double Your Line® Secured for purchases and then paying the full balance each month, your FICO Score will rise in time.

The Merrick Bank Double Your Line Secured Card also features Mastercard Platinum benefits and protections, including:

Zero Liability Protection Mastercard Global Services ID Theft Protection

Self Visa® Secured Credit Card

Get the Savings Plan That Helps Build Credit Today!
  • Monthly reporting to 3 major credit bureaus
  • No credit check needed
☆ No Credit History Needed
☆ Over 500,000 Trust Self to Build Credit
☆ Get $ Back After Building Credit

Building credit is difficult without the correct tools. Fortunately, the Self Secured Visa makes the practice much easier. The Self Visa Credit Card is a secured card designed to help build credit – fast, with no credit check required.

Because Self is a credit builder startup, the process involves a potential applicant getting their hands dirty with the company and growing their credit portfolio. This process begins with opening a Self Credit Builder Account. Self’s Credit Builder Account is a unique loan product ideal for you if you have no credit history or poor credit. Just open a loan account to “pay off” the loan into a certificate of deposit (CD) account.

The Self Visa reports to the major credit bureaus every month. This regular reporting to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion allows users to quickly raise their credit score through a series of on-time payments. Because the card is linked to a Self Credit Builder Account, cardholders can increase their secured card credit limit as they continue to build their FICO Score with on-time payments. As your Credit Builder Account grows, that money can be moved toward your credit line with additional deposits.

Destiny™ Mastercard®

Less Than Perfect Credit Welcome
  • Accepted nationwide, wherever Mastercard is accepted
  • Simple and fast application process
  • An opportunity to build and access credit
☆ 24/7 Online Account Access
☆ Feel Confident Building Credit
☆ Build Credit with Responsible Use
☆ Enjoy a New Level of Security

The Destiny Mastercard is a versatile “second chance” credit card thanks to its modest APR, initial unsecured $300 credit limit, and pre-qualification process before applying. While the Destiny Mastercard is all about repairing your credit, the card is still a fully-fledged Mastercard credit card. 

The card compares favorably to both the Indigo Platinum Mastercard and the Milestone Gold Mastercard – two other quality credit repair credit cards from Genesis Financial Card Services. And since those cards are always two of the most popular unsecured credit cards for bad credit, the Destiny is in great company.

Repairing your credit takes patience, persistence, and the right tools. While Destiny can’t force you to spend responsibly, it provides you with the right tools for the job of boosting your credit score. If you use your card to make small purchases, keep your credit utilization low, and pay your bill in full and on time each month, the Destiny Mastercard will do the rest.

Other Cards to Consider

Another type of “second chance” credit product is a merchandise card. Also known as a “catalog card,” merchandise cards offer an unsecured line of credit that is usable at specialty online stores. 

An example of a merchandise card is the Merit Platinum Card from Horizon Card Services.  The Merit Card offers successful applicants a $750 merchandise line of credit for use at the Horizon Outlet. What makes the card such a popular choice for credit builders, however, is the lack of hard inquiries when applying. Horizon Card Services does no credit checks when you apply, nor do they conduct an employment check. However, Horizon requires an active U.S. credit card, debit card, or checking or savings account to take part.

As noted, Merit is part of Horizon Card Services, which issues several merchandise cards, including the Freedom Gold, Group One Platinum, and Netfirst Platinum

Here’s how Horizon cards stack up against two other leading merchandise programs: 

Merit Platinum

Buy On Trust

  • Bad Credit, No Credit? No Problem
  • $750 Unsecured Credit Line*
  • Fast and Easy Application
  • No Employment or Credit Check
  • *usable only at
  • With an initial payment of just $50, you can afford to shop from all the top brand names
  • Buy On Trust TODAY, Pay LATER
  • All The Big Name Brand Laptops, TV's & More
  • Up to $5,000 approval
  • Bad credit welcome
  • Quick approval
  • Regular reporting to the major credit bureaus
  • 29.99% fixed APR on purchases

How to Choose the Best "Second Chance" Credit Card for Rebuilding Your Credit Score

When choosing a “second chance” credit card, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you choose the best credit card for rebuilding your credit score:

Check Your Credit Score: Before you apply for a “second chance” credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit score. You can check your credit score for free online from reputable credit bureaus like Equifax or Experian. This basic credit information will give you an idea of where you stand and what credit cards you may qualify for.

Here are some helpful tips for finding your next credit repair credit card:

① Compare interest rates and fees “Second chance” credit cards often come with a higher APR and more fees than traditional credit cards. It’s important to compare these rates and fees among different credit cards to find the best option. Look for a credit card with a low APR and reasonable fees.
② Get a credit card for subprime credit Part of boosting your credit score is increasing your use of credit. For those with bad credit, this may seem counter-intuitive. Fortunately, there are many unsecured credit cards for poor credit and secured cards that can help you repair your credit score.
③ Pre-qualify to boost your approval odds “Second chance” credit cards may have lower credit limits than traditional credit cards, so consider how much credit you need. Additionally, some credit cards may have higher approval odds than others, so consider your chances of being approved before applying – check out our guide to pre-qualifying for a credit card before applying
④ Always read the fine print Before applying for a “second chance” credit card, read the fine print. Look for any hidden fees or terms that could impact your credit score or financial situation. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions before accepting and activating your new credit card.

Summing It Up

A “second chance” credit card can be a helpful tool for rebuilding your credit score. Using your credit card responsibly and making on-time payments can improve your credit score. With the right credit card and responsible credit use, you can rebuild your credit score and achieve your financial goals.

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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BestCards is an independent, Florida-based credit card comparison platform. Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which BestCards receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). BestCards does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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