The Best Second Chance Credit Cards

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Last updated on September 1st, 2023

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

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®

OpenSky® Secured Visa®
Poor-No Credit Required uses a variation of FICO Score 8, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Credit Needed: Poor/ No Credit Required
Visa Processing Network
$35 Annual Fee

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

  • 22.64% (variable) Regular Purchase APR
  • 22.64% (variable) Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® is a secured credit card that offers requires a low minimum deposit and features no credit checks for approval. The card, issued by Capital Bank, provides an easy route to better credit by offering credit limits as low as $200, a moderate fixed-rate APR, and a reasonable $35 annual fee.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • View your FICO® Score through your OpenSky account, an easy way to stay on top of your credit
  • Nearly half of OpenSky cardholders who make on-time payments improve their FICO score 30+ points in the first 3 months
  • Your refundable* deposit, as low as $200, becomes your OpenSky Visa credit limit
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • *View the cardholder agreement
  • Regular Purchase APR: 22.64% (variable)
  • Cash Advance APR: 22.64% (variable)
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $6 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $25
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
  • You're struggling to get accepted for other secured credit cards
  • You don’t have a credit history
  • You have bad credit and want to improve your credit score
  • You have a large deposit and want a quick pick-me-up for their credit score
  • You want access to a useful knowledge base of credit information and resources

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.

Total Select

Total Select
Fair-Poor uses a variation of FICO Score 8, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Credit Needed: Fair/ Poor
Visa Processing Network
$75 the first year ($48 after that) Annual Fee

Total Select

  • 29.99%, compounded daily Regular Purchase APR
  • 29.99% Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Total Select Card is designed for those with less-than-perfect credit who want a convenient payment card without a high barrier of entry. Ideal for building or rebuilding credit, this offer can give you the boost you need to level up your credit standing.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Total Select cardholders get FREE access to Credit Monitoring powered by TransUnion. Enroll Today!
  • $300 Credit limit
  • Chip-enabled card for added security
  • Credit limit increase possible after 12 months
  • Reports monthly to major credit bureaus
  • Quick and easy approval process
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.99%, compounded daily
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $75 the first year ($48 after that)
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • You're want to build or rebuild your credit and are looking for a Visa card that doesn't require perfect history
  • You prefer a credit card that doesn't charge a program fee or require a security deposit
  • You want convenience to manage your account via the card issuer's own mobile app
  • You want a card that works extra and reports your payment history to the three major credit bureaus and also provides free credit monitoring tools

The Total Select Visa is an exciting no annual fee, unsecured credit card for people with damaged credit or limited credit history.  The card provides an easy, quick online application, and there is even more to like without the program fee typically associated with the Total Visa Card. This fee reduction is one of the best perks of being pre-selected for the Total Select Visa, as the program fee is typically $89.

If access to credit without a program fee is nice, the real perk of the Total Select Visa Card is the chance at a credit limit increase in as little as twelve (12) months). Keep in mind that any credit limit increase will require a fee of 25% of the amount of any increase in your credit limit, with this amount charged to your next statement as a “Credit Limit Increase Fee.”

Ultimately, what makes the Total Select Visa such a solid “Second-chance” credit card is the reduction in fees, online pre-qualification, and that chance at a credit limit. Add in a very fair initial credit limit fo $300, and you have a versatile credit builder card for those with damages credit. 

Self Visa® Credit Card

Self Visa® Credit Card
Fair-Poor-No Credit Required uses a variation of FICO Score 8, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Credit Needed: Fair/ Poor/ No Credit Required
Visa Processing Network
$25 Annual Fee

Self Visa® Credit Card

  • 29.24% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Self Visa® Credit Card is a secured credit card that pairs with an existing Self Credit Builder Account. The card has no formal approval process. Instead, hopeful consumers simply need to open a Self account and save over $100 to fund the secured Visa account.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Make at least 3 monthly payments on time, have $100 or more in savings progress in your Credit Builder Account, and be in good standing. Then, you’ll be eligible for the Self Visa Credit Card*, without a hard credit check
  • Build credit and savings at the same time
  • Start with a Credit Builder Account* that reports monthly payments to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • At the end of your plan, unlock the savings you built — minus interest and fees
  • The Self Visa® Credit Card* is accepted at millions of locations in the U.S.
  • *All Credit Builder Accounts made by Lead Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender, Sunrise Banks, N.A. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender or SouthState Bank, N.A. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. Subject to ID Verification. Individual borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security Number are required. All loans are subject to consumer report review and approval. All Certificates of Deposit (CD) are deposited in Lead Bank, Member FDIC, Sunrise Banks, N.A., Member FDIC or SouthState Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. The Self Visa® Credit Card is issued by Lead Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender or SouthState Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. Individual results will vary. Visit for more details.
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $25
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $15
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $15
  • You're serious about raising your credit score
  • You already have a Self Credit Builder Account
  • You don’t mind the card's $25 annual fee
  • You plan to pay your card balance in full every month

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®

Destiny® Mastercard®
Fair-Poor-Good uses a variation of FICO Score 8, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Credit Needed: Fair/ Poor/ Good
Mastercard Processing Network
See terms Annual Fee

Destiny® Mastercard®

  • See terms Regular Purchase APR
  • See terms Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Destiny Mastercard is an ideal credit card for those 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 everyday expenses.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • All the benefits of a Mastercard, without a security deposit
  • 24/7 access to your account, even on mobile!
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Less than perfect credit is okay, even with a prior bankruptcy!
  • Regular Purchase APR: See terms
  • Cash Advance APR: See terms
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See terms
  • Annual Fee: See terms
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See terms
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See terms
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: See terms
  • You have an imperfect credit history, which may include a past bankruptcy
  • You have less-than-perfect credit
  • You want a Mastercard but don’t want to pay a security deposit
  • You want a credit card with the versatility to make foreign purchases
  • You plan to pay your statement in full every month

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 Boost Platinum Card from Horizon Card Services.  The Boost 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, Boost 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: 

Boost Platinum 1200x630 1
BOOST Platinum
buy on trust lending
Buy On Trust
Credit needed Bad Credit, No Credit? No Problem All credit scores welcome Bad credit welcome
Credit check No No No
Credit line $750, unsecured Up to $5,000 approval $300 (to start)
APR 0% 0% 29.99% fixed
Store features Household, clothing, appliances, toys, clothing, gifts, & more All the big brand-name laptops, TVs, and more from Best Buy Digital catalog of electronics, household, kids toys, gifts, and more

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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