Don’t Let Bad Credit Get You Down: Anyone Can Get a New Credit Card

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Last updated on November 3rd, 2023

It might seem that bad credit disqualifies you from getting a new credit card. Since all the most lucrative rewards cards require good FICO scores, the prospects of finding the right card seem bleak, right? The truth is, however, that almost any U.S. consumer over the age of 18 can get new credit. Don’t believe us? Here are the card options available to all credit profiles:

Options for Excellent Scores

People with excellent credit scores can expect access to the best credit cards, the best signup bonuses, and the lowest interest rates. If you have a super-prime credit score (as this range is known), you won’t have to worry if you qualify for a credit card – nor will those with good credit.

Options for Good Scores

Good credit, while not super-prime, falls into the prime credit score category. This credit profile typically disqualifies applicants from credit cards like those from Luxury Card, but not from most great credit cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, the Upgrade Card, or even quality co-branded airline cards or hotel credit cards from banks like Bank of America, Chase, and American Express.

Options for Fair Scores

As you move down the credit profile ladder, your credit options begin to thin out. That process begins in earnest when you reach “fair” scores on the FICO scale.

A fair credit score, which is one that ranges between 580 and 669 on the FICO scoring model, is “subprime”. However, it doesn’t mean it is an unusual score to have. Roughly 17% of Americans have fair credit, according to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus (along with Equifax and TransUnion).

Card options for fair scores typically lack rewards, like airline miles or cash back. That said, options for subprime credit scores are all about repairing your credit and helping to get your score from “fair” to “good”.

Some of the best cards that fit this profile include the Milestone Gold Mastercard, the Indigo Gold Mastercard, and the Total Visa Unsecured Card. Many credit unions also offer credit cards for fair credit scores. Typically, these cards carry terms such as “Visa Classic,” “Visa Traditional,” or “Platinum” in their names.

Related Article: How to Choose a Subprime Credit Card

Options for Bad Credit

Consumers with a bad score (or very poor credit) will have a difficult time finding a new credit card. That said, there are still plenty of quality options available for those with subprime (or even deep subprime) credit.

Damaged credit is due to a variety of factors, including bankruptcy, accounts going into collections, a string of late payments, or a thin credit file/history.

No matter what the cause, bad scores don’t mean automatic disqualification when it comes to getting a new card. One option is to become an authorized user on someone else’s account. This allows you access to an excellent card and the ability to rebuild your FICO score at the same time.

If you prefer to have your own credit card, why not consider a credit repair card, such as the Destiny Mastercard? The Destiny is targeted towards individuals with bad credit and accepts even those with past bankruptcies.

Catalog cards, like the Group One Platinum Card or the Horizon Gold Card, are another option. Both options are open to bad credit (or even no credit history at all) and offer a $750 unsecured limit towards purchases at the Horizon Outlet – a popular online shopping portal.

Related Article: What Are the Easiest Credit Cards for Bad Credit to Get?

No Credit History At All

No credit history also isn’t an instant denial for those seeking a new credit card. As mentioned, options like the Group One Platinum or the Horizon Gold don’t require a credit history.

Secured credit cards are another great way to establish a good credit history and work your way up to better credit card offers in the future. Secured cards work by requiring a security deposit. This cash deposit, held in a joint bank account by the issuing bank, acts as collateral for the account and also as the credit limit.

Thanks to the deposit requirement, secured cards open the world of credit cards to those who otherwise might be unable to fix their FICO scores. Because of this benefit, a secured card is the ideal option for improving FICO scores and learning good financial habits.

Some of the top secured cards include the OpenSky Visa (which requires no credit check to apply), the Assent Platinum Mastercard (which boasts a 0% intro APR offer on purchases for the first six months), and the Applied Bank Gold Preferred (which offers a low purchase APR under 10%).

Related Article: What Are the Best Secured Cards for Rebuilding Credit?

You Can Get a Credit Card

Having bad credit – or no credit history at all – can be discouraging. Having deep subprime credit isn’t the end of the line, however. On the contrary, almost all adult Americans can qualify for a new credit card. By fully understanding the options available to you, as well as how to use those options to boost your credit score, you can take back control of your credit destiny – and advance to more lucrative opportunities in the near future.

Related Article: Can You Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points In a Month?

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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