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What’s a Good Credit Card for Someone with Bad Credit?

If you have bad credit, the best credit card for you is one that helps you improve your financial standing. Though having poor credit is undesirable, it’s not an insurmountable hurdle. Most of the effort to build your credit lies on your part, but the right credit card can help speed up the process.

How to Choose a Good Credit Card if You Have Bad Credit

With a less-than-perfect credit history, you will notice your options are limited when browsing credit card options. Normally you will find that these cards have high purchase APRs, multiple fees, and limited rewards or benefits. Naturally, these terms are laid out as such because you have to prove to card issuers that you are not a risky borrower of their money.

However, these limitations don’t necessarily have to intimidate hopeful applicants. As long as individuals make on-time payments and do not charge more than they can afford to pay back, a high interest rate or late fees should not be a big concern.

Ideally, you will want to choose a card that reports your activity to one or more credit reporting bureau. This factor is key towards developing an attractive credit score and polishing one’s credit report. You will also benefit from considering a card whose application will not perform a hard inquiry on your credit report. Avoiding this check will spare your credit score from getting dinged a few points. Thirdly, you should look to either secured credit cards or unsecured cards that specifically do not require perfect credit to apply.

The advantage of a secured card is that you set your own credit limit via a security deposit. Doing so can help you build discipline in knowing how much you can spend on a credit card. An unsecured card will come with a pre-set credit line determined after your application is approved. Don’t expect it to be too high if your credit score is lacking. However, again, starting small is advantageous in the long run.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit to Consider

If you have poor credit and are looking for payment card solutions, consider the roundup below collected by the BestCards team of experts. Not only do these options give you the purchasing power to cover your financial needs; they may also help improve your credit score – provided that you exercise responsible use.

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

The Milestone Gold Mastercard is an unsecured credit card issued by The Bank of Missouri. Whether you have poor credit or are just starting on your financial path, Milestone is a worthy candidate. You can use the card at any merchant that accepts Mastercard, and the issuer reports to the major credit bureaus. As a nice added touch, you can choose from several custom designs so you can show a bit of your personality. When you apply you will actually be considered for various Milestone Gold cards. The variations differ in annual fee and the card you are approved for will depend on your creditworthiness, among other factors – like your income.

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

No Credit Score Impact When You Apply

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR 29.9%
  • Annual Fee $35 to $99
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Choose your custom card design
  • Free 24/7 online account access
  • Quick pre-qualification with no impact to credit score
  • Mastercard® Gold Benefits
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.9%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $0 during the first year; after first year, either $5 or 5% of the amount of transaction
  • Penalty APR: 29.9%
  • Annual Fee: $35 to $99
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: Up to $40

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Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is also an unsecured credit card, issued by Celtic Bank. When you apply for pre-qualification, you’ll get a decision in less than a few minutes – and there’s no hard inquiry on your credit report. Like the Milestone Gold Mastercard, the Indigo Platinum can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including abroad. In addition, you have 24/7 access to your online account, where you can review your balance and transactions, make on-time payments, and more.

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Choose Your Own Card Design

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR 29.9%
  • Annual Fee $0 to $99 depending on the card issued
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Great for demonstrating responsible use of credit
  • Short and easy-to-complete pre-qualification form
  • 24/7 mobile account access
  • Choose your card design free of charge
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.9%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $0 during the first year; after first year, either $5 or 5% of the amount of transaction
  • Penalty APR: 29.9%
  • Annual Fee: $0 to $99 depending on the card issued
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: Up to $40

First Access Solid Black VISA® Credit Card

The First Access Solid Black VISA is an unsecured credit card that does not require perfect credit to apply. You can use it wherever Visa payment cards are accepted within the United States, and its application is also easy and quick to complete.

First Access Solid Black VISA® Credit Card

Raise Credit with Monthly Activity Reporting

First Access Solid Black VISA® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR See Terms*
  • Annual Fee See Terms*
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • All credit histories considered for this no security deposit credit card
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won't
  • Easy and secure online application
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-featured, unsecured Visa® credit card - accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms*
  • Annual Fee: See Terms*
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
Credit Card Deals
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Horizon Gold Card

The Horizon Gold Card is a slightly different option. It is not a traditional credit card, but opening an account does grant you a $500 credit limit. You can use this card to shop within the Horizon Outlet, which stocks men’s and women’s apparel, children’s clothing, items for the home, and more. What’s more, Horizon Card Services reports your activity to a major credit bureau, so it offers a path towards boosting up your credit score.

Horizon Gold Card

No Credit Required

Horizon Gold Card
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed No Credit Required
Best Benefits
  • 0% purchase APR
  • No credit check required
  • Fast online application
  • Includes access to My Privacy Protection, My Universal RX, My Roadside Protect and My Legal Assistance benefits
Rates & Fees
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: $20
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: $25

Group One Platinum Card

Similar to the Horizon Gold Card, the Group One Platinum Card also bestows a $500 credit limit usable at The Horizon Outlet. There is no credit required to apply, and the issuer does not perform a credit or employment check when you submit an application.

Group One Platinum Card

No Credit Required

Group One Platinum Card
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
Best Benefits
  • $500 credit limit
  • No employment or credit check to apply
  • Reports activity to major credit bureau
  • Fast and easy application
Rates & Fees
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: $20
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: $25

Additional Tips When Applying for a Credit Card

Whether you are building or rebuilding your credit with one of the above credit cards, always remember to carefully read through the card’s terms and conditions. In addition, have a budget laid out and know how you plan to use your credit card, especially if it will be frequently. Lastly, make at least a minimum monthly payment on your monthly balance and never miss a payment. Ensuring you are always on-time with your payments will give you a great boost towards raising your credit score and becoming eligible for higher-end credit cards and more attractive loan rates down the line.

About: Allan
Allan Guzman Chinchilla

Allan is the Managing Editor at BestCards.com. In addition to leading a robust team of writers in the pursuit of thorough credit cards expertise, he is an avid fan of films, food, traveling, and Star Wars.