Browse Credit Cards for Bad Credit Scores

Finding the best credit cards for bad credit scores is easier than you think. There are plenty of credit cards for people with bad credit that offer a variety of benefits and rates. BestCards.com has a selection of credit cards for bad credit that you can peruse to find the best option for you. Learn more about credit scores.

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Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card

Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms
  • Cash Advance APR See Terms
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee or interest
  • No credit check performed when applying
  • No minimum security deposit required
  • Ideal for everyday purchases to help build credit with regular on-time payments
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $2.50 per transaction
Credit Card Deals

Surge Secured Mastercard®

Surge Secured Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 19.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 19.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $69
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Initial refundable deposit of $300 becomes your credit limit
  • 1% Cash back Rewards on every purchase
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • Mastercard Zero Fraud Liability Protection (subject to Mastercard guidelines)
  • Checking Account Required
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 19.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 19.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $5.00 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: See Terms
  • Annual Fee: $69
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% 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
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $300
Credit Card Deals

Buy On Trust Lending

Buy On Trust Lending
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR See Terms
  • Annual Fee See Terms
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network N/A
Best Benefits
  • 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
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms
  • Penalty APR: See Terms
  • Annual Fee: See Terms
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms

PCB Secured Visa®

PCB Secured Visa®
  • Regular Purchase APR See Issuer Website
  • Cash Advance APR See Issuer Website
  • Annual Fee See Issuer Website
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Upon credit approval, the collateral deposit you provide becomes the credit limit on your Visa® card. Choose between $200 and $1,000
  • After the first year, you can request to increase the credit limit up to a maximum of $5,000 (subject to credit approval and additional collateral deposits)
  • This card is perfect for people new to credit as well as people looking to rebuild their credit
  • Build or rebuild your credit by keeping your balances low and paying all creditors on time every month
  • 24/7 online account center
  • A minimum collateral deposit of $200 is required to open this account
  • This card is issued by Plains Commerce Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A., Inc
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Issuer Website
  • Cash Advance APR: See Issuer Website
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Issuer Website
  • Annual Fee: See Issuer Website
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: See Issuer Website
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Issuer Website
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Issuer Website
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: See Issuer Website
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
Credit Card Deals

Unique Platinum Card

Unique Platinum Card
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network N/A
Best Benefits
  • $1000 Credit Limit
  • No Credit Checks
  • Instant Approval
  • 0% Financing
Rates & Fees
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: $10
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: $30

NetFirst Platinum Card

NetFirst Platinum Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 0%*
  • Annual Fee None*
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network N/A
Best Benefits
  • Instant Approval / $750 Credit Line!
  • No Employment or Credit Check
  • Reports to Major Bureau
  • Bad Credit, No Credit - OK
  • Always 0.00% APR
  • Fast Online Application
  • *See Card for Details
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 0%*
  • Annual Fee: None*

Freedom Gold Card

Freedom Gold Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 0%*
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network N/A
Best Benefits
  • $750 Unsecured Credit Line
  • Instant Approval*
  • No Credit Check
  • No Employment Check
  • Fast Online Application
  • Reports to a Major Credit Bureau
  • Bad Credit - OK
  • *See site for details
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 0%*

Applied Bank® Unsecured Classic Visa® Card

Applied Bank® Unsecured Classic Visa® Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 29.99%
  • Cash Advance APR 29.99%
  • Annual Fee See website for details*
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Access additional credit with on-time payments and responsible usage
  • A true unsecured EMV enabled (chip) Visa credit card
  • Quick & easy approval in less than 60 seconds
  • No penalty rate. Your rate won't go up even if you are late
  • Does not require perfect credit for approval
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.99%
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: See website for details*
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
Credit Card Deals

Oakstone Gold Secured Mastercard®

Oakstone Gold Secured Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 19.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000. Low 13.99% variable interest rate on purchases - with no penalty rate
  • No minimum credit score requirements. We invite all credit types to apply. No processing or application fees
  • Helps strengthen your credit with responsible card use. Reports to three national bureaus
  • Fast, easy application process. Choose your credit line and open your Personal Savings Deposit Account to secure your line
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • See website for additional Oakstone Gold Secured Mastercard® details
  • Includes Free Real-Time Access to Your Credit Score and Ongoing Credit Monitoring powered by Experian
  • Get a fresh start! A discharged bankruptcy still in your credit bureau file will not cause you to be declined
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 19.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
Credit Card Deals

Oakstone Platinum Secured Mastercard®

Oakstone Platinum Secured Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 9.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 18.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $49
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000! Super Low 9.99% variable interest rate on purchases - with no penalty rate
  • No minimum credit score requirements! We invite all credit types to apply. No processing or application fees
  • Helps strengthen your credit with responsible card use. Reports to three national bureaus
  • Fast, easy application process. Choose your credit line and open your Personal Savings Deposit Account to secure your line
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • See website for additional Oakstone Platinum Secured Mastercard® details
  • Includes Free Real-Time Access to Your Credit Score and Ongoing Credit Monitoring powered by Experian
  • Get a fresh start! A discharged bankruptcy still in your credit bureau file will not cause you to be declined
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 9.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 18.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
Credit Card Deals

What Is a Bad Credit Score?

A bad credit score is a score that falls below what credit reporting bureaus deem to be average, or “fair.” Bad scores indicate that a person is at a higher risk of missing payments, making late payments, or defaulting on their loans.

To put it bluntly, a bad or poor credit score tells a bank or lender that an individual is less creditworthy than someone with a higher score. Fortunately, credit scores are not set in stone. Instead, they are easily changeable through proactive measures and following financial best practices.

Credit Score Range

Before fixing a damaged credit score, it is crucial to understand what a credit score is, and what is considered good, bad, or ugly by different credit reporting bureaus. The two main credit scoring models that banks use to gauge creditworthiness are FICO and VantageScore.

FICO Score vs. VanatgesCore

FICO is the oldest of the credit scoring systems, and as such, is the most popular among banks. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850, with ratings ranging from Very Poor (bad) to Exceptional VantageScore is a newer scoring model created by the three leading credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Like FICO, VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850, but places more scoring weight on newer credit histories than FICO.

How Bad Credit Can Hurt You Financially

What impact can a bad credit score have on your financial life? Or even your everyday life, for that matter?

Tougher to Receive Credit

The most obvious impact of bad credit is a more difficult time getting approved for new lines of credit. Those with poor credit will struggle to get most credit cards with a few notable exceptions. Banks and credit card issuers are much less willing to extend credit to those with bad credit, and only credit cards for bad credit or secured credit cards will be an option. People with bad credit will also struggle with getting personal loans, car loans, and mortgages.

Higher Loan Terms

Poor credit will not eliminate any chances at getting cards or loans, but those lines of credit will come with less favorable terms. Loans and credit cards for poor credit feature very high-interest rates, higher annual fees, and potentially monthly service fees.

Difficulty Renting Apartments

Poor credit directly impacts your ability to find housing. Landlords may be less willing to take a risk with someone with bad credit, viewing them as a potential liability.

Loss of Employment Opportunities

Bad credit can even impact your professional life. Many employers access the credit reports of potential hires to see if they are a trustworthy, reliable individual. While companies can’t access your credit score, the information on your report may make you seem like a liability. Some government agencies won’t hire people with poor credit, viewing them as a security risk due to their financial situation.

How to Improve a Bad Credit Score

Bad credit has serious ramifications in everyday life. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it! Here are some of our top tips for improving your credit score:

Check Your Credit Score

The first thing you should do is check your credit score to see where you stand. You might already know your credit score is bad, but how far down on the scale, does it go? Knowing how fast you can improve your credit from “bad” to “fair” is crucial to making a financial plan of attack.

Pay on Time Every Month

As seen in the scoring models, payment history is the biggest factor in your credit score. Because payment history is so important, paying your credit card bill on time each month is essential to boosting sub-prime credit. Missed payments stay on a credit report for seven years.

Get a Credit Card for Bad 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.

Keep Credit Use Low

Credit utilization is as important as paying on time. Credit utilization shows lenders how you use your credit. Those who keep their credit use below 30% can expect their score to improve, while those who use less than 10% can expect a much faster score rise.

What Are the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit?

Bad credit doesn’t have to mean settling for a bad credit card. Here are some of our team’s top picks for bad scores:

Best for: Rebuilding Credit

Destiny™ Mastercard®

destiny-new
Quick Pre-Qualification Available
  • Simple and fast application process
  • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
☆ Quick Pre-Qualification
☆ Perfect for Building Credit
☆ Ideal for everyday purchases to help build credit

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 credit repair journey.

Best for: Credit Limit Increases

Reflex Mastercard®

Reflex Mastercard®
All Credit Types Welcome to Apply
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000!
  • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Checking accoutn required to apply
☆ Quick Pre-Qualification
☆ Mastercard Zero Fraud Liability
☆ Ideal for everyday purchases to help build credit

The Reflex Mastercard®, issued by Celtic Bank, is one of many credit cards for bad credit or no credit score at all. The card is a full-fledged Mastercard and offers the chance of doubling your credit limit when you make your first six monthly payments on-time. 

Best for: Rewards

Surge Secured Mastercard®

surge secured mastercard
Earn Rewards While Building Credit!
  • Earn 1% Cash back Rewards on every purchase
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Zero Fraud Liability
☆ Fast Online Application
☆ Your Deposit Is Your Credit Line
☆ Build Credit & Earn Rewards
☆ Free access to your VantageScore

The Surge Secured Mastercard® is a secured credit card that offers rewards – and the ability to build credit – in one package. The card differs from most secured cards on the market in that it earns 1% cash back rewards on every purchase and can help users build their credit score at most places in the United States where Mastercard is accepted.

Best for: Recent Immigrants

Sable One Secured Mastercard®

Start Building Positive Credit History
  • Earn up to 2% cash back on select purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
☆ Perfect for New to Credit/ Immigrants
☆ No Credit Check to Apply
☆ Build Credit & Earn Rewards
☆ Mobile Wallet Compatibility

The Sable One Secured Mastercard Credit Card is a fintech secured card that helps build a positive credit history in the United States – without any hidden fees and with no credit checks. Sable’s digital-first platform is a great feature that provides an interface most young adults will be immensely familiar with and removes much of the strain and anxiety that opening a secured credit card (or even a bank account) in a branch can cause.

Best for: Unsecured Credit

Merit Platinum Card

merit platinum horizon
Bad Credit, No Credit? No Problem!
  • Unsecured, $750 Line of Credit
  • Reports to Major Credit Bureau
  • Use for Purchases at the Horizon Outlet
☆ Quick Application
☆ No Employment or Credit Check
☆ Build Credit w/ On-Time Payments

The Merit Platinum Card is a basic store card offer from Horizon Financial Services. The Merit Card perfect for consumers seeking to establish or rebuild their credit score. This card features a no interest on purchases, a credit limit of $750, and no credit check.