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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First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • 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
  • Get a fresh start! A discharged bankruptcy still in your credit bureau file will not cause you to be declined
  • Quick and Complete Online Application; No credit inquiry required!
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card; Try our new Mobile App for Android users!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI ** See Card Terms
  • Includes Free Real-Time Access to Your Credit Score and Ongoing Credit Monitoring powered by Experian
  • ¡Hablamos Español! Nuestros representantes de servicio al cliente hablan Español con fluidez para su conveniencia.
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
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
Credit Card Deals

Milestone® Mastercard®

Milestone® Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.9%
  • Cash Advance APR 29.9%
  • Annual Fee $35 to $99
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Fraud liability
  • Price protection
  • Reports to major credit bureaus
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
Credit Card Deals

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

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
Credit Card Deals

Oportun® Visa® Credit Card

Oportun® Visa® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.90% to 29.90% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.90% to 29.90% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None to $49
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No credit history required
  • Online prequalification with no credit score impact
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.90% to 29.90% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.90% to 29.90% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of transaction amount, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: None to $49
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
Credit Card Deals

First Bank Business Edition® Secured Mastercard®

First Bank Business Edition® Secured Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network N/A
Best Benefits
  • Build credit with on-time payments
  • Reward yourself with interest earned on your security deposit
  • $39 annual fee
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: $35
  • Over Limit Penalty Fee: $39
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $2,200

First Bank Secured Mastercard®

First Bank Secured Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $35
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Improve your credit rating
  • Get unlimited access to your credit score
  • Enjoy free 24/7 fraud protection
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $300
Credit Card Deals

Best Egg Visa® Credit Card

Best Egg Visa® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No impact to your credit score if declined
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
Credit Card Deals

Amazon Secured Store Credit Card

Amazon Secured Store Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 10% fixed
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network N/A
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back at Amazon.com and Amazon physical stores
  • Chance to get your security deposit returned after as little as 12 months
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 10% fixed
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $5
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $100

Zions Bank Clarity Visa® Credit Card

Zions Bank Clarity Visa® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 9.75% to 18.75% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 9.75% to 24.25% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 21.25% to 25.25% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Enjoy one of Zions Bank's lowest rates available
  • No annual fee, foreign transaction fee, nor late fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases (for 6 months) and balance transfers (for 15 months)
  • Cell phone protection and contactless-enabled technology available
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 9.75% to 18.75% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months on transfers made within 60 days from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 9.75% to 24.25% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 21.25% to 25.25% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Credit Card Deals

Truist Enjoy Cash Secured Credit Card

Truist Enjoy Cash Secured Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 19.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 19.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 22.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $19
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn up to 3% cash back on gas, 2% on utilities and groceries (with a combined $1,000 monthly cap), and 1% back on all other eligible purchases
  • Unlimited cash back rewards
  • Monthly payment history will be reported to three major credit bureaus
  • Up to 50% Loyalty Cash Bonus based on your Truist deposit relationship when cash rewards are redeemed into a Truist deposit account
  • Low annual fee
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 19.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 19.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 22.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $19
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum Deposit Required: See Terms
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.