Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

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Quick Look: Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Bad credit can happen for a variety of reasons and might seem difficult to overcome. However, bad credit is more common than people think and can occur at any point in life regardless of income level or education. Bad credit is considered a credit score below 550. Low credit scores can hinder your ability to receive a loan or flexible financial options. Rebuilding and improving credit scores can take time and consistency. Benzinga researched and reviewed the best credit cards for bad credit so that you can start rebuilding your credit score today. A secured or unsecured card may help. Before signing up, consult a financial professional to see which cards and terms would work best for you.

1. Mission Lane Visa® Credit Cards

learn more securely through Mission Lane Credit Card’s website
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR

26.99% – 29.99% (Variable)

1 Minute Review

Get an instant decision on your Mission Lane Visa®Credit Card application. No more waiting for days or weeks to find out if you’re approved. With no activation fee, no hidden fees, no over-the-limit fees, no security deposit and a powerful mobile app, you can track your spending, build credit and gain some financial freedom.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR:

    26.99% – 29.99% (Variable)

  • Minimum Payment: $25 or $35 + 3% of new balance or 1% of the new balance depending on your card agreement + interest charges
  • One Time Fee: $0
Pros
  • Accepted globally where you see the Visa® logo
  • No over-the-limit fees
  • No security deposit
  • No activation fee
Cons
  • There is currently no rewards program

The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card includes:

  • Cards for those with poor, fair or good credit
  • No security deposit or activation fee
  • No over-the-limit fees
  • Increase your credit line if you make your first 6 payments on time
  • Instant application decisions
  • No interest on purchases when paid in full after 1 month
  • Mobile account access
  • Free, online credit score access

With the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa® Credit Card, you get the benefits of the traditional Visa, including:

  • 1% to 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Annual fees from $0 to $19

2. U.S. Bank Cash+ Secured Visa® Card

Annual Fee
No annual fee
Regular APR

Variable APR 26.24%

1 Minute Review

U.S. Bank has a history that stretches back to the early 1860s. It offers a tool called the U.S. Bank Smart Assistant that is designed to help manage accounts. The tool is interactive and can work as a voice-activated assistant.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee
  • Regular APR:

    Variable APR 26.24%

  • Minimum Payment: $300
  • One Time Fee: No one-time fee
  • Intro APR: Yes; 0% for the first 15 months
  • Rewards: Offers cash-back rewards
Pros
  • Allows more flexible payment due dates
  • Offers autopay and works with a digital wallet
  • Can work well for people with no previous credit history
Cons
  • Foreign transaction fees are around 2%
  • Higher security deposits up to $5,000
  • Varied cash advance fees

What makes the U.S. Bank Cash+ Secured Visa® Card unique is that it offers cash back. In addition, there are no annual fees, and it can appeal to potential lenders with no credit history. The credit card can help boost credit scores and guard against missed payments. For example, the card offers autopay options to help ensure that payments are made promptly. In addition, the account offers fraud liability protection and 24/7 account access. Credit limits are based on your deposit. A security deposit of $5,000 translates to a credit limit of $5,000. 

However, the APR rate is relatively high. The security deposits range in price but are refundable deposits. In addition, the card has late fees and foreign transaction fees, which might not be ideal when traveling abroad. The security deposit remains untouched as long as the account is in good standing.

3. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee
About $39
Regular APR

Variable APR 26.99%

1 Minute Review

What makes the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards so unique is that it offers 1.5% cash back on purchases and higher-quality services while remaining relatively attainable for lower credit scores. The card works with fair or limited credit. For example, the credit card offers beneficial tools such as CreditWise, which allows you to keep track of your credit score for free. The credit card provides fraud coverage and automatic credit line reviews to more quickly increase credit lines and allow for larger purchases. The credit card includes annual fees and a higher-than-usual APR at around 26.99%. The credit card also charges annual fees.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: About $39
  • Regular APR:

    Variable APR 26.99%

  • Minimum Payment: None
  • One Time Fee: No member fee
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back
Pros
  • Provides automatic credit line reviews
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage
Cons
  • A $39 annual fee
  • Penalty late fee of up to $40
  • Includes higher APRs

Capital One offers a wide range of services, including credit cards, checking accounts and saving accounts. The website offers a section that provides educational tools. Larger credit lines have the potential for trouble because bigger balances can be more difficult to repay when fully used. Try to stay within your financial means even if your credit line increases to prevent missing payments or incurring large amounts of debt. 

4. Fingerhut Credit Account

Annual Fee
No annual fees
Regular APR

Generally around 29.99%

1 Minute Review

The company first began in the late 1940s and now offers products online. Fingerhut offers two types of accounts: Fingerhut Fetti Revolving Credit Account as well as a Fingerhut Freshstart Credit Account. The Fingerhut Revolving account can potentially require a downpayment that can then be applied to your first order. The credit card has a limited reach but can help you slowly rebuild your credit score. Positive spending habits can allow you to potentially increase your line of credit.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: No annual fees
  • Regular APR:

    Generally around 29.99%

  • Minimum Payment: Can vary depending on your situation
  • One Time Fee: No application fees
  • Intro APR: No stated intro APR
  • Rewards: Unclear rewards
Pros
  • Automatically authorized for a Fingerhut FreshStart Loan if not accepted for credit card
  • Provides monthly updates about your FICO score without hurting your score
  • Accounts systematically reviewed with the possibility of increasing credit lines
Cons
  • No introductory APR rate
  • Higher APR rates
  • Credit card can only be used within Fingerhut network

Fingerhut is an excellent option to rebuild credit because it’s more accepting of bad and low credit scores. What makes the company unique is that the credit card can only be used with Fingerhut and the other approved partner companies. The credit card accepts interested borrowers with limited credit history without a security deposit. No clearly stated rewards are attached to the account. There are potential late fees if you fail to pay. Luckily, there are no interest rates if you pay off each monthly balance in full. There are no strict minimum credit scores, so it’s an excellent idea for low and poor credit. 

5. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Annual Fee
No annual fee
Regular APR

Variable based on the prime rate

1 Minute Review

Wells Fargo first began in the early 1850s to help businesses manage money. Today, the company offers a wide range of financial services and banking. The secured credit option requires a security downpayment that increases with the requested credit line. For example, a maximum credit line of $25,000 would require a $25,000 deposit. Currently, the card offers a prime rate on cash advances near 20.74%, but that prime rate changes to around 11.90% on purchases.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee
  • Regular APR:

    Variable based on the prime rate

  • Minimum Payment: About $500 deposit
  • One Time Fee: Security deposit depends on the amount of the credit line
  • Intro APR: Not stated
  • Rewards: Yes, with points
Pros
  • Offer credit line up to $25,000
  • Provide 1.5% cash-back for certain purchases
  • Rewards point option
Cons
  • Wells Fargo Business card applications not accepted in Wells Fargo Branches
  • Must already have a Wells Fargo business checking or savings account

What makes the Wells Fargo Secured Business Card so unique is that it’s a viable option for bad credit that can offer a credit line up to $25,000 while providing rewards and cash-back options. The card allows for automated payments to help avoid penalties and late fees. It charges no foreign transaction fees, and the card can be used for up to 10 employees, which might prove helpful when working abroad. The card helps protect against fraud. 

6. Milestone Mastercard

get started securely through Milestone Gold Card’s website
Annual Fee
$35 to $99 based on credit worthiness
Regular APR

24.90%

1 Minute Review

The Milestone Mastercard comes from Mastercard. Mastercard, located in New York, works to integrate new technology with banking. The APR rates are around 24.9% for credit lines of $300. However, the card has no stated rewards or bonuses and charges higher APR fees with limited benefits.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: $35 to $99 based on credit worthiness
  • Regular APR:

    24.90%

  • Minimum Payment: No security deposit
  • One Time Fee: None stated
  • Intro APR: None stated
  • Rewards: N/A
Pros
  • Reports monthly statements to three different credit bureaus
  • Offers 24/7 account access
  • No minimum security deposit
  • Allows people to be pre-qualified
Cons
  • Annual fees
  • No rewards or bonuses

What makes the Milestone Mastercard so unique is that it complements low credit scores by acknowledging the need to build or rebuild credit. The monthly payments are shared with credit bureaus, and prequalification for the card will not impact your score. The card offers online account access. The card is ideal for people in need of rebuilding credit and allows accepted users to access the account online.

7. Secured Sable ONE Credit Card

Disclosure: Terms Apply
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR

11.74% (variable)

1 Minute Review

The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card is accepted anywhere you see the Mastercard logo, and it offers a range of benefits that make building credit easy. No late payment fees, no annual fee and regular credit reporting make the card that much easier to manage while building your credit. You earn 1% cash back on all your purchases, and there’s a dollar-for-dollar reward match at the end of your first year of use. You can also earn 2% cash back with popular merchants. The card also features cell phone damage protection, rental car insurance, zero liability protection and much more.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR:

    11.74% (variable)

  • Minimum Payment: N/A
  • One Time Fee: N/A
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Rewards: Up to 2% cash back at your favorite merchants
  • Welcome Bonus: N/A
Pros
  • The card tracks milestones leading to unsecured credit
  • No annual fee
  • Competitive interest rates
Cons
  • The card operates more like a prepaid debit card

The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card is an excellent card for those with bad credit, and it offers several advantages that include:

  • No credit checks
  • Helps you build your credit history
  • Move up to unsecured credit in as little as 4 months
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum security deposit
  • Contactless payment options
  • Unlimited cashback and premium perks

Because you can build credit and amass rewards, you have more options that will help you benefit from spending and building your credit at the same time.

8. Shell Fuel Reward Card

Annual Fee
Vone
Regular APR

Variable APR up to 29.99%

1 Minute Review

Shell first began in the early 1830s as a seashell-selling operation. However, the company shifted into oil with its second generation of owners. Currently, the company is expanding its exploration of cleaner energy while remaining firmly rooted as a leader in the oil industry. The variable APR has the potential to be much higher than usual, around a maximum of 29.99%.

Specs
  • Annual Fee: Vone
  • Regular APR:

    Variable APR up to 29.99%

  • Minimum Payment: No
  • One Time Fee: No
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Rewards: Yes
Pros
  • Excellent gas rewards
  • Rewards on groceries and dining
  • Offers cents-per-gallon savings
  • Grace period of around 25 days on purchases without interest
Cons
  • Many Shell rewards are not directly tied to credit card
  • Foreign transaction fees and cash advance fees
  • Late fees up to about $40

What makes the Shell Fuel Reward card so unique is its strong rewards program that allows you to earn while spending on dining and online shopping. Once you reach a certain status, the rewards accumulated from spending activities such as dining and online shopping can be combined. Rewards give you the opportunity to save up to $0.30 per gallon of gas. The credit card can only be spent with approved merchants. New credit card members get gold status for the first 6 months but then can potentially be lowered to silver if the stated minimum purchases are not met in the designated timespan. The credit limit depends on factors such as your annual income and debt.

Features to Look for in a Credit Card for Bad Credit 

Before selecting a card, research available options and compare them to your financial situation. If possible, consult a financial professional to gain a better sense of the necessary steps. 

APR Rates

When examining different credit cards for bad credit, research APR rates. The rates will be higher for bad credit scores, but try to find the lowest rates in that specific bracket. For example, APRs that are higher can be more difficult to repay and might make rebuilding credit more tedious. APRs for bad credit are between 18% to 29%. 

Interest Rates

Interest rates are similar to APR rates, but they do not include everything that is examined within an APR. For example, an APR rate tends to be higher because it reflects a combination of data points. 

Interest rates for bad credit tend to range around 18% but can be higher depending on if the intended credit card is unsecured. Factor in interest rates because they indicate the amount of annual interest you will likely need to pay on a card.

Credit Boosting Tools

Paying off cards monthly is a great way to help boost a credit score. Setting up monthly automatic payments helps avoid paying late. However, automatic payments might not be an excellent option if your finances are tight or unpredictable.

Consider getting a credit card such as a secured card that allows you to check your scores and reports. However, certain credit score checking options can lower your score so research the different options before deciding which one you should use. 

Annual Fees

Annual fees associated with a particular credit card will affect whether you choose it. Annual fees help lenders offset the offered benefits and perks. However, benefits such as rewards tend to be minimal for low credit scores. 

How to Get Approved for a Credit Card if You Have Bad Credit 

Know Your Credit Score 

One step to getting a credit card with bad credit is understanding your credit score. Certain scores that are considered bad, low and fair can vary depending on the potential borrower. Research credit card options and know your credit score to see if your score can potentially qualify you as fair credit. For example, credit scores around 580 can potentially be marked as fair instead of low depending on the borrower. This change in score classification could potentially offer you better rates.

Create Positive Spending Habits 

When aiming to obtain a credit card, try to create positive spending habits. A credit card can be a useful tool, but it can also become a hindrance when improperly used. For example, failing to promptly pay off a credit card during each billing cycle can negatively impact your score. 

Build Credit

Building credit before entering into a credit card agreement, see if you can find better options. The best way to build credit and positive spending habits before obtaining a credit card is to promptly pay bills. Payment behavior can help improve your available credit card options or hinder them if you have a history of late payments.

Consider a Retail or Secured Card

Reviewing credit card options will help you better understand the likelihood that you will be able to receive specific cards. Credit cards that are secured are a good option for lower credit scores. However, secured credit cards often require a cash deposit. 

How You Can Improve Your Credit Score

Know Your Score

If possible check your score to track your progress. Some services charge or negatively impact your score each time that you look. Since these fees and credit dings can be counterproductive, find a program that allows penalty-free checks. 

Understand Your Debt

Knowing and understanding the full extent of your debt can rightfully feel overwhelming. Unfortunately, the concept of out-of-sight/out-of-mind does not apply to debt or debt payments because they do not go away when ignored. Instead, it is best to look debt directly in the eye to get an entire understanding of the beast. It’s nearly impossible to fix the problem if you have no real understanding of where to start. Sometimes what you think is the main cause of your debt and increasing bills is something you didn’t realize. If possible, consult with a financial professional to understand your debt and to feel more empowered about your situation. 

Consistently Pay Off Bills

Consistently paying off your bills can help build your credit. Building your credit can take time, so try to remain up to date with bill payments to avoid late fees and penalties that can potentially further lower your credit score.

Focus on Paying Ongoing Bills Such as Rent on Time

If possible, fully pay rent when due to help build and improve your credit score. When building your credit score, rent payment history can negatively influence your score if you fail to pay or pay late. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is a bad credit score?

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What is a bad credit score?
asked
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Credit scores are considered bad if they are found to be too low. Specifically, scores between 300 and 550 are typically considered bad credit scores. 

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Q

What causes bad credit?

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What causes bad credit?
asked
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Multiple reasons such as late payment, high debt ratios and identity theft can cause bad credit. It’s possible not to pay the expected minimum amount on your card balances or to pay late and decrease your score. Only making minimum payments on credit card bills can negatively impact your credit score. Your payment history heavily impacts your credit score, so try and remain consistent with payments. 

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Q

What are the easiest cards to get if you have bad credit?

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What are the easiest cards to get if you have bad credit?
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Cards with lower lines of credit are typically easier to get because of the lower amount at risk for a lender if you are unable to pay. Specific types of credit cards such as credit-building cards and secured cards can be easier to obtain for people with low credit that are looking to rebuild. Secured cards also offer an increased level of risk for a borrower. For example, secured credit cards often require a cash deposit to help offset the risk and that deposit can be lost if a borrower fails to make timely payments. 

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Q

What is a good APR for bad credit?

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What is a good APR for bad credit?
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APR rates for bad credit are often much higher than average rates. A good APR rate for bad credit can be below 20%, which is still higher than the typical average. However, some credit cards have rates as high as 25% APR. 

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Q

Can you do a balance transfer with bad credit?

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Can you do a balance transfer with bad credit?
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It’s possible to do a balance transfer with bad credit; research available options to see if it’s right for you. A balance transfer can potentially help you save money by more effectively consolidating debt.

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