What Are The Best Credit Cards When You Have Bad Credit?

The importance of having good credit is affecting people’s lives more and more, both for major purchases and sometimes even getting a job. While having bad credit can be frustrating when applying for a home or car loan, there are still many options available to you to get a credit card. There are two basic types of credit cards offered to those with bad credit.

Secured Credit Cards – Cards that are issued with you making a cash deposit which serves as collateral for the issuer in case you don’t pay your bill. These types of cards are much easier to get since the cash deposit reduces the issuer’s risk. The deposit is refundable when you close the account or upgrade to an unsecured account. A secured credit card still reports to all 3 major credit bureaus, enabling you to raise your credit score.

Unsecured Credit Cards – Unsecured cards are issued without any kind of cash deposit necessary to obtain them. You make purchases on the card up to a certain credit limit and the issuer trusts you to pay the balance back over time. These types of cards are harder to get with poor credit.

Listed below are some of the best credit cards currently available if you have bad credit.

Secured Cards

1) Capital One Secured Mastercard

  • Minimum deposit of either $49, $99, or $200
  • No annual fee
  • Collateral deposit can be paid in installments over 80 days
  • 24.99% variable APR
  • Possibility of earning higher credit without additional deposit after 5 months

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This card is ranked number 1 because it offers you the rare option within the secured card world of earning extra credit without depositing extra money, as well as the flexibility not to have to pay your deposit all at once.

2) Open Sky Secured Visa Credit Card

  • $200-$3,000 credit limit based on your deposit
  • $35 annual fee
  • 17.64% variable APR

3) U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card

  • Provides access to up to $5,000 credit line with equal deposit
  • $29 annual fee
  • 19.24% variable APR
  • Ability to upgrade to an unsecured card in 12 months

Unsecured Cards

1) Credit One Bank Cash Back Rewards

  • No out of pocket costs to open
  • 1% cashback on groceries and gas
  • $0-$99 annual fee (depending on your credit score)
  • 15.65%-24.15% variable APR

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While the interest rate may be high, this card is ranked number 1 because it offers a cash back reward, which is extremely rare among unsecured cards for people with poor credit.

2) Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa Credit Card

  • 15.64%-24.15% variable APR
  • $0-$99 annual fee (depending on your credit history)
  • 1% cashback on gas and groceries
  • Automatic reviews to increase your credit line

3) Milestone Mastercard

  • 23.00% APR
  • $35-$99 annual fee (depending on your credit history)
  • No checking account required

If you do not see a credit card option above that fits your needs, or you are denied for some reason, there are still other options available to you if you need extra cash. Some options might include selling unwanted items online or payday loans (if they are available in your area). You can even get title loans with bad credit if you own an automobile.

Whatever option you choose and whichever credit card issuer you go with, make sure that you are responsible in making the payments on time and keeping your balance low, and you will be well on your way to increasing your credit score and receiving more attractive credit card offers in the future.


Anum Yoon is the founder and editor of Current on Currency. She loves all things personal finance, which is why you'll find her work all over the PF blogosphere.