Being an adult comes with many responsibilities, maintaining a great credit score being one of those. This financial image reveals your trustworthiness towards banks. They use that number to decide whether you are worthy of lending money from them to buy a house or a car. Your bank score can have many consequences on your life and opportunities.
Not everyone can always have a healthy bank history. Bad things happen and they often lead to poor point count. Maybe you forgot to pay a few bank statements or had to file for bankruptcy. All these big and little things get recorded and find their way into your financial reports. Once your score is damaged, you will probably want to fix it asap.
In this regard, banks can be very helpful because they offer packages for people with poor financial ratings. These best credit cards for bad credit represent a must-have tool for repairing your score. Often, they can’t boast with generous rewards or low interest rates. Yet, you simply can’t fix anything in your bank reports without them.
If you want to get educated on bad financial scores and learn how to improve yours, keep reading. At ProMoneySavings you will find useful tips, guides and definitions to dive deeper into the topic. Plus, we will list the best deals on the market for anyone who needs a card for fixing a poor bank history.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Bad Credit?
- 2 Do You Need A Credit Card for Poor Credit?
- 3 How to Apply for a Credit Card if You Have Bad Credit?
- 4 Secured Vs. Unsecured Cards
- 5 How We Rate Companies and Offers
- 6 List of Top Credit Card Providers and Deals in the USA
- 7 Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit Offers
- 8 Best Unsecured Credit Cards For Bad Credit
- 9 Top Deals on Easy To Get Credit Cards
- 10 Best Bad Credit Cards for Students
- 11 How To Leverage Your New Credit Card To Improve Your Credit Score?
- 12 How Long Does It Take To Fix Your Credit?
- 13 5 Easy Steps To Improve Your Credit Score Quickly
- 14 Types Of Cards To Avoid With Bad Credit
- 15 Research More Credit Cards To Rebuild Your Credit
- 16 How To Monitor Your Credit Score?
- 17 Final Thoughts On Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit
What is Bad Credit?
Imagine if a person who has a reputation of not paying back debts asks to borrow money from you? Would you give it to them? Probably not. You would be extra careful if you, by any chance, decide to lend them any cash.
Your reputation at bank institutions is revealed by your credit rating. This figure considers all your previous purchases, payments, missed payments, loans and so on. In the USA, bank history usually ranges from 300 and goes up to 850. There are several levels, which show whether a person’s history is bad, poor, low or even amazing.
Generally, financial institutions will place you in the lower-rated categories if your score is under 630 points. This number may seem confusing or insignificant at first. Yet, the rating can seriously damage your chances of getting a credit card or a loan with fair interest rates. In fact, your low score makes institutions to avoid lending you cash as they see you as a risk.
This is why Americans should always track their bank credit history. In case they have no such history yet, they should immediately start working on building one. There are various reasons why a person has a low bank score. Missed payments and overspending seem to be the most common issues though.
If your score is below 630 points, there’s no need to panic yet. Lots of Americans have a point score around that particular figure. There are several ways how a person can quickly rebuild their history and financial reputation. The first step subscribing for one of the best credit cards for bad or no credit, of course. You will see progress in no time by using your card smartly, avoiding overspending and paying off your debt.
Do You Need A Credit Card for Poor Credit?
It’s natural to ask yourself whether you need a low credit rating card or not. So, let us help you with that. “Yes” is the shortest answer. The things are slightly more complicated though. If you have a bad score and want a credit card, you surely need this particular type of card. As we already explained, a poor score is anything below 630. The lower your bank rating is, the harder getting such a card gets.
Americans often use these cards on various occasions. You probably reach out for it when buying food, paying for gas or purchasing clothes. Sometimes, this piece of plastic can be a lifesaver if you don’t have enough cash or your account balance is low. That’s why Americans really want and need this card type.
Banks won’t make the mistake of simply giving you a deal with great terms if your rating is low. That’s when the need to get credit cards for poor credit arises. These often come with bad terms, don’t include rewards and have strict limits. Yet, they do the trick and plus help you to rebuild your point score.
You will need such a card if you’re starting the process of building bank history. This category of people usually includes students, young adults and new citizens (immigrants). The first step of boosting your financial reputation is subscribing for a card for a poor score.
How to Apply for a Credit Card if You Have Bad Credit?
We helped you understand what bad rating is and decide if you need a card for a low point count. Now, let’s learn how applying for a credit card with a poor financial rating works.
This is an important step and requires smart calculations. Forget about the best offers since they are off-limits to people with low bank rating. Your options will include the most basic packages and cards that demand careful planning.
If you subscribe to popular packages offered to top-rated consumers, your application will be rejected. That said, always adjust your expectations early in the process and avoid bitter disappointment.
To discover your options, you need to discover your credit score. You can find some free online tools that can calculate your point score. When you have a clear number, you can get an appropriate secured card. Usually, this service comes without any special checks and it’s the easiest to get.
This type of card isn’t the perfect one, with its unfair terms and low spending limits. Plus, for getting a secured card you must provide a cash security deposit. A secured credit card helps you towards rebuilding your bank history.
Even though getting these basic cards is pretty easy, you should still try your best not to get rejected. Among the crucial steps is paying off all your debt before applying for any offers. It also helps to have a co-signer if your financial score is extremely bad.
Secured Vs. Unsecured Cards
Americans with poor point count usually start the improvement process with a secured credit card to build credit. They upgrade to an unsecured one when ready. These bank terms may be new and even confusing. Particularly if this is your first time ever applying for such services. Both options, are perfect for those hoping to rebuild their score. Immigrants, students, and people recovering from bankruptcy are some of the consumers who need such cards.
Before comparing secured and unsecured credit cards for bad credit, let’s define them first. Secured cards are for those with the worst or no bank history. If you have the required cash deposit, the issuer will easily approve your application. Banks issue these cards to people who can’t prove they will cover their payments on time.
Once a person improves their score a bit, they can apply for or upgrade to the second option. These often have better rewards and don’t demand any safety cash deposit. However, such products also may have bad terms and can damage your bank score if you misuse them.
Do you want to subscribe to one of these bank card services? Well, make sure to go over these key points first:
- Deposit – Secured credit card offers require a deposit. You can always select a deposit size within your budget. Most customers go for $200-$500 amounts. Your spending limit equals the cash deposit size.
- Fees – You will probably have to cover annual fees for your unsecured card. These fees aren’t refundable like the cash deposit. So, consumers should think twice before going for an unsecured card.
- Rewards – In terms of rewards, unsecured card products usually are a much better option. For example, users can expect cash back, airline miles, points, etc.
- Good for improving score – Those who want to work on their bank score should apply for a secured card first.
- Interest rates – Unsecured cards often disappoint with high interest rates because you borrow their money when making purchases. Secured cards are better in this regard thanks to your cash deposit.
- Reporting – Issuers of both secured and unsecured card services usually report customer payment history to credit bureaus. This means both options can help you improve your score.
How We Rate Companies and Offers
Below, you can check out the best credit cards for people with bad credit. If you wonder how we rate both companies and offers that provide them, let us explain. Our team of experts carefully checks several key points that help us recognize good options from bad ones.
In the upcoming list, you can read a short summary of all the aspects we take into consideration. In other words, we promise our readers honesty and absence of bias.
- Prequalification – We strictly advise you to go for card services you prequalify for. In that regard, offers that come with prequalification are great for users with a low financial rating. Plus, getting a prequalified card won’t hurt your score.
- Annual percentage rate (APR) – Paying your monthly statement in full often removes the bank interest on your spending. In some situations, this is not an option. That’s how you learn about the APR of a card. This number is the annual interest rate of your card. We like options with as low as possible APR i.e. from 0% to 25% max.
- Fees – Credit card related charges are costly and frustrating. Here, at Pro Money Savings, try to avoid them completely when possible. So, the most recommended options here are free of charge or have reasonable fees.
- Required credit range – Credit point scores go between 300 and 850, with anything under 630 considered low. Some bank institutions won’t give you a card unless your score is at a certain level. We, therefore, try to find options without such limits.
- Rewards – Truth is, Americans with poor bank history rarely qualify for rewards. Basic options like secured cards almost never include treats for consumers. Even when there are rewards, these are modest and far from those with top score get.
- Policy on previous bankruptcy – We love bankruptcy friendly best bad credit cards as these provide healing to those who most need it. There aren’t tons of options for those who have a bankruptcy in their reports. Yet, there are offers that can help in repairing a ruined score.
- Grace period – Is your card issuer giving you enough time to pay your statement or just starts adding interest right away? This is an important question to ask because it saves lots of cash. We, of course, prefer cards and banks that offer a payments grace period.
- Free credit scores – As you’ll see further in the article, there are several ways to check your score. Major bureaus are obliged to give you one free report every year, plus there are some tools too. There are cards that offer free reports to users who want to apply for them. We like those packages and gladly recommend them.
- Credit bureau reports – Reporting to credit bureaus is possible the most important point here. You won’t be able to repair your bank history if your payments and transactions aren’t recorded and reported. That’s why we always recommend offers that provide reports to all three main bureaus.
List of Top Credit Card Providers and Deals in the USA
You may be surprised by the rich selection of options people with poor credit have in terms of credit cards. Still, not all of these offers deserve your attention. Here is a list of the best credit cards for bad credit alongside a short summary of their terms.
- Capital One – Secured card option powered by Mastercard. Available to those with a credit score between 300 and 670. Comes with no rewards, zero fees, and 26.99% variable APR.
- Discover It – Secured card offer for those with no credit history at all. Includes 1% cash back on most purchases and 2% at restaurants and gas stations. This card has a 25.24% variable APR and no annual fees.
- Total Visa – Unsecured card with $75 fees for the initial year and the $48 for any following years. Americans with no bank history can get it without any initial deposit. No rewards offered.
- Credit One Bank – Great choice for people with a bad or fair point score. Powered by Visa, the card includes 1% rewards on certain purchases and has a variable APR between 20.24% and 26.24%. Charges per year vary from 0 to $99.
- OpenSky – Secured Visa offer that comes with no check and an annual fee of $35. Available to those with a point score from 350 to 689. This package comes with a variable APR of 19.64%;
- Milestone – Unsecured Mastercard package for consumers with a bad to fair score. Fixed APR of 24.90% and annual charges between $35 and $75.
- Indigo – Those with bankruptcy in their reports can go for this Mastercard with APR of 24.90%. Some pros of the product include protection from fraud and prequalification.
- DCU Visa – Secured offer with no annual fees and variable APR of 13.75%. This is an option for anyone with a rating of over 350. Boasts of low interest rates.
- Blue – American Expressed offer for Americans with a rating under 579. Includes some rewards and has no annual fees. APR is variable and ranges from 15.24% to 20.24%. Grants you a free ShopRunner membership.
- U.S. Bank – Secured Visa with a better grace period and scheduled payments. No rewards and a minimum cash deposit of $300. Free to use the first year, then comes with modest annual charges of $25.
- Bank of America BankAmericard – Requires cash deposit of at least $300 and has no rewards program. No annual fees and fixed APR of 25.24%. Free monthly score reports for tracking progress.
- Fingerhut – Targets customers with a damaged rating. Has zero annual fees and reports to all three bureaus. This product is issued by WebBank and has a high regular APR of 29.99%.
- Credit Builder – This secured Visa offer is excellent for those within the range from 350 to 689 points. The card has a low annual fee of $25 and a variable APR of 23.24%.
- Green Dot primor – Secured Visa package with low interest rates and $49 annual charges. Regular APR is 9.99% and the lowest acceptable rating is 350.
Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit Offers
As we explained, secured cards often come with no fees and require a cash deposit. This deposit is the spending limit you have on your new credit card. Secured cards are the best option for those who hope to see their bank score boosted. They are easy to get and often have no score restrictions.
If you are currently looking for such an offer, let us present you with the best secured credit card for bad credit deals. These are top choices among Americans and have a countless number of positive reviews. Of course, we refer to the Capital One Secured Mastercard and the Discover it Secured.
Capital One Secured by Mastercard is great because it lets users pick their deposit size. The options include $49, $99 and $200. The deposit is refundable, plus there are no annual fees. If you use the card smartly and responsibly, you may even get your limit increased without having to provide extra deposits. Foreign transactions are also free of charge with Capital One. The main drawback here is the lack of a rewards program.
How does getting 2% cash back up to $1,000 every 4 months sound to you? This is what you get for using the popular Discover it Secured card as restaurants and gas stations. Add zero fees on top of the rewards and you may have a winner. The initial deposit you must provide for this credit card offer is $200 and the amount is refundable. You may want another option if you travel frequently because Discover it is not widely accepted in foreign countries.
Best Unsecured Credit Cards For Bad Credit
The first choice of Americans with no or terrible score is secured credit cards. Once their initial damage-control process gives results and they note improvements, they can move on to unsecured cards.
You want such a card when you feel strong enough, your budget is healthy, and you need better spending freedom. Two great options in this category are the Milestone by Mastercard and Credit One by Visa. Another offer that can do the trick here is the Total by Visa too.
Mastercard’s Milestone comes with prequalification, which is always great. You can get it even with a bad or poor rating. Like most unsecured cards, Milestone comes with annual fees. These range from $35 to $99 and depend on your profile. The APR is neither perfect nor terrible at 24.90%. Mastercard Gold Benefits are included in the offer.
Visa’s Credit One is also available for those with a score between 300 and 670. What makes this unsecured card so great? Well, it offers free score reports, cash back rewards, and no fraud liability. Using this card costs anything between $0 to $99 depending on customer profile and account age.
Visa’s Total is also an option for people with no credit history. With a program fee of $89 and a response within 60 seconds, it surely is worth your attention. Total doesn’t come with any kind of rewards though.
Top Deals on Easy To Get Credit Cards
Even cards for people with low credit score can come with certain requirements. If you are among those without bank history or with a seriously poor rating, you may want a guaranteed approval card. There are several great deals in this category. We can’t highlight only one option as the easiest credit card to get with bad credit. Instead, we will list some relevant offers on cards that are pretty easy to get with poor credit.
OpenSky by Visa is given without any previous checks, so it’s among the easiest to get. First Progress by Mastercard is another option that doesn’t require history or a minimum score. Visa’s counterpart on First Progress is called First Access and grants approvals without history or a minimum point score too.
Fingerhut deserves a mention here as it specifically targets consumers with bad scores. This card offers a simple application process and almost instant responses. Visa’s Total is similar in this regard. They conduct checks but also respond within seconds.
Capital One and Indigo have prequalification. You can check if you can get them, meaning they make the process easier and save you precious time.
Best Bad Credit Cards for Students
Students are among the Americans who often have a desperate need of the credit cards for bad credit. Ever since the CARD Act of 2009 came into force, getting a credit card for students have become extremely complicated.
Why? To obtain such a card, consumers need a certain level of a bank score. So, students, usually, don’t meet the requirements. Credit cards are a necessity. Plus, you want to work on your score as early as possible. The fact that you’re a student doesn’t mean you can’t do that.
The market has a decent selection of packages for students with no or poor financial history. We would advise students to get offers that come with no fees and low interest rates. It’s not necessary to spend extra cash on such fees. At least not until you have a limited budget.
Journey Student, Deserve Edu and Discover it Student sound amazing. All come with no or modest fees, great rewards programs, and reasonable APR. In real life, not many students are eligible for them as they require a score of at least 600.
This brings us back to the most basic options, such as the secured cards we already mentioned. DCU Visa Platinum is a great choice here. It demands you have a rating between 300 and 640. The card comes with no annual charges and its purchase APR is 13%. Capital One Secured Mastercard and OpenSky Secured Visa are also top-rated offers for students with a low point score.
How To Leverage Your New Credit Card To Improve Your Credit Score?
Many different factors have an effect on your credit score. These include age, payment history, number of inquiries and utilization. Yet, one great tool for you to repair a damaged or nonexistent score is a credit card.
Let’s say you now have a brand-new card. You must learn how to maximize its effect by using it smartly, carefully and frequently.
- Use card on a regular basis – Your card is useless in regard to credit rebuilding if you don’t use it. Balance is demanded here as you want to avoid overspending and underspending. Just try to have at least one or two transactions each month. If possible, these should represent around 30% of your spending limit.
- Credit utilization – Top-rated American consumers often have a credit utilization of around 7%. This shows the ratio of the funds you owe versus your spending limit. Logically, you might want to keep this number low if you want to notice improvements in your bank history.
- Don’t ever skip payments – Everything is useless if you miss monthly bank payments. Make sure to cover all monthly bank statements on time. You can use payment reminders in order not to forget about them. Strict money management is recommended for those who tend to overspend and then miss payments.
- Keep accounts open – Banks appreciate your open accounts. In fact, if you have multiple accounts and manage them responsibly, this will positively affect your bank history. So, when you think you’ve overgrown an account, don’t rush to close it. Get a new bank account and see how it goes.
- Stay away from cash advances – Cash advances are an enemy to Americans with low point score. Avoid cash advances at all costs as they come with high APR, have no grace period and are illegible for rewards.
- Avoid overspending – Overspending is often the main reason why people face low credit ratings in the first place. If you fear that you won’t have the funds for your next statement, just stop using your card. Everyone wants to pamper themselves occasionally. That’s not an option for those rebuilding their financial image though.
How Long Does It Take To Fix Your Credit?
People rarely bother with their credit score until they need a strong one. You may want to invest in a new home or take a loan. This is when you understand how a bad score can easily ruin all these dreams for you.
If you need to improve your bank history quickly, we’re afraid that’s not so easy. It takes between 3 and 6 months to see a notable improvement. Sometimes, it takes years to join the Americans with the best credit scores. So, if you plan to get a house in a year, now would be the time to get information on your financial reputation.
The process always starts with gathering details from credit bureaus and calculating your debt. Your reports always include missed or late payments from the past 7 years. Bankruptcies are harder to put behind you and they show up for 10 years.
No need to be desperate though, your credit history can be improved with dedication and good planning. We mentioned several steps towards that goal, such as getting a credit card for low rating and completing payments regularly. Implement all the steps we recommended and month by month your financial image will improve.
Just remember that from the moment you start repairing your score, you must be dedicated to the cause. Even the smallest mistake like overspending or missing a payment can have negative consequences. Such missteps will lead to lowering or even completely ruining the progress you noted so far.
5 Easy Steps To Improve Your Credit Score Quickly
Are you just now entering the confusing world of credit scores? Did you make wrong moves that hurt your history? Well, there are a few steps you can take to improve your financial image in no time.
If you have a serious approach to the matter, you will notice the progress quickly. Here are the easiest 5 things for boosting your financial reputation.
- Cover your debt – Your top priority should be covering your debt. No bank will take you seriously if you have a huge debt to worry about. It’s never simple to cover any debt you may have. Still, you must try the hardest you can to cover any amounts of money you owe to banks, businesses and even individuals.
- Subscribe for a credit card for poor credit – Credit cards for users with poor rating exist to help such people recover. It makes sense to get one of those cards and start boosting your score. There are many options at many banks, so choose wisely.
- Make purchases each month – Banks appreciate consumers who use their credit cards at least once a month. Overusing your brand-new card for poor bank score is a no. Not using your new card at all is not advised either. Find a balance between spending and overspending instead. Make purchases that will boost your reports, but also purchases you know for sure you can afford.
- Use payment reminders – Missing payments is among the worst things one can do to their credit history. Americans sometimes simply don’t have the funds for a payment. Many times, users simply forget to cover their payments. In order to avoid this, use payment reminders and make sure you always meet your obligations.
- Track your progress – Tracking your overall progress is crucial for checking whether you’re doing it right or not. Monitoring your credit score is an important step in maintaining healthy records. If the things you’ve been doing show progress, you should keep moving in that direction. If there’s no progress, you’ll have to step up your credit score game.
Types Of Cards To Avoid With Bad Credit
If you’re here, then you want to know all about top credit cards for consumers with poor credit. We covered many such deals already and explained what makes an offer great. In that regard, you want to stick to packages with low or no fees. Also, it’s important for your service provider to send reports to credit bureaus. This way, your efforts will be recorded, and you see your financial image improving.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not all advertised offers deserve your attention. Some deals, in fact, should be completely avoided as they come with no benefits for users. If you hope to see your credit rating grow, then you should avoid deals without credit reporting. Many options on the market belong to this category.
No one likes fees, especially when they’re too high and upfront. Secured cards usually come with no user fees. Still, some products will include such charges, which are often disguised as participation charges or set-up fees. So, yes, you should keep your eyes open when choosing a card.
Two other things not to overlook are grace period and APRs. Bad card options come with no grace period, meaning your interest will start growing once the monthly statement is processed. Very high APRs are on the blacklist too. Most offers will come with APRs between 0% and 25%. So, we advise you to avoid anything with 30% or worse APR.
Do you know those special cards provided by businesses? They work similarly like gift cards and are widely known as merchandise cards. Well, stay away from those if you want to see your credit history improved. Such cards limit your purchasing options and don’t help your score. So, they’re pretty much useless for people with bad credit.
Finally, we’d like to advise you to choose a secured card as your first step. These have a much better effect on your history than unsecured cards. Plus, they are easier to get and much safer to use while your rating is unimpressive.
Research More Credit Cards To Rebuild Your Credit
You can find many amazing deals on the best credit cards for bad credit above. That doesn’t mean that you should simply pick a random offer and stick to it. Choosing a card when you intend to boost your bank history must be carefully planned. You must invest time and efforts into finding the most suitable option for your lifestyle and needs.
As we mentioned, some cards are better for students, while others for frequent travelers. You shouldn’t be afraid to research different options before selecting one. When doing your research on offers for people with poor point summary, you should set some expectations first.
Would you use the card for traveling or for gas mostly? Are you willing to cover annual fees in return for a rewards program? What is the highest interest rate your budget can deal with? Decide which credit card to apply for only when you know the answer to all these questions. Also, don’t be ashamed to request several offers from various banks. Sometimes, the same package or product comes with better terms at another bank.
How To Monitor Your Credit Score?
We assessed that your bank score is quite important. If your rating falls, you can experience many drawbacks when taking loans, applying for credit cards and so on. To make sure that all is spotless, it’s a smart move to track your bank history.
Monitoring is a crucial step towards ensuring that you have a healthy financial reputation, which leads to many benefits. There are both online and offline ways to keep eyes on your bank rating.
The first and simplest is requesting a report from the top three credit bureaus i.e. Expertian, TransUnion and Equifax. All there must provide one free report per person each year. Most consumers request a report from a different credit agency every 4 months. This often does the trick, but it’s not 100% reliable. Sometimes, any of the agencies can make a mistake and you may discover it too late.
That’s why we advise you to get all the financial reports at once. Then, you should compare them. If everything is all right, your point count score should be similar if not identical. Once you have the copies, you can go through a few sleepless nights to double check the data and search for errors. Always keep printed copies of your reports for further reference.
How to stay on top of your financial score throughout the year? There are paid and free online monitoring services to help with that. The free options usually provide only a general overview of your financial rating. In most cases, that’s enough.
Paid services are better. This often makes such monitoring services worth the investment. These offer various alerts if something goes wrong. That way, if your credit score drops, you can react and fix it fast. Monitoring services are excellent for finding suspicious activities or unauthorized accounts in your name. Depending on the exact point count tracking package, their monthly price may vary.
A sneaky way of discovering your current score is by asking businesses that can access such information. A landlord or most salesmen can do the trick. These people often request your data before doing business with you. Asking nicely for your score may be enough for them to share the report with you.
Final Thoughts On Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit
Bad credit is disturbing and quite scary. Many consumers see their financial rating as an unfixable disaster. Relax, we know the top ways to fix your score. This point increasing process takes dedication and time. It’s not impossible though.
Banks offer easy to get credit cards, while we have useful tips on how to boost your score quickly. As long as you work seriously towards your goal of improving your financial image, you should be fine. You are neither the first nor the last American dealing with poor bank history. The decent number of successful stories is quite promising too.
We support you if you want to deal with your point score right away. Don’t forget, the basic step is applying for one of the best credit cards for bad credit. Start with that today and then carefully plan your next moves using our expert recommendations.