Unsecured Yet Easy Credit Cards to Qualify For

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Even if you have bad credit, you can still often find an easy credit card to qualify for. Depending on whether you have a poor credit history, or just no credit, you might even get approved for a solid unsecured card. In fact, those who have limited credit have quite a few attractive options.

Students: Your options are a bit different.

Credit cards to rebuild credit

US Bank Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Credit Card
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on US Bank's
secure website

If you can pay the $300 security deposit upfront for it, the US Bank Harley-Davidson Secured is a more affordable offer. Don’t be put off by the name – while marketed toward biker groups, anyone can apply for the Harley card. Unlike the Capital One Secured, the Harley doesn’t have an annual fee, and even earns 1% rewards on all purchases, usable for H-D merchandise. Okay, not great rewards, but remember – you’re going for the card because it doesn’t have an annual fee. You can also check out other secured cards, which have no annual fee the first year and a $25 fee thereafter, such as the AeroMexico, Lanpass and Lifemiles secured cards.

Capital One Secured MasterCard Credit Card
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on Capital One's
secure website

One of the best easy credit cards to get is the Capital One Secured MasterCard. You only have to put down $49, $99 or $200 (based on your credit history) to get the $200 minimum line of credit, though of course you may get a higher limit. It’s the best card for people who can’t make a full $200 or $300 security deposit, because you can pay in installments for up to 80 days if need be. If you need cash quickly, this is the ideal card. The annual fee’s a low $29 – one of the best in the business, and definitely better than you’d get with a so-called unsecured credit card. If you need cash fast, and you need it cheap, the Capital One Secured is better than an unsecured credit card or payday loan. It also helps build credit, so you can “graduate” to a no-fee, higher limit card.

Credit cards for fair or average credit

If you have a short credit history (versus having a bad credit history) or average credit, you have a few more options on the table. Remember, though, that this is for people looking to build, not rebuild, credit. Some thin-file-friendly credit cards include:

Barclays Rewards MasterCard - Average Credit Credit Card
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on Barclays's
secure website

The Barclaycard Rewards for Average Credit offers no annual fee and a decent rewards program: 2% cash back on gas, groceries and utilities, and 1% cash back elsewhere. Again, though, this card is for people with average or limited credit, not bad credit. You should check your credit score before applying, because every time you apply, your credit score takes a brief hit, and you don’t want to waste your time applying for something you can’t qualify for.

Barclays NFL Extra Points Credit Card
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on Barclays's
secure website

The NFL credit card isn’t just for Thursday-through-Monday football diehards; it’s also a good option for fair-credit folks. It gives 1 NFL point on every $1 you spend, and 2 per $1 on NFL or team gear. Those points are redeemable as a statement credit, so they’re basically as good as cash back. It has a higher signup bonus than the Barclaycard Rewards, at Earn 10,000 bonus points after $500 in purchases, redeemable for $100 cash back statement credit, so despite its inferior rewards program, it’s a better card if you only hold it for 1-2 years. Like the Barclaycard, it has no annual fee.

Unsecured credit cards

In addition to the cards mentioned above, there are a number of unsecured credit cards for bad credit out there – you’ve probably heard of the First Premier, Matrix Hybrid, Cerulean, Applied Bank and others. The unfortunate part about these cards is that they often have very expensive annual fees, which are deducted from your initial credit line. For example, the Matrix Discover card has a $75 annual fee, so your initial credit limit is just $225, not $300. Moreover, your annual fee rises to $219 after the first year ($75 billed annually, plus $144 billed at $12 monthly). That’s insanely expensive for a $300 line of credit.

Again, contrast this with the Capital One Secured, where you can put down as little as $49-$200 (depending on your credit score), get a $200+ line of credit, and increase that limit without having to pay a fee. The Matrix card charges $30 for every $100 credit limit increase.

The Cerulean card is just as bad – it’s the exact same card, more or less, with the same shoddy terms. And the First Premier card is worse: It charges a $95 application fee, on top of a $75 first-year annual fee and $120 ongoing annual fee ($45 billed annually, $6.25 billed monthly). You also have to pay a fee of $25 for every $100 credit limit increase, after the first year, which is assessed against the credit limit. So if you increase your limit by $100, you’re really only getting $75 in available credit.

This is all to say – unsecured cards are a bad idea. Really, they are. If you’re still convinced that you want one, you can find an unsecured card via Google, but they tend to be far more expensive than secured cards and in most cases not as good of a product.

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  • Guest

    Over the past 3 years I lost my FT job, unemployment ran out, gone through a long nasty divorce. I had to go to a debt settlement company because I couldn’t pay my bills but didn’t want to go to the extreme of bankruptcy. I have only been able to obtain low paying PT jobs and received little in child support despite my ex earning $85000+ per year. As a result, my great credit has plummeted. All in the past month my divorce was settled and I started a new, well paying FT job (and I’m keeping my PT job). The court raised the amount of my child support and I will be getting a lot of money as part of my divorce settlement.

    • to be fair

      and? your point…….?

      • Mimi Ross

        lol I was thinking the same thing…am I missing something?…

  • Mandy4131

    The credit bureaus discriminate against the US Military. They lower your score if you move frequently, moved recently or rent instead of own a home. Military personnel are required to move every few years, usually every 3 years. That lowers our score out of the top tier and causes us to pay higher interest rates.

  • Joe

    Um. Why does it say “Unsecured” credit cards and the first offer requires a security deposit? Misleading at best….

  • Antoinette Cartwright

    I don’t have awesome credit but I do want to apply for one next year. I have a significant amount of student loan debt which is a large portion of my debt… I would like to sign up for a credit which offers cash back as I plan to only spend it on small things like gas… my major purchase would be a new laptop which I really need. Is there a way I can accomplish this?

  • otto

    I just recently applied for First Bank unsecured credit card.After reading this I see I made a big mistake . I’ve read an been told that closing an account is bad for ur credit score.What can I do to get out of this without affecting my credit score???What are some suggestions that yall have out there..

    • Tammy/totheT

      It will cost you more than a few points on your credit score if you keep it. If you haven’t used it really won’t hurt you. If your building credit and this is the only one you can get. maybe. Join a Credit Union they will work with you to build your credit. There is no quick way it takes time and lots of patience.

    • Danx35

      Get rid of that junk card a.s.a.p. They will put you through misery.

    • Priencess Mone Chai-ung

      that was my first credit card and I paid it off and got rid of it and got another credit card and it did not affect my credit score

  • Shelli Avalos

    I have two first premier cards and they are great! Not a scam and they are accepted everywhere! !

  • Shelli Avalos

    The other good thing us they report to all the credit scores