Unsecured Cards for People with Short Credit Histories

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Unsecured Yet Easy Credit Cards to Qualify For

Even if you have a short credit history, you may be able to qualify for an unsecured credit card without a cosigner. Before shelling out hundreds of dollars for a deposit on a secured card, consider some of these options first if your credit score is average – that is, between 630 and 689.

If you spend a lot on gas and groceries: Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®

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

The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® offers a decent rewards program for folks with average credit: 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. The points can be redeemed as statement credits. As a cardholder, you’ll also get a complimentary FICO score and, in some cases, a credit line increase after you make five monthly payments on time. The annual fee is $0.

If you make lots of NFL purchases: NFL Extra Points Credit Card

The NFL Extra Points Credit Card isn’t just for Thursday-through-Monday football diehards; it’s also a good option for average-credit folks. It gives 1 NFL point for every dollar spent, and 2 points for every dollar spent on NFL or team gear. Those points are redeemable as a statement credit. With an annual fee of $0, it also comes with a signup bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus points after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, enough to redeem for a $100 cash back statement credit.

If you’re looking for a no-hassle cash-back card: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

With the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, even if you have average credit. You may also get access to a higher credit line if you make your first five monthly payments on time. It comes with an annual fee of $39.

If you plan on carrying a balance: Somerset Trust Company Community Visa Gold

Somerset Trust Company Visa Gold Card Credit Card
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on Somerset Trust Company's
secure website

The Somerset Trust Company Community Visa Gold doesn’t offer any rewards, but it does have low annual percentage rates compared to other fair credit cards: 3.9% for 6 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 10.9% - 10.9% Variable

It’s not ideal to carry a balance — especially if you’re trying to boost your credit score — but if there’s a good chance you’ll have to revolve your debt, this may be your most affordable option. The annual fee is $0.

Nerd note: Remember, if you’re a college student, your options are a bit different.

For bad credit, secured cards still win

If you have average credit, an unsecured card may help you save a bundle. But when you have bad credit, opting for a secured card may be your best bet, since unsecured cards for bad credit often come with expensive annual fees, which are deducted from your initial credit line.

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card Credit Card
Apply Now

on Wells Fargo's
secure website

If you have poor credit, you’ll likely save more with a secured card like the Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card. The annual fee is $25, making it less expensive than other bad credit credit cards. More importantly, the card reports to the major consumer credit bureaus, helping you establish credit. And on top of that, you may also be able to upgrade to an unsecured card with responsible credit use, a perk that most secured cards don’t explicitly offer.


Getting an unsecured card isn’t impossible if you have average credit — but once you do get the card you want, focus on improving your score. The more positive credit history you have, the easier it will be to access better terms and rewards, and the more you’ll save in the long run.

Claire Davidson is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @ideclaire7 and on Google+.

Image via iStock.

  • wooden card

    Informative .

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  • wood business card

    credit cards always make the life easy

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    Choosing the right card for you, would be one of the
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    Banks provide different types of credit cards to fit various
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  • Carmelo Basilisco

    I recntly applied a credit card from chase slate visa platinum and was not approved at this time I recently applied for a new car loan and was approved through ally finnanial I was in bankruptcy in 2001 and I do have a tax lien that Im trying to take care of now for $8,500.00 that is why Iam trying to get a loan of $8,500.00 I recive a pension and social security Disability which totals a sum of $3647.16 a mounth I been a victim Identity Theft that reflects on my credit report is there any bank or creditcard company help me contact me at thank you


      Your bankruptcy doesn’t matter anymore. They disappear after 10 years.

  • seth venus

    Credit cards are easy to obtain with bad credit. But finding work and finding a loan for a home are much more difficult. If you’re looking to repair your credit I strongly suggest hiring out Lexington Law. They have been in the business a really long time and have a great reputation.

    • Pittsburgh Kid

      3rd parties are the worst way to go all it shows is that the people at fault are not capable of taking care of their own problems they also put you further in debt doing things people can do on their own in the days of rapid rescores

    • JerkfaceMcGee

      Then you go to this guy’s comment history and it’s all Lexington Law. SHILL

      • Mr. Nice guy


    • Mr. Nice guy

      Uh no ma’am.

    • Makes_Sense

      What’d they pay you Seth? $.10 for that post?

  • disqus_wgs9PgGIjr

    how do i get a credit card with bad credit and no bank account help please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • NerdWallet


      Thanks for the comment.

      If you have bad credit, take a look at secured credit cards. They’re like credit cards with training wheels.

      You send in a deposit, the card company gives you a credit limit. You send in further deposits, the card company gives you a higher credit limit. See where I’m going with this?

      The higher the credit limit, the longer you pay your bills in full and on time, the quicker your score will bounce back. Do that, and you can graduate to a card with rewards.

      One of our favorite secured cards is from Capital One. There is a small annual fee, but that’s difficult to avoid with secured cards — and it’s not always a bad thing. For more detail about all that, just follow that link, to the card, and read the brief review.

      Best of luck!

  • Allison Mary Hunter

    I’ve been trying to get ANY credit card since I was 18, I am now 23 and was JUST approved for a Fingerhut card TONIGHT. My credit score is LITERALLY zero. I have applied for EVERY credit card I can think of, including store cards. So the theory that establishing credit as being easy, is 100% BS.

    • JoEtta Crawford

      Every time u apply for a card your credit score goes down so only apply for cards you are sure u want and are ok with the fees etc.. I think my first visa was a clout gold visa card. Really the secured card is the way to go rather than pay a ton in fees. I wish I had done that way back when rather then taking the first card I got approved for. You can get a secured capital one card even with student loans as thats the only credit card I use now as I stay on a cash only basis most of the time. Much fairer card than many out there.

      • Jay Aye

        That Clout Visa was my first card too, when I turned 18. It had a $500 limit. Then, I was approved for a Discover card with a $1,000 limit shortly after that.

    • Makes_Sense

      You need to investigate more then. Obviously, you are doing something wrong. Cap One secured card is what you need.

  • Allison Mary Hunter

    Also, I have never filed bankruptcy or had any identity theft problems. I am the ONLY person that anyone I know has EVER met who has a credit score of 0 and is 18 or older and who has never had any type of credit card.

    • Jerry Summers

      Just you purchase something with fingerhut and as soon as your credit file i finally established, it should be much easier

    • Rena

      You don’t have a score of 0, you have No Credit. there is a difference. Did you try a card with your bank? When I was 18 and going off to college I got a package with my bank: Checking, savings, and Credit.

      Of course I effed that all up.

    • Tom Blackburn-DeSade Owens

      Credit scores start at 350. Contact the major credit reporting agencies and explain your score is showing 0!!

      • NerdWallet

        Generally, a credit score of zero means you haven’t built up a credit history – this means you’ll find it easier to get credit than if you had a poor history, but you’ll probably still struggle. I recommend starting off with a secured credit card to build up your score.

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