Best Credit Cards With No Credit Check

Some credit cards, particularly from newer companies, promise no credit check and no fees — an ideal combo for those with bad credit. Here are our top picks.
Updated
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Written by Melissa Lambarena
Senior Writer
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Edited by Erin Hurd
Assigning Editor
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Credit cards that advertise "no credit check" can be appealing to those with poor credit (FICO scores of 629 or lower), since applying for them won't impact your credit scores. But often, such cards come with high fees and interest rates — hence the name fee-harvester cards.

They may let you dodge that hard pull on your credit report, but you'll pay for it in the long run.

But some credit card companies — especially newer startups in the space — are advertising both no credit check and no fees (or at least low fees). Many of these so-called alternative credit cards have proprietary underwriting technology that can evaluate creditworthiness by looking at other factors, like your bank account, instead of traditional FICO scores and credit histories.

In short, if you have poor credit, fee-harvester cards and traditional secured credit cards are no longer your only options. Here are some low- and no-fee cards that don’t require a credit check.

Best credit cards with no credit check

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Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: Chime users

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: None.

Security deposit: No upfront security deposit is required. You decide your credit limit based on how much you move to your secured account.

Fees: None.

APR: None.

WHY WE LIKE IT

For those with poor credit or no credit, the Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card removes many of the limitations of traditional secured credit cards. A Chime Checking Account — a free bank account that allows you to receive direct deposits — is required to get the card. You'll also need at least $200 in direct deposits made to the Chime Checking Account within the past 365 days to show that you have a source of income.

However, this card doesn't require an upfront security deposit as many secured credit cards do, so you're not paying $200 that will be wrapped up and untouchable for an undetermined amount of time.

You also get to decide how much you spend. The money you move from the Chime Checking Account to the Credit Builder secured account determines the amount of your credit limit. So if you move, say, $25 to your secured account, you’ll be able to spend $25 with the card. The money in the secured account can also be used to pay off the balance, and those payments will allow you to build credit. For instance, if you spent $15 on gas with your secured card, you'd be able to use that $25 you moved to your secured account to pay off the $15. Your payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. These companies collect the information used to calculate your credit scores

DRAWBACKS

The Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card requires a Chime Checking Account to qualify. It’s free to open one, but it does require some additional effort beyond the card's application. And if you prefer the option to carry a balance from month to month, this card doesn't allow it. There is no upgrade path, either.

🤓Nerdy Tip

On July 6, 2021, the nonprofit news organization ProPublica reported that Chime® customers had their accounts closed without notice, leaving them without access to funds. In ProPublica’s report, Chime said many account closures were linked to fraud, but it also admitted that several of the closures had been mistakes. If your account is closed by Chime or other neobanks without notice, there are some steps you can take to potentially remedy the situation. Act quickly by contacting the neobank to explain the situation. And if you aren't helped by the neobank, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Chime says the following:

  • The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank.

  • To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime® Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

  1. Based on a representative study conducted by Experian®, members who made their first purchase with Credit Builder between June 2022 and October 2022 observed an average FICO® Score 8 increase of 30 points after approximately 8 months. On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score.

  2. On-time payment history may have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.

  3. Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.

  4. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and OTC advance fees may apply. View The Bancorp agreement or Stride agreement for details; see back of card for issuer.

Current Build Card

Current Build Card
NerdWallet rating 

Our pick for: Current users

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: None.

Security deposit: No upfront security deposit is required. You determine the credit limit based on how much money is in your linked Current account.

Fees: $0 annual fee. Depending on your transactions and payments, other fees may apply.

APR: N/A.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The Current Build Card doesn’t require a credit check or a minimum security deposit. As a result, it’s easier to apply for with less-than-ideal credit. You’re required to open a Current account, which is free, to fund the security deposit on an ongoing basis in the amount you choose. The money put into the account determines the spending limit. You can’t overspend or fall into a debt cycle with this card because you can't carry a balance from one month to the next. That's why interest charges don't apply. Rarer still for a card in its class, this card earns up to 7x rewards when you spend with select merchants.

DRAWBACKS

While the card can help you build credit, it currently reports payments to just one of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion. That's not ideal if a future potential creditor pulls your report from one of the other two bureaus (Equifax or Experian). Also, you don’t have the option to carry a balance — and while that's helpful for those tempted to overspend, it does reduce your spending flexibility and might leave you unprepared for managing a real credit card, which would require staying on top of costs to prevent debt. Keep in mind, too, that while the Current Build Card doesn't have an annual fee, it does require you to watch out for other potential costs. Depending on how you use the card, things like late payment fees, foreign transaction fees, out-of-network ATM fees and card replacement fees may apply. This card also doesn’t offer a path to upgrade to a better credit card with the same issuer.

Varo Believe Secured Credit Card

Image courtesy of Varo

Our pick for: Varo users

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: None.

Security deposit: You decide your credit limit based on how much you move into a secured account.

Fees: None.

APR: None.

WHY WE LIKE IT

With the Varo Believe Secured Credit Card, you get to choose your own credit limit. The amount of money in your Varo Believe secured account becomes your credit limit (although there is a $2,500-per-day spending cap). The card reports to all three major credit bureaus, but it doesn’t charge interest or fees because it doesn’t allow you to carry a balance. Because you can only spend as much as you deposit in the secured account, incurring debt is impossible.

DRAWBACKS

To qualify, you need a Varo bank account that has received direct deposits of at least $200 in the past 90 days. The card doesn’t offer ongoing rewards in broad spending categories, as a few secured credit cards do, though you can earn cash back when the card is used to shop with select retailers through Varo’s online offers. (There’s a $50 cap on the amount of cash back you can earn per month.) This card also doesn’t offer a path to upgrade to an unsecured credit card once you work your way to better credit. 

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Grow Credit Mastercard
NerdWallet rating 

Grow Credit Mastercard

Our pick for: Subscriptions

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: The company runs only a soft credit check, which won't impact your credit scores.

Security deposit: None for most membership plans.

Fees: None with the free membership tier. (Other tiers will cost you.)

APR: None.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The Grow Credit Mastercard is a virtual card issued by Sutton Bank that is friendly to those with poor credit or no credit. Grow Credit has proprietary technology that looks at income to evaluate creditworthiness. To weigh that information, the company requires you to link a bank account through Plaid.

With the card, you choose one of four membership plans that help you build credit as you pay for eligible monthly subscriptions or bills. For example, if you normally pay $9.99 a month for Netflix, you can make that payment with the Grow Credit Mastercard. The payments, if made on time and in full, will build your credit. (Qualifying subscriptions and bills vary by membership plan.) The Grow Credit Mastercard reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

DRAWBACKS

You can't use the card for any transactions other than the qualifying bills and subscriptions. You also can't carry a balance from one month to another.

Two of the paid membership plans — the Grow membership tier (annual cost of about $50) and the Accelerate membership tier (nearly $100 annually) — are not worth the cost. That's money you won't get back. You're better off with Grow Credit's free membership plan or secured membership plan. It's also worth exploring a secured credit card that offers a chance to get your deposit back.

Capital Bank Open Sky Secured Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: Those who are unbanked

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: None.

Security deposit: Normally, a $200 minimum deposit is required.

Fees: A $35 annual fee. Depending on your transactions and payments, other fees may apply.

APR: The ongoing APR is 25.64% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a traditional secured credit card ideal for those with poor credit. Among secured credit cards, it’s one of the few that lets you qualify without a credit check or bank account. It reports payments to all three credit bureaus and lets you carry an ongoing balance. With a good payment history, you may also potentially qualify for a credit limit increase in as little as six months.

DRAWBACKS

The card’s minimum deposit requirement may be an obstacle for some. And while the $35 annual fee is on the low end, it's possible to find secured credit cards that don't charge an annual fee.

Cred.ai Credit Card

Image courtesy of Cred.ai

Our pick for: Spending guardrails

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: None.

Security deposit: None, though a linked Cred.ai deposit account is generally required.

Fees: None when you're covered by the "Cred.ai Guaranty."

APR: A variable rate of 17.76% (as of this writing).

WHY WE LIKE IT

The Cred.ai credit card, also known as the Unicorn Card, assigns a spending limit based on the amount in your linked Cred.ai deposit account. As you make purchases with the card, funds are set aside in the deposit account so they can cover the bill when it comes due. This way, you avoid late fees or interest charges.

The card also offers a variety of features including virtual card numbers for safe purchases, limited authorization windows and credit utilization guardrails to simplify finances. Payment activity is reported to all three major credit bureaus.

DRAWBACKS

The Cred.ai credit card can be difficult to understand since it doesn’t function like a traditional credit card. The marketing copy for its unique features may further add to the confusion. Unpacking how this card works can be especially overwhelming for a credit beginner, but it may still be worth your time if you want an option that reins in spending. Rewards are not available on this card, and there's no option to upgrade to a better product from Cred.ai.

GO2bank Secured Credit Card

Our pick for: A low security deposit

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: None.

Security deposit: A $100 minimum deposit is required.

Fees: A $0 annual fee. Depending on your transactions and payments, other fees may apply.

APR: The ongoing APR is 22.99% (as of this writing).

WHY WE LIKE IT

The GO2bank Secured Credit Card is a solid option for those with poor credit. To apply, you’ll need to have a GO2bank account and direct deposits totaling at least $100 in the past 30 days. There won't be a credit check to apply. The GO2bank Secured Credit Card has a relatively low minimum security deposit requirement among secured credit cards: $100. The amount deposited determines your credit limit.

As with a regular credit card, the lower the credit limit, the less you’ll want to spend using the card. Using less than 30% of your available credit limit can help your credit score. The GO2bank Secured Credit Card reports your payments to all three credit bureaus, which helps you build credit.

DRAWBACKS

Aside from the required security deposit, the GO2bank Secured Credit Card also requires you to have a GO2bank account to qualify, which adds an extra step in the application process. It doesn’t offer a path to upgrade to an unsecured credit card once you've established a good payment history, so you’ll have to close your account if you want to get your security deposit back. The card also charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on every purchase, so it’s not ideal for traveling abroad.

(Card image courtesy of GO2bank)

Self Secured Visa® Credit Card

Self Secured Visa® Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Our pick for: A mix of credit-building features

CARD DETAILS

Credit check: No hard credit check, although there may be a soft inquiry, which won't impact your credit scores.

Security deposit: No upfront security deposit is required. You decide your credit limit based on how much you move to your Credit Builder Account.

Fees: A $25 annual fee. Depending on your transactions and payments, other fees may apply.

APR: The ongoing APR is 29.24% Variable.

WHY WE LIKE IT

To qualify for the Self Secured Visa® Credit Card, you first need a Credit Builder Account, which is a small installment loan that's held in a certificate of deposit. You’ll start by contributing monthly installments to that account, starting at $25 per month. When you've contributed $100 and met other requirements, you can then use that money to cover the minimum security deposit required to get the Self Secured Visa® Credit Card.

This can be an ideal option if your budget would benefit from paying a deposit in small installments over time. You’ll eventually get this money back when you close the account in good standing. But you won't get any fees or interest you pay back. Plus, having a mix of credit types can be a win for your credit scores if you can maintain on-time payments. (The Self Secured Visa® Credit Card and the Credit Builder Account are both reported to all three major credit bureaus — the former as a revolving line of credit, and the latter as an installment loan.)

DRAWBACKS

You can’t get the Self Secured Visa® Credit Card card immediately. You’ll have to clear some hurdles first, like saving $100 or more in your Credit Builder Account, making the last three monthly payments in full, and having an account in good standing.

And while a $100 security deposit is significantly less than is required by some traditional secured credit cards, over the long term the loan and card combined would end up costing you more. Unlike many secured credit cards, the Self Secured Visa® Credit Card charges an annual fee, and there's a one-time administrative fee of $9 to open a Credit Builder Account.

  • Card eligibility: Active Credit Builder Account in good standing, 3 on time payments, $100 or more in savings progress. Requirements subject to change.

  • Bank eligibility: Self Visa® Credit Card issued by Lead Bank or SouthState Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. See self.inc for details.

NERDUP BY NERDWALLET

NerdWallet has introduced a secured credit card for people looking to build or improve their credit. Key features of the NerdUp by NerdWallet card include a $0 annual fee, no interest charges, no credit check, a minimum security deposit of $100, the ability to pay your bill from your deposit, and a rewards program that increases your credit limit with each payment.

To avoid conflicts, NerdWallet's editorial team will not review this card, assign it a star rating or consider it for our roundups of the best credit cards, but you can learn more about NerdUp here, or apply for NerdUp here.

Credit cards that didn't make the list

The following cards also skip the credit check, but they pack fewer valuable features compared with other credit cards.

  • Ambition Mastercard from College Ave: There's no credit check, nor will you be charged interest. But it does require a security deposit, and you'll eventually be charged a monthly fee. And while both of those amounts are relatively modest, you can find student credit cards that require neither.

  • Ava Credit Builder Card: You'll avoid a hard pull on your credit report, and there are no interest charges. But you'll also face severe restrictions in terms of where and how much you can spend with the card. In addition, you'll owe a membership fee of as much as $108 a year.

  • Possible Card: This card promises no credit check and no interest charges. But you'll owe a monthly fee that can equal up to $192 per year and, worst of all, the card doesn't report to any of the major credit bureaus as of this writing.

  • Super Card: This card avoids an upfront security deposit; your credit limit is equal to the amount of money in the bank account linked to the card. But to get the card, you'll have to pay a significant $15-a-month membership fee. That equates to $180 per year.

  • Tomo Credit Card: The card doesn’t charge interest, nor does it require a security deposit or a Social Security number to qualify. But it does charge a monthly fee, and there’s currently a waitlist. On top of that, existing cardholders have reported issues using their cards.

  • Yotta: With the Yotta Card, each purchase gives you a small chance of getting the next purchase covered. It’s a game of chance and it’s not as valuable as ongoing rewards on other cards. Cards have also been "out of stock" for many months, and it's unclear when or if Yotta will be taking applications again.

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