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BEST OF

Easiest Credit Cards to Get of July 2024

Updated: Jul 12, 2024
Paul Soucy
Written by
Lead Assigning Editor
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Paul Soucy
Written by
Lead Assigning Editor
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
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NerdWallet's Easiest Credit Cards to Get of July 2024

Easiest Credit Cards to Get

Credit card
NerdWallet rating
Annual feeIntro APRRegular APR
Learn more
save money

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Our pick for

No credit check and no bank account required

This is a secured credit card, which requires an upfront cash security deposit.
Our pick for

No credit check + flexibility and guardrails

To get this card, you need to be a Chime banking customer. The money in a linked account acts as your security deposit.
Our pick for

Unsecured card for bad credit

This card does not require a cash security deposit, but it also doesn't earn rewards.
Our pick for

No upfront deposit or hard credit check

With this card "easy to get" refers to the ability to qualify. Opening the card account itself involves a couple of extra steps.
Our pick for

College students

College students don't need a FICO score history to apply for this card.
Our pick for

Building credit with subscriptions

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: EASIEST CREDIT CARDS TO GET

Before applying, verify details on issuer's website.

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: No credit check and no bank account required

Like the regular OpenSky card, the OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn't require a credit check or a bank account. This card, however, charges an annual fee of $0 — at the cost of a higher minimum deposit and a higher interest rate. Read our review.

Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: No credit check + flexibility and guardrails

This card has no minimum deposit requirement, charges neither an annual fee nor interest, and doesn't require a credit check, and you can automate your payments so you're never late. But to get it, you must be a Chime® banking customer, which is an extra hoop to jump through — and which comes with its own considerations when it comes to customer service. Read our review.

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.

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: Unsecured card for newcomers to credit

The issuer of the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card doesn’t only rely on credit scores to determine eligibility. Instead, it assesses your creditworthiness based on your income, expenses, savings and debts. You can earn a decent rate of up to 1.5% cash back, depending on your on-time payments. And there's no annual fee, late fees or foreign transaction fees. (The card is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.) Read our review.

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: Unsecured card for bad credit

The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card could be a reasonable option for someone building or rebuilding credit who doesn't want to tie up money in a security deposit. Not everyone will qualify, but the issuer lets you see whether you do before you apply. Read our review.

Discover it® Student Chrome

Our pick for: College students

Simplicity makes the Discover it® Student Chrome a standout for students searching for their first credit card. You'll earn bonus cash back at restaurants and gas stations with no activation required and no rotating categories to keep track of. Read our review.

Self Secured Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: No upfront deposit or credit check

The Self Secured Visa® Credit Card offers a unique path to building credit. Unlike typical secured cards, it doesn't require an upfront security deposit or a hard credit check. But it does make you jump through some hoops that other secured cards don't. You start by making payments on a secured loan, which become savings that you can use for your deposit. It's complicated, but for those struggling to establish a credit history, it can be efficient and effective. Read our review.

Grow Credit Mastercard

Our pick for: Building credit with subscription payments

The Grow Credit Mastercard doesn’t require a security deposit or a hard credit check. It allows you to establish a credit history by paying for qualifying subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify, it doesn’t charge any interest, and it has a no-fee option. There's no APR because you cannot carry a balance on the card. Read our review.

• • •

OTHER RESOURCES

Unsecured credit cards from subprime specialist issuers

There's a segment of the credit card industry that specializes in unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit. "Unsecured" means there is no security deposit. Cards from these so-called subprime specialist issuers are famously easy to get, but the fees on them are often outrageous. It's not uncommon to see an annual fee of, say, $99 for a $300 credit line, with monthly maintenance fees of up to $10 on top of that — and maybe a $75 "program fee" just for applying.

The fees on subprime specialist cards can easily (and quickly) add up to more than the cost of a deposit on a traditional secured card. And unlike a security deposit, which is refunded to you when you close or upgrade your secured card, you never get these fees back. This is why NerdWallet generally recommends secured cards for building credit and recommends avoiding the subprime specialists.

That said, if you're interested in exploring these cards, here are some options.

• • •

Learn more: What’s the easiest credit card to get?

The easiest credit card to get will depend largely on your credit scores and history.

If you have excellent credit (FICO scores of 720 or higher), you needn't worry much. Your credit history shows card issuers that you're a trustworthy and responsible borrower, so you'll have a wide variety of rewarding and easy-to-get credit card options.

But if you have bad credit (FICO scores of 629 or below), thin credit or no credit at all, getting your first credit card can prove to be a much greater challenge. Here's where to start your search for easy credit cards to get.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Several credit cards offer a preapproval process, in which the issuer can look at some of your basic credit data and perform a "soft" check to determine your general approval odds.

Secured credit cards

Secured credit cards will likely be the easiest cards to get for those with either poor credit or no credit who want to avoid outlandish fees. That's because they require collateral upfront in the form of a security deposit, which is typically equal to the amount of your credit line and reduces the risk to the card issuer if you fail to pay your bill.

Scraping together a deposit can be its own hurdle, but that deposit is refundable when you close the account in good standing or upgrade to a regular "unsecured" product from that same issuer. The best secured credit cards feature such an upgrade path, while also reporting to all three credit bureaus. Ideally, they also skip an annual fee.

Student credit cards

Student credit cards are generally aimed at 18- to 21-year-olds who have little or no credit history. Being a student isn't enough by itself to qualify, though. You do have to meet certain other requirements.

For instance, if you're under 21, you'll either have to show proof that you have an independent income or find a co-signer. These can still be difficult barriers to overcome — for one, it's rare these days to even find credit card issuers that allow co-signers. And if you already have poor credit, you may still not be approved.

But the point is that many student cards are specifically designed for those who are just starting out with credit, meaning there may be no FICO history requirement at all, as is the case with the Discover it® Student Chrome card above.

Store credit cards

Store credit cards can be a bit of a double-edged sword: They tend to have lower credit rating requirements, which makes them among the best credit cards for fair credit or limited credit. But they also typically feature lower credit limits and higher interest rates, and some can be used only within the physical or virtual walls of that particular merchant.

Still, these co-branded store cards can help you build a credit history, and many have seriously upped their game in recent years in an attempt to become top-of-wallet options, with richer rewards and perks even on everyday spending outside of the brand.

Alternative credit cards

What if you can't afford a security deposit or annual fee and aren't sure whether you have a sufficient credit history? The good news is that certain alternative credit cards may require none of the above.

Instead of relying entirely on the traditional FICO scoring model, these alternative products can often use their own proprietary underwriting standards to help determine your creditworthiness. They may, for instance, evaluate things like your income, your employer, your bank account balances and more.

Authorized-user credit cards

Ultimately, if what you want is a credit card with your name on it that you can use, then becoming an authorized user of someone else's account is perhaps the easiest route.

That's because you don't need to open an account yourself. You just need to have a primary account holder add you to their existing account. If a parent, spouse or another loved one agrees to do so, you'll get your own card to use. Assuming that the primary user already has a good credit history — and assuming the card issuer reports authorized users' activity to the credit bureaus — your own credit scores may benefit as a result.

Just be aware that while you'll be authorized to make charges on the account, you are not liable for paying off those charges. That responsibility falls to the primary cardholder, regardless of how much debt you rack up.

• • •

NerdWallet's Kenley Young contributed to this article.

Last updated on July 12, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best credit cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen as among the "best" in multiple categories. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

About the author

Portrait of author

Paul Soucy

Paul has been the lead editor for NerdWallet's credit cards team since 2015 and for the travel rewards team since 2023. Previously, he worked at USA Today and the Des Moines Register, then built a freelance writing and editing business focused on personal finance topics. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA. Read more
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