Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit of 2017
Using the right credit card the right way can be Step 1 in transforming a bad credit score into a good one.
Here are the best credit cards:
The best credit cards for people with bad credit are secured cards. These cards require a cash security deposit, which will usually be equal to your credit line. Using a secured card regularly and responsibly can help you build credit and qualify for a regular unsecured card. When you close a secured card, or convert it to an unsecured card, the issuer refunds your security deposit. Learn more about secured cards.
Intro APR Promotions
- APR: 24.99% Variable APR
- Cash Advance APR: 24.99%, Variable
- No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
- Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
- You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
- Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
- Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
- It’s a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Most secured cards typically require you to make a deposit equal to your credit line, and you have to come up with the whole deposit upfront. With the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®, however, you can get a credit limit of $200 for a deposit of $49, $99 or $200, depending on the state of your credit. You can also make your deposit in installments. If you make your first five payments on time, you may be eligible for a higher credit line without depositing additional money.
No credit check
Intro APR Promotions
- Purchase: 17.64%, Variable
- Penalty APR: Up to 21.75%, Variable
- Cash Advance APR: 17.64%, Variable
- Build Your Credit fast with our monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus.
- Choose your credit line as low as $200 up to $3000, secured by a fully-refundable* security deposit.
- Security deposit needs to be submitted before the credit card can be issued.
- No credit check necessary and no checking account required; apply in less than 5 minutes.
- Extra credit when you need it, increase your credit line up to $5000.
- Access to online financial education.
- *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
Unlike most other secured cards, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn’t require a credit check, so even people with badly damaged credit may be able to qualify. (You’ll still need to meet income standards, however.) Also setting this card apart from other secured cards: You don’t need a bank account. You can make your deposit and pay your bill by debit card, wire transfer, check or money order.
Complete card details
Rewards and upgrading
Intro APR Promotions
10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months
- APR: 23.49% Variable APR
- Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
- A security deposit of $200 or more will establish your credit line (up to the amount we can approve). Automatic monthly reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an account with no security deposit.
- Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Tools to assist you; email alerts, text reminders and 24/7 customer service. Plus get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements and online.
- Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won’t raise your APR.
- Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
The Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee may be the best credit card available for people with bad credit. Not only does it have an annual fee of $0, but it also gives rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 worth of spending per quarter on restaurants and gas, and 1% on all other spending. Handle your account responsibly for seven months, and Discover will review your account for a possible upgrade to an unsecured card.
Low interest and fees
Intro APR Promotions
- Purchase: 11.75%, Variable
- Penalty APR: Up to 18.00%, Variable
- Cash Advance APR: 11.75%, Variable
- Secured card rates well below the national average
- Borrow against your DCU savings account
- No Annual Fee*
- No Fees or Higher Rates for Cash Advances and Balance Transfers
- Works with Apple Pay®, Android Pay™, and Samsung Pay
- Insurance, car rental, travel, and warranty benefits
- Optional Overdraft Protection On Your DCU Checking
- Buy online easily and safely with Visa Checkout
The ongoing APR is 11.75% Variable. That’s roughly half the rate of many popular secured cards — and better than what you can get on many unsecured cards. The annual fee is $0, and there are no balance transfer or cash advance fees. As with most secured cards, you have to make a security deposit equal to your credit limit, but this one doesn’t put a cap on how much you can deposit, and therefore how high your limit can be.
NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects the best 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 in multiple categories.
Last updated Jan. 27, 2017.
To recap our selections...
NerdWallet's Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit of 2017
|Credit cards||Best for|
|Capital One® Secured MasterCard®||Low deposit|
|OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card||No credit check|
|Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee||Rewards and upgrading|
|Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card||Low interest and fees|