Best Credit Card for Building Credit

How we picked the cards to evaluate:

NerdWallet reviewed more than 20 credit cards that were listed as available to people with credit scores below 630. The cards we reviewed include products from NerdWallet partners and nonpartners.

How we chose the winner:

When choosing our best card for building credit, we looked at annual fees, deposit requirements (in the case of secured cards), APRs, whether a card offers a path to upgrade to an unsecured card, and any cardholder perks, such as a rewards program, credit education resources or free access to a credit score.

Cards' NerdWallet star ratings alone do not determine awards. Here's how our credit cards team distinguishes between star ratings and award selections:

  • Star ratings are quantitative: We assess the features of a card, score those features according to how they compare with other options on the market, and assign the card a rating of 1 to 5 stars based on those features. In general, a card that rates 4.5 stars will be a better value for more people than a card that rates 4.0 stars. However, the 4.0 card might be better than the 4.5 card for an individual consumer depending on that person’s circumstances.
  • Selection for awards is both quantitative and qualitative: Selection for the awards is based on discussion among editorial team members and relies on the same criteria used for the star ratings. However, star ratings alone do not dictate awards. Rather, the awards identify the best cards for specific uses or specific types of consumers, such as those with bad credit.

How we verified our data:

NerdWallet gets credit card information from partner issuers through automated data feeds. Information about cards from nonpartner issuers is verified on the issuers’ websites.