(Pocket-lint) - If your credit score is less than ideal, then your credit card options are more limited, and getting a loan with such a history can be much more challenging. What's more, if you apply with a poor credit score and get rejected, then your score can be even further affected.
While online credit cards might be a likely solution, not all of the companies that issue them are reliable, so you need to make sure that you are looking at the right place. If this is something that interests you, keep reading - you'll find a list of the best credit cards for bad credit. It's important to note that this doesn't constitute financial advice, and you should only borrow what you can afford to pay back, regardless of which service you use.
List of Top Companies for the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
- OpenSky - Overall Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit
- Surge Mastercard - Easy Approval for Credit Card With No Credit Check
- First Access Card - Ideal Services for Small Business
- Fit Mastercard - Low Interest Rates on Credit Cards
- Reflex Mastercard - Best for Credit Rewards
#1. OpenSky - Overall Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit
The Secured Visa Credit Card by OpenSky is one of the few that you can qualify to get without a credit card check. By getting such a credit card, you can also improve your credit score, and OpenSky claims that 99% of its users were able to build up their score in just six months of use. The card is also easy to get and understand, which is very significant for a secured card.
- Application process
If you want to apply for a credit card by OpenSky, you need to fill the application form that you can find on the website. The form is quick and straightforward, and you can fill it by providing information in several steps.
First, you need to enter personal information such as full name, middle name, and email address. Additionally, the second step includes providing information such as a home address, zip code, and your city, state, and mobile and home phone numbers.
Next, you need to fill in data such as annual income, monthly housing payment, payment type, SSN, and others. The next step is to carefully review all the terms and conditions, including interest rates, fees, and other valuable information.
- Eligibility requirements
Although it is relatively easy to get approved for such a credit card, there are still some requirements that you need to meet to become eligible. OpenSky requires you to provide an SSN, be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, and your monthly income needs to be more than your monthly expenses. Moreover, you need to pay a security deposit that will then be refunded if your account is closed.
- Flexible credit limit by OpenSky
One of the best features that OpenSky provides is the ability to pick your own credit card limit. How this works is that you need to view the security deposit section and enter the amount that you would like to deposit between $200-$3,000, which will equal the limit on the card.
Since it is a secured card, you will need to provide a refundable security deposit, and in case you decide to close the account in good balance, you can get the whole deposit back in just eight weeks.
Also, OpenSky reports all of the activities to the major credit bureaus, which gather all the data and calculate your credit score. This is significant as if your credit score is improved, you will be able to get better terms, receive a loan, get approved for an apartment, and get other benefits.
- No credit check is required
Another great thing about OpenSky is that the company doesn’t implement a credit check when you apply, which is good news for many people with bad credit reports. The reason for this is because, as mentioned, you provide a deposit that equals the credit limit, so the company is not at a large risk. Moreover, for a credit card by OpenSky, you don’t even need a credit check.
- No required credit check for approval
- Set your own credit limit
- Helps build credit score
- Lower APR of 17.39%
- Annual fee of $35 and a foreign transaction fees and cash advance fee
We found comments from customers stating that with the help of OpenSky’s credit card, they were able to improve their credit report and later purchase their new home. Other users liked that they were able to obtain secured cards even with a poor credit score. The majority of the positive comments are about the company’s transparency and the amazing features it provides, including setting your own credit limit.
#2. Surge Mastercard - Easy Approval for Credit Card With No Credit Check
The Surge Mastercard is another top choice for us when it comes to secured credit cards for those with bad credit. It is issued by the Celtic Bank and serviced by Continental Finance. This credit card is intended for people with less than stellar credit who want to improve it in a short time, and it comes with terms that are convenient for many users.
- Application process
If you meet the requirements for getting a Surge Mastercard, then you can head to Continental Finance’s website and fill the application form that is quick and simple to understand.
All you need to do is provide your full name, address, city, state, zip code, SSN, and the amount of income that you get per month. To obtain such a credit card, you need to be at least 18 years old and a resident of the U.S.
- No security or minimum deposit needed
For Surge Mastercard, you have a credit limit between $300-$1,000, but you may also be able to increase it to $2,000 if you make your monthly payments on time. What is more, no security deposit is required for getting this credit card.
Once you are approved, you will be able to access the funds without providing a deposit. Also, Surge Mastercard is suitable for people that have bad credit scores, as your bank account activity will be reported to the major credit bureaus.
- Fees and interest rates
For this type of credit card, you also might get charged with certain fees, including an annual fee that ranges from $75 to $99 and a potential maintenance fee of $10 per month. Additionally, there is an additional one-time card fee of $30 and late payment and returned payment fees that cost $40 each.
If you are making transactions internationally, there is also a 3% transaction fee. For a cash advance, Surge Mastercard charges a cash advance fee of 5%. When it comes to APRs, for this credit card, it varies between 24.99% to 29.99% on purchases.
- Additional features
Moreover, cardholders can also download the mobile application from Continental Finance to view transactions, make payments, edit their information, and perform other activities. The mobile app is also compatible with both Android and Apple devices
In addition, the company implements security measures, which is very significant. To do so, they use advanced encryption technology to secure the clients’ data. Also, there is a Mastercard Zero Liability Protection, meaning that the cardholders are not responsible for unauthorized charges on this card.
- You can build up your credit score as monthly payments are reported
- Prequalification check
- Higher credit limit for on-time payments
- Chance to qualify even with a bad credit score
- There is an annual fee as well as monthly fees
We found plenty of positive comments about this credit card as one of the most suitable ones for people with low credit rates. Also, the company is A+accredited by BBB, which is a great indicator of the quality of its services. The cardholders expressed that they were accepted in a very short period and were able to obtain credit cards even when their credit score was less than ideal.
#3. First Access - Ideal Services for Small Business
If your credit score is less than ideal, you might want to consider getting a First Access Visa card as you can easily get approval. The card can be used anywhere, no matter if you need to pay the bills, get groceries, or have some other expenses. Although such a credit card has a higher APR, it comes with flexible credit requirements, and it is accessible for people with different credit types.
- Requirements and application process
To obtain a First Access Visa, there are still some requirements to be met to be eligible. You need to be a U.S. citizen, be over the age of 18 years old, and have a valid checking account in your name. Then, if you meet these requirements, you can fill the straightforward application form that is on the First Accesses website, which you can fill in only a minute.
To do so, you need to enter personal information such as name, email, address, city, state, zip code, home, and mobile phone number. What is great about this credit card is that you select the design that you want, which is not something that you can often see. Once you apply, the responses are very quick as well as the shipping. Ten days after you get the VISA, you can start using it.
- First Access VISA Card fees
It is significant to mention that this credit card can also help in building up your credit score. However, it does come with fees that you need to be aware of. For setting up your account, there is a processing fee of $95. In addition, the company also charges a $75 annual fee for the first year and $48 for the second one. Starting with your second year, First Access charges an $8.25 monthly maintenance fee. Aside from these fees, there is no fee for closing the account. With that being said, we suggest keeping the account active as much as possible.
- First Access VISA Card payment
Another great thing about this credit card is that it comes with a reasonable credit limit of $300. With that being said, the First Access VISA card is not a secured credit card. What this means is that you don’t need to have the amount of the limit as a deposit, making it suitable for people in need of funds and improving their credit type. When it comes to APR, it is around 34.99% on purchases and cash advances.
- Available for people with poor credit score
- Quick and secure online application
- Customizable credit card
- Reports to the major credit bureaus
- Several fees
Customers expressed that they were able to get approved very fast, and they received the card within two weeks of applying. Others stated that this credit card had helped them rebuild their credit type and pay the bills on time when they had financial hardships. We also found positive comments about the website and the quick application process. According to many reviews, this VISA card can be used anywhere VISA is accepted, and they like that you can customize the card as well.
#4. FIT Mastercard - Low Interest Rates on Credit Cards
If you are looking for the best credit cards for bad credit for improving your credit score, then FIT Mastercard might be the best solution for you. The card is by Continental Finance and is issued by the Bank of Missouri. FIT Mastercard is targeted towards people who have a bad credit score, as it can assist you to rebuild it in just six months.
- Application process
If you need funds and credit score improvement, then you can visit the Continental Finance website and fill the online application form. To do so, you need to enter some essential information such as full name, home address, city, state you live in, zip code, date of birth, email, SSN, phone number, monthly income, and the source of income. To get accepted, you need to be at least 18 years old and have an active checking account.
- Who can use the FIT Mastercard?
This quality credit card is suitable for people with both fair credit and poor credit scores and even for people without a credit history. Correspondingly, people with bad credit scores can be easily accepted and improve their credit score in six months.
It is also suitable for people who don’t have enough funds for taking a secure credit card. What is more, the company also reports your activity to the major credit bureaus, which can significantly positively impact your credit score.
Moreover, the cardholders can access their FICO score when needed, which is very important. The reason for this is that monitoring your credit score is the right way to improve it.
- Credit limit, fees, and APR
The credit limit for a FIT Mastercard is $400, but it can reach $800 if you manage to pay the first six monthly payments on time. A significant thing to mention is that a security deposit is not required.
However, there are certain fees that you need to pay since the FIT Mastercard is not a secure card. There is an annual fee of $99, a foreign transaction fee of $3, and a cash advance fee of $5. Furthermore, for late or returned payments, you can be charged up to $40.
Additionally, once you register and start using the card, you will be charged a processing fee of $89 annually and $6.25 monthly for card maintenance after the first year. If you also want to get additional credit cards, the fee is $30. When it comes to APR, the card has a 29.99% APR variable on purchases.
- Low eligibility requirements
- Accepts wide range of credit scores
- Mobile app
- Provides Mastercard Zero Fraud Liability Protection
- The cardholders are subjects to many fees
- Higher APR than some other cards
Customers like that you can use this credit card everywhere Mastercard is accepted, and they also like that you can get accepted even if your credit score is not ideal. Among the positive comments, we found comments about the free 24/7 access to your account. Users also like that FIT Mastercards reports your activity to major bureaus, and they also like that Continental Finance uses encryption technology to secure the client’s data.
#5. Reflex Mastercard - Best for Credit Rewards
Reflex Mastercard is another quality credit card by Continental Finance, which is one of America’s leading marketers for credit cards. The card is suitable for people whose credit score is poor, but they want to improve it. The Reflex Mastercard is an unsecured card with plenty of options for users. What is more, this credit card can be used anywhere Mastercard is approved, even internationally.
- Application process
The application process for getting a Reflex Mastercard is quick and simple. However, the applications require a credit check, which can lower points in your credit score. Luckily, Reflex Mastercard allows you to check whether you will qualify by providing the necessary information before you apply.
Then, if you want to process and apply, you need to fill an online request form or call the phone number provided. To apply, you ought to provide information such as name, address, phone number, email, date of birth, income, SSN, and income and employment details.
When you get accepted, you will be able to get the card in just three days, but you have to activate the card over the telephone so that you can start using it.
- Credit limit, fees, and APR
If you are using Reflex Mastercard for the first time, the initial credit limit is between $300 and $1,000. However, if you manage to pay your monthly balances on time, you can potentially increase it to $2,000 after six months.
Even though this credit card is targeted towards people with less than ideal credit scores, there are specific fees that you need to pay to be able to use it. Reflex Mastercard requires an annual fee of $75-$99 for maintenance, and after several months of usage, you will also get a monthly maintenance fee of up to $10.
Moreover, there is a foreign transaction fee of 3% as well as $30 if you have an additional card. Additionally, Reflex Mastercard might charge you a return payment fee of up to $40 as well as a late payment fee in the same amount.
For a cash advance, the fee costs $5, and you might also receive a limit increase fee. The APR for this credit card ranges between 24.99% and 29.99%, which is much less than many other credit cards on the market.
- Additional features
By regularly paying the monthly balance on time, you will be able to increase your credit score rating in just a couple of months, which is convenient for many people. In addition, cardholders can access free monthly credit score checks to keep track of their progress.
You can also turn to online banking to receive your statement, check your account balance, pay bills, view transactions, etc. There is also a mobile app that you can easily download, and it is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.
- Applicants can check whether they qualify before applying
- Those with bad credit can still apply
- Reports to major three major credit bureaus
- Uses encryption technology for data security and protection
- The card comes with plenty of fees
According to the feedback from many customers, this credit card is one of the best credit cards for bad credit on the market. The cardholders are satisfied that the company accepts people even with bad credit scores, and they like the terms they offer. Other users appreciate the company’s transparency about the credit card they offer, and they like that they take security measures to ensure data security for all of their clients.
Factors That You Need To Take Into Consideration When Looking for the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Choosing the right credit card when in need of funds and with a bad credit score is very challenging. In this article, you were able to view some of our best choices for credit cards suitable for people with less than positive credit history. With that being said, the decision you make should be based on several vital factors, so let’s have a look at some of the most important ones.
The first thing we recommend considering is whether you will be able to get accepted for a credit card with bad credit. As it is easy to get accepted for such a credit card, the requirements are specifically low. Still, it is good to see if you meet them and whether you will be able to obtain the card. Some companies also offer pre-qualification checks that can help you determine whether you are eligible.
Generally, the credit cards which are not secured come with plenty of fees that you need to be aware of. Therefore, before submitting a request and applying for a particular credit card, you need to check which fees you will be charged for owning the credit card.
Some companies charge annual fees that can be high, but they do come with rewards and other benefits. However, you need to avoid credit cards that come with unreasonable fees that you won’t be able to afford. Individuals with poor credit scores might be charged with some additional fees, including opening and limit request fees that you also want to avoid if possible.
Another factor worth considering is the interest rates that come with a specific credit card that you are considering getting. The APRs for people with bad credit scores are usually much higher than for those with better ones, so you need to make sure that they are reasonable before you apply. This is because carrying a balance on a card for an extended time is expensive enough, so you don’t want to spend a lot more money than you initially intended.
For many people, the main goal of applying for a credit card with bad credit is to build a better credit history. Additionally, some credit cards are aimed to assist you to build up your credit rate significantly over a couple of months. Therefore, before you apply, you need to ensure that your on-time monthly payments will be reported to the major credit bureaus.
If a credit card doesn’t offer credit score improvement, then it is probably good to look for another one. We also recommend checking whether the credit card of your choice provides rewards and other benefits based on your spending habits.
Company reputation and customer reviews
As for applying for a credit card you need to provide both personal and banking information, we also suggest researching the company’s reputation. The reason for this is because the reputation can tell a lot about the company’s products and services it provides—in this case, the best credit cards for bad credit.
If the company is well-established, highly-rated with years of working experience, then you should give them a go, in case their credit card is suitable for your requirements. Additionally, the feedback from other cardholders and their shared experience can also show you a lot, which can be very helpful for you in making the right decision. Also, if they use encryption technology and take security measures, it is a plus.
Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Cards for Bad Credit
What is the difference between a secured and unsecured credit card for bad credit?
Both secured and unsecured credit cards are similar in many ways. The main difference is that the card issuer requires you a security deposit to get a secured card. On the other hand, if you are searching for an unsecured credit card for bad credit, you are not required to offer a security deposit.
The companies that supply such credit cards offer credit limits that can potentially increase if you manage to pay the monthly payments on time. In case you decide to close your account or get unsecured cards, then you will be able to get your security deposit back. If you also pay your bills on time, you can avoid paying interest rates as well.
What happens if you get rejected for a credit card for bad credit?
Even though these credit cards are easily accessible, there is still a possibility that you might get denied. In that case, you will receive an adverse action letter with an explanation. Still, you can contact the issuer to ask for a reason for getting denied, and the decision might be changed. On the other hand, you also might be asked to increase your credit score or change from one type of card to another, or even get a co-signer with a better credit score.
Who can use such credit cards?
There are many reasons why one can use a credit card for bad credit, so cardholders can get one depending on their financial status and needs. Such a credit card is suitable for you if you are unemployed or have not borrowed before and you have no credit history. Users who have declared bankruptcy can also apply for a credit card, as well as people who have missed payments for loans, previous cards, and other debts.
Even if your credit score is low, you will still be able to get a credit card if you apply for the right one. Therefore, we recommend checking the credit card options on our list, viewing the terms, and selecting the one that will work the best for you.
The credit cards on our list come with a lot of perks, and competitive APRs, although there are some fees that you need to pay to continue using the card. By using such a credit card, you may be able to improve your credit score in a short time which is very beneficial.