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Finding the right credit card when you have less-than-stellar credit can be hard. There are a lot of bad offers out in the world targeting those that may be desperate for credit. The offers you may be finding flooding your mailbox may seem enticing, but they are typically not going to be the best for you.
If you're looking to improve your credit situation, you don't have to settle. There are good options available to even those with the worst credit scores. We've compared some of the best, with a focus on fees, the ability to prequalify and yes, even the ability to earn rewards.
Start building your credit without being weighed down by hidden fees. There is a Petal card for those with damaged credit, or a version with better rewards earnings for those that are new to credit or have established credit. See which version you are prequalified for today.
Money added to a Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your card, giving you access to a line of credit. There's no upfront deposit required, but you will need to have a Chime Spending account open with an eligible direct deposit in order to qualify.
Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a very competitive flat earning rate for a secured credit card. The card also offers solid additional perks, like extended warranties on eligible purchases.
Apply without a hard credit pull. This helps safeguard your credit profile against declined applications.
Depending on your credit profile, you may be able to secure a $200 line of credit with as little as $49 down as a security deposit. You may also be considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months.
|Petal 1 Visa Card|
5 / 5
|Best Unsecured Card for Building Credit|
|Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card|
4.8 / 5
|Best Secured Card with No Minimum Deposit|
|Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card|
4.9 / 5
|Best-in-class Secured Card Rewards|
|OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card|
4.9 / 5
|Best Secured Card with No Hard Credit Check|
|Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card|
4.8 / 5
|Best Security Deposit|
There are a few things you should consider when picking the best card for you. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when making a decision on whether to take on a new debt product.
Do You Want A Secured Card?
This will eliminate a handful of cards right off the start. From an outsider's perspective, there's no difference between a secured and unsecured card when you go to swipe at the store. Most cards won't be labeled with secured on the card itself - there's no shame in having a secured card.
If you're uncomfortable (or unable) to put down $200-$500 down as a security deposit, that may be a good indicator that you may not be ready for a credit card. On the other hand, if you have responsibly saved some money that you can safely put down as a security deposit, there are great options, like the Quicksilver Secured Card that can provide long-lasting value with a low fee structure, good rewards rates and the ability to graduate to an unsecured card.
Are You Okay Paying An Annual Fee?
Even some of the best cards for bad credit will charge an annual fee - but be wary of annual fees over $50. Those cards tend to be aggressive with fees, and you may find yourself paying hundreds of dollars a year in fees and interest if you're not careful. Make sure you're getting something in exchange for an annual fee. OpenSky made our list even though it has an annual fee, because it offers a competitive ongoing interest rate for those that have to carry a balance from time to time. It also does not require a credit check to open an account, which can be a credit lifesaver for some.
Have You Recently Been Denied for a Credit Card
There are steps you can take if you've recently been declined for a credit card, but every card that made our list offers either a prequalification process to help you safeguard your credit from unwanted declines, or offers a path to approval without a credit inquiry at all. If you'e recently been declined for a card, frantically applying for more cards may not be the best move for your credit. A card like the Chime Credit Builder Secured card could help you build a solid foundation of financial habits while also reporting your payment habits to the three major credit bureaus.
Don't Make Your Decision Based on a Nice to Have.
Some credit card companies count picking your own image as a perk for cards with bad credit. Others might tout limited rewards that are hard to use, or worse, a 2-liter of soda. Flashy benefits might seem nice, but remember your goal: build a stronger credit profile.
When searching for the best credit cards for bad credit, we looked at the following features:
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