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Best credit cards for bad credit of September 2021

Even if you have limited or bad credit, getting approved for a credit card isn't impossible, and the right credit card can help you work your way towards a better credit score. CardRatings editors reveal the best credit cards for those with bad or limited credit scores.
Jennifer Doss, CardRatings Editor Last Updated, August 31, 2021

best credit cards for bad credit

TOP CREDIT CARDS FOR BAD CREDIT

From qualifying for the best credit card reward offers from our partners to receiving favorable rates on auto loans and mortgages, your credit score can have a major impact on your life.

Information about you and your credit experiences, like your bill-paying history; the number, age, and types of accounts you have; outstanding debt; and collection actions is used to develop your credit score. If you have a long history of effectively managing your credit, you're likely to have a decent credit score, but if you've never used a credit card or have negative information on your credit report, such as a history of missing payments, you may struggle to secure a loan, rent an apartment, get a job, or qualify for good credit card offers.

If your credit score needs improvement, responsibly using a credit card is a good way to help you build (or rebuild) your credit. While those with a low credit score might not yet be eligible for great rewards or cash-back credit card offers, there are a number of cards out there designed with low credit scores in mind.

When it comes to credit cards for bad credit, you’ll see two different types of cards: secured credit cards and unsecured credit cards. We compare the differences in further detail below, but in short, know that a secured credit card requires a refundable deposit in order for you to qualify. On the other hand, unsecured credit cards are a type of revolving debt, meaning, you’re approved to spend up to a certain limit on the account, and you can then choose to pay off the balance in full each month, or revolve it to the next month. Be aware though that unsecured cards designed for people with low credit scores typically come loaded with high fees.

Below you'll find our expert's top picks for the best credit cards for bad credit, including both secured and unsecured options.

If you don't know your credit score, sign up for a free credit score, credit report card, as well as a personal credit analysis with our preferred partner, Credit Sesame.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Why not earn a little while working on rebuilding your credit? Not only does this card report to the three major credit bureaus and include your FICO credit score on your monthly statements, but this no-annual-fee card will also allow you to earn cash back on your purchases. AND, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, which is a great perk for even the best rewards cards!
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Using your secured credit card helps build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, prepaid and debit cards can't do that.
  • Establish your credit line with your tax return by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
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PROS:

  • A secured card that earns rewards is rare. The fact that this secured credit card offers cash back on purchases is great.
  • It's also unusual for a secured credit card to offer a welcome bonus to new cardholders. The match offer Discover offers is unique and has the potential to pay off big.
  • This card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees so it's safe to travel abroad with.
  • Discover will automatically review your account monthly starting at eight months to see if they can transition you to an account with no security deposit.
  • No late fee on your first late payment.

CONS:

  • While there's no annual fee, the minimum security deposit amount could be a stretch for some people.
  • Rewards are capped when you hit $1,000 in spending each quarter. Still, that’s a very minor quibble given that many secured credit cards don’t offer rewards.

Read our full Discover it® Secured Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 83.3 82.3
Features Satisfaction 8.3 8.2
Customer Service 8.4 8.2
Website/App Usability 8.5 8.1
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 8.6
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.2 8.3

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH PERKS

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Not only does this card come with some of the same benefits offered by some other Capital One credit cards requiring higher credit scores, like extended warranty, auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance, 24/7 travel and roadside assistance, and price protection, this no-annual-fee card also requires the lowest minimum security deposit out of all of the credit cards that we reviewed. You could qualify for an account with a deposit of just $49 (see below for details). Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit.

The Bonus: Get access to a higher line of credit in as little as six months with no additional deposit needed.

The Annual Fee: $0, plus a security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 to establish your initial $200 credit line.

The Rewards: In addition to fraud coverage and 24/7 customer service, cardholders have access to extended warranty offers, auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance, 24/7 travel and roadside assistance, and price protection services.

PROS:

  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • You’ll get some nice benefits with this card, including auto rental insurance, price protection and 24/7 roadside assistance.
  • Get access to a higher credit line in as little as six months with no additional deposit needed.

CONS:

  • You'll want to try hard not to carry a balance as the ongoing APR rate (26.99% (Variable)) is a bit steep.
  • This card doesn't offer rewards on purchases, but that's pretty standard for secured credit cards.

Read our full Secured Mastercard® from Capital One review..

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 81.7 81.4
Features Satisfaction 8.1 8.1
Customer Service 8.2 8.2
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.6 8.4
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.0

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH NO CREDIT CHECK

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Like other cards on this list, this card also reports monthly to the three major credit bureaus, as well as provides online credit education and an e-newsletter to help cardholders proactively work on improving credit. Plus, it also offers a worry-free application that doesn't require a credit check, so you don't have to worry about your application affecting your credit score.

The Annual Fee: $35, plus a minimum security deposit of $200.

The Rewards: There are no specific rewards with this card, but consider the "rewards" to be your chance to use the card responsibly and qualify for a traditional rewards card in the future.

PROS:

  • There’s no credit check needed as part of the application process, so applying for this card should be quick and easy.
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on their website to support you as you work on your credit.
  • You can add authorized users to the card – with no authorization fee. And the purchases from the authorized users, if they use the card responsibly, may help you build your credit.

CONS:

  • There are no perks or rewards offered with this card.
  • This card charges an annual fee, in addition to the necessary security deposit to establish your line of credit.

Read our full OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 73.5 76.4
Features Satisfaction 7.3 7.7
Customer Service 7.3 7.6
Website/App Usability 7.3 7.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 7.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.3 7.5

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CARD FOR LOW FIXED APR

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
If you're working on building your credit you should try really hard to make your payments in full and on time, but sometimes life happens. What's great about this card is that it has a low ongoing APR of 9.99% (Fixed) which won't go up, even if you're late making a payment.

The Annual Fee: $48, plus a minimum $200 deposit

The Rewards: What really makes this card appealing is its low ongoing 9.99% (Fixed) APR. Plus, this card doesn't require a credit check and there's no minimum score required to apply.

PROS:

  • It's always important to pay your balance in full, but especially so when you're working on building your credit score. If you have to carry revolving debt though, you're sure to appreciate the low ongoing APR this card offers.
  • There is no minimum credit score required to apply for this card.
  • Activate with a $200 minimum deposit, maximum $1,000, and later increase your limit up to $5,000 by adding addtional deposits anytime.

CONS:

  • There are no rewards earned on purchases.
  • The $200 minimum deposit may be difficult for some people to pay.

Read our full Applied Bank Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Card review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST FOR HIGH LINE OF CREDIT

3
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
If you already have a bit of credit built up, you could qualify for as much as a $3,000 credit limit.

The Annual Fee: $75/$99

The Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite services.

PROS:

  • Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history.
  • Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities.
  • Find out if you pre-qualify without harming your credit score.

CONS:

  • This card has potential for a high line of credit, but to qualify you'll need to have decent credit established already. If you're just starting out, or have bad credit, you likely won't qualify for the high end limit.
  • There's potential for a high annual fee, depending on your creditworthiness.

Read our full Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST UNSECURED CREDIT CARD FOR BAD CREDIT

3
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
If you, like so many people, get anxious waiting on card approval, this card might be for you. You can find out if you're approved for the card in less than a minute, without affecting your credit score. Plus, this card offers free credit score tracking and 1% cash back on eligible gas, grocery and telecommunication purchases, which include internet, cellphone, cable and satellite TV services.

The Annual Fee: $39

The Rewards: In addition to free credit score tracking and fraud liability protection against unauthorized charges, cardholders can earn 1% cash back on eligible gas, grocery and telecommunication purchases, which include internet, cellphone, cable and satellite TV services.

PROS:

  • Checking to see if you're prequalified for this card will have no effect on your credit score.
  • The card allows you to choose over 20 different card designs, which is pretty cool (but a fee may apply, which is less cool).
  • Credit One Bank will periodically check and assess whether they can raise the limit. So if you start off with a low credit limit, that may not last for too long.

CONS:

  • Don't pack this card for your next trip abroad nor should you use it to make purchases in foreign currency online – it does charge foreign transaction fees.
  • No welcome bonus, but that's normal for a credit card available to folks with poor credit.

Read our full Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST UNSECURED CREDIT CARD FOR AFTER BANKRUPTCY

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Another good option for those looking for an immediate answer about approval (without worrying about a denied application hurting your credit score), this card can help you work toward better credit while also providing you with great benefits such as MasterRental insurance, extended warranty coverage and travel assistance benefits.

The Annual Fee: $35 - $99 (Dependent on credit worthiness).

The Rewards: There are no traditional rewards, but you can build your credit while enjoying the benefits of MasterRental insurance, extended warranty coverage and travel assistance.

PROS:

  • You’re sure to appreciate the card’s identity theft protection. You’ll get identity theft alerts, which informs consumers if MasterCard® believes thieves are buying and selling your personal information online. And if that does happen, you have zero liability protection.
  • Some nice benefits come with this card such as extended warranty coverage, price protection and emergency roadside assistance.

CONS:

  • The 24.90% APR is fairly steep, so you'll want to avoid carrying a balance.
  • There is no ability to do a balance transfer, which is probably fine for most people who are interested in this card. But, still, important to know.

Read our full Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard® review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 75.4 81.2
Features Satisfaction 7.5 8.2
Customer Service 7.4 8.1
Website/App Usability 7.4 8.0
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.2 8.4
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.6 8.0

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

CAN I GET A CREDIT CARD WITH BAD CREDIT?

Yes, you can get a credit card with bad credit, although your options may be limited.

Since those with bad credit often have a history of missed payments, delinquent accounts or even bankruptcy, some credit card issuers are hesitant to open accounts for those with low credit scores, but fortunately, not all card issuers feel this way. Some understand that people go through difficult times, for whatever reason, and deserve a fresh start on their finances.

The best credit cards for bad credit will most often be secured credit cards, though, there are a few unsecured credit cards available for those with low credit scores, too. Let's dive further into the differences between these two types of credit cards:

Secured vs. unsecured credit cards

A little different than traditional credit cards, many of the cards on the list above are "secured cards" that require a refundable deposit in order for you to qualify. Most of the time, the structuring is easy. The higher the deposit you put down, the higher the line of credit. If you put down a $500 deposit, you then have a $500 line of credit. It's as easy as that.

Sometimes a card will have a limit on how much of a deposit you can put down, but almost always, there will be a minimum deposit amount; usually around $200 (but not always that high).

You can generally add to your deposit to increase your line of credit (within limitations), and sometimes, as with the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, you can be considered for a higher credit line just for making payments on time, with no additional deposit needed.

That deposit might initially make secured credit cards less appealing, but remember, it's refundable, and this safety net is there for a reason. For one, it should encourage you to use your card responsibly, and to only spend within your means, and then on the other side of things, it protects banks in case you're unable to make your payments. If you have low credit, you are a risk to banks, so a refundable security deposit is a small price to pay in the long run. Do keep in mind though that the security deposit does not cover your monthly payments. You must still pay at least your minimum payment due on time each month.

Secured credit cards aren't meant to be used forever. They are a tool used to help improve your credit. Once you achieve a better credit score, you'll likely become eligible to graduate to a more lucrative credit card offering rewards, and no security deposit. So again, this is a small price to pay for a better financial future.

There are also unsecured credit cards for those with bad credit. These cards don't charge a deposit, but they may come with an annual fee. Both the Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard® and Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards charge an annual fee that could be as much as $99 per year, for example. However, lower annual fees may be available for those with better credit.

Most credit cards are unsecured credit cards, which are a type of revolving debt. This means you're approved to spend up to a certain amount on the account, and you can choose to pay off the balance in full each month, avoiding interest charges, or revolve it to the next month. Just keep in mind that you'll pay whatever your APR percentage is on that revolving debt, so revolving it isn't often a good choice. Most rewards credit cards are unsecured cards, and some of these cards also have annual fees, but with that annual fee comes so much more than you're likely to find with an unsecured credit card designed for someone with bad credit.

Whether secured or unsecured, most of these cards offer credit building tips, credit score tracking and reporting to the three major credit bureaus, so with responsible spending and bill paying, you could be on the road to a higher credit score (or a more rewarding credit card) in no time!

WHAT IS THE BEST CREDIT CARD FOR BAD CREDIT?

The best credit cards for bad credit aren't meant to be too exciting, as they're designed to help you rebuild your credit; however, the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One regularly sticks out to us thanks to a low security deposit requirement, and some of the same great benefits offered by more lucrative Capital One credit cards such as extended warranty, auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance, 24/7 travel and roadside assistance, and price protection. Plus, with this card you can gain access to a higher line of credit in as little of six months, with no additional deposit required.

When it comes down to it though, the important thing about the credit cards on this list is that they're all designed to help you build better credit, so if you have bad credit, they're all good cards. If your credit is great, you might not find these options too appealing, but if you're searching for the best credit card for bad credit, the options on this list are an ideal place to start. The most important things to consider will be the annual fees and security deposit requirements. If a card has any added perks, that's just the cherry on top. Be sure to not get distracted by extra features though. Remember, the point of these cards is to help you build your credit. Once you do so, you can have fun shopping for cards offering more bells and whistles. You worked hard to build your credit, so you deserve it, afterall!

HOW TO FIND YOUR CREDIT SCORE

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of three major credit reporting agencies– Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® – each year, but keep in mind that these credit reports will not show your credit score. Credit reports show how you've handled credit accounts, including the types of accounts and your payment history, as well as certain other information that's reported to credit bureaus by your lenders and creditors.

Some of the cards above offer cardholders easy access to their credit scores, which is a great way to keep a close eye on progress; however, it's also important to know what your score is before you apply for a card. Without this information, you won't know what type of credit cards you are eligible for. There are a number of free sources which will allow you to find out your credit score. Our preferred is Credit Sesame, who provides a free credit score, credit report card, and a personal credit analysis.

WHAT IS A BAD CREDIT SCORE?

Fico score credit score range graphFICO Score vs VantageScore comparison chart

There are two main credit scoring systems used today: FICO and VantageScore. FICO scores, which tend to be used more often in lending decisions, range from 300-850. Anything below 580 is generally considered a poor score, and about 16% of consumers have bad credit scores on the FICO scale, according to the credit reporting company Experian.

VantageScore also runs on a scale of 300-850. Scores ranging from 500-600 are considered poor and those below 500 are very poor. Experian notes 21% of consumers have poor VantageScore credit scores while 5% fall into the very poor category. Those with very poor scores are especially likely to have difficulty being approved for a credit card.

WHAT CAUSES BAD CREDIT?

Now that we know what constitutes as bad credit, let's discuss how someone's score ends up in the poor category. Since FICO scores are used more often, we'll focus on their scoring model.

According to myFICO, the official consumer division of FICO, the following criteria is used to calculate credit scores:

how fico calculates credit scores pie chart

  • Payment history - 35%
  • Amounts owed - 30%
  • Length of credit history - 15%
  • New credit - 10%
  • Credit mix (types of accounts) - 10%

There are a variety of reasons why you could have a low FICO credit score, but some of these reasons will lower your score more than others. If you have a low credit score, you may have one or more of the following factors:

  • No credit history - With no history, a lender cannot tell whether or not you are a credit risk.
  • Late/missed payments - These may cause lenders to view you as unreliable.
  • Defaulted personal loans - Past defaults cause concern about future transactions.
  • Home short-sale - Missed payments that frequently accompany a short sale negatively impact credit scores.
  • Home foreclosure - Lenders often consider those with a foreclosure history to be high-risk borrowers.
  • Bankruptcy - Past inability to repay debts can significantly lower your credit score.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO RAISE BAD CREDIT?

A lower score indicates to lenders that you are a credit risk, and you may not pay back the money you have borrowed. In order to offset the potential loss that a lender may incur by lending to you, the rates and fees offered to you are typically higher than those offered to people with good credit scores. That means, for the same purchase, you may be paying more than someone with a higher credit score. For example, a landlord may charge you a larger deposit in order to rent an apartment or, if you carry a balance on a credit card, your interest charges are higher.

Because building a good credit score requires a history of timely debt repayment, a good credit score indicates to lenders that you are likely to repay the money you borrow. As desirable customers, those with high credit scores are offered the lowest interest rates on different types of loans including automobiles, homes and credit cards. Potential employers may also view your credit report, however, employers do not check credit scores.

HOW TO RAISE CREDIT SCORE

While there is nothing you can do to erase old missed payments, you can boost your score by ensuring any future debt payments you make are on time. Making regular payments and avoiding any future charges or loans will also bring down the overall amount of debt you owe. That also will help raise your score.

Creditors aren't only looking at the total amount you owe, but also how much of your available credit lines you are using. This is known as a credit utilization rate or ratio. A low credit utilization rate helps boost your score. It indicates that you are being responsible about using your credit and aren't overextended financially.

However, maxed out credit cards and lines of credit result in a high credit utilization rate. That's a red flag to companies which may worry you're in financial distress or at risk of being unable to pay back what you owe.

If you already have a line of credit that is near its limit, focus on paying down that debt as quickly as you can. Using no more than 30% of your available credit is ideal, according to Experian.

The more you understand about how everyday decisions can affect and be affected by your credit score, the easier it can be to make decisions that rebuild your credit standing. Here are some terms you should know:

  • FICO. FICO is now the official name of Fair Isaac Corporation, which created the popular FICO credit scoring model.
  • FICO credit score. A number between 300 and 850 indicating your creditworthiness.
  • Credit report. A detailed history of all lending accounts that are reported to any or all of the three credit bureaus.
  • "Hard" inquiry. A record of any time a lender, credit, service or insurance provider reviews your credit history. Multiple inquiries within a short time-frame can have a negative impact on your credit score. If you're shopping for a mortgage or an auto loan, however, FICO allows multiple inquiries within a one-month time span and counts them as one hard inquiry.
  • "Soft" inquiry. A record of your own requests to review your credit history. Frequently, but not always, requests by employers, landlords, insurance companies are considered a "soft" inquiry. Credit card issuers that may send you pre-screened credit card offers often use a "soft" inquiry. They are not visible to creditors and do not affect your credit scores.
  • Creditworthiness. A term used to convey how your risk as a borrower. If you have good credit, then you are "worthy" of being given "credit" by lenders.
  • APR. Annual Percentage Rate. This number is the actual yearly cost of borrowing funds over the term of a loan. If your credit card statement only lists the APR, you can get your monthly interest rate by dividing this number by 12.
  • Annual fee.Secured credit cards often come with annual fees. Credit cards that offer perks and rewards also often have an annual fee.
  • Equifax, TransUnion, Experian. The three major credit reporting bureaus.

Now you know the terms, so where to go from here?

Get a secured credit card

A secured card is a credit card designed for those with no or bad credit. It requires a deposit be made to the card issuer, so the issuer is not in a position to lose money if you default on a payment. The interest rate is often higher than average and there may be fees associated with this type of card. Yes, right now, you are paying more for having bad credit, but that can change. Once you have established a good payment history with this card, it may be possible to qualify for an unsecured card with a better rate and few or no fees. Before you apply for credit card offers for bad credit, be sure to ask the issuer if they report your account to the credit reporting bureaus.

Think about credit differently

This is not free money and it's not even ideal to use for emergencies (hello, rainy-day fund!). From here on out until better credit and spending habits are established, a credit card is only a report card to credit agencies to prove that you're not a significant lending risk. Make a few small purchases of things you would buy every month anyway, such as gasoline, and pay the balance, on time and in full, at the end of every billing cycle.

Be disciplined

You're not going to get anywhere if you can't pass up the coffee house, the sale sign or drinks with friends. Be aware that the splurges aren't the only thing that can get you in trouble.

Be patient

Your credit will not rebound overnight. It could take years to build a reputable credit file. But many companies report your activity at the end of every billing cycle, so your credit is reevaluated by the major credit bureaus regularly. You may not feel that 10 or 15 points is big improvement, but in a few short years, it could make a big difference in the rates you pay.

HOW MANY CREDIT CARDS SHOULD YOU HAVE?

During this period of rebuilding your credit, one secured card is enough. As your credit improves, you may even see pre-screened offers come in the mail. After about six to nine months of responsible credit practices, you could add one more. A couple of revolving accounts in good standing will help to raise your score. Take the time to carefully find a card that will suit your new needs. A low-interest rate card with no annual fee might be a good place to start. Credit cards are not stamps or baseball cards– no need to collect them all.

HOW TO CHOOSE A CREDIT CARD FOR BAD CREDIT

When it comes to choosing a credit card for bad credit, many of our typical recommendations don’t really apply. Usually we would suggest that you think about things like what kind of rewards you’d like to earn, such as cash back or travel rewards; what kind of benefits would suit you most, like 0% intro APR and balance transfer offers; whether or not you are willing to pay an annual fee; and the like. Unfortunately though, with credit cards for bad credit, the questions you’ll need to think about when doing your research aren’t as exciting.

It’s not quite time to start thinking about reward cards just yet, though some of the cards above do offer some minor rewards, such as an unlimited cash back match and 2% cash back earned at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter) and 1% on all other purchases with the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. This is a good offer for a secured credit card, but remember, the point of secured credit cards are to build your credit score so you can work towards even better things.

Instead, for now, if you’re shopping for a credit card for bad credit, it’s important to think about things like security deposits, annual fees, credit limits, and APRs. Sure, not as fun, but if you think smartly about these things now, it’ll help to set you up for a better financial future so that perhaps later you can think about things like welcome bonuses and more lucrative benefits.

Credit cards for bad credit can still be fun, but they serve a different purpose. To see your credit score gradually increase is something to feel good about, and to be excited about. Then eventually, once your credit score reaches good, or even excellent, you can really have some fun! Just remember that when that happens to keep all of your hard work and new good financial habits in mind, so that you can keep your credit score high and continue to enjoy the benefits that a healthy credit score can offer.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other “best of” lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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