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Having poor credit or no credit doesn’t mean you never travel or that you couldn’t benefit from a quality credit card when you take your trips. In fact, responsibly using a credit card, whether traveling or staying home, is one of the best ways to improve your credit score.
Your poor credit, however, will likely keep you from qualifying for the top travel rewards cards out there. Even so, you can still benefit from the security, perks and, yes, even rewards, that some cards offer to people with less-than-stellar credit.
An excellent place to start is with a secured credit card that reports to the three major credit bureaus. With a secured card, your security deposit – commonly a minimum of $200 – usually determines your credit limit. If you want to increase your credit limit, you need to increase your security deposit.
Your primary goal when looking to improve your credit from the poor/limited level is to show a pattern of responsible card use and payment. That means sticking to a budget and always paying off the card balance in full each billing cycle.
That said, there are some added benefits and factors to consider.
Secured cards offer the same protections afforded traditional, unsecured credit cards in terms of fraud protection and ease of use. Since you want to travel with your card, you also want to consider things like whether the card charges foreign transaction fees (none of the cards on this list do) and if its widely accepted abroad.
Lastly, you can earn rewards with a credit card for poor/limited credit; you just have to know where to look. Fortunately, CardRatings has done the research and put together the following list of the best travel credit cards for bad credit.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.