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.