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Credit Card for Bad Credit Score – Eligibility
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Even with bad credit, there are still credit card options available to you. These cards can serve as stepping stones, helping you build a stronger credit profile for better opportunities down the line.

Secured credit cards, for instance, are often a viable choice. They require an upfront, refundable deposit which typically acts as your credit limit, thereby reducing the risk to the card issuer. While this does require some initial funds, it’s an effective way to demonstrate responsible credit behavior. However, remember that your credit score isn’t the only factor determining your eligibility for financial products. So, buckle up, as we delve into the list of credit cards available for those with bad credit.

Understanding Credit Cards for Bad Credit

What is Bad Credit?

Defining bad credit is central to this discussion. It’s the result of certain financial missteps, such as defaulting on loans, late payments, or having debts go into collection. Credit scores, which represent a borrower’s creditworthiness, range from 300 to 850. FICO and VantageScore are two popular systems for scoring. Bad credit scores typically range from 300 to 579 in the FICO system or 300 to 600 in the VantageScore system. If your credit score falls below 630 of a range from 300 to 850, it’s generally classified as bad or poor credit.

Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards

When it comes to credit cards for bad credit, there are mainly two types – secured and unsecured. A secured credit card is typically more accessible to those with a lower credit score, and it comes with specific terms. Unlike a conventional (or unsecured) credit card, a secured card involves a minimum opening deposit, typically around $200-$300, which acts as your credit limit. In contrast, unsecured credit cards don’t require an upfront deposit but might have more stringent eligibility requirements and higher interest rates. Staying aware of these distinguishing factors is crucial when choosing between a secured and an unsecured credit card.

Top Types of Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Maintaining an impressive credit score can often be a challenge. When the score suffers, securing a credit card becomes a difficult task. However, a few dedicated types of credit cards cater to individuals with less than perfect, that is, bad credit.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards: These are an excellent entry point if you’re aiming to rebuild your credit. The function of secured cards is straightforward; you make a security deposit, becoming your credit limit, generally starting at $200[^1^]. By making regular, timely payments, over time you can improve your credit score. One popular example in this category is the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card[^2^].

Unsecured Credit Cards

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got unsecured credit cards. Unlike secured cards, no security deposit is required. However, these cards often carry higher annual fees and interest rates, making them a pricier option. For instance, the Destiny Mastercard and the Credit One Platinum Visa both fit in this category[^3^].

You’ll need to ponder your financial condition before going for the unsecured credit cards. It’s essential to evaluate whether the higher costs will be manageable in the longer run.

Prepaid Cards

Lastly, there are prepaid cards. You load these cards with money upfront, and then use it just like a regular credit card. The primary difference is that you’re spending your money, not borrowing from a lender. One significant advantage of this card is that it doesn’t require a credit check, making it easier to attain.

Whether secured, unsecured, or prepaid, each card type serves a different purpose. Remember, improving your credit score isn’t a quick fix. It takes time, patience, and responsible credit behavior.

Best credit cards for bad credit

The section explores some top-notch credit cards designed for individuals with poor credit. Pay attention to each card’s unique offerings and requirements, and pick the one that fits your needs and circumstances.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card stands as an exemplar among secured cards. With a low security deposit starting from $49, it’s an affordable kick-starter. It promises automatic consideration for an increased credit limit in as little as six months. The card also boasts a zero-fraud liability feature, shielding you from unauthorized charges.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

No credit check! That’s what sets the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card apart. Thus, you don’t have to worry about a hard inquiry into your credit history. Qualification requires a $200 refundable security deposit and a stable income to manage monthly bill payments.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Another noteworthy option is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. This card offers numerous benefits like cashback rewards. The issuer checks credit progress after 8 months and considers migrating diligent users to an unsecured line.

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Card provides another avenue to build up credit with less burden. It earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, a unique appeal among secured credit cards.

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

Just like its sibling, this card doesn’t require a credit check or a bank account. The primary difference lies in the annual fee: The OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card charges a $0 annual fee, but with a higher deposit requirement and presumably, a higher interest rate.

Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

The powerful Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card focuses on building credit by reporting to the major credit bureaus. Additionally, it comes with no annual fee or minimum security deposit, maiking it budget-friendly.

Self Secured Visa® Credit Card

The Self Secured Visa® Credit Card is another decent choice if you’re strapped for cash. With no hard credit inquiry and a flexible payment schedule, it allows for easy credit building.

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card delivers simplicity and transparency. It’s designed for credit-builders, offering reasonable rates and clear-cut terms.

Grow Credit Mastercard

The Grow Credit Mastercard is another option worth exploring. It’s best known for enabling users to build a positive payment history, thus contributing to a better credit score.

Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

This benefits-packed card aids in credit-building while simultaneously rewarding cardholders. The Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card offers interest on the deposited collateral. You refundable security deposit determines your credit limit.

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured card is a desirable option due to its notably low rates. With no annual fee, it is an economical option for robust credit building.

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

The novel approach of the Petal 2 Visa® Credit Card merits mention. It considers more than credit scores, looking at your entire financial picture for decision-making.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card gives cardholders a realistic path to upgrade to an unsecured card. It offers cash back on every purchase and matches all the cash back earned at the end of the first year.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card

This versatile card offers a unique rewards structure. The US Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card lets you choose two categories to earn 5% cash back in each quarter, up to $2,000 combined, and 1% back on all other eligible purchases.


Navigating the world of credit with a poor score can seem daunting. Yet it’s clear there’s a variety of credit cards tailored to your unique situation. Whether it’s a secured card like Capital One Quicksilver or an unsecured option such as Destiny Mastercard, there’s a suitable choice for you. Prepaid cards also offer an alternative path.

Remember, each card provides distinct benefits designed to aid you in enhancing your credit score. It’s all about responsible credit use and a keen understanding of your financial status. With careful planning and the right card, you’re well on your way to improving your credit. It’s not an overnight journey but with patience and discipline, you’ll see your credit health improving. So, choose wisely and take that first step towards financial recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does having a bad credit mean?

Having bad credit generally means that you have a history of not meeting your financial obligations on time or defaulting on debts. It is reflected in your credit score, which usually falls in the range of 300 to 579.

How can a credit card help improve my bad credit?

Reputable credit cards offer credit-building tools that could potentially help you enhance your credit score. By paying off your credit card balance on time, you demonstrate responsible credit behavior, which reflects positively on your credit history.

Are secured credit cards good for bad credit?

Yes, secured credit cards are often recommended for people with bad credit. They require a deposit to secure your credit limit, lowering the risk for the card issuer while helping you build or rebuild your credit.

What is the difference between secured and unsecured cards?

Secured cards require a deposit and often have lower credit limits. They’re designed to help build credit history. Unsecured cards don’t require a deposit and are traditionally used by those who’ve already established good credit.

What are some of the best cards for bad credit?

Specifically for individuals with bad credit, some top-notch options include Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card, Destiny Mastercard, Credit One Platinum Visa, Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, and Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

What’s a prepaid card and how can it help my bad credit?

Prepaid cards allow you to load money onto them and then use them for transactions. While they don’t directly help improve your credit score, they can help you manage your spending, preventing you from accruing debt.

Can I get a credit card with an instant approval?

Yes, certain issuers offer instant approval after application. Often, they offer a temporary virtual card number, allowing you to make purchases even before the physical card arrives.

What should I do if my credit card application is rejected?

If your application is rejected, consider applying for a secured credit card, a student credit card, or a retail store credit card. These card options could give you a better chance for approval and help establish your credit history.

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