2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
BEST WAYS TO APPLY FOR A CREDIT CARD WITH BAD CREDIT


2017 Guide: Top Ways to Apply for Credit Cards with Bad Credit

Getting by without a credit card is certainly no easy task. Credit cards are monumental in establishing credit history, which determines eligibility toward better interest rates for mortgages, insurance premiums, auto loans, personal loans, and more.

Trying to get approved for a credit card with bad credit can often be a frustrating and intimidating process. Those looking to apply for credit cards with no credit history are often at a disadvantage.

Award Emblem: Top 6 Cards for Bad Credit or No Credit

Those who are looking to apply for a credit card with bad credit are also at a disadvantage. Credit card companies view poor credit as a risky investment, and often choose to deny applications on this basis alone.

Credit card companies use credit history to determine whether to assign a line of credit, so trying to get approved for a credit card without an established and positive credit history can often be a losing battle.

Of course, in order to improve overall credit score, you need to get a new line of credit. Additionally, credit applications are hard inquiries, and multiple applications can damage your credit even further.

Thankfully, there are options to easily apply for credit cards with bad credit and to apply for a credit card with no credit. Our review will take a comprehensive look into good credit cards to apply for without a strong credit history. Following our guide will help you find the easiest credit card to get approved for with no credit.

See Also: Top Bank of America Rewards Cards | Ranking & Reviews | Bank of America Travel, Cash, Rewards Cards



AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Options to Apply for Credit Cards with Bad Credit

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the credit card names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that credit card):


Top 6 Best Options to Apply for Credit Cards with No Credit | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Credit Card Name

Type of Credit
Card?

Annual Fee

Purchase APR (%)

Citi® Secured MasterCard®SecuredNone22.24%
Commerce Bank Secured Visa® Credit CardSecured$4918.49%
Discover it® Secured Credit CardSecuredNone23.24%
nRewards® Secured Credit CardMilitaryNone9.24%
-18.00%
Secured Credit Card with Cash RewardsSecured$3220.24%
U.S. Bank Secured Visa® CardSecured$2919.24%

Table: Top 6 Best Options to Apply for a Credit Card with Bad Credit | Above list is sorted alphabetically



What Is the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Credit Cards?

When looking to apply for a credit card with bad credit or no credit, one must often apply for a secured credit card.

There is one fundamental difference between secured and unsecured cards that consumers should be aware of when looking to get approved for a credit card with bad credit.

Image Source: Pexels

Secured credit cards have a deposit, or “collateral” attached to them. This means that a line of credit is determined by deposit amount. Secured credit cards have minimum deposit requirements, but these amounts will vary.

A secured credit card is the easiest credit card to get approved for with no credit. The security deposit removes the amount of risk assessed by banks, making it much easier to get approved for a credit card without a strong credit history.

Unsecured credit cards are traditional credit cards, where no deposit is necessary to open a line of credit. You need at least average credit for unsecured credit cards, and the best ones require even higher credit scores.

For those looking to apply for credit cards with bad credit, secured cards are good credit cards to apply for. Although their terms and conditions may not be as flexible, they pose the least risk and are valuable tools to improve overall credit score.

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How Can I Apply for a Secured Credit Card?

There are generally two options when looking to apply for a credit card with bad credit: you can either go directly through your bank or apply for credit cards online.

If you choose to discuss options to apply for credit cards with no credit through your bank, meet with a representative. As a customer with an established banking history, you may have great options to get approved for a credit card through your bank.

If you choose to apply for credit cards online, there are a few general tips to find good credit cards to apply for. These tips include:

  • Know your credit score

Make sure that you can get approved for a credit card by understanding the status of your credit score. Look to apply for credit cards online that advertise leniency toward bad credit (typically, secured credit cards).

  • Do your research

Take the time to compare all the rates, terms, and conditions of each option before you apply for a credit card online, particularly when looking to apply for secured credit cards.

  • Keep an open mind

When looking to apply for credit cards online, this may mean looking to apply for secured credit cards rather than unsecured credit cards. While a secured credit card has different requirements, it is the easiest credit card to get approved for with no credit.



AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.


Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Options to Apply for Credit Cards with Bad Credit

Below, please find a detailed review of each credit card on our list of good credit cards to apply for without credit. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these options for credit cards with no credit to score so highly in our selection ranking.



Citi® Secured MasterCard® Review


When looking to apply for credit cards online that cater to low credit, the Citi® Secured MasterCard® is a great choice. Once you have decided to apply for a secured credit card, this should be one of the first options.

Key Rates & Terms

No card is the same, and this is certainly true when looking to apply for credit cards with bad credit. The Citi® Secured MasterCard® comes with a few key rates and terms that consumers should be aware of when planning to apply for a secured credit card. These include:

The minimum deposit is a fairly standard number, but the wide range makes this one of the best options to apply for credit cards with no credit.

Of course, this means that higher lines of credit require higher deposits. For some, it may be worthwhile to apply for credit cards with no credit requirements that also allow for higher credit line options.

This APR is higher than other secured credit cards, so those considering applying for a credit card online through Citi should be aware of the higher APR.

  • Qualification based on income and debt review

While it may be easier to apply for a secured credit card, credit does play a small role. Applicants cannot have any bankruptcy history within the past 2 years.

Final Considerations

The Citi® Secured MasterCard® comes with many benefits of traditional cards, including travel insurance, rental insurance, and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions. For those looking to apply for a credit card with bad credit that still provides benefits, this is a great card to consider.



Commerce Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card Review


Those looking to apply for credit cards with no credit will find that the Commerce Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card is a valuable option to establish or rebuild credit history.

Key Rates & Terms

Consumers with poor credit often need to apply for credit cards with no credit limitations, which means taking a close look at rates and terms. Key components of the Commerce Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card include:

  • Competitive APR

With an APR of only 18.49%, this is one of the lowest rates available when considering options to apply for a credit card with bad credit.

  • $49 annual fee

While this line of credit will cost a little extra money to keep open, it’s worth noting that there are no balance transfer fees or cash advance fees.

  • Free access to FICO score

Consumers who can certainly benefit from regular access to credit scores. The Commerce Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card provides FICO scores along with monthly statements, making monitoring credit progress easy.

Final Considerations

This card may not be a good option for those who prefer to apply for credit cards online. Consumers can certainly apply for credit cards with no credit requirements through Commerce Bank, but they must visit a branch location to do so.

State locations include Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

Related: Top Best Retail Credit Cards | Ranking | Best Retail Store Credit Cards for Bad Credit & Good Credit



Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review


The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the best products available to apply for a credit card with bad credit. Discover makes it easy to apply for credit cards online, and the card comes with a wide range of benefits.

Key Rates & Terms

Those who are looking to apply for secured credit cards typically find that benefits and rewards are not included. For the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, this is certainly not the case. The rates, terms, and benefits include:

Minimum deposit requirements are important when considering secured credit cards. Apply for secured credit cards that offer a greater range to allow for incremental increases in credit line.

  • Cash back rewards

Cardholders that apply for credit cards with no credit through Discover will be pleasantly surprised to see this rewards program. Cardholders earn 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations and restaurants. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

  • First-year offers

Cash rewards earned through the Discover it® Secured Credit Card will be matched at the end of the first year.

Balance transfers also enjoy an introductory APR rate of 10.99% for the first 6 months. Those who are looking to apply for a credit card with bad credit and transfer over previous debt will certainly benefit from this.

Keep in mind that balance transfers need to be posted by February 10, 2017.

Final Considerations

For those who want to apply for a credit card with bad credit without sacrificing benefits, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is, by far, the best option. At 23.24%, the APR is substantially high, but in this case, the benefits outweigh the cost.

It is extremely rare to apply for credit cards with bad credit that also carry cash back rewards, which makes this card stand out. It’s also great for those who prefer to apply for credit cards online, as the process is quick and simple.



nRewards® Secured Credit Card Review


The Navy Federal Credit Union has a long history of serving military members and their families. For service members or family members who need to apply for a credit card with bad credit, the nRewards® Secured Credit Card is a great option.

Key Rates & Terms

This secured card offers incredibly competitive rates and terms, making it the best option for military members who want to apply for credit cards with bad credit. A few of these key rates and terms include:

  • $500 minimum deposit

For members of the NFCU, this deposit can be put into a savings account to be held as collateral for the secured credit card.

  • Significantly low APR rate

With an APR falling between 9.24-18.0%, this is one of the lowest possible credit card rates. Military members looking to apply for credit cards with no credit will certainly benefit from a lowered APR rate.

  • Rewards program

Needing to apply for credit cards with bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing rewards. For the nRewards® Secured Credit Card, each dollar spent on the card earns 1 point, redeemable for gift cards or merchandise.

Final Considerations

For military members and families looking to apply for credit cards with bad credit histories, it’s difficult to beat the APR rate and the benefits of the nRewards® Secured Credit Card.

The drawback is that you cannot simply apply for a credit card online through NFCU. As a credit union, membership is required and restricted. This makes the nRewards® Secured Credit Card the best way to apply for a credit card with no credit, but only for members of the military.

Popular Article: Top Best Military Credit Cards | Ranking | Best Credit Cards for Military (Active & Veterans)



Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards Review


SunTrust aims to make it easy to apply for a credit card with bad credit through their Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards. This card offers high levels of value for those looking to apply for credit cards with bad credit, helping to improve scores and financial history.

Key Rates & Terms

For those who need to apply for credit cards with no credit, the Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards from SunTrust is a competitive option. Consider the following rates and terms before deciding to apply for credit cards online:

This APR rate falls along average rates, keeping credit lines manageable and affordable.

  • Competitive rewards program

Cardholders who apply for a credit card with bad credit through SunTrust have a wide variety of options for cash back rewards. Purchases on gas and groceries earn 2% cash back, while all others earn 1%.

  • Free FICO score access

This also includes free access to credit education resources to help cardholders successfully manage credit.

Final Considerations

When consumers apply for credit cards with bad credit through SunTrust, they are also required to create a savings account. This actually provides enhanced benefits — the secured deposit earns interest, and deposited rewards yield 10-25% more back.

Of course, those looking to apply for credit cards online will not be able to do so with the Secured Credit Card with Cash Rewards. Visiting a branch or calling a toll-free line are the only ways to apply for a credit card with no credit through SunTrust.


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U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card Review


The U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card can be a great tool to rebuild credit history. For those looking to apply for credit cards online that produce simple, straightforward terms, this is a great card to consider.

Key Rates & Terms

When considering the U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card, there are a few crucial rates and terms that should be reviewed. These include:

Compared to other offers, this is one of the lowest annual fees available.

Of all the secured credit cards we have reviewed, this is the second-lowest APR rate, keeping credit lines manageable and affordable over the long-run.

  • Easy online application

For those who want to apply for credit cards online, U.S. Bank provides a streamlined, quick application process. 

Final Considerations

While the U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card does not come with enhanced benefits, it does provide a simple and efficient means to rebuild credit. For those who need to apply for credit cards with no credit history, simplicity is often a good thing.

Read More: Top Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fee | Ranking & Reviews | Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards


Conclusion – Top 6 Best Options to Apply for a Credit Card with Bad Credit

A great way to improve credit is to find the best options to apply for credit cards with bad credit. Although it may seem difficult to get approved for a credit card with bad credit, using these good credit cards to apply for can provide efficient and manageable methods to rebuild and repair credit. 

Choosing to apply for a credit card with no credit restrictions will not only improve overall credit, but finding the best ways to get approved for a credit card with bad credit can even prevent further damage to your credit score.

Our detailed list of the six best ways to apply for credit cards with no credit or bad credit can help consumers improve credit scores and successfully manage their finances.



AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.