Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (2024)

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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (1)

Featured "Bad Credit" Card

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Apply now

on Chime's secure site

Best card with no interest for bad credit

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (2)

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5

4.2

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

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Bankrate score

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5

4.2

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply now

on Chime's secure site

Intro offer

Intro offer is not available for this Chime credit card.

N/A

Annual fee

None

Regular APR

N/A

Best low-cost secured card for bad credit

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (3)

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

4.1

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

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Bankrate score

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

4.1

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Intro offer

Intro offer is not available for this Capital One credit card.

N/A

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

29.99% (Variable)

Best for building credit with savings

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (4)

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5

3.1

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

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Bankrate score

Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5

3.1

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply now

on Self's secure site

Intro offer

Intro offer is not available for this Self credit card.

N/A

Annual fee

$25

Regular APR

28.74% (Variable)

Best rotating cash back card for bad credit

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (5)

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

4.5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

4.5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply now

on Discover's secure site

Intro offer

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.

Cashback Match™

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

1% - 2%

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

28.24% Variable APR

Best for building business credit

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5

3.1

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5

3.1

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply now

on Nav's secure site

Regular APR

N/A

Annual fee

Nav Prime is $49.99/month, which gets reported as a tradeline.

Best customized rewards for bad credit

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (7)

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

*The information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

*

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

3.8

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

3.8

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Bankrate review

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Regular APR

28.24% Variable

Annual fee

None

Best low-cost credit-building card

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (8)

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

*The information about the Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

*

Recommended credit score: 300 - 670

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Intro offer

Intro offer is not available for this Mission Lane credit card.

N/A

Rewards Rate

Rewards rate is not available for this credit card.

N/A

Annual fee

$0 - $59

Regular APR

26.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Compare Bankrate’s best cards for bad credit

Card NameOur pick forRecommended Credit ScoreCredit-Building Features

Bankrate Review Score

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (9)

No interest for bad credit

No credit history*

No credit check

SpotMe overdraft protection

No annual fee

4.2 / 5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

(Read card review)

Apply now

on Chime's secure site

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (10)

Low-cost secured card for bad credit

No credit history*

Access to CreditWise® credit alerts

Reports to the three credit bureaus

Automatic account review after six months

4.1 / 5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

(Read card review)

Apply now

on Capital One's secure site

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (11)

Building credit with savings

No credit history*

No deposit required

No hard pull on your credit report

Reports to the three major credit bureaus

3.1 / 5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

(Read card review)

Apply now

on Self's secure site

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (12)

Rotating cash back card for bad credit

No credit history*

Free access to FICO credit score

Automatic account reviews after seven months

Discover® Identity Alerts

4.5 / 5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

(Read card review)

Apply now

on Discover's secure site

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (13)

Building business credit

No credit history

Reports two tradelines to credit bureaus

Access detailed business and personal credit reports

3.1 / 5

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

(Read card review)

Apply now

on Nav's secure site

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (14)

Customized rewards for bad credit

No credit history

Free access to FICO credit score

No annual fee

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (15)

Low-cost credit-building

Bad to Fair (300 – 670)*

Reports to all three credit bureaus

What is bad credit?

A bad credit score — a FICO score under 579 or a VantageScore under 600 — can happen for many reasons and negatively affect your finances. Defaulting on loans, missing credit card payments or even opening too many credit lines can negatively impact your credit score. This all could impact your ability to get new lines of credit, get good terms on loans, purchase a house or rent an apartment.

People who have made these credit mistakes in the past may find it a bit difficult to qualify for a typical, unsecured credit card or credit cards that come with perks and rewards. Credit cards designed for people with bad credit often have low credit score requirements. If you focus on using them responsibly (via on-time payments and low credit utilization), you should be able to “graduate” to a better credit card.

Causes and effects of bad credit

Having bad credit can make many financial products less favorable or inaccessible, which can make it harder to increase your score and manage your money. Often the cause is:

  • Missed payments: Since your payment history is the largest influence on your score, missing payments on your cards or loans will have a significant impact.
  • High credit utilization: If you’re using the majority of your available credit, creating a high credit utilization ratio, it might signal to lenders that you’re relying too heavily on credit and could be at a heightened risk of default.
  • Low credit age: Any time you apply for new credit, you reduce your credit age, which could lower your credit score.If you close a credit card, you could reduce your average credit account age and increase your credit utilization.
  • No credit mix: Relying too heavily on one type of credit may negatively impact your score. Having a balanced mix of different credit products shows lenders that you know how to manage multiple types of credit.

Here are the main ways bad credit can affect you:

  • Higher interest rates

    Bad credit signals to lenders that you’re a high-risk borrower, so creditors charge higher interest rates to compensate for the extra risk.

  • Limited card options

    People with bad credit are often limited to secured cards and cards explicitly for people with bad credit. While these cards are still helpful for building credit, they often have less favorable terms compared to most credit cards for better scores. Lenders have previously reported tightening their standards for credit card approvals so far in 2023, so having a bad credit score may mean you won't qualify for a card you want.

    Dig deeper: What to do when your credit card application is denied.

  • Mental and physical health problems

    Studies suggest a strong link between health issues and financial difficulties. Bad credit is an indicator of financial hardship, and the factors that lead to a bad credit score — like carrying high amounts of debt — can cause stress that leads to other physical and mental health problems.

When to use a credit card for bad credit

Even with bad credit, a credit card can still be a useful tool. You can use a card to help you establish credit, boost your credit file or begin fixing past credit mistakes. Here’s when it’s smart to use a credit card for bad credit:

Secured vs. unsecured credit cards for bad credit

The two types of credit cards most commonly available to people with bad credit are secured cards and unsecured cards. Both of these options have notable advantages and disadvantages, primarily surrounding affordability, and deciding which one is best for you may come down to a few key differences.

Some of the best credit cards for bad credit aresecured, which means the issuer requires a security deposit to get the card.Credit card security depositsserve as collateral for an issuer in exchange for lending a line of credit to what it may consider to be a “risky” borrower.

Secured credit cards are great tools for building credit because they typically have more relaxed credit requirements than unsecured cards, which could make them more accessible to people with no, limited or bad credit. However, secured cards often charge higher APRs than cards for fair or better credit and the security deposit may not be ideal for some.

Unsecured credit cards for bad credit differ slightly from secured cards. They do not require a security deposit, but sometimes charge annual fees. If you don’t want to — or can’t — provide the funds for a security deposit, unsecured cards for bad credit are available, though they usually aren’t as common.

Generally, we advise people to avoid unsecured credit cards for bad credit whenever possible. Many unsecured credit cards for bad credit tend to be expensive since they also have high APRs (even higher than on some secured cards) and a few even charge annual fees. It’s also rare that these cards come with benefits like rewards, despite being unsecured.

Learn more:Can you get a secured card with no bank account?

Our data: Secured cards vs. unsecured cards

Most people have two main options for improving their bad credit scores: secured cards or unsecured cards. You can also consider alternative credit cards that combine a secured card with another product, such as a checking account, savings account or credit-builder loan, but it can be hard to tell which option is best for you.

We analyzed our proprietary data to see whether Bankrate readers in 2023 preferred secured cards, unsecured cards or combined secured cards with other products.

In 2023, readers were almost 39 percent more likely to click on secured credit cards than unsecured credit cards. And they were nearly 32 percent more likely to look at alternative credit card products than look at unsecured credit cards.

Even though secured cards require upfront deposits and credit card products like the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card require an additional account, they may be more helpful and cost-efficient among readers. It could be because they have lower credit barriers, are easier to apply for and don’t require credit checks.

Expert advice for cards for bad credit

Using a credit card for bad credit is an opportunity to improve your credit profile, but it’s important to know what to look for in this kind of credit card. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Cost: The typical minimum deposit for a secured credit card is $200, but some secured cards have even lower deposit requirements. An upfront and refundable security deposit is more cost-effective in the long term than an unsecured credit card for bad credit with an annual fee.
  • Plan to upgrade: The best credit cards for bad credit offer chances to graduate or upgrade to a better card with better terms. If you practice good credit habits, your card issuer may refund your security deposit on a secured card or increase your credit limit.

What people say about credit cards for bad credit

Having bad credit can be a burden and seem like a hopeless situation. People with bad credit turn to communities like r/PersonalFinance and r/PovertyFinance on Reddit and MyFICO Forums to find solutions, which isn’t a bad idea. Crowd-sourcing encouragement and advice may help you find the strategy you need to get your credit back on track.

And while it’s not impossible to improve your score, it takes patience and being realistic about the root cause of your credit.“It takes awhile, usually best case scenario about a full year to get your score solidly in a higher bracket [sic],” one user commented in the r/PovertyFinance subreddit.*

Bankrate and credit cards expert Nouri Zarrugh agrees — this is the same advice he gives friends when they ask how to raise their credit scores.

“Bad credit is just a starting point,” he says. “Whenever friends ask me for advice on improving their score, my go-to advice is ‘slow and steady wins the race.’”

Depending on what’s affecting your score, it can take three months to more than six years for derogatory marks to fall off your reports and stop bringing down your score. But don’t lose hope. One regular contributor on MyFICOForums recently shared their story of how online communities helped them improve their score from the mid-500s to mid-800s over 12 years.

“I didn’t have hope for a long time but found solace reading about other’s situations and learning tremendously from them and the collective knowledge here. I found addressing issues instead of ignoring them is imperative. Cutting spending and being honest about the situation is critical. Sucking up your pride and doing things you may not want to … dramatically improves your future.”

MTSN, MyFICO Forum user*

If you’ve determined a credit card is your next best step for fixing your credit, users also suggest taking advantage of prequalification and preapproval tools to help you identify which issuers will accept your bad credit.

“Start with a low-cost card, only use it for small purchases and pay it off on time and in full, every time,” Zarrugh says.“Just stick to that, and you can see your score rise considerably.”

*The quotes and citations included on this page have been verified by our editorial team and are accurate as of the posting date. Be sure to check the issuer's website/terms and conditions for all up to date content. Outlinked content may contain views and opinions that do not reflect the views and opinions of Bankrate.

Looking for a particular type of credit card for bad credit?

Best cards for 500 credit score

Best cards for 600 credit score

Best travel cards for bad credit

Still unsure if a credit card is right for you even if you have bad credit? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool, where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

Dig deeper:Learn how to choose a credit card for bad credit

How to build your credit score

One of the most effective ways to build credit is with a credit card. While a few factors are more important than others when calculating your score, consistent and positive credit management over time is the key to seeing results. Once you apply for a credit card, be sure to establish a budget so you don’t overspend and hurt your credit even more.

Use the credit management tools you have access to and keep a close eye on your progress. While getting approved for a credit card when you have bad credit may be more challenging, it’s not impossible, so it’s crucial to take intentional steps to reach your goals.

Dig Deeper:Tips on applying for a credit card with bad credit

If using a credit card to build credit isn’t the best option for you and your needs, you can explore alternative ways to build credit without a credit card. Other financial tools like credit-builder loans and alternative reporting data are two of the most popular ways to build credit without a credit card. If you need more help, you could explore credit repair options or pursue credit counseling. But do your research while exploring credit repair or counseling. Some bad actors do exist, and scammers may be more inclined to target people with bad credit. Check with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or your local Financial Empowerment Center for help in identifying legitimate credit counseling and repair services.

Bankrate Insight

Regularly checking for inaccuracies on your credit report can keep your credit report tidy, making it easier to keep your credit score accurate. Luckily “cleaning” your credit report is a fairly easy process.

In the news: Subprime cardholders feel the sting of inflation

Credit card delinquency rates among people with subprime credit rose from 11.12 percent in Q1 2022 to 15.68 percent in Q3 2023.Although the Fed left rates unchanged for a fifth consecutive meeting in March 2024, average credit card rates remain high.

Bankrate recently spoke with Katie Bossler, quality assurance specialist at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nonprofit credit counseling service, about financial pressures subprime cardholders face. Increased prices on essentials like gas and groceries, reduced income and job losses can cause people to rely on their credit cards or other high-interest debt to make ends meet.

While these pressures can be scary, it’s important to pay credit cards on time, negotiate with your issuer and reach out for help from nonprofit credit counseling services to avoid cycles of high-interest debt.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

*The information about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

How we assess the best credit cards for people with bad credit

50+

Cards rated

500+

Data points analyzed

250+

Fees tracked

40+

Perks evaluated

When evaluating the best cards for building credit, we consider a mix of factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether cards offer features that make it easy to build credit history while minimizing costs.

We analyzed over 50 of the most popular cards designed for people with no credit history, bad credit or a fair credit score and rated each based on its cost, APR, credit-building features and more to determine whether it belonged in this month’s roundup.

Here are some of the key factors that we considered and how they’re factored into our card ratings:

5

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Overall Score

  • Cost + APR50%Read more
  • Ease of building credit25%Read more
  • Perks15%Read more
  • Customer experience10%

Frequently asked questions about credit cards for bad credit

What should you do if you get denied a credit card for bad credit?

Thomas NitzscheFinancial Educator, Debt and Credit

There are a few things you should do if you’ve been denied a credit card for bad credit. In the short term, you may need to find an alternative solution for the reason you were applying for credit. Was it for an essential need that you must now find an alternative to finance? You might have better luck at a local bank, credit union or Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). CDFIs offer financial products and programs that support borrowers’ specific needs. They are also able to take more risk than a traditional bank. In the longer term, you should understand why you were denied and what you can do to improve your credit profile. This might mean reviewing your credit report, disputing any inaccuracies, making on-time payments on your credit accounts or opening a secured credit card or credit-builder loan (sometimes called a credit-builder CD) with a local bank or credit union to help improve your credit.

India DavisArrow RightEditor, Credit Cards

India Davis is an editor specializing in credit cards and updates. She believes in putting the reader first and carrying out a brand’s voice to its fullest potential. She has

Courtney MihocikArrow RightSenior Editor, Credit Cards

Courtney Mihocik is an editor at Bankrate Credit Cards and CreditCards.com specializing in credit card news and personal finance advice. Previously, she led insurance content at

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in June 2024 | Bankrate (2024)
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