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Credit Card Reviews

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit of November 2020

The best credit cards for bad credit help people with credit scores below 580 to build credit, save on fees, and maybe even earn rewards. Many of the cards on this list are secured cards, which means you have to put down a deposit to be able to use the card. Usually, you’ll get a credit limit equal to the amount of your deposit, but we’ve found one exception to that general rule. Read on for more about our favorite cards. 

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

  • Discover it Secured
    Best Overall, Best for Earning Rewards, Best for Avoiding Fees, Best for Customer Service
  • Capital One Secured Mastercard
    Best Security Deposit Features
  • The Secured Visa from Merrick Bank
    Best With a Low APR
  • Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa
    Best Unsecured Card With Rewards

For more details on how we evaluate credit cards for this list, see our methodology.

Discover it® Secured

Best Overall

Best for Earning Rewards

Best for Avoiding Fees

Best for Customer Service

Our Rating Among Cards For Bad Credit4.8

Discover it® Secured

CURRENT OFFER

Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

REGULAR APR (%)22.99% variable
ANNUAL FEE$0
MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO ACTIVATE$200
ALLOWS UPGRADE TO UNSECURED CARDYes
PAY DEPOSIT IN INSTALLMENTSNo
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDFinding a well-rounded, quality card can be hard when you have bad credit, but this card is definitely a winner. For starters, you’ll earn cash back, and at the end of your first year, your earnings will be doubled. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, and Discover will even waive your first late fee. The customer service features are great, too. You’ll get free access to your FICO credit score and help monitoring your credit report. And after eight months, Discover will automatically begin considering you for a possible upgrade to an unsecured card.
  • PROS & CONS
    • Ability to earn cash-back rewards while building credit
    • Responsible use can lead to automatic unsecured card upgrade
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cash-back match as a first year bonusCons
    • Low cap on highest rewards earning rate
    • Mediocre maximum credit limit compared to other secured cards

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Best Security Deposit Features

Our Rating Among Cards For Bad Credit4.7

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

REGULAR APR (%)26.99% variable
ANNUAL FEE$0
MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO ACTIVATE$49
ALLOWS UPGRADE TO UNSECURED CARDYes
PAY DEPOSIT IN INSTALLMENTSYes
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD
  • If you don’t have much money saved for a deposit, this secured card is for you. It may only require a partial deposit of $49 to access a $200 credit line (depending on your credit), which is unheard of. You can deposit more money before your account opens, too, which offers some flexibility if you need more time to gather funds. Plus, demonstrate good credit use and make your first five monthly payments on time for an additional credit limit increase, possibly up to $1,000.
  • PROS & CONS
    • No annual fee
    • Some cardholders only have to deposit $49 or $99 for a $200 credit line
    • Access to a higher credit limit possible—without an additional deposit—once you make six on-time paymentsCons
    • Maximum credit limit is just $1,000
    • One of the highest ongoing APRs among secured cards

The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank

Best With a Low APR

Our Rating Among Cards For Bad Credit4.1

The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank

RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

REGULAR APR (%)17.45% variable
ANNUAL FEE$36 first year, then $3 monthly.
MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO ACTIVATE$200
ALLOWS UPGRADE TO UNSECURED CARDNo
PAY DEPOSIT IN INSTALLMENTSNo
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD
  • If there’s a chance you’ll carry a balance, this card is your best option for keeping interest costs low. It charges a 17.45% variable APR on all purchases, which is below the average secured card APR. You don’t need a bank account to apply, either, and you can have a credit limit as high as $3,000, assuming you can make an equal deposit to back it up, both of which are great secured card features. There’s no rewards program, but if saving money on interest is your end goal, paying down your balance should be your focus anyway. 
  • PROS & CONS
    • High credit limit affords more spending power with maximum security deposit
    • Bank account is not required to apply
    • Free access to FICO scoreCons
    • Relatively high annual fee
    • No rewards program to incentivize card use or building credi

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa®

Best Unsecured Card With Rewards

Our Rating Among Cards For Bad Credit4.0

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa®

RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

REGULAR APR (%)17.99% – 23.99% variable
ANNUAL FEE$0 – $99
REWARDS EARNING RATE1% cash back on eligible purchases including gas, groceries and phone services.
FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)3%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDIf you have poor credit and really don’t want a secured card, this is a decent option. You’ll get 1% cash back on all your grocery and gas purchases, and even on several monthly bills (cellphone, internet, cable, and satellite TV). Plus, when you use this card at retailers that participate in the More Cash Back Rewards program, such as Walmart and Costco, you’ll earn up to 10% cash back. Just watch out for some less favorable terms, depending on your credit. You may get hit with an annual fee of up to $99 or have no grace period on interest charges.
  • PROS & CONSPros
    • Low APR for an unsecured card targeting people with poor credit
    • Modest rewards on some everyday expenses
    • Minimum credit limit of $300—more than what some secured cards offer
    Cons
    • Annual fee and other terms won’t be revealed until you’re approved and offered the card
    • Potentially high annual fee, even compared to secured cards
    • Only some cardholders are given a grace period on finance charges
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earning cash back rewards has never been easier. Get 1% cash back rewards on gas and groceries as well as your monthly mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services.
    • Get rewarded for responsible credit use! Your account will be reviewed regularly for credit line increase opportunities to ensure you get all the credit you deserve.
    • Flexibility to choose a payment due date.
    • Enjoy extra ways to get cash back rewards. You’ll get up to 10% More Cash Back Rewards from participating merchants and new offers are added frequently!

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