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Credit Cards for Bad Credit: Build Positive Credit With Timely Payments

It’s a catch-22, you can’t build your credit score unless you have access to a credit card, but getting a credit card when you have bad credit can be difficult – unless you find credit cards for bad credit.

Credit cards for bad credit aren’t the only credit-building tool but they are the most expedient. The best credit cards for bad credit have low interest rates and no annual fees. But when your credit is shaky it’s going to be rare to find credit card issuers that don’t charge an annual fee.

Having said that, let me start with the first credit card for bad credit with no deposit, no interest rate, and no annual fee.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit

1. Chime Credit Builder Visa

Chime offers a secured credit card with no credit check, no security deposit, it does not charge interest plus it has no annual fee. But there’s one catch ⏤ you must open a Chime Spending Account.

credit-card-for-bad-credit-with-no-deposit

Card Features

  • No minimum security deposit required, but your spending limit equals the amount that you transfer from your Chime Spending Account.
  • To be eligible for the card, you will need a Chime Spending Account and to receive a payroll direct deposit of at least $200 within 365 days of applying.
  • No credit check to apply.
  • No annual fee.
  • No interest charges.
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus.
  • Turn on Safer Credit Building and your balance will be automatically paid on time, every month.
  • Add money from your Chime Spending Account into Credit Builder Secured account anytime.

2. Surge Mastercard® – Unsecured credit card

The Surge Mastercard® Credit Card is designed for people with bad credit that reports to the three major credit bureaus each month. Build credit by making timely monthly payments and using 30 percent or less of the credit limit.

Card Features

  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required

3. First Digital Mastercard® – Unsecured Credit Card

While most people can get approved for a secured card for bad credit, unsecured cards for bad credit are available too. Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured MasterCard® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations worldwide and online.

Card Features

  • Build up your credit history with a card that reports to all three major credit bureaus every month.
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t.
  • Easy and secure online application – It takes just moments to apply.
  • Issued by Synovus Bank, Member: FDIC

4. Self Visa® Credit Card – Secured Credit Card

Open a Self account and pay the $9 administrative fee. Self’s bank partner will lend you funds to put into a certificate of deposit (CD), and you can’t access the money until the CD matures. Make your next three monthly payments on time.

Once you’ve accumulated at least $100 in savings and your account is in good standing, you’re eligible to open the Self Visa® Credit Card.

Card Features

  • Use your savings progress to secure your Self Visa® Credit Card.
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit).
  • When you pay off your credit-builder loan, you’ll receive your principal back minus fees and interest.
  • You don’t need a credit score.
  • No hard inquiry.
  • Fund your secured-card deposit with your credit-builder loan.

5. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.

Card Features

  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card

How can I build my credit fast with a credit card?

To build a credit history fast you need to have at least one account open and recorded on your file for six months. Here is what you need to do for a good credit score:

Set up automatic monthly bill payments. Late payments destroy credit scores. If a payment is more than 30 days overdue, the credit card issuer may report it to the credit bureaus. Plus, late payments come with late fees which can be up to $28. Avoid negative side effects of forgetting to pay on time with automatic monthly payments from a bank account.

Nourish your payment history. Always pay on time, even if it’s just the minimum payment. A good payment history is essential for future approvals and credit limit increases. Ideally, you should pay the full balance by the due date (to save on interest, too).

Use between 1% to 10% of your available credit limit. Using less of your available credit limit demonstrates good credit management and helps your utilization rate. How much of your available credit you’re using accounts for 30 percent of your credit score. Never max out your credit limit.

Step to take after credit cards for bad credit are opened

Credit cards for bad credit help people with low credit scores add positive information to credit reports but there are steps that will help keep you on track.

  • Review your credit reports
    Regularly review your credit reports, at least 3 to 4 times a year for unauthorized activity, errors and unpaid bills. You may request a free copy of your credit report annually at annualcreditreport.com.
  • Dispute errors
    Credit bureaus maintain tons of information on consumers. Mistakes are bound to happen. Dispute those mistakes as soon as possible.
  • Don’t close old accounts
    Lowering your available credit will lower your credit score.
  • Use your accounts
    Make purchases and pay the full balance each month.
  • Maintain a low balance-to-limit ratio
    Using less of your available credit will help raise your credit score.
  • Pay bills on time
    Lenders consider payment records to help determine your reliability.
  • Start early
    The length of your credit history is a key factor in determining your credit scores. Don’t wait to build or rebuild credit.

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Credit Cards for Bad Credit – Unsecured and Secured Cards

credit-cards-for-bad-credit

It's a catch-22, you can't build your credit score unless you have access to a credit card, but getting a credit card when you have bad credit can be difficult – unless you find credit cards for bad credit.

Credit cards for bad credit help people with low credit scores add positive information to credit reports. While most people can get approved for a secured card for bad credit, unsecured cards for bad credit are available too.

Credit cards for bad credit aren't the only credit building tool but they are the most expedient. The best credit cards for bad credit have low interest rates and no annual fees. But when your credit is shaky it's going to be rare to find credit card issuers that don't charge an annual fee.

The easiest way to start building credit is with a secured card. Secured credit cards offer the best approval odds, plus, some secured credit cards graduate to unsecured credit cards.

Unsecured credit cards are available to people with bad credit too. But be aware, some come with high annual fees attached. And you can most certainly count on credit cards for bad credit to have lower credit limits.

Here are a few credit cards for bad credit

1. First Access Visa® Card

Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured VISA® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online.

  • Checking Account Required
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Processing Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • The First Access Visa Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

Learn More


2. Total Visa® Card


bank-of-missouri-credit-card
The Total VISA® is a true VISA® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.
Get a response in as little as 60 seconds!

  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine VISA card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Processing Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus

Learn More


3. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

low-interest-secured-card The OpenSky Secured Visa allows you to make a security deposit between $200 and $3,000 to secure your credit limit. This is a no credit check credit card anyone can open.

  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card

Learn More


4. First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card is a full-feature Platinum MasterCard® with a credit line based on a security deposit rather than on a credit score.

  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
  • Full-Feature Platinum MasterCard(R) Secured Credit Card
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
    *See Card Terms.

Learn More


5. First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

The First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card is a full-feature Platinum MasterCard® with a credit line based on a security deposit rather than on a credit score.

  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 — $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
    *See Card Terms.

Learn More


Step to take after credit cards for bad credit are opened

  • Review your credit reports
    Regularly review your credit reports, at least 3 to 4 times a year for unauthorized activity, errors and unpaid bills. You may request a free copy of your credit report annually at annualcreditreport.com.
  • Dispute errors
    Credit bureaus maintain tons of information on consumers. Mistakes are bound to happen. Dispute those mistakes as soon as possible.
  • Don't close old accounts
    Lowering your available credit will lower your credit score.
  • Use your accounts
    Make purchases and pay the full balance each month.
  • Maintain a low balance-to-limit ratio
    Using less of your available credit will help raise your credit score.
  • Pay bills on time
    Lenders consider payment records to help determine your reliability.
  • Start early
    The length of your credit history is a key factor in determining your credit scores. Don't wait to build or rebuild credit.