The 13 Best “Bad Credit” Credit Cards: APRs, Fees, etc Detailed

Most credit cards from major issuers like American Express, Capital One, and Discover require that applicants have good to excellent credit. However, there are “bad credit” credit cards tailored toward those with less-than-perfect or limited credit history. When used responsibly by making on-time payments and using less than your limit, a “bad credit” credit card can help you improve your score and credit profile.

To help you find the right credit card to apply for, we list the best credit cards with low or no credit score requirements below. We compiled this information by viewing each card’s online account disclosures and contacting the issuers’ customer service departments.

Factors to Consider When Comparing Credit Cards

Consider the following factors when choosing between credit cards:

Minimum Credit Score

Most traditional credit cards require good to excellent credit, meaning a score of at least 650 to 700. The cards in our list either don’t have a minimum requirement or accept poor to fair credit (in the 300 to 600 range).

Note that issuers consider several factors other than your credit score, such as your income; even if your score falls within the usual acceptance range, there is no guarantee of approval.

APR

The APR is the annual interest rate the credit card’s issuer will charge when you carry a balance. A lower APR is preferable since it means your purchases will accrue less interest.

Note that to improve your credit score, it’s best to pay your balance in full each month — and if you don’t carry a balance, you can build your credit score faster and avoid accruing interest. (See our related research for information on when and what credit card issuers report to the credit bureaus.)

Fees

In addition to interest, credit card issuers may charge fees of several types, including:

  • Annual fees
  • Balance transfer fees
  • Cash advance fees
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Late payment fees
  • Over-limit fees
  • Returned payment fees

Cards with lower fees are preferable, so you aren’t spending unnecessarily large amounts of money to own the card. For this list, we looked specifically at each card’s annual fee (which you must pay each year you hold the card) and late fee (which you must pay each month that you miss your payment due date).

Deposit Requirements

Secured credit cards require you to make a deposit, which usually determines your credit limit. (For example, if you pay a $200 deposit, your initial credit limit will be $200.) Traditional, unsecured credit cards do not require a deposit and set your credit limit based on your creditworthiness.

Both card types have their benefits, so consider the following when choosing between them:

  • Secured credit cards are easier to get with a low credit score, can help you transition to a traditional card if you build a strong payment history, and tend to have lower APRs.
  • Unsecured cards don’t require you to pay any money upfront and may offer higher initial credit limits or more rewards.

Our list notes which cards are secured and includes their minimum deposit amounts.

Perks

While most credit cards for bad credit are basic credit cards with few features, some do come with cash-back rewards on essential purchases like groceries or gas.

What We Recommend

The overall best “bad credit” credit card on our list is the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred card, which has no minimum credit score and a low APR. The card’s late fees and annual fees are also under $50, and its minimum opening deposit of $200 is fairly standard among secured cards.

If you’re looking for a card with a low or zero deposit, consider the Milestone Gold Mastercard (no deposit) or Capital One Secured Mastercard (minimum deposit of $49). However, note that both of these cards have a much higher APR than the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred card.

Comparison Table

You can use the table below to compare various features of the best credit cards for bad credit, including their APRs, credit requirements, and fees. Sort the table by clicking the arrows at the top of each column. Additionally, you can click each credit card name or scroll to the list below for more details.

Credit Card Minimum Score Minimum Deposit APR Annual Fee Late Fee Minimum Credit Limit
Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred None $200 About 10% $48 Up to $38 $200
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured None $200 About 10% $49 Up to $40 $200
First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard Secured None $200 About 14% $39 Up to $40 $200
U.S. Bank Secured Visa 300 $300 About 19% $29 Up to $40 $300
OpenSky Secured Visa None $200 About 18% $35 Up to $38 $200
Merrick Bank Secured Visa None $200 About 18% $36 Up to $40 $200
Discover it Secured 300 $200 About 23% $0 Up to $40 $200
Green Dot Platinum Visa None $200 About 20% $39 Up to $27 $200
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured None $200 About 20% $29 Up to $40 $200
Milestone Gold Mastercard 300 Not required About 25% $35 Up to $40 $300
Capital One Secured Mastercard 300 $49 to $200 About 27% $0 Up to $39 $200
Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit 300 Not required About 18% to 24% $0 to $99 Up to $39 $300
Indigo Platinum Mastercard 300 Not required About 25% Up to $99 Up to $40 $300

The List

Below, we list the best credit cards for bad credit in the order of “best first.” We based this order on a combination of each card’s APR, fees, and credit requirements.

1. Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 10%
  • Annual fee: $48
  • Late payment fee: Up to $38
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

2. First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 10%
  • Annual fee: $49
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

3. First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard Secured

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 14%
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

4. U.S. Bank Secured Visa

  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • APR: About 19%
  • Annual fee: $29
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: $300
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

5. OpenSky Secured Visa

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 18%
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Late payment fee: Up to $38
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

6. Merrick Bank Secured Visa

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 18%
  • Annual fee: $36 (billed $3 per month after your first year)
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

7. Discover it Secured

  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • APR: About 23%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: 2% cash back on gas and restaurant purchases, plus 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Apply

8. Green Dot Platinum Visa

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 20%
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Late payment fee: Up to $27
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

9. First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • APR: About 20%
  • Annual fee: $29
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

10. Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit

  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • APR: About 18% to 24%
  • Annual fee: $0 to $99
  • Late payment fee: Up to $39
  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • Perks: 1% cash back on everyday purchases like gas and groceries
  • Apply

11. Milestone Gold Mastercard

  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • APR: 25%
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

12. Capital One Secured Mastercard

  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • APR: About 27%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $39
  • Minimum deposit: $49 to $200
  • Minimum credit limit: $200
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

13. Indigo Platinum Mastercard

  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • APR: About 25%
  • Annual fee: Up to $99
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • Perks: None
  • Apply

More Information About Credit Cards

The list above only includes bank credit cards; if you’re interested in a store credit card instead, see our lists of credit cards at furniture stores, shoe stores, and jewelry stores. We also list the store credit cards with easy approval and Comenity Bank’s store credit cards.

Want an idea of your approval odds before you apply? See our list of credit cards that preapprove.