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Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit and Low Scores for 2022

Below are our top picks of credit cards for people with bad credit and low scores (510-660). There are both secured and unsecured credit cards on the list. After the list, we will explain criteria that we used in our selection and recommendations.
 

Chime Credit Builder Visa Card

self secured visa


Who is this card for? - The Chime Credit Builder Visa Card is secured credit card that will appeal to those who do not want to pay an annual fee for their rebuilder credit card and for those who want to avoid a hard inquiry on their credit report.

Why We Like This Card? - We like the Chime Credit Builder Card because of a few reasons. Firstly, there is no annual fee. Secondly, there is no credit checks. Thirdly, you can use your security deposit to pay for your balance. You simply have to top up your security deposit as you deplete them to pay your monthly bills. In a sense, this secured card works more like a prepaid card but reports to the credit bureaus (which helps you build or rebuild your credit).

Requirements - Though Chime does not perform any credit checks, to get the card, you first have to open a Chime online banking account. Then you have to set up a direct deposit with them. Once you have direct deposited $200 a year within setting it up, you can then apply (via your mobile app) for this card and you will be instantly approved. To initiate your direct deposit, you simply transfer funds from your mobile banking account.

Annual Fee - $0
Regular APR - 0% - have to pay in full
Read our review of the Chime Credit Builder Visa Card




Secure Sable ONE Credit Card

self secured visa


Who is this card for? - The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card is for the rebuilder who wants a no annual fee secured credit card with rewards, has a low minimum security deposit requirement, has no credit checks or hard inquiry and in return does not mind opening a mobile banking account with Sable.

Why We Like This Card? - We like the Secured Sable ONE credit card for many reasons. Firstly, there is no annual fee and foreign transaction fee. It also has a rewards program that lets you earn 2% on things like Netflix, Hulu and other common services and is one of the rare cards that comes with cell phone protection insurance. The security deposit requirement (and hence credit limit) ranges from $10 to $10,000. It is low enought those for those of you who do not want to tie up too much cash for a secured credit card, yet high enough for those of you who want a large credit limit to control your credit utilization ratio.

Requirements - Though the Secured Sable ONE credit card does not check your credit, you do have to open a mobile banking account with them. That is the only requirement that you need. Further, as SABLE was founded by immigrants who found it hard to build their credit history in the US, even those with no social security number can get a mobile banking account and their secured card.

Annual Fee - $0
Regular APR - Prime + 6.99%
Read our review of the Secured Sable ONE credit card




Opensky Secured Visa Credit Card

opensky


Who is this card for? - The Opensky Secured Visa Card is ideal for the rebuilder with very bad and low credit scores who cannot afford another hard inquiry on their credit report and yet can afford the $200 minimum deposit required for this card.

Why we like this card? - We like the Opensky credit card because it is has made a reputation for itself in the rebuilder world for being a card that reports to all three major credit bureaus consistently and correctly and has help countless people rebuild their credit from low credit scores all the way to high 600s. Opensky allows you to fund your security deposit with Moneygram or Western Union so those of you without a checking account can still get the card and fund it.

Requirements - With no credit checks, all you need to do is to fund your security deposit after you fill in the application form.

Annual Fee - $35
Regular APR - 17.39%
Read our review of the Opensky Secured Visa


First Progress Secured Credit Cards



First Progress Platinum Prestige Secured Credit Card

First Progress Secured Mastercard


Who is this card for? - This card is for rebuilders with poor credit looking for a secured credit card that has a very low APR.

Why we like this card? - We like this card because First Progress does not perform any credit checks and is ideal for those with very low credit scores. The APR is also very low at 9.99% by any standards and is ideal for those who know that they will carry a balance occasionally. First Progress is also another card issuer that has gained a solid reputation in the rebuilder community as a reliable card to rebuild your credit.

Requirements - There is no credit checks when you apply for First Progress. All that is required is that you fund your security deposit (minimum of $200).

Annual Fee - $49
Regular APR - 9.99%

Read our review of the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard




Capital One Secured Mastercard

applied bank secured credit card


Why we like this card? - We like and recommend the Capital One Secured Mastercard because it is another well known rebuilder card for those looking to rebuild their bad credit. Though the minimum security deposit and credit limit is $200, you may only be required to put less than that amount, making it potentially a partially secured credit card. Capital One may also graduate you to one of their unsecured credit cards. You are also eligible for credit limit increases after 6 months without having to add more security deposit.

Requirements - Capital One allows you to check if you are pre-approved to avoid a hard inquiry. Those who have recently burnt Capital One or defaulted on them should avoid apply for them.

Annual Fee - $0
Regular APR - 26.99%
Read our review of the Capital One Secured Mastercard.




Self Secured Visa

self secured visa


Who is this card for? - The Self Secured Visa is for those of you would want to use a secured credit card to rebuild your low credit scores but find it a stretch to put up a security deposit at the moment. You can build up your funds in a "credit builder account" while rebuilding your credit. Once you have enough funds in your credit builder account, you can then get your secured credit card without any credit checks.

Why we like this card? - We like the Self Secured Visa because you can rebuild your credit while you save up for a security deposit in a "credit builder account". There are no credit checks when you apply for Self.

Requirements - There are no credit checks you will be approved when you apply.

Annual Fee - $25
Regular APR - 23.99%
Read our review of the Self Credit Account and Secured Visa




Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Platinum Mastercard®

merrick bank 2x Mastercard


Why We Like This Card? : If you have poor credit scores between 560 and 650 and are looking for a rebuilder credit card that does not require a deposit, then the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Visa is perhaps the first card you should look at. The reason why we like it is because it has a generous starting credit limit which will double after 7 months of timely payments. Furthermore, cardholders have been known to get more credit line increases after the initial doubling of credit limit. For those of you who are curious, Merrick starts you off with a credit limit ranging from $550 to $1,350. After you have paid your minimum payments on time for 7 months, your credit limit will double to between $1,100 and $2,700. The credit limit you can get with this card stands in sharp contrast to other rebuilder cards which starts you off with a $300 limit and are pretty stingy about raising it. The annual fee of between $0 and $72 is also much better than cards that also charge monthly fees.

Requirments - To increase your approval odds, you should have a credit score of at least 550 to 650. Merrick Bank is very particular about recent hard inquiries and it is advisible not to have more than 2 hard inquiries during the last 6 months. You should also not have any tax liens and any previous bankruptcy has to be discharged.

Annual Fee: $0-$72
Regular APR: 19.7% - 28.7%
Starting Credit Limit: $550 - $1,250

Read our review of the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Platinum Mastercard



Mission Lane Visa Credit Card

Mission Lane Visa

Who is this card for? - The Mission Lane Visa is ideal for rebuilders with poor credit scores but are looking for an unsecured credit card with a track record credit limit increase, have a reasonable annual fee and no monthly fee.

Why we like this card? - The reason why we recommend this card is because while most cards targeting those who have credit scores in the 500s charge both an annual fee and a monthly fee (in some cases a one-time processing fee as well), the Mission Lane charges only an annual fee of $59 (which s very reasonable). Furthermore, after paying your minimum payments on time for 6 months, your account will be eligible for a credit limit increase. In many cases, cardholders have had their initial credit limit doubled after 6 months. In addition, Mission Lane also has a track record of increasing your credit limit after that initial increase.

Requirements - The Mission Lane Visa requires those who apply have a credit score as low as 550 and up to 650 and who do not have a large amount of debt. Mission Lane is particularly picky about this. If you have a mortgage, your total debt should not exceed $80,000. If you do not have a mortgage, your total debt should not exceed $20,000. It is also best if you do not have more than 2 hard inquiries duing the last 6 months and have been paying on time for at least a year. You should also not have any tax liens and previous bankruptcy has to be discharged.

Annual Fee: $59
Regular APR: 29.99%
Starting Credit Limit: $300 - $1,000

Read our review of the Mission Lane Visa




Reflex Mastercard

reflex mastercard


Who is this card for? - The Reflex Mastercard is ideal for rebuilders with a bad credit score of 510 and above, wants a card which has good approval odds and one that also has a soft pull pre-approval process which will not affect their credit scores.

Why We Chose and Like This Card? - We have chosen the Reflex Mastercard as one of the cards we recommend for two reasons. The first reason is that they have generous starting credit limits of between $300 and $1,000 and your credit limit will double after 7 months of paying your minimums on time. That means that after 7 months, your credit limit will be between $600 and $2,000.

The second reason we like this card is because it has a flexible range of fees and interest rates and starting credit limits depending on your credit worthiness. For example, if you fall on the upper end of the credit spectrum (ie about 620-650 score), you might get a card with $75 annual fee, a starting credit limit of $1,000 (which doubles to $2,000 after 7 months). If your credit score is on the lower end of the spectrum, you might get a lower starting credit limit and higher fees.

However, before you apply, you can go through a pre-approval process with no impact on your credit score first and find out if you are pre-approved and also the terms of your offer before deciding whether to proceed with actually applying for the card. Reflex also has a mobile app and provides a free Vantage credit score for their cardholders.

Requirements - Annual Fee: $75-$99
Monthly Fee - $0-$10 a month

Regular APR: 24.9% - 29.9%
Starting Credit Limit: $300, $500, $750, $1,000

Read our review of the Reflex Mastercard




Other Cards We Considered

We have also considered these credit cards in picking our top rates list of credit cards for bad credit. You may have heard of these credit cards and though some of them are quite alright, they have just missed out on our selection. We will explain why in this section.

Secured Credit Cards from Mainstream Issuers - We considered secured credit cards like Discover, Citi and Bank of America to be added on this list. These are good secured credit cards with no annual fees and in many cases comes with rewards programs. They also tend to graduate cardholders to unsecured credit cards in their portfolio of cards. However, what we have found is that these cards are ideal for those with little credit history. They have been known to deny people with bad credit or very low credit scores. In fact, they are notorious for denying folks who have just been discharged from bankruptcy. These are the reasons we have not included them in our recommended list.

Cards from Genesis Financial Services including Milestone, Indigo and Destiny credit card - We actually like these three cards because they only charge an annual fee, does not charge any monthly fee and accepts applicants with previous discharged bankruptcy. However, the starting credit limit is $300 and it does not increase. It also does not have a mobile app. These are still decent credit cards for people with poor credit but just fell short to be selected in our Editor's Choice List.

Cards from Total Card Inc - Total Card Inc has got a few cards like the Total Visa, First Access Visa, First Digital Mastercard and Revvi Visa. Compared to the cards on our recommended list, these cards can be easier to get approved for. However, in addtion to an annual fee, they also charge a monthly fee and a one-time processing fee. They also do not allow a soft pull pre-approval process so you will have to face a hard inquiry straight away with their online application.
 

Factors We Considered When Choosing Our Recommended Cards

These are the factors we considered when we were choosing our Editor's Choice List of credit cards for bad credit folks.

Credit Limit and Track Record of Increases - Most credit cards for bad credit start you off with a $300 credit limit. That in itself is not a bad thing as long as they have a track record of credit limit increases. It is very difficult to have a low credit utilization ratio when all you have is a $300 limit. The cards or issuers on our recommended list all have either more generous starting credit limits or have a track record of increasing credit limits over time. A couple like Merrick Bank Double Your Line Visa, Mission Lane Visa, Reflex Mastercard and Fit Mastercard will all increase your credit limit after you pay your minimum payments on time for the first 6 or 7 months.

That is the reason why left out cards like Destiny Mastercard, Milestone Mastercard and Indigo Mastercard from Genesis Financial Card Services. All these cards charge only an annual fee, but their $300 starting credit limit will never increase.

Fees - Another factor we look at is fees. Almost every credit cards for people with poor credit charge an annual fee. For unsecured credit cards, what we are looking for is for cards that ideally only charge an annual fee and do not charge any monthly fee in addition to the annual fee. Some cards even charge a one-time processing fee in addition to the annual and monthly fee. That is why we left out cards like Revvi Visa and First Digital Mastercard. Having said that, though they do have higher fees, they tend to be easier to get approved than the cards on our recommended list.

For secured credit cards, the absence of annual fee is also a plus for us and a few of our recommendations have no annual fee.

Soft Pull Pre-approval Process - For the unsecured credit cards that we were considering for our Editors Choice List, we were in favor of cards that has a soft-pull pre-approval process. In fact, we think every card application should allow this. That is because people with bad credit and low credit scores cannot afford multiple hard pulls (which lowers scores at least temporarily) and denials. Rather, they need to be efficient in getting the cards they want to rebuild with as little hard inquiries and denials as possible.

No Credit Checks for secured cards - For secured credit cards on our list, one of the very important factors that we considered is whether there is any credit checks when you apply. Like we mentioned earlier, when you have poor credit and low scores, you want to avoid as many hard inquiries as possible. In fact, all our recommended secured credit cards do not check your report and you will definitely be approved if you meet the cards criteria which is not tied to your credit score. A couple of the cards like Opensky Secured Visa and the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard will approve you as long as you fund your security deposit. Then cards like Secured Sable ONE credit card require you to open a mobile banking account with them. Approval is not contingent on your credit score.