10 best credit cards for bad credit of August 2022: Secured and unsecured cards, including some that earn cash back or flexible points

By August 2, 2022DeFi
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  • Best secured card for overall rewards
  • Best secured card with flat cash-back earning
  • Best secured card with up to 5% cash back
  • Best secured card for dining
  • Best secured card for choosing your own bonus category
  • Best for students building credit
  • Best for building credit
  • Best with a low minimum security deposit
  • Best if your credit's on the higher side of low
  • Compare the best credit cards for bad credit
  • How to choose the right credit card if you have bad credit
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective. Terms apply to offers listed on this page. Read our editorial standards.

    Having a low credit score makes it harder to get approved for a new credit card and other types of loans, and it means that when you do get approved for, say, a mortgage, you'll generally get less-favorable terms like the highest variable interest rates.

    Compare the best cards for bad credit

    • Discover it® Secured Credit Card
    • Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
    • Discover it® Student Cash Back
    • Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card
    • Capital One Platinum Credit Card

    It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Our recommendation It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Best secured card for overall rewards

    Intro Offer It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year

    Rewards It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

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

    Annual Fee It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    $0

    Our recommendation It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Best secured card with flat cash-back earning

    Intro Offer It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    N/A

    Rewards It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases

    Annual Fee It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    $0

    Our recommendation It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Best for students building credit

    Intro Offer It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year

    Rewards It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.

    Annual Fee It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    $0

    Our recommendation It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Best for building credit

    Intro Offer It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    N/A

    Rewards It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants.

    Annual Fee It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    N/A

    Our recommendation It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    If your credit's on the higher side of low

    Intro Offer It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    N/A

    Rewards It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    N/A

    Annual Fee It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    $0

    Apply Now

    On Discover's website

    Rates & Fees

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    On Capital One's website

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    On Discover's website

    Rates & Fees

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    On Petal's website

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    On Capital One's website

    A bad credit score is defined as anything below 580, according to the FICO scoring model, and anything below 601 according to VantageScore. If you currently find yourself in this credit score range, you probably won't get approved for popular credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but you do have some credit card options.

    Here are some of the best credit cards to consider if you have a lower credit score or are still working on building your credit history.

    We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

    Best secured card for overall rewards: Discover it Secured Card

    Discover it® Secured Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    24.49% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    A tooltip

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

    5/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    5 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

    Apply Now Rates & Fees

    Discover it® Secured Credit Card

    5/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    5 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

    Apply Now Rates & Fees

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    24.49% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    A tooltip

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Offers cash-back rewards, which isn't a given for secured credit cards
    • Discover matches cash back after your first account year

    Cons

    • Other secured cards let you start with lower minimum security deposits
    • You must fund the security deposit from a bank account

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

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    • No credit score required to apply.
    • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
    • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
    • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
    • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
    • New! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

    Best secured card with flat cash-back earning: Capital One Quicksilver Secured Card

    Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.99% (Variable)

    Recommended Credit Score

    Limited, No History

    4.1/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.1 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Apply Now

    Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

    4.1/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.1 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Apply Now

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.99% (Variable)

    Recommended Credit Score

    Limited, No History

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits
    • You can get approved for this card with limited credit
    • Ability to increase credit line and potential to improve credit score with responsible use

    Cons

    • No welcome bonus
    • Because it’s a secured credit card, you’ll have to put down a security deposit for your initial credit line
    • High APR if you carry a balance

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    • No annual or hidden fees, and you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. See if you're approved in seconds
    • Put down a refundable $200 security deposit to get a $200 initial credit line
    • Building your credit? Using a card like this responsibly could help
    • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
    • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
    • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
    • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
    • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone

    Best secured card with up to 5% cash back: US Bank Cash Plus Secured

    U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.74% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    4.3/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.3 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Learn More

    U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card

    4.3/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.3 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Learn More

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.74% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Great cash-back earning rates with the ability to choose your own 5% categories
    • Build credit with responsible use over time and you may be able to automatically graduate to a non-secured card
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Requires a security deposit ($300 minimum)
    • 5% cash back categories capped at $2,000 in combined spending per quarter
    • No welcome bonus

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    • The information related to the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
    • Earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories you choose
    • Earn 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center
    • Earn 2% cash back on eligible purchases in your choice of category (like gas stations and EV charging stations, grocery stores and restaurants)
    • Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

    Best secured card for dining: US Bank Altitude Go Secured

    U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.74% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    4.4/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.4 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card

    4.4/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.4 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.74% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Great earning rates on dining, gas, streaming, and groceries
    • Build credit with responsible use over time and you may be able to automatically graduate to a non-secured card
    • Annual streaming credit

    Cons

    • Requires a security deposit ($300 minimum)
    • No welcome bonus

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    • The information related to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
    • Earn 4X points on dining, takeout and restaurant delivery
    • Earn 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, gas stations and EV charging stations
    • Earn 1X point on all other eligible purchases
    • Earn $15 streaming credit for annual streaming service purchases like Netflix and Spotify®

    Best secured card for choosing your own bonus category: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured

    Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    24.74 Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    4.1/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.1 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

    4.1/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.1 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    24.74 Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    New/Rebuilding

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Choose your own 3% cash back category each month
    • Build credit with responsible use over time and you may qualify to have your security deposit returned
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Requires a security deposit ($200 minimum)
    • 3% and 2% cash back categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spending per quarter
    • No welcome bonus

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    • The information related to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
    • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
    • 2% cash back when shopping at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
    • 1% cash back from all other purchases
    • You earn 3% and 2% cash back on your first $2,500 in combined choice of grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, and then earn 1%

    Best for students building credit: Discover it Student Cash Back

    Discover it® Student Cash Back

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    14.49% - 23.49% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    Fair/New to Credit

    A tooltip

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

    5/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    5 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

    Apply Now Rates & Fees

    Discover it® Student Cash Back

    5/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    5 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

    Apply Now Rates & Fees

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    14.49% - 23.49% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    Fair/New to Credit

    A tooltip

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • From July 1 to September 30, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back at restaurants and PayPal on up to $1,500 in purchases after enrollment, then 1%
    • Discover matches your cash back after the first year

    Cons

    • Not the most rewarding cash-back card for non-bonus purchases

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

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    More Information

    • No credit score required to apply.
    • 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! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
    • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
    • New! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
    • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.49% - 23.49% applies.
    • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

    Best for building credit: Petal 2 Visa Credit Card

    Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    N/A

    Regular APR

    14.49% - 28.49% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    Limited, Good, Excellent

    4/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Apply Now

    Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

    4/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Apply Now

    Annual Fee

    N/A

    Regular APR

    14.49% - 28.49% Variable

    Recommended Credit Score

    Limited, Good, Excellent

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • No fees
    • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase. Earn 1.25% back after making six on-time payments. Then, earn 1.5% back after making 12 on-time payments on your card
    • You can build credit with responsible credit use

    Cons

    • n/a

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    • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, foreign transaction fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee.
    • Variable APRs range from 14.49% - 28.49%
    • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
    • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
    • 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants
    • $300 - $10,000 credit limits
    • No credit score? No problem. If eligible, we'll create your Cash Score instead.
    • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score.
    • Build credit alongside hundreds of thousands of Petal card members.
    • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
    • No deposits required
    • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

    Best with a low minimum security deposit: Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

    Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.99% (Variable)

    Recommended Credit Score

    Limited, Bad

    4.8/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.8 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

    4.8/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.8 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.99% (Variable)

    Recommended Credit Score

    Limited, Bad

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Minimum deposit ($49) is lower than with some other secured cards
    • You can be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit

    Cons

    • No rewards

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    More Information

    • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
    • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
    • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
    • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
    • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
    • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
    • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
    • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app

    If your credit's on the higher side of low: Capital One Platinum Card

    Capital One Platinum Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.99% (Variable)

    Recommended Credit Score

    Average, Fair and Limited

    4/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Apply Now

    Capital One Platinum Credit Card

    4/5

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    Apply Now

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    26.99% (Variable)

    Recommended Credit Score

    Average, Fair and Limited

    Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Pros

    • Automatically be considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • No extra benefits and no rewards

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

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    More Information

    • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
    • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
    • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
    • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
    • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
    • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
    • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
    • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you

    Compare the best credit cards for bad credit

    Discover it Secured card

    The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is easily the top secured credit card on the market today, because not only is there no annual fee, but you also get the opportunity to earn rewards. You'll need to put down a cash deposit to get started, and you'll secure a line of credit equal to that amount that you can use to begin building a responsible credit history.

    If you use your card responsibly, you can also get your deposit back when you close or upgrade your account in good standing. Automatic reviews start at seven months to see if Discover can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.

    In terms of rewards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card lets you earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1%), plus 1% back on all other purchases. Even better, Discover will match all the rewards you earn at the end of your first year through its Cash Back Match program.

    The Discover it® Secured Credit Card also gives you a free FICO score on your monthly credit card bill, and you can use this information to monitor your score as you improve your credit over time.

    Read our Discover it Secured credit card review to learn more.

    Capital One Quicksilver Secured card

    The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card is a new secured credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee, and it earns 1.5% cash back on all other purchases with no limits. It's possible to get approved with a fair credit score, defined by Capital One as those with limited credit history (less than three years) including students, people new to the US, or authorized users on someone else's credit card — or those who have defaulted on a loan in the past five years.

    If you're approved for the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card, you'll need to make a minimum initial deposit of $200 to receive a $200 credit line, but depending on your creditworthiness you could get approved for a higher credit line with a larger deposit. After as little as six months of on-time payments, Capital One will automatically consider you for a higher credit limit.

    US Bank Cash+ Secured card

    The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card shares most of the features of its big sibling, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, except it doesn't come with a welcome bonus and requires a security deposit. Because it's a secured card, you'll need to put down a deposit of $300 to $5,000 after you're approved, and that amount becomes your credit limit.

    This card is a great choice if you want to maximize your rewards earning by choosing your own bonus categories. You can earn 5% cash back in two eligible categories of your choice, on up to $2,000 in combined spending each quarter (then 1%) from the following list:

    • Fast food
    • Home utilities
    • TV, internet, and streaming services
    • Department stores
    • Electronic stores
    • Cell phone providers
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Furniture stores
    • Movie theaters
    • Gyms and fitness centers
    • Ground transportation
    • Select clothing stores

    In addition, cardholders can choose one "everyday" 2% cash back category from grocery stores, gas stations, EV charging stations, or restaurants. All other purchases earn 1% cash back, with no limits.

    It's unusual to see a no-annual-fee secured credit card with such high earning rates, so if the card's categories match up with your spending, it's an excellent choice. US Bank also says that if you spend within your credit limit and pay your bill on time to build your credit, you may be able to automatically "graduate" to the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card. Upon graduation, your security deposit will be returned. After that, you'll get back your security deposit.

    US Bank Altitude Go Secured card

    If you spend a lot on dining, the no-annual-fee U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card is hard to beat. Cardholders earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery, and dining, 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, and gas stations (including EV charging), and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

    Each point is worth 1 cent toward travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash back, or statement credits through the card's online rewards portal. The card also offers the opportunity to earn an automatic $15 credit each year when you pay for eligible streaming services for 11 consecutive calendar months.

    Again, this card is most similar to the non-secured U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card, except it doesn't offer a welcome bonus and requires a security deposit of $300 to $5,000 (which becomes the amount of your credit limit). And with responsible use, you may be able to convert to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card and have your security deposit returned in the future.

    Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured card

    The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card is another good option for maximizing your rewards earning. You'll earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and can earn 3% cash back on up to $2,500 in spending each quarter (combined with 2% categories, then 1%) in one category you pick from the following list:

    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drug stores
    • Home improvement/furnishings

    All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

    This card is an especially good choice if you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, because depending on your rewards tier, you could earn anywhere from 25% to 75% more rewards for your spending.

    Because it's a secured card, you'll have to put down a security deposit (minimum $200), the amount of which will become your credit limit. Bank of America says it will periodically review your account and based on your overall credit history, you may be able to have your security deposit returned.

    Discover it Student Cash Back card

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back is specifically geared to students with limited credit history, so it may be considerably easier to qualify for when compared to other unsecured credit cards. You won't pay an annual fee for this card, and you won't pay a late fee on your first late payment.

    You can also earn rewards with the Discover it® Student Cash Back by enrolling each quarter to earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly rotating bonus categories (then 1%), and 1% back on all other purchases (from July 1 to September 30, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back at restaurants and PayPal on up to $1,500 in purchases after enrollment, then 1%). Like with its other cash-back credit cards, Discover will also match all the rewards you earn the first year.

    Read our review of the Discover it Student Cash Back card to learn more.

    Petal 2 Visa card

    The Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card (card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC) was designed for consumers with limited credit histories who need help building credit. This credit card comes with no annual fee and no hidden fees, yet it's a Visa credit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted worldwide. Not only that, but you may be able to qualify for a credit limit of up to $10,000 based on your credit profile, and you'll earn rewards on your spending.

    Cash back on eligible purchases is initially offered at 1%, but you'll graduate to earning 1.25% back after six on-time payments then 1.5% back once you've made 12 on-time payments on your card. This credit card also works in conjunction with a handy app that helps you track your spending and set a budget for the month, and usage of the app is also free.

    Capital One Platinum Secured card

    If you don't want to put down a big security deposit, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is worth a look. There's no annual fee, and you can start with a $49, $99, or $200 security deposit to open your account (with a credit line of $200). You'll also have the option to increase your initial credit line by depositing more than the minimum amount, up to a maximum limit of $1,000.

    The card doesn't earn rewards, but there's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. After you show responsible use of your card over time, Capital One may consider upgrading you to the regular Capital One Platinum and return your security deposit.

    Capital One Platinum card

    Unlike most other card issuers, Capital One indicates what type of credit score you need to get approved for each of its cards. The Capital One Platinum is for "average credit," which Capital One defines as having defaulted on a loan in the past five years or "limited credit history" (defined as having a credit card or other credit for less than three years).

    This card doesn't offer any rewards, but it is an unsecured credit card, meaning you don't have to put down a cash deposit as collateral. There's also no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

    You may have to start out with a relatively low line of credit, but Capital One promises to reevaluate your credit line after you've made six on-time monthly payments.

    Read our Capital One Platinum credit card review.

    How to choose the right credit card if you have bad credit

    Before you pick the best credit card for your situation, you'll want to decide if you want a secured or unsecured credit card.

    Secured credit cards are particularly easy to get approved for because you put up a cash deposit as collateral to get started. However, there are also non-secured cards tailored to those looking to repair or build their credit.

    You'll also want to consider how and where you'll be using the card. A rewards-earning credit card is ideal, because you can get a little something back from every purchase. But if that seems too complicated and you just want a basic card to help build your credit, that's fine too.

    Using a card responsibly will help boost your credit over time, since keeping your credit utilization low and making on-time payments are the two biggest factors that determine your credit score. Once you have your finances on track and your credit score keeps climbing, it's only a matter of time before you can get a rewards credit card offering bonus points and other enticing perks.

    Credit cards for bad credit frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    If your credit is in poor shape, picking up a credit card can help if you use it to your advantage. These questions and answers can help you get approved for a credit card for bad credit, then use it to boost your credit score over time.

    How do I know if I have bad credit?

    According to myFICO.com, poor credit is typically considered any FICO score below 580. Meanwhile, "fair credit" is considered any FICO score between 580 and 669.

    The best way to find out if you have bad credit is to check your credit score for free online.

    How can a credit card help me build credit?

    Credit cards help you build credit by reporting your credit movements to the three credit bureaus. To build credit with a credit card, all you have to do is use your card for purchases you can afford to pay off.

    From there, pay your credit card bill early or on time each month. Over time, your positive credit usage will help boost your score.

    How do I get a credit card with bad credit?

    Knowing your credit score is a great first step in finding out which cards you qualify for. From there, you could consider a card specifically geared to those who are working on building or repairing their credit score.

    Or, have a look at secured credit cards, which are typically easier to get.

    What is a secured credit card?

    A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires a cash deposit as collateral. The cash deposit you put down is typically equal or close to the line of credit you qualify for, meaning you'll get a $500 line of credit if you put down $500 in cash to get started.

    While putting down collateral may not seem ideal, secured credit cards are considerably easier to get approved for when you have bad credit or limited credit history.

    How do I avoid credit card interest?

    To avoid paying interest on purchases made with a credit card, you need to pay your credit card statement balance in full each month. You'll only be charged interest on balances you carry from one month to the next, so you should strive to avoid this.

    Which credit card fees should I watch out for?

    Try to pick a credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee. Other credit card fees to watch out for include application fees, late fees, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, and over-the-limit fees.

    Does Chase offer a secured credit card?

    Chase doesn't offer any secured credit cards, but it does have the Chase Freedom® Student credit card, which can be easier to get if you're just starting out with credit. This is a good choice if you later want to graduate to opening Chase's valuable rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

    Here's our Chase Freedom Student card review with all the details.

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    Holly Johnson

    Freelance Writer

    Holly Johnson is a credit card expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel. In addition to serving as contributing editor for The Simple Dollar and writing for publications such as Bankrate, U.S. News and World Report Travel, and Travel Pulse, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of "Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."

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    Jasmin Baron, CEPF

    Editor

    Jasmin Baron is an editor at Insider, responsible for credit card coverage on Personal Finance Insider. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).Before joining the Insider team, she was a senior editor at The Points Guy and Million Mile Secrets, covering credit cards, points and miles, and loyalty programs. Her expertise in maximizing travel rewards grew from over two decades of experience in the aviation industry, including 18 years working as a pilot and flight instructor in her native Canada.You can reach Jasmin at jbaron@insider.com. Learn more about how Personal Finance Insider chooses, rates, and covers financial products and services »

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