Recently, credit cards have become the most popular payment method that will most likely put an end to the need for physical cash. Therefore these cards are now the most convenient way for you to obtain a line of credit. Whether you’re looking to pay your bills, buy some groceries, or pay an online order, you’ll most likely use a card to make the payment.
But what if you have bad credit? Many banks and conventional financial institutions will reject your credit card application as soon as they see your credit score. But don’t despair, as many online services are now offering some of the best credit cards for bad credit.
So, if you’re looking for a buy now – pay later alternative to a couple of problems you’ve been dealing with but couldn’t afford, we strongly recommend that you consider some of the following credit cards and hopefully find your way out of a bad financial situation.
Best Credit Card for Bad Credit [2022 Updated]
- OpenSky: Overall Best Credit Card Processor
- Surge Mastercard: Best Credit Card Process To Build Credit
- First Access Card: Secured Visa Card
- Fit Mastercard: Unsecured Card for Limited Buying
- Reflex Mastercard: Best for Qualifying with Bad Credit
#1. OpenSky: Overall Best Credit Card Processor
Our first choice, if you’re looking for a credit card for bad credit, is OpenSky. This credit card is issued by Capital Bank N.A. – a commercial bank that provides consumer banking services through a couple of branches in the greater area of Washington D.C. It’s been operating since 1999 and has demonstrated consistency and high performance ever since.
Capital Bank offers a personalized approach to business and personal banking and manages to deliver meaningful experiences by remaining true to its core operating principle, “Think big, act local.”
- Credit education
OpenSky understands how important it is for any person with bad credit to have access to the right information to better manage their financial situation and the new line of credit. Therefore, this credit card issuer offers many resources that might be valuable for you.
In the resources section on the website, you’ll find information on the best way to build or rebuild your credit score. You’ll also find helpful guides and general info regarding unsecured credit card, security deposits, and the bank itself.
The OpenSky Secured Visa card is accepted in all places that accept Visa credit cards. Apart from the broad coverage, you’re also eligible for countless discounts specially designed for Visa users that you can easily find on its website.
- Fast application processing
OpenSky always puts the customer first and will try to process your credit card application as soon as possible. After you submit the simple application form, your information is instantly reviewed, and you can expect to get an answer in no time. If by any chance, your application happens to take longer than it should, you can quickly check its status on the website.
- Best secured credit card for bad credit, according to NerdWallet.
- Data confidentiality is ensured by encrypting sensitive information with 128-bit SSL.
- Opportunity to rebuild credit score.
- A simple way of reporting fraud, lost, or stolen credit cards.
- A security deposit is required.
Why do we recommend OpenSky Secured Visa Card?
We recommend the OpenSky credit card as the best option for bad credit for many reasons, but primarily due to the reliability of its issuer. As Capital Bank is well-known for its outstanding performance, it’s more than guaranteed that they’ll provide you with excellent service. Apart from the reliability of Capital Bank, with this credit card, you also get the many perks of Visa, so you can be sure that these two institutions won’t fail to provide your needs.
#2. Surge Mastercard: Best Credit Card Process To Build Credit
Another excellent credit card that offers many benefits for individuals with bad credit is Surge Mastercard. This credit card is issued by The Celtic Bank. Established in 2001 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, this bank provides financial services for small business owners, as well as individuals with bad credit.
Its hard work and devotion towards satisfying customer experiences are what got this bank ranked among the top ten national SBA leaders. During the years, they’ve delivered over a billion funds and funded over 10,000 small businesses.
- Improve credit score
As the Celtic Bank reports to all three major credit bureaus, all credit activity will be documented and shared to help you build your credit score while making timely payments. If you manage to handle your new line of credit responsibly, this credit card for bad credit could mark the end of your lousy credit reputation.
- Secure site
To ensure the ultimate safety and security of your personal information, Continental Finance uses 128-bit encryption technology. The 128-bit encryption is an industry standard, so you can rest assured that your information won’t fall into the wrong hands.
- Double your credit limit
The initial credit limit of Surge Mastercard is $1000. But if you make timely payments for your monthly installments in the first six months, you might be eligible for doubling your limit up to $2000. You can quickly review this offer on the website and apply in less than a minute if you decide that you need a higher credit limit.
However, always be careful when taking out new lines of credit, and apply only for what you essentially need instead of indebting yourself for unnecessary expenses.
- Initial credit limit up to $1000
- A chance to double your limit after the first six months
- It can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted
- Transparent fees
- Zero liability protection
- An annual fee ranging from $75 to $99, based on your credit score.
Why do we recommend Surge Mastercard?
As Celtic Bank operates under the license from Mastercard International, the Surge credit card offers you the extensive benefits of any Mastercard. But unlike a traditional Mastercard, the Surge credit card will provide you with credit even if you have a lousy credit score. Apart from its flexibility with credit scores, this service is also flexible in terms of credit limits and offers you a significant credit balance once they see that you’re responsible with your payments.
#3. First Access Card: Secured Visa Card
Another excellent choice that had to make it to our list of the best credit cards for bad credit is the First Access Card.
If you’re looking for a full feature Visa credit card but thought you’d never acquire one due to your bad credit score, First Access is here to deliver. This service offers access to full-on Visa credit cards for individuals with less than perfect credit scores. It is issued by the Bank of Missouri, operating under license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
The Bank of Missouri is one of the most reliable banks that managed to stay in business for over 125 years. Thanks to its commitment towards its customers and the community, it managed to survive and thrive in the industry.
- Avoid interest
First Access Card allows you to avoid being charged interest on purchases after the close of each billing cycle. If you pay your entire balance by the due date each month, you’ll avoid the 34.99% APR since it is calculated at the end of each billing cycle. This convenience doesn’t go for cash advances, as interest on cash advances is calculated and charged on the same day as the transaction.
The First Access credit card offers you complete transparency to ensure that you make a well-informed decision regarding your future credit card. All applicable rates, fees, additional costs, and limitations are conveniently listed on the website. Therefore, you can quickly find out all you need to know before you apply.
- Simple cancelation
Given the chance that you’ve received your credit card but changed your mind before even using it, you can easily cancel it at any time. If you decide to reject First Access’s plan, you won’t be held responsible for any fees or charges, including the program fee. Any previously paid program fees will be refunded upon rejection of the plan.
- Accepted nationwide
- Full-feature Visa credit card
- A simple application form that can be filled out in less than two minutes
- Simple activation process that can be done online or by phone
- A $95 program fee is required to open an account and access your available credit.
- Annual fee of $75 for the first year and $48 for each following year.
Why do we recommend the First Access Card?
First Access Card is an excellent choice for anyone in need of fast funds, regardless of your bad credit score. You can easily acquire a Visa credit card by filling out a simple application form. After your application has been accepted, you’ll receive the credit card in no time, and all that’s left to do is activate it and start reasonably spending your available balance.
#4. FIT Mastercard: Unsecured Card for Limited Buying
As a highly reliable marketer and servicer for many cards, Continental Finance offers you yet another convenient credit card for people with bad credit – the FIT Mastercard. It is issued by The Bank Of Missouri, an FDIC member who operates under the license from Mastercard International.
The FIT Mastercard is one of the most successful collaborations between The Bank Of Missouri and Mastercard International and ensures the best possible terms of a credit card for people with bad credit scores.
- A single page application form
The simple application form is brought down to a single page on Continental Finance’s website. There, you’ll first have to fill out some basic personal information, including your first and last name, home address, social security number, and total monthly income. If you cannot precisely determine your monthly income, the platform even features a convenient tool that will help you calculate.
After you fill out the general information, you’ll have to read a couple of disclosures, terms, and pricing details. After you’ve read and agreed to the terms and conditions, you can choose whether to purchase additional protection and submit the simplest application form ever.
- An A+ BBB rating
Continental Finance, the marketer and servicer of the FIT Mastercard, is one of America’s leading service providers for people with less-than-perfect credit. Their excellence is certified with an A+ rating of the Better Business Bureau.
This ensures that they demonstrate transparent business practices, take action in solving any complaints promptly, have all the licenses that BBB requires, and honor the commitments of the bureau.
- Authentic Mastercard
- Secure site
- A chance to double your credit after your first six-monthly minimum payments
- It can be used anywhere a Mastercard is accepted
- Excellent reviews on Trustpilot
- Slightly lower credit is available, with the initial limit being $400.
Why do we recommend FIT Mastercard?
The FIT Mastercard offered by Continental Finance can be a solution to many of your financial problems. It offers excellent flexibility for people with bad credit scores. The initial credit limit of $400 is relatively low when compared to other credit cards, but if you demonstrate responsible financial habits, you can easily double your balance in no time.
Apart from the excellent service provided by Continental Finance, they also feature top-notch customer support that’s often well talked about in many customer reviews. So, if you ever happen to experience an issue or simply have a couple of questions that you couldn’t answer online, don’t hesitate and give them a call.
#5. Reflex Mastercard: Best for Qualifying with Bad Credit
Reflex Mastercard is the last on our list as another excellent credit card for bad credit. Similar to the FIT credit card, this line of credit is also serviced by Continental Finance but is issued by the Celtic Bank. So if you thought that the FIT card was a good option, the Reflex one offers many of its features, along with a significantly larger initial credit limit that goes up to $1000. In addition to this, since the Celtic Bank reports to three major credit bureaus, you’ll also get a chance to improve your bad credit score.
- Affordable APR
The Reflex Mastercard features a variable annual percentage rate that is rather appealing when compared to the APRs of other credit cards and hence it has been included in the list of best credit cards for bad credit. Based on the severity of your credit score, it starts from 24.99% and can go up to 29.99%.
- Mastercard zero liability protection
As an authentic Mastercard, the Reflex credit card is eligible for zero liability protection. This protection will give you peace of mind by knowing that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized transactions. It applies to all purchases made in-store, over the phone, online, or via a mobile device, as well as any ATM transactions.
If you happen to find yourself in a situation where your credit card or its details have been stolen, make sure that you immediately report it to your financial institution. That way, you won’t be held responsible for the recent and any future unauthorized uses.
- Simple process
The process for obtaining your Reflex credit card is very simple. The first thing to do is submit the online application form and wait for an offer. After you receive and accept an offer, you should have your new credit card in no time.
- Initial limit from $300 up to $1000
- The initial limit can be doubled after the first six payments.
- Affordable APRs
- A+ BBB rating
- 128-bit encryption of the website
- Annual fees and APRs vary based on your credit score
Why do we recommend Reflex Mastercard?
The Reflex credit card is an excellent choice for anyone looking for additional credit despite their bad credit score. It includes all the benefits of a regular Mastercard, offers a significant amount of available balance, and can even help you build a better credit score if you know how to use it properly.
The Reflex Mastercard offers some of the most affordable APRs and demonstrates excellent transparency of all fees and costs.
How We Made This List?
With the vast demand for credit cards, the Internet soon got flooded by countless services that offer easily approachable credit cards. However, not every deal is as good as it seems. Many fraudulent services are waiting to ambush troubled individuals who will believe anything while trying to recover from a difficult financial situation.
So, to help you with the task, we’ve carefully researched the web to find the most trustworthy and reliable services that offer credit cards for bad credit. To validate our findings, we’ve abided a few crucial aspects, including:
To provide you with the best possible services and keep you away from data leaks, we’ve paid close attention to each of the website’s safety practices. We’ve carefully gone through security standards, encryption models, and many other factors to ensure that the services we review demonstrate excellent care in your info.
We’ve made sure to only include the most reliable companies on the market in the above list. By sympathizing with people in need of additional lines of credit and understanding the added vulnerability that comes with a bad credit score, we tried to find the most trustworthy companies that offer genuine help instead of victimizing you for a profit.
Another aspect we’ve decided to keep in play is customer satisfaction. We’ve gone through tons of customer feedback and comments, since satisfied, returning, and loyal customers are the ultimate proof of legitimate service. We’ve carefully read what each customer had to say and compared feedback from various sites and forums to ensure it’s 100% genuine.
Since we’re talking about opening a new line of credit, cost-effectiveness is another thing we’ve kept in mind while carefully crafting this list. We’ve compared APRs and additional costs to provide you with the most affordable solutions to your financial problems.
Beginner’s Guide to the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
If you’ve carefully read through the above reviews and decided to apply for a credit card for bad credit but aren’t quite sure what’s the best for you, we have a couple of factors you should consider before making up your mind.
If you’re looking to acquire the best terms out of a credit card, annual percentage rates or interest rates are something that you should pay a lot of attention to. The interest rate displays how much you’ll have to pay for borrowing the money. In most cases, these rates vary based on many factors, including the credit card balance, the credit card issuer, as well as your credit score. Poorer scores might be susceptible to higher APR rates.
Since many services list a wide range of APR rates, make sure that you get a couple of different offers and compare the APRs listed in them to find the most affordable credit card.
You should know that in most cases, the APR isn’t the only expense you’ll face while acquiring a credit card. Many credit card providers will require additional fees, including initial sign-up fees, fixed monthly or yearly fees, etc.
Additionally, some services will let you cancel your credit card at no cost, while with some cards, you might need to compensate for some extra expenses of closing your line of credit.
In cases where you accept credit terms that include additional costs, make sure that you carefully weight-in all expenses, and not just the APRs, as these can add a high cost to your credit card.
Another critical thing to consider when applying for a credit card is whether or not it is secured. Safety deposits are means utilized by your financial institution to ensure that even if you fail to close the credit line, it’ll have a guarantee for your credit. Therefore, many services might require a refundable security deposit or another type of collateral to back your credit card.
Even though safety deposits don’t sound like the most appealing option, some credit card providers will consider lower APRs for secured credit cards, as you’re already guaranteeing your credit with some sort of collateral.
If you plan to use your credit card as the main payment method, its acceptance or coverage is also worth checking out. And since many services often charge higher APRs for cash advances, while others offer you a way to avoid interest rates for online and in-store purchases, you’re very likely to use your card in multiple places daily.
With this in mind, you should consider major credit cards variants, such as Visa and Mastercard. Less popular unsecured credit cards might not be accepted at all stores or be susceptible to higher fees for each transaction.
Another crucial factor to consider while searching for the best credit card is the credit limit its features.
When it comes to the credit limit, make sure that you take only as little as you need, and try not to include unreasonable expenses in the credit amount of your new card. We all know that a larger balance on your credit card can be very appealing. However, more significant amounts of money at your disposal could result in overspending and wasting your funds on unnecessary things that can further worsen your already bad credit score.
After carefully considering the credit balance you’ll need, look into each service and try to find the best offer that can provide you with the credit you need.
Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Cards
Q1. Can I improve my credit score by using a credit card?
Yes, since most credit card issuers work closely and report to major credit bureaus, specific financial practices might help you improve your bad credit score. Making on time payments to your credit card, not skipping payments, and using your credit card to pay for bills on time is considered responsible financial behavior and could benefit your credit score and credit report.
However, if you fail to display responsibility while using your credit card and fall behind your expected repayment schedule, your credit score will worsen.
Q2. How can I apply for a credit card with bad credit?
The application process for the best credit cards for bad credit is made very straightforward. Usually, all you have to do once you’ve found the best service provider is carefully read the terms and conditions, enter your personal information, credit history, answer a couple of questions, and submit the form. After that’s been taken care of, you should wait for approval or a personalized offer for you to accept or reject.
Q3. How fast will I get my credit card?
This depends on your financial institution or another service handling your credit card. But usually, most services will have your credit card shipped as soon as they accept your application or as soon as you accept an offer. So you should receive your new credit card within a couple of days, or up to a week or two.
Q4. What’s considered a bad credit score?
In terms of the FICO scoring model, a bad credit score is considered anything below 670, in a range of 300 to 850. Scores between 580 and 669 are labeled as fair, and anything below 579 is fairly poor.
The Vantage scoring method also features a scale model ranging from 300 to 850. However, the scoring with this method is pretty different. Therefore, any score between 601 and 660 is considered fair, the range between 500 and 600 is labeled as poor, and anything less than 500 is considered very poor.
Q5. How do I improve a bad credit score?
There are a couple of steps you can take to improve your credit score:
- Check your credit score
The first thing to do if you want to improve your credit score is to assess the situation. Once you get an assessment of your credit score, you can easily find out which factors are affecting it negatively. For instance, short account history, high credit utilization, long periods of indebtedness, a large mix of credit types, and multiple credit accounts all contribute to an abysmal credit score.
After you’ve tracked down the factors that are worsening your score, you can start working on solutions and alternatives.
- Pay your bills on time
Another critical factor that contributes to your minimum credit score and makes up for 35% of your FICO score is your payment history. With that said, you should insist on paying your bills on time. If you often tend to forget a bill, the best thing to do is set up autopay for recurring bills, statement credit, such as electricity, internet, etc. After you’ve set up the autopay, the total bill amount will be deposited from your bank account or credit card on the day it’s due, and you’ll never miss a payment again.
- Avoid unnecessary credit
Signing up for unreasonable amounts of credit just so you can spend on unnecessary things is never justified. Additional debt will end up leading you into a financial deadlock. That’s why you should always think through and ensure that you’re signing up for the least amount that will help you make it through a challenging situation and nothing more. Since larger loans ask for larger APRs and extended repayment periods, this leaves you with a larger debt and more room for error which can cost your credit score a lot.
- Pay down debt
Since current debt makes up 30% of your FICO rank, closing down debt can significantly improve your score. Ideally, you should be able to pay your monthly credit card bill at the end of each month. If you can’t do that, you should make a plan B and stop using your cards until you’re back on your feet and can afford to pay the monthly installments. If you happen to have extra cash, always use it towards the credit card with the highest interest since that will save you some money on interest fees.
Conclusion: Which One Is The Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit?
If you need to purchase a couple of things that you can’t afford and have bad credit on top of your bad financial situation, applying for a credit card might be an excellent solution to your problems. Some of the best credit cards for bad credit can offer you great support and help you make ends meet when you don’t have enough funds to pay a bill or purchase what you need.
However, you should always be reasonable when obtaining a new line of credit and make sure that you’re reasonable about your debt. Try to stop overspending and don’t apply for credit that you cannot handle, as that will only worsen your situation.
When used reasonably, credit cards for bad credit will help you get out of a challenging situation and even help you increase your credit score. So if you’re confident that you can handle the task, we encourage you to take another look at the options we’ve reviewed above and take advantage of these excellent offers.