Best Cards For Less than Perfect Credit


Consumers with excellent credit have an extensive list of credit cards to choose from. It is easy to get lured in with 0% intro APRs and lucrative rewards, but you will only hurt your credit score if you apply for credit cards you have no chance of getting approved for. If you have poor to average credit there are still plenty of great options for you to consider. Most of the cards we have rounded up below are focused on helping you build your credit and some even offer rewards and other useful card features.

No annual fee, No credit check, No APR

Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

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on Chime’s secure site
Recommended Credit Score
Poor – Average
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Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card helps build your credit history with your own money so you don’t have to worry about going into debt. There is no credit check to apply, no annual fees or interest charges and no minimum security deposit. Eligibility requirements apply. The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card can help make sure you always make your payments on time. You move money to your Credit Builder account before you make purchases so the amount you move determines how much you can spend. When you enable the Safer Credit Building Feature, there is no possibility of late payments, Chime® then reports your regular on-time payments to all three of the major credit bureaus, helping to build your credit history. Read our full Critical Analysis for more details and additional terms and conditions.

Build or Repair Your Credit with No Hidden Fees

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

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on Mission Lane’s secure site
Recommended Credit Score
Poor – Fair
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Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

This card is a great option if you are looking to improve your credit score without investing hundreds of dollars in a security deposit. The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card makes it easy to get started right away with minimal investment. You can see if you are approved for a Mission Lane card instantly with no hard credit check so you don’t have to worry about your application negatively impacting your credit score. Submitting your information is quick and secure and you will instantly be presented with your card offer. Your credit limit can also be increased after just six months of on-time payments. There is an annual fee that ranges from $0-59, but even $59 is relatively low for an unsecured card available to people with bad credit.

Earn Cash Back While You Build Your Credit

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

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on Discover’s secure site
Recommended Credit Score
New/Rebuilding
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Discover it® Secured Credit Card

This no annual fee secured card allows you to earn cash back while you build your credit with responsible use. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter (then 1% back), plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is also a unique bonus offer. All of the cash back you earn in your first year will be automatically matched. Discover also starts reviewing your account after seven months to see if you are eligible to transition to an account without a security deposit. You will establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. Your bank information must be provided in order to submit your deposit. The amount of your deposit is equal to your credit limit.

Building your credit history takes patience and perseverance but the benefits of doing so can pay off big time in the long run. As you build your credit and use credit cards responsibly, you might even gain access to cards with better perks and lower APRs. The cards on this list can put you on the right path. 


Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*CardCritics references a FICO® 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when evaluating your application.