The Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit of 2016

Obtaining a credit card when you have poor credit can be quite the challenge.  Often times, credit card issuers want nothing to do with your 600 FICO score because you’re seen as a risk.  Fortunately, if you look hard enough, there are a few unsecured credit cards tailored to consumers on the lower end of the FICO score ladder.

However, while you may be able to obtain unsecured credit, it will come at a price.  To compensate for the risk involved, card issuers generally charge high interest rates as well as mandatory annual fees.  You’ll find several credit cards for individuals with poor credit below.  If you own a card with a low interest rate and low fees that hasn’t made our list, please let us know and we’ll gladly add it.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card - No Annual Fee*

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Discover it® Secured Credit Card - No Annual Fee*

Appy Now
  • No annual fee. No late fee on your first late payment.
  • No increase to your APR for paying late.*
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover doubles all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.*
  • Your credit line will equal your security deposit amount of $200 or more.*
  • Monthly reviews start at 12 months to see if you qualify to get your security deposit back while you continue to enjoy your card benefits.*
  • Reports to 3 major credit bureaus so you can build or rebuild credit with responsible use.*
  • See your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements & online.*

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® Credit Card

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® Credit Card

Get Details
  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without affecting your credit score
  • This is a fully unsecured credit card with no deposit requirement
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • Get Pre-Qualified without harming your credit score
  • Earn 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, terms apply
  • Pick your payment due date to fit your schedule
  • Free online monthly credit score tracking included


First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Get Details
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account


USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card

USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card

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  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received an discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • It's a real credit card - not a prepaid or debit card, that helps you build or improve your credit score.
  • When you apply - you'll also be opening a USAA 2-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit.
  • Your CD is a security deposit - the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit.
  • Earn interest on your CD - your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments.
  • Start building your credit - opening a CD lets you get a credit card even if you don't have a credit history or have bad credit.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.


USAA Secured Card® Platinum MasterCard®

USAA Secured Card® Platinum MasterCard®

Get Details
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received an discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • It's a real credit card - not a prepaid or debit card, that helps you build or improve your credit score.
  • When you apply - you'll also be opening a USAA 2-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit.
  • Your CD is a security deposit - the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit.
  • Earn interest on your CD - your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments.
  • Start building your credit - opening a CD lets you get a credit card even if you don't have a credit history or have bad credit.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.


Credit One® Platinum Visa® Cash Back Rewards Credit Card

Credit One® Platinum Visa® Cash Back Rewards Credit Card

Get Details
  • 1% cash back on gas & groceries, terms apply
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • This is a fully unsecured credit card with no deposit requirement
  • Flexible payment date to assist you in making your payments on time
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities



Published or Updated: May 12, 2016
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Avery Lopey says:

    I do not even understand how I ended up right here, however I assumed this put up was once good. I don’t realize who you might be however certainly you are going to a famous blogger when you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  2. Doug Younker says:

    Now I found another layer to consider. Health care costs wrecked me. I need a card for online purchases of what local retailers don’t carry in my rural location. For the moment a prepaid debit card is route I’ll take. In time I’ll get a secured card to build my credit rating back up. $2-$5 monthly fee isn’t that expensive, when there should never be no interest to pay, if I pay myself back on time every month.

    • Doug Younker says:

      Yes I understand I should have used the bad credit secured credit card. Higher interests rates that regular secured credits cards, interestingly similar monthly fees.

  3. matt says:

    Just an FYI, I was trying to use the valuable info you give on this page but the link to the
    Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Credit Card, no longer works. Instead of taking me to an official looking site where I can apply for the card it took me to credit cards.com, another helpful site where you can search by specific credit score ranges and by brand such as visa or MasterCard plus some others and includes many more search refinements that are very helpful but the card I was looking for from your list above wasn’t there and as you suggested it as one of the best credit building cards I really wanted to apply for that one specifically. Anyway just an fyi

    • Rob Berger says:

      Matt, thanks for letting me know. I’ve updated the cards and links.

  4. Qualifying for a credit card can be tough if you have a poor credit record, but a secured credit card may be one way you can obtain one. It’s also the best way to build or rebuild credit. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand how a secured card works.

  5. Rachel says:

    Hello,

    Which is the best card that doesn’t involve a security deposit? Do any of these NOT require a security deposit? The annual fee – is that automatically charged? My husband has credit score in the 400s.

    • Rob Berger says:

      All of the secured cards require a security deposit. That’s why the credit card company is willing to extend credit to those with low credit scores. The Credit One cards above, however, are not secured cards so they don’t require a security deposit.

  6. Rachel says:

    Also, are there any store credit cards that build credit?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Rachel, most store credit cards build credit. The downside is that the interest rates are extremely high, often higher than 20%.

  7. Anonymous says:

    After reading your responses to comments, I am confused. Do the secure cards listed in this article help build credit or not? Thank you and you are doing a first class job of managing this blog.

    • Rob Berger says:

      Secured cards do help build your credit.

  8. Jenn says:

    Can I really repair my credit history/score by paying off what is on my credit report? I’ve heard different sides of info/opinions but I’m confused. My score is in the high 400s?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Jenn, one key factor in your score is called credit utilization. We talk about it in an interview with FICO’s Tom Quinn–http://www.doughroller.net/credit/interview-ficos-credit-expert-tom-quinn-podcast-episode-002/

  9. Sonja Buntman says:

    Hi Rob,
    One of the factors in rebuilding credit is indeed credit utilization but if in someones credit report lies accounts unpaid yet soon to fall off their report due to age it may be best to just wait a little longer.
    Since charge offs and such only last 7 years paying on the older credit accounts will bring them back up to the top of the report along with all the ugly that caused the scores to fall in the first place. Starting the cycle for another 7 years from the date they are paid upon lets new creditors still judge you from the past.
    Others have told me if the accts causing the damage are going to fall off within 1-3 years, depending on personal preferance to how long you can wait then just to let them fall off. If needed open a secured credit card with the money you have to begin building a positive rating on your report, most companies with move you to an unsecured account after a year, returning your deposit plus increases soon following.

  10. My brother suggested I may like this blog. He was entirely right.
    This submit actually made my day. You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this info!

    Thank you!

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