Our Top Picks for 2018

Getting a credit card for bad credit is one of the best ways to begin repairing any credit mistakes you may have made in the past. Once you’re ready, it’s time to figure out which credit card for bad credit might work best with your specific situation. Here are the best credit cards for bad credit we recommend right now:

  1. Credit One® Unsecured Visa® Card
  2. Total VISA Credit Card
  3. Milestone® Gold MasterCard®
  4. Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  5. Capital One® Secured MasterCard
  6. Secured Visa from Merrick Bank
  7. USAA Secured Card® American Express®


For anyone with bad credit or little credit history, the Credit One® Unsecured Visa® Card is your best choice. This card doesn’t require a deposit like secured credit cards do, which means you won’t have to pony up a sizeable deposit up front. This card is also one of the few cards targeted at lower-credit customers that earns rewards.

Building Your Credit With Credit One

On the credit rebuilding side, there are several major advantages to this card. First, it reports to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This is important because most financial institutions use a combination of scores from these companies to find out if you’re credit worthy or not. By choosing a card that reports to all three agencies, you are maximizing the chance that your new credit activity will improve your score.

Next, the card offers free monthly credit-score tracking online so you can monitor changes in your credit score. If you are satisfied with receiving only basic information about any changes to your credit score, this may be enough. To get more advanced information on what’s actually in your credit report, you will need to sign up for a credit monitoring service like the ones I mentioned above.

Earn Rewards In Exchange For Paying A Fee

With most unsecured credit cards, you will have to deal with annual fees and, generally, high-interest rates. While the Credit One® Unsecured Visa® Card card does carry an annual fee of $0-$99 for the first year and $0-$99 each year thereafter, the fee gets charged to your account monthly instead of in one lump sum. If you might have trouble coming up with the annual fee all at once, this might serve as a small consolation.

At 15.65% – 24.15% (Variable), the interest rate on this card is very high. However, your new credit strategy should never include interest. To avoid getting hit with high interest charges, only charge what you can afford to pay off immediately and commit to paying your balance in full every month.

Finally, the Credit One® Unsecured Visa® Card lets you prequalify by answering a simple set of questions, so you have a better idea of your chances before you officially apply. Since applying for credit can negatively impact your score, this can help you avoid any unnecessary dings on your report.

Card Highlights

  • Interested in growing or rebuilding your credit? We report monthly to all three major credit bureaus. Take advantage of free online access to your credit score and credit report summary.
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified in less than 60 seconds.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card – not a debit, prepaid, or secured card. No need to load funds or tie up cash in deposits. There are no out-of-pocket costs to open your account.
  • Pick your payment due date to fit your schedule.

See if you prequalify now.

Total VISA Credit Card

Another excellent option when it comes to unsecured cards is the Total VISA Credit Card. This card offers an easy application process and quick approval if you qualify. The fact that it is a genuine VISA card also means you can use your card to rebuild your credit at merchants nationwide as well as online.


  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in second
  • A genuine VISA card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Processing Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus

Milestone® Gold MasterCard®

Among unsecured cards for bad credit, the Milestone® Gold MasterCard® is also a popular option. Benefits offered include quick pre-qualification, online account access, and zero liability for fraudulent purchases, plus the MasterCard brand name which makes this card usable at over 35 million locations worldwide.


Card Highlights

  • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Fast and easy instant decision
  • Choose your custom card design – Free
  • Free online account access
  • Zero Liability — you’ll never be held liable for unauthorized charges made to your card
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
  • Previous bankruptcy OK

See if you prequalify now.

The Best Secured Credit Cards for 2018

The main difference between secured and unsecured credit cards is that you have to put down a deposit to get a secured credit card. Since a deposit might be hard to come by, a secured credit card should only be pursued in situations where you simply can’t qualify for an unsecured card.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card


Card Highlights
  • No annual fee. No late fee on your first late payment. Paying late won’t increase your APR.*
  • 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 minimum security deposit amount of $200 or more will establish your credit line (up to the amount we can approve).*
  • 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.*
  • FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements & online.*
  • Click “Apply Now.” *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms and secured card information.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard


Card Highlights
  • Build credit with responsible use with no processing or application fees
  • Regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Get free access to a credit score, credit report, and credit tips using Credit Tracker
  • Your security deposit can get you a line up to $3,000
  • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness
  • Build a financial foundation you can stand on with a card that gets you started
  • Use it like any MasterCard credit card, accepted at millions of locations worldwide

Secured Visa from Merrick Bank


Card Highlights
  • Get your FICO® Score every month at no charge.
  • Build your credit – Performance is reported to all three major credit bureaus, unlike a prepaid card.
  • Credit line increases – Automatic unsecured credit line increase reviews with no additional security deposit or fees.
  • No processing or application fees.
  • You determine your credit line – up to $3,000.
  • Easy funding options – We have several convenient options to easily submit your security deposits.
  • Worldwide acceptance – Use it anywhere Visa is accepted.
  • Easy application – Click “Apply Now” to apply online today!

USAA Secured Card® American Express®


Card Highlights
  • USAA Bank products are only available to military members, veterans who have received an Honorable discharge, 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.