The 8 Best Credit Cards to Get in 2019 If You Have Bad Credit

These cards will get you back on the right financial track

We are committed to researching and recommending the best financial solutions and products for our readers. The Balance has partnered with CardRatings and may receive commissions from links within our content, but these have no bearing on our reviews or recommendations. The below content has not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any card issuers prior to publishing.

Getting a credit card when you have bad credit isn’t easy. Most credit card issuers expect you to have good credit before they will approve you for a credit card, but you can’t build up your credit score unless you have access to a credit card. Fortunately, there are a few credit cards on the market for consumers with bad credit. We've reviewed the best of them, including: 

  • Best for Low Security Deposit: Capital One Secured Mastercard
  • Best for Earning Rewards: Discover it Secured
  • Best Top-Tier Secured Credit Card: Citi Secured Mastercard
  • Best for No Credit: First Progress Select Mastercard Secured
  • Best for No Bank Account: Open Sky Secured Visa
  • Best for Large Purchases: Wells Fargo Secured Visa
  • Best for No Fees & Low Interest: DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Best for Previous Bankruptcy: Indigo Platinum Mastercard

A few of the credit cards on our best credit cards for bad credit list are secured credit cards. These are a type of credit card that allows you to make a security deposit against the credit limit of the credit card. Your credit limit will be equal to the security deposit. Because your security deposit assumes some of the risks, you’re more likely to be approved. As you select the best credit card for you, consider your ability to pay a security deposit, the annual fee and other perks of the credit card.

01
Best for Low Security Deposit: Capital One Secured MasterCard

What we like: The Capital One Secured MasterCard allows you to make a minimum security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 for a $200 credit limit. Your credit history determines whether you qualify for one of the lower security deposit amounts. You must have a bank account so you can pay your security deposit.

After making your first five monthly payments on time, Capital One will consider you for an automatic credit limit increase without an additional security deposit. You’ll have also access to CreditWise, a free credit monitoring tool that helps you stay on top of your credit score.

What we don't like: The APR is pretty steep which would make carrying a balance relatively expensive. Paying your balance in full each month allows you to avoid monthly interest charges. 

  • Minimum Credit Required: Poor
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 26.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: N/A
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup bonus: None offered

View details about this credit card.

02
Best for Earning Rewards: Discover it Secured

Discover It Secured
Courtesy of Discover

What we like: Discover it Secured is the only secured credit card that allows cardholders to earn rewards on their purchases. Get started with a minimum security deposit of $200. Then, earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of the first year. You can redeem your rewards at any time for any amount and automatically at Amazon.com.

Get free access to your FICO score on your monthly statements; plus, Discover monitors your Social Security number and alerts you of fraudulent activities.

What we don't like: Since your credit limit is equal to your security deposit, taking advantage of the balance transfer rate means paying a security deposit equivalent to the balance you want to transfer. It may be more beneficial to simply pay off the balance.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Poor
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Intro APR: 10.99% for six months from the date of transfer on transfers made by August 10, 2019.
  • Ongoing APR: 25.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount that posts to your account by August 10, 2019; 5% of the transfer amount after that.
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup bonus: None offered

03
Best Top-Tier Secured Credit Card: Citi Secured MasterCard

Citi Secured MasterCard
Courtesy of Citi

What we like: Perhaps the best thing about the Citi Secured MasterCard is that it’s issued by Citi – one of the major credit card issuers. Good account management with your secured credit card may allow you to qualify for one of their better credit cards.

With the Citi Secured MasterCard, you can make a security deposit between $200 and $2,500 at the time you make an application. Your deposit is placed in a “Collateral Holding Account” for 18 months.

What we don't like: If you're hoping to rebuild your credit after filing bankruptcy this isn't the card for you. Filing bankruptcy in the past 24 months can prevent you from being approved.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Poor
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 24.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the amount transferred
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3% of the purchase transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Signup bonus: None offered

View details about this credit card.

04
Best for No Credit: First Progress Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card

First Progress
Courtesy of First Progress

What we like: The First Progress Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card has a low interest rate compared to other secured credit cards. If you must carry a balance, monthly interest charges won't be as expensive as with most other credit cards. You can be approved with a minimum security deposit of $200. 

What we don't like: The annual fee of $39 is assessed on your credit card from the date your account is opened. That means if you make an initial security deposit of $200, your starting available credit will be $171.

  • Minimum Credit Required: None
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 14.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 3% of the cash advance amount
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3% of the purchase amount in U.S. dollars
  • Signup bonus: None offered

View details about this credit card.

05
Best for No Bank Account: OpenSky Secured Visa Card

Open Sky
Courtesy of Open Sky

What we like: The The OpenSky Secured Visa doesn't pull your credit when you apply which means there's no impact to your credit score from a new credit inquiry. You can pay the security deposit with a Visa or MasterCard debit card, which is a plus because many secured credit card issuers require you to use a bank account.

You can request to increase your credit limit after your account is opened. If your request is approved, OpenSky will allow you to make an additional deposit for the credit limit increase and may charge an additional fee.

What we don't like: you won’t have the option of converting this card to an unsecured credit card. Your deposit will only be returned to you within four to six weeks of closing your account.

  • Minimum Credit Required: None
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 19.64%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: $6 or 5% of the cash advance amount
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3% of the purchase amount in U.S. dollars
  • Signup bonus: None offered

View details about this credit card.

06
Best for Large Security Deposits: Wells Fargo Secured Visa

Wells Fargo
Courtesy of Wells Fargo

What we like: If you have access to capital and want a credit card with a high credit limit on your credit history, consider the Wells Fargo Secured Visa. You can make a security deposit in $100 increments from $300 all the way up to $10,000.

Your security deposit is placed in a non-interest bearing account until your credit card is closed or upgraded to an unsecured credit card. There’s no preset time for your account to be upgraded. Whether you’re upgraded at all depends on how you manage your Wells Fargo Secured Visa and any other accounts on your credit report.

What we don't like: You must have an existing Wells Fargo checking or savings account to apply online. That's an extra step for anyone who's not already a Wells Fargo customer.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Poor
  • Annual Fee: $25
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 21.24%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3% of the purchase amount in U.S. dollars
  • Signup bonus: None offered

View details about this credit card.

07
Best for No Fees & Low Interest: DCU Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card

Courtesy of DCU

What we like: The DCU Visa Platinum Secured credit card has a low interest rate - even lower than many credit cards for people with excellent credit. The card doesn't charge an annual fee or any transaction fees. The penalty APR is only 18% - still lower than the regular APR on many non-secured credit cards.

The card comes with several other perks like free auto rental collision damage waiver, optional overdraft protection, free travel insurance coverage, and extended warranty on most of your purchases.

What we don't like: You must be a member of the credit union before you can apply for the DCU Visa Platinum Secured card.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Poor
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 13.75%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None
  • Cash Advance Fee: None
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup bonus: None offered

08
Best for Previous Bankruptcy: Indigo Platinum MasterCard

Indigo Platinum
Courtesy of Indigo Platinum

What we like: With the Indigo Platinum MasterCard, you can get pre-qualified right on their website to determine the likelihood that you’ll be approved. Pre-qualification doesn’t affect your credit score, and you’ll get a decision in 60 seconds. A previous bankruptcy won’t be held against you, depending on your other qualifications.

This is a regular credit card – no security deposit required. If you’re approved, you’ll receive a $300 credit limit and the option to add a custom credit card design.

What we don't like: You won’t know your annual fee until you’re actually approved. There’s a possibility of no annual fee, a $59 annual fee or a $75 fee in the first year. If you’re approved for the $75 annual fee, the fee will increase to $99 in the second year and each year after. That means up to 33% of your credit limit will go toward the annual fee.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Fair
  • Annual Fee: $0 to $75 the first year; $0 to $99 after that
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 24.9%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: $0 in the first year; $5 or 5% of the cash advance amount after that
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 1% of the transaction
  • Signup bonus: None offered

View details about this credit card. 

About Our Reviews We are committed to researching and recommending the best financial solutions and products for our readers. The Balance has partnered with CardRatings and may receive commissions from links within our content, but these have no bearing on our reviews or recommendations. The above content has not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any card issuers prior to publishing.