Sure, having poor credit is a crummy situation to be in. You probably won’t qualify for loans. And, don’t even think about getting a rewards or perk-heavy credit card. But, your predicament is just temporary. If you have poor credit, there are certain credit cards out there to help you repair your bad credit.
Be prepared. Credit cards for people with poor credit will have annual fees, carry high APRs and require security deposits (also known as secured credit cards). What’s considered poor credit? If you have credit scores of less than 550, you fall under this category of borrowers.
But, with consistent on-time monthly payments on a secured credit card, you’ll be well on your way to rebuilding your credit.
We’ve scoured the many credit cards that would fit people with bad credit. Here’s MyBankTracker’s list of best credit cards for people with poor credit:
Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Time is your friend when it comes to building credit. So, get started right away with the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® because of it’s low minimum security deposit of just $49, which gets you a minimum $200 credit limit (you have 80 days to deposit the full $200).
Add more deposits and you could obtain a credit limit of up to $3,000 — Capital One will even raise your credit with no additional deposits if you exhibit good credit behavior.
And, Capital One offers just the right tool to help you stick to your goal of rebuilding good credit. The free Credit Tracker tool simulates various credit situations and you get a free monthly TransUnion credit score. Use them together to monitor your credit improvement.
The card does have an annual fee of $29 and an regular APR of 22.9%. The annual fee is reasonable while the APR is slightly higher than you’d like. It’s why you shouldn’t carry a balance on the card. Still, the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® stands as our top recommendation because it’ll help you start rebuilding credit faster (low initial security deposit) and smarter (Credit Tracker tool).
- Pros: Low min. security deposit; free credit education tool
- Cons: Relatively high APR
First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card
Already know what you need to do to repair your credit? You probably just need a simple credit card to get you back on track. The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card fits the bill with its no-frills card program.
The card has an annual fee of $29 and a variable APR of 19.99% — both are rather “average” compared to other secured credit cards out there. Your initial credit limit can range from $300 to $2,000, equivalent to your opening security deposit. You can then deposit more to get a credit line of up to $5,000.
Your account is reported to the three major credit bureaus so all you have to worry about is making your payments on time. Ideally, you pay your balances in full so that you’re not paying any interest charges.
- Pros: Low annual fee
- Cons: Not a good card to carry a balance
First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card
While we never recommend carrying a balance, but there may be occasions when it is not a choice. No worries. Here is a card that will help you minimize interest paid thanks to its extremely low APR: the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card.
For an annual fee of $49, you get an variable APR of just 11.99%. You’d even have trouble getting that interest rate on an unsecured card! The card’s credit limit is the same for all First Progress card: $300 to $2,000 upon account opening, depending your security deposit; there’s the option to increase the limit up to $5,000.
We suggest that you get this card only if you anticipate carrying a balance. Otherwise, you’d be much better off with another card on this list.
- Pros: Low APR
- Cons: High annual fee
USAA Secured Credit Card
USAA offers a great secured credit card, but you might have a tough time getting it — it is only available to those connected to the military.
The USAA Secured Credit Card has an annual fee of $35 and a very low variable APR of 9.9%. The credit line can vary range from $250 to $5,000. The great feature of the card is that the security deposit is held in a 2-year USAA certificate of deposit (CD) that earns interest.
Compared to many other secured credit cards, this card is hard to beat. However, the ultimate downside is that the card is only available to consumers with a U.S. military affiliation.
- Pros: Low APR; security deposit held in interest-bearing account
- Cons: Available only with U.S. military affiliation
Noteworthy Alternative: American Express Serve
When your credit has tanked, it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to stay away from credit cards for some time. After all, there’s always the temptation of going back into debt. Why not work on improving your financial habits instead? The American Express Serve prepaid card is a great way to do that.
Serve stands as our most recommended prepaid debit card because of its extremely-friendly fee policy. For instance, the ATM fees can easily be avoided by using any of the 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs. Cash loads are free through select retailers, direct deposit, mobile check deposit and more.
Yes, there is a $1 monthly fee, but it is very easy to avoid — we show you how to avoid the Serve’s monthly fees.
Once you feel that you’re ready to jump into credit again, revisit this list to find the credit card that will help you rebuild your credit.
- Pros: Low fees
- Cons: Doesn’t help improve credit
Remember, the American Express Serve prepaid card does not do anything to actually improve your credit. If your goal is to boost your credit immediately, we think that your best option is the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®.
Do you actually have fair credit (credit scores of 550 to 640)? See MyBankTracker’s list of best fair-credit credit cards to further improve your credit without having to put down a security deposit as collateral.
Disclaimer: MyBankTracker was not paid to publish this content, which was not provided, commissioned, reviewed, approved, or endorsed by the company whose products are featured. We may be compensated through an advertiser’s affiliate programs.