Are you having a hard time with bad credit? You may be getting overwhelmed with late payments, judgment payments, or simply unable to access new credit cards? Your bad credit score can feel like being stranded in a deep hole with your hands tied behind you.
The simple things you took for granted are now herculean tasks. Like renting an apartment, purchasing a vehicle, getting a cell phone contract, etc., suddenly every financial activity has a higher risk of being denied or coming with unbearably high-interest rates. You are not the only one facing this Catch-22.
Take a deep breath. The list we bring you for the best guaranteed approval credit card for bad credit can get you out of the seemingly inescapable dilemma. These credit cards are designed for bad credits like yours.
There are two credit card options for you: secured and unsecured credit cards. While the former will require a secured deposit payment against the credit limit, the latter will have you contend with higher APRs, fees, and charges than usual.
Whichever option you prefer, you need the right lending partner and the know-how to help you improve your credit scores quickly. This is what we have prepared for you; a workable solution and helpful information to put your credit back on track.
List Of Top Companies For The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
- Open Sky – Overall Best Credit Card For Bad Credit
- Surge – Most Trusted Company For Unsecured Credit Card
- First Access – Best Credit Card Services To Rebuild Credit
- Fit Mastercard – High Chances Of Approval For Credit Card For Beginners
- Reflex Mastercard– Popular For Bad Credit Score Credit Cards For Small Businesses
#1. OpenSky – Overall Best Credit Card For Bad Credit
Compared to others in the class of secured credit cards for bad credit, OpenSky Secured Visa credit card is your best option for rebuilding your credit score to a better level and beyond.
In brief, this card offers one of the lowest entry barriers, low cost, easily achieved credit utilization ratio, and a curated plan to keep you improving your credit score rapidly.
OpenSky does not require a credit check for approval. This makes OpenSky the ideal pathway for bad credit or if you do not have any credit history.
You are required to make a fully refundable security deposit between $200 and $3,000, which will determine the credit line of credit you receive. The ability to obtain a $3,000 credit makes this card one of the high credit limit cards on the market, though not the highest.
You have multiple payment options to make your deposit payment. Which eliminates the need for a bank account; you can pay through a third-party account or money order. In the future, you can increase your credit limit further by increasing your security deposit.
Credit utilization ratio, the second-highest component in calculating the FICO(r) score, is the ratio of debt to total credit available to you. The lower the percentage, the better points you get on your minimum credit score(up to 30%).
OpenSky Secured Visa levies an indiscriminate 17.39% Annual Percentage Rate (APR), so you do not have to worry about a variable range. This level of APR is very close to the average national interest rate of 16.13% (as of 15th December 2021).
Most cards charge more than OpenSky by 3% and 5%, and some have variable APR based on creditworthiness. You are bound to appreciate this lower interest rate.
You will also pay an annual fee of $35. This is a low rate on the market. Many card issuers in this category charge half as much or more.
OpenSky Secured Visa credit card gives you the benefits of a Visa card and includes global recognition.
Your monthly progress gets reported to the major credit bureaus, including Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. It allows you to build your credit quickly.
Additionally, you are provided with tools to track and manage your account. For example, you can track payments, set up auto on time payments and alerts. So, you do not miss a payment and track credit limits consistently.
Despite these great attractions, note that you will not receive reward perks of any kind in an OpenSky Secured Visa credit card. Some cards in this category allow you to earn money for spending. If your aim is to build better credit, then a lack of spending incentive removes the temptation to overspend.
Another downside is a lack of opportunity to upgrade to normal credit cards. Many cards give this option. Then again, if you acquire a good FICO score, your options for an unsecured card expand tremendously.
OpenSky Secured Visa card levies other charges, such as a $10 monthly fee for the first 12 months of inactivity. Be sure to take note of these when applying.
While there may be better options for a few of its offers, OpenSky Secure Visa credit card is a first amongst equals to improve credit in a focused, disciplined and quick manner.
- Lowest entry barrier – no credit check
- A security deposit range from $200 to $3,000
- Upgrading your security deposit to increase your credit limit
- No bank account required
- Low APR across all approvals
- Monthly credit status reporting to all major credit bureaus.
- World-Wide accepted Visa card.
- Purposefully designed for bad credit score
- Low-interest rates and charges
- Helpful educational materials provided
- No reward perks
#2. Surge Mastercard – Most Trusted Company For Unsecured Credit Card
Ideal when you have a bad credit score and do not have much to put up a security deposit but want to improve your credit score.
In brief, Surge offers a cautious but low entry barrier for all grades of credit, including those who need to improve their credit score, obtain credit limit without a security deposit, access Mastercard’s international payment system, and its benefits.
Surge Mastercard is an unsecured credit card. Therefore, your application is pre-qualified and does not affect your credit score. This means you could be denied approval, unlike OpenSky’s access-to-all system. However, it is worth the effort because, as we have stated earlier, it would not affect your credit score, plus this is an unsecured credit card.
Once approved, you get a credit limit starting from $300, depending on your creditworthiness. This can be doubled after six months if you stay in disciplined compliance with payment regimes. The maximum limit for this card is $1,000.
This card has a high APR compared to other cards in its category or purpose. It starts from 24.99% to 29.99% according to your creditworthiness when opening the account (variable). You should note where you fall in the range. Cash advance attracts a charge of $5.
There is also an annual fee between $75 and $99 (variable). The amount is, again, dependent on individual creditworthiness. From the second year onwards, the annual fee will be charged at $99.
A maintenance fee of between $0 – $10 is charged monthly and takes effect after the first 12 months. Meaning you will not be charged monthly maintenance fees in the first 12 months, but you could be set back by $120 annually.
There is also a one-time $30 fee for an additional card (or authorized user). Late payment and return payment penalties of $40 are applicable in each case. There is no minimum interest rate on this card.
The charges levied by Surge Mastercard Credit card are pretty high. Noteworthy is that some of the setup and maintenance fees are deducted from the credit limit issued. Assuming you are assigned the highest charges, you could be looking at $219 for the second year (excluding any penalties or interests incurred) So, factor this into your calculation when considering Surge.
Surge helps you with tools and benefits suitable for rebuilding credits, including tracking and managing your account online and mobile. There is also a knowledge base to help keep you informed. 100% Fraud protection included. Surge reports monthly on your status to all three major credit bureaus. They also provide you with a monthly credit report, helping to keep you informed on your credit status.
Considering the higher than average charges of Surge Mastercard Credit card, why did our team choose it as the best. Bad credit is a crisis that should be dealt with as soon as it occurs. Surge provides the means (credit limit without secured deposit), tools (credit card, account tracking, and management platform), and its benefits (Mastercard payment platform) to rebuild.
If you view the charges as spending deterrents or have limited options left, then this card is for you. With practically nothing, you could be doubling your credit limit in 6 months!
- Best for improving your credit score
- The pre-qualification process does not affect credit score
- No security deposit
- Easy to track account activities and manage credit score indicators
- Mastercard payment platform benefits
- Unsecure card with no deposit required
- Double the credit limit after 6 months
- Tools for tracking and managing the account
- Mastercard platform facilities
- Monthly credit scores
- No rewards
- High-interest rates
- High cost of operating the credit card
#3. First Access Card – Best Credit Card Services To Rebuild Credit
First Access Card is a Visa card payment platform ideal for those with bad credit scores, no immediate cash, and a determination to rebuild your credit score with discipline.
It is an unsecured credit card, meaning you do not need a security deposit. However, it has an initial credit limit of $300, fees and charges that are considerably higher than others, some introductory bonuses, and a fast application processing turnaround.
If you are struggling for a chance to rebuild your credit score, then the First Access card has tailored its program for you. They have a straightforward, online-enabled, and swift approval process for applicants. They are open to bad or no credit history applicants. A $95 program (sign-on) fee once approved.
Their APR is 34.99%, which is on the high side of the industry. A minimum interest of $1 is applicable. Many cards have no minimum interest charge. For the first year, you pay an annual fee of $75. Subsequently, it reduces to $48 annually. This may be an attempt to attract responsible spenders.
The monthly servicing fee for the first year is waived but charged at $8.25 per month after 12 months (that is $99.00 per annum). Though this is high, some credit cards charge a little higher than this. Cash advance fees are waived for the first year, but you will pay $10.00 per or 3% (whichever is higher). Additionally, late payments and returned payments each attract a $40 fee.
There are cards with lower charges. If you have a bad credit score, you should avoid having balances. First Access Card is the last resort for a disciplined desperate person with bad credit and no funds for a security deposit. Otherwise, there are better options.
- Visa payment platform for worldwide financial reach
- Unsecured credit limit of $300.00
- Monthly reporting on status to major credit bureaus
- Simplified application process with fast approval turnaround
- All credit score categories accepted
- It does not say whether the approval process would affect credit score
- Applicable to bad credit scores
- Some waivers for the first year
- Swift and efficient approval process
- High fees and charges
- Sign on fees
- The risk of rejection could affect credit scores further.
#4. FIT Mastercard – High Chances Of Approval For Credit Card For Beginners
FIT Mastercard is another credit card for bad or poor credit that does not require a security deposit but would appeal to a niche set of clientele. In brief: a card that accepts any type of credit; provides a credit limit of $400; which could be doubled after 6 months but levies heavy and consistent fees and charges, and does not require a security deposit.
FIT is a product of Continental Finance Company. They own similar products, which makes them a knowledgeable market player. There are no restrictions to the type of credit you can apply with. An application can be submitted online, which is swift, convenient, and efficient.
FIT comes laden with higher fees and charges that you should take careful note of. Upon approval, you would get an initial credit limit of $400.00 without paying a security deposit. Staying in payment compliance with the program for 6 months would qualify you to double this amount.
With approval also comes an obligation to make a one-off processing fee of $89.00. After which, an account will be set up for you. FIT APR, both for purchases and cash advance, is 29.99%. Additional charges include an annual fee of $99.00 and a monthly maintenance fee of $6.25 per month. If you require an additional card, it comes with a cost of $30.00.
Note, FIT Mastercard will deduct the annual fee and card charges (if it applies) before you start using the card. Why is this important? Your initial credit limit of $400.00 will be $301.00 (i.e., $400.00 – $99.00), or even lower if you opt for an additional card.
Additional charges kick in for cash advance, $5.00 or 5% (whichever is greater), and foreign transaction $3.00 for each transaction in US dollars. Some cards do not charge foreign transaction fees. Also, late payment and return payment each attract a penalty of $40.00.
This is on the high side of the industry. These fees and charges could leave you with balances to carry, which is not ideal when improving your credit. You could get lower APRs with a similar category of credit cards.
So, your consideration should include your ability to qualify for a better APR and charges. You would not want to carry balances on your card when you aim to improve your credit score.
If you have poor credit and lack a security deposit. If you are confident of your control over spending and payments and want to improve your credit score quickly, then this could work for you.
To assist you with keeping in compliance with payments and good spending habits, FIT provides tools to help smoothen the process. A monthly status update of financial activities is sent to all three major credit agencies.
You can opt-in for online and mobile app tools to track and manage your account. You could also set email alerts and auto payment options, not miss a payment schedule.
So, if you need an easy entry into the credit card system, want to build up your credit score quickly, have the tools to stay on top of your monitoring and evaluation of your credit building program, and possess the discipline to follow through on all payment requirements, then FIT is as good as any of the best out there. Faster, but probably more expensive.
- Open to all credit scores
- Good starting credit limit, which can double in 6 month
- Loaded with high charges and fees
- The fast, efficient, and easily accessible application process
- Good product for improving credit score
- Support tools for tracking and managing the account
- Access to Mastercard payment platform benefits
- $400 credit limit upon approval
- Doubling of limit in 6 months (depending on payment compliance)
- Diverse support tools
- All credit scores applicable
- Status reporting to major credit reporting bureaus
- High APRs
- High and several charges
- No rewards
- Foreign transaction charges
- High upfront charges
#5. Reflex Mastercard – Popular For Bad Credit Score Credit Cards For Small Businesses
Reflex Mastercard Credit Card is like candy-coated sour medicine. It is for determined people with bad credit and limited options. It is simply based on the significant fees and charges it comes with.
Reflex is an unsecured credit card, open to all credit types. It has a high initial credit limit but is weighed down with fees, interests, and charges. You have to tread carefully to improve your credit score with this card.
Reflex Mastercard Credit card is part of the Continental Financial Company products, so it uses some of Continental’s financial infrastructure.
Think of it like Ford Taurus and the Ford Edge, the same chassis, different car models, serving different tastes.
Reflex is open to all credit types; get pre-qualified without affecting your score, which is a good thing. Approval can be in minutes but could take up to 30 days in some special cases. Unlike Continental Finance’s other products, Reflex does not charge a program sign-on fee, which reduces the burden of the charges on this card.
The initial credit limit is between $300.00 and $1,000.00, depending on your creditworthiness on approval. However, if you follow the payment requirements diligently, the initial amount doubles, giving you some breathing space to grow your credit utilization ratio for a better credit score.
Flex charges a variable APR between 24.99% and 29.99%. An initial annual fee of between $75.00 and $99.00 is also applicable for the first year, whereafter, it is pegged at $99.00.
A monthly maintenance fee between $0 and $10.00 is waived for the first year (12 months). That is $120.00 annually in subsequent years. An additional card will drill your pocket by $30.00.
Then comes transactional charges; cash advance attracts $5.00 or 5% (the greater applies), foreign transactions attract 0 – 3% in USD on each transaction. Penalty fees are $40.00 for late payment and returned payment, separately.
This credit card is on the Mastercard payment platform. You enjoy zero liability protection and access to global marketplace purchases. Furthermore, by enrolling for e-statements, you receive a monthly credit score free of charge. Reflex notifies the three apex credit agencies of your account activities monthly.
You can also access a knowledge base to help you stay abreast with developments in the industry. Additionally, you get online and mobile app tools to monitor and manage your account and credit score improvement.
Reflex Mastercard credit card carries substantial fees and charges. Just marginally lighter than FIT Mastercard Credit card and First Access and similar to Surge Mastercard credit card.
There are better options out there. However, as we have indicated, these products are designed with a niche market in mind. That is why we also selected them as the best for those markets.
To choose Reflex, be focused and determined to use the efficient tools, good credit limit, and credit improvement best practices to quickly improve your credit score and seek a more beneficial option.
- The attractive credit limit with a clear chance of doubling in 6 months
- Efficient tools to support and improve credit scores
- Some waivers in annual fees
- Substantial fees and charges
- Open to all card types
- A good entry point if you have bad credits score
- Mastercard global payment platform and services
- Regular updates to credit bureaus
- Full fraud protection
- Monthly free e-statement credit scores
- No negative impact on credit score for pre-qualification
- The good credit limit for bad credit scores
- Well developed pathway for improving credit scores
- Full fraud protection
- Good tools to support healthy spending and payment habits
- High fees and charges
- No rewards for using the card
How We Made This List Of The Best Credit Cards With Instant Approval
Our team developed a framework to evaluate cards on the market. It allows for a fair and unbiased yardstick and ranking of each card we assessed.
- APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
As a norm, credit cards for bad credits have higher interest rates than the current industry average. They can even come with stiff penalties. Our aim is to get you the best so, the APR rates also influence standings on our list.
Credit cards for bad credit can levy many fees and costs on their services, such as security deposit, annual, monthly, inactive, program fees, and hidden fees. If the card requires a security deposit, we check the range of the deposit. Locking up large sums of money may not be ideal for most people with bad credit. The lower the fees and costs, the better.
- Credit limit
Our team checked for the credit limit and flexibility the card has on this limit. A higher limit helps you keep the number of transactions to reduce charges. On the other hand, a stiff low limit could increase your card utilization cost.
Cards that offer rewards, incentives and promote good credit-building habits are choice cards. Reduced security deposit, regular update of credit standing to credit bureaus, credit score tracking, etc. count.
- Entry Barrier
No matter how good the terms of the credit cards, you have to get approved to become useful. The difficulty in getting approval for the credit card is an important factor our team considers.
What You Should Know When Looking for Best Credit Card for Bad Credits
Now that we have introduced and discussed with you each of the best credit cards for bad credit scores that we picked, we will now touch briefly on what you should look out for when making your choice:
- Credit Report
Before beginning your search, make sure you know your credit score. You get one from the apex credit reporting bureau if you have not exhausted your free copies yet. If you have a FICO score below 580, you are in that category where lenders at best ask for additional security.
To improve your credit score, reduce your debt load, if possible, by paying off some of your debts. The less, the better.
Look for cards that either invite all applicants or have a bad credit score or at least match your credit score.
- Credit Limit
Credit utilization is the ratio of your borrowing against the credit limit available to you. The lower the ratio, the more positive contribution your credit score gets. This ratio counts for 35% of your credit score calculation.
Therefore look for cards offering high credit limits, so you stay in a good ratio. Most experts state that a 30% credit utilization ratio is the optimum limit.
This means, if you have a credit limit of $200.00, you should limit your borrowing to $60 for a $1,000.00 credit limit of 30% is $300. The difference is in credit limit matters.
An aggressive plan to rebuild your credit could be 10% of a higher credit limit.
- Security Deposit
If you are going for a secured credit card, check the security requirement deposit. The higher the security deposit asked for, the heavier the strain you put on yourself. Be candid with yourself on how much cash you can tie down.
- Annual Percentage Rate (Apr)
You should make low APR very important in your search. Any balance you carry could potentially make heavy weather of your credit score rebuilding effort.
Be pragmatic, though; bad credit attracts high APRs as the lender tries to balance their risks for credits going bad. You are likely to see high APRs on credit cards for bad credits, so disciplined payments to avoid carrying a balance over should be your best practice.
- Fees And Charges
Credit cards for bad credit are risky business for both the lender and the borrower. The lenders thus levy several charges to mitigate their risk. Therefore, you should be meticulous in assessing the fees and charges to confirm the level of risk you are going to carry.
Always err on the side of caution and follow the cardinal principle of prudence; if someone has a hold on it, do not count earned just yet. Do not accept high charges and fees in anticipation of a promise. Work with what you have now.
- Customer Reviews
We live in a world where collective opinion like customer reviews makes a difference. Read customer reviews to get an idea of the service and practices of the card issuer.
The product (credit card) may seem attractive and inviting but confirm the collective feeling of the customers.
FAQs About Credit Cards For Bad Credit
Can I Fix My Bad Credit?
Yes, it is possible to fix your bad credit. Your credit score is a dynamic system that changes with your financial activities. The key is to understand how it works and take action.
Simplistically, your credit score is calculated using:
- the track record of how you paid your bills in the past, a history with timely bill payment is priceless (35%);
- How much of your credit is in debt: credit utilization ratio? The lower the ratio, the better (30%),
- How long have you operated your accounts, and what specific accounts are they? A longer duration is considered more dependable (15%),
- new credits you have applied for. Diversification of the credit is beneficial in the long term (10%)
- . Maintaining diversity in your credits indicates that lenders than options in getting their lending back (10%)
Fixing credit score takes time, focus, and discipline:
- Check your credit report for any errors, especially if you find a sudden abnormality in your credit scores. Dispute records you find incorrect by contacting the reporting agency or bureau and the lending agency.
- Timely payment of bills is very important. Try to stay current with your payments and if you are unable to, engage your lenders or a professional credit counselor.
- Stay within a minimum balance on your credit cards. It is better to pay off your debt than rotate it on credit cards.
- Only open credit cards you absolutely need and keep the unused credit card open. This will help improve your score in the long term.
- Work within a defined time when shopping for credit. Sketch out a specific timeframe, search and close that activity. Do not make it a routine affair; else, it will affect your scores.
Bad Credit Score Credit Card: Conclusion
Although bad credit can disrupt life’s essential balance, it can be fixed with the right mindset and lending partners, such as the list our team has brought to you.
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit cards offer the most flexible, low-entry, and low-cost approach to repair bad credit.
Surge Mastercard Credit card, and Reflex Mastercard Credit card are similar products that provide pre-qualification for bad credits and unsecured credit limits. However, they have higher than industry standard fees, charges, and APR.
If options are limited and you consider them as a last resort, you should maintain a rigid financial discipline and effort to improve credit scores quickly.
First Access Credit Card and FIT Mastercard Credit Card have slightly higher charges and fees than the previous two. Certainly, there are better options on the market. Their appeal is in their efficiency of processing and credit limit offered.