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Compare unsecured credit cards for bad or poor credit

These unsecured credit cards can help you rebuild credit.

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Our pick for rebuilding credit: Petal 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Petal 1

$0

Annual fee

  • See if you're preapproved without impacting your credit score
  • Get up to 10% back from select merchants
  • High credit limits from $500 to $5,000
Apply now

Having a low credit score can make it difficult to rebuild your credit, as many of the more coveted cards will be out of reach. But just because you have a low credit score doesn’t mean you can’t get a credit card that works for you.

Certain unsecured credit cards are targeted at those with credit scores under 650 or with no credit score at all. These cards generally have lower credit lines and fewer benefits than more premium credit cards but are good stepping stones to building your credit.

This guide takes a look at the top unsecured credit cards for bad or no credit and what to do if you’re denied.

Our top picks for unsecured credit cards for bad or no credit

These cards offer some excellent perks considering they’re designed for people with no or poor credit.

Petal 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Petal 1
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The Petal 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card is Petal’s newest card for credit-building. Unlike the Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card, the Petal 1 is designed so that those with a prior history of poor credit can apply and potentially qualify. While this card doesn’t share the “no fee” structure of the Petal 2, it does carry no annual fee and requires no security deposit, making it a strong choice for rebuilding credit without taxing your bank account.

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit
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The Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is a basic starter credit card that’s aimed at helping those with bad credit recover. This card earns 1% cash back on all purchases and offers flexible payment due dates, helping you to consistently make payments on time. Note that the card has an annual fee that ranges from $0 to $99.

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
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While the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card may carry a $99 annual fee after the first year, the card does allow you to prequalify which can help avoid the credit ding of a hard pull on your score. Plus, depending on your credit score, Celtic Bank may waive the annual fee entirely. Just take care to make your payments on time: the Indigo Platinum sports a high penalty APR of 29.9% and late fees of up to $40.

What if you’re not approved?

If you’re rejected for an unsecured credit card, try calling the credit card company’s reconsideration line. This number is usually printed on the rejection letter the bank sends you 7 to 10 days after it makes its lending decision. Ask the customer service representative why you were denied and if you can work with them to reconsider the bank’s decision.

Consider applying for a secured credit card if you don’t have one already. Secured credit cards require a cash deposit upfront that acts as the credit line for the card. While these tend to have smaller credit limits or unfavorable fees, lenders are more likely to approve someone with bad or no credit for a secured card because they can apply the collateral to the card’s balance if you miss a payment.

Secured credit cards act similarly to an unsecured card on your credit report, as long as the lender reports to all three credit bureaus, so make sure to keep up on your payments. Keep in mind that late payments will still hurt your score even if your cash collateral is used to cover a missed payment. Check out our guide to secured credit cards for more information.

When you apply for a credit card and are rejected, this can show up on your credit report as a hard pull. Wait a few months to apply for another card, then apply for a card that offers guaranteed approval if you meet the requirements or does a soft pull on your credit report. That way you’ll avoid damaging your credit score even further.
Build your credit without a credit card

Moving from a secured to unsecured credit card

After a year of making on-time payments to your secured credit card, give your bank a call. If your credit score is over 650, there’s a chance the lender will offer to convert your secured card to an unsecured card.

Once your card’s converted, you should receive your deposit from your secured card. If your bank doesn’t offer to convert your secured card, check your credit score. A score over 700 should qualify you for an unsecured credit card. Consider switching to a secured card with a more lenient or transparent process for converting to an unsecured card.

Further improving your credit

If you’re approved for an unsecured or secured credit card, you’re already on track to improving your credit score. Make sure to manage your credit card properly by making regular, on-time payments. Keep your balances low and make sure to pay off any accounts in collections. Check out our guide to improving your credit score for more information.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score. Most credit card issuers give you free access to your FICO score. If you don’t yet have a credit card, free credit monitoring software like Credit Sesame will give you free access to your credit score and history.

Unsecured credit cards for no credit

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter values Minimum deposit required Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
Destiny Mastercard
N/A
24.9% fixed
$59 to $99
300
An unsecured credit card for building credit with the option to see if you prequalify before applying.
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% variable
$0 to $99
300
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or in categories based on Credit One Bank’s discretion.
Applied Bank® Unsecured Classic Visa® Card
N/A
29.99% fixed
$75 intro annual fee for the first year ($45 thereafter)
300
An unsecured credit card for building credit with reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
Surge Mastercard® Credit Card
You may be asked to make a deposit for a secured card
25.9% to 29.99% variable
$75 to $99
580
An unsecured credit-building card with a $0 fee on cash advances for the first 12 months, then 5% or $5. This is a rare offer among similar cards.
Petal 1
N/A
19.99% to 29.49% variable
$0
550
A high-limit no-annual-fee credit card that's ideal for rebuilding scores as low as 550. See if you prequalify with no impact to your credit.
Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card
You may be asked to make a deposit for a secured card
25.9% to 29.99% variable
$75 to $99
580
Made for people with poor credit who want an unsecured credit card. It can help you build credit, but watch out for high fees and interest.
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% variable
$0 to $99
300
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or in categories based on Credit One Bank’s discretion.
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
N/A
24.9% fixed
$0 to $99
580
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically designed for those with less than perfect credit.
Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
N/A
24.9% fixed
$35 to $99
580
All the benefits of Mastercard Gold for those with less than perfect credit.
First Access Visa® Card
N/A
34.99% fixed
$75 intro annual fee for the first year ($48 thereafter)
300
Build or rebuild your credit with this Visa credit card.
Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card
N/A
34.99% fixed
$75 intro annual fee for the first year ($48 thereafter)
300
Enjoy manageable monthly payments with monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus.
First Digital Mastercard®
N/A
35.99% fixed
$75 intro annual fee for the first year ($48 thereafter)
300
An unsecured card for applicants with no credit history or a poor credit score.
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Bottom line

Even if you have no credit at all, you can still find unsecured credit cards out there that may be a good fit for your financial situation. While these credit cards typically don’t offer high credit lines or many perks, using them responsibly and paying off your balance each month will help you qualify for better credit cards.

If you’re still having a hard time getting approved for one of these unsecured credit cards, you might want to look at our top picks for secured credit cards. Once you’ve had the card for at least a year and have proven you’re capable of making on-time repayments each month, you may be able to upgrade to the unsecured version of the card. If not, try reapplying for one of these other unsecured cards once your credit score has improved.

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