9 Best Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit
You ended up with bad credit. Its good. It can happen to anyone. A missed payment, an unexpected medical bill sent to collections, and – bam, your credit plummets. You don’t have to feel too guilty about it. Credit does not define who you are. But it is your responsibility to fix your bad credit.
One of the best ways to start fixing your credit score is to apply for unsecured credit cards.
What is an unsecured credit card?
An unsecured card is a credit card that you have not secured with collateral like you do with a secured card or secured debt, such as a mortgage. Because there is no collateral attached to this card, banks have a higher level of risk when lending to you. Not everyone will qualify for an unsecured card because of their credit. Most unsecured cards will require a good to excellent credit rating. Some are for users with fair credit, in the 580-669 range.
If you have a credit score between 400 and 500, you may need to start with a secured credit card to rack up debt and then apply for an unsecured card later in the loan. If you apply for an unsecured card and are approved, your interest rates will vary depending on your creditworthiness.
Best Unsecured Credit Cards for Building Credit
You can build credit in several different ways. You can increase your use of credit and diversify your types of credit. Requesting unsecured cards does both simultaneously. You will increase your credit mix and you will increase your credit limit. Both of these things are good for credit reporting agencies. They see you as responsible for your credit and will slowly increase your score as you get your card.
1. Destiny Mastercard®
Annual dues: $75 the first year; $99 next year
Destiny is a company designed for people with less than perfect credit. They have a decent APR compared to other cards on this list and moderate annual fees. But like all the cards on this list, you don’t have to post any security to qualify for this card. And you can prequalify without affecting your credit score. They also report to all three credit bureaus, so as long as you’re in good standing, your credit will bounce back.
2. Revvi Map
Annual fee: $75 the first year. After that, $48 per year.
Revvi has over 1,340,074 customers. And its card designed for credit recovery offers 1% cash back on every payment you make, not something every card on this list offers. However, this card has an account management fee of $6.25 per month. You start with a usable balance of $225, after maintenance fees are deducted. And after one year, you have full access to all card products, including cash advances.
3. Indigo® Mastercard®
Annual fee: $75 the first year; $99 next year
Indigo® Mastercard® is another great card if you’re looking to build credit. They pride themselves on taking care of users who may not have had a perfect credit history. The card has a lower APR than some of the other cards on our list. And you can shop anywhere Mastercard is accepted. They even have in-app purchases. Indigo reports to all three credit bureaus, so no matter what credit check someone might need – Indigo will show up in accounts.
4. First Access Visa® card
Annual fee: $75 the first year. After that, $48 per year.
Although the First Access Visa® card has higher interest rates than some on our list, it has a lower annual fee. It has a monthly maintenance fee of $8.25 which amounts to $99 per year and a one-time program fee of $95. You’ll receive a card limit of $300 on this card, and your annual fee will roll out of that limit — so you’ll have access to $225 when you get your card.
5. Reflex Mastercard®
Annual fee: from $75 to $99
APR: 24.99% to 29.99% variable
Continental Finance’s Reflex Mastercard® is a card designed for people with no or no credit, making it one of the easiest cards to get on this list. Continental Finance allows users to have up to $1,000 in credit, depending on what you qualify for. But what’s unique about this card is that once you’ve made 6 months of full and on-time payments, they’ll double your credit limit from $1,000 to $2,000. Doubling the limit lowers your debt-to-utilization ratio and is especially good for your credit score. Continental Finance also reports to all three offices.
6. Milestone® Mastercard®
Annual fee: $35 per year
Milestone® Mastercard® has the best annual fees on this list. Its lower annual fees allow you to spend more money building up credit and less on the card itself. The card reports to all three credit bureaus, so you are building credit while using this card. Unfortunately, your limit depends on your credit score, so the better your credit, the higher your limit. You’ll want at least a 580 credit score to apply, or they’ll recommend trying their secure partner card.
7. Total Visa® Card
Annual fee: $75 the first year, $49 thereafter
This map is one of the most popular maps on this list. More than 90,000 people request it every month. There is a one-time service fee of $89 in addition to the annual fee. The second year there is a monthly maintenance fee of $6.25. They require the program fee to activate the card, but you have up to two months to pay the program fee. Failure to do so will result in your application being returned – but this will still count as a strain on your credit, so you want to be very sure before applying for this card that you have the money to fund the scheme. As a bonus, however, they report to all three credit bureaus and boast a robust mobile app.
8. First digital Mastercard®
Annual fee: $75 the first year. After that, $48 per year
Like some of the other cards on our list, this card also has a $98 program fee. After the first year, they have a monthly maintenance fee of $8.25, which will be taken out of your account and must be paid monthly. The card starts with a limit of $300, and your annual fee of $75 will be taken from that amount, bringing your balance down to $225. Pay the card and your balance will go back up to $300. The card has 2,500 5-star reviews.
9. FIT Mastercard®
Annual fee: $99
Fit Mastercard® is different from the other cards on this list because it has no minimum interest charge. This card has a maintenance fee, billed monthly at $6.25. But it falls under the three credit bureaus and you start with a limit of $400 which doubles to $800 if you show yourself responsible for your credit.
If your credit is bad, getting one of these unsecured credit cards for bad credit could put you on the path to fixing it. Just be sure to use your card wisely and make sure you make your payment on time each month.
Karen Doyle contributed reporting for this article.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise specified, prices are updated periodically. All other account information is accurate as of September 28, 2022.
Editorial note: This content is not provided by any entity covered by this article. Any opinions, analyses, criticisms, evaluations, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.