10 Best Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit (2017)

10 Best Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit 2017

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: October 4, 2017
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Despite the best efforts and intentions, debt can become a problem for anyone. Thankfully, consumers have a variety of options for dealing with debt, including debt relief programs and (as a last resort) bankruptcy.

The real problem with personal debt comes from its lasting credit effects, which can tank your credit score if payments are missed or defaulted on completely. Rebuilding your credit is possible, however, and can be made significantly easier with the right credit card.

Secured Cards | Unsecured Cards | Approval Tips

The Best “Secured Cards” for Rebuilding Credit

Requiring an initial deposit to open, secured credit cards are typically easier to obtain than unsecured cards, especially for those with low scores or rocky credit reports. Additionally, the size of the deposit you make can determine your credit limit, so those who would only qualify for small limits on unsecured cards may be able to obtain a larger limit with a secured card.

When comparing secured cards, you’ll want to look at many of the same things as for any other credit card, including the interest rate charged on carried balances. You’ll also want to compare annual fees, which will typically vary from $0 to $50 for secured credit cards. Our top picks for secured cards all report to the three major bureaus, ensuring your card use will contribute to your credit-rebuilding efforts.

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

With no annual fee, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is an affordable option for rebuilding your credit. Although your initial credit limit will be restricted to $200, requiring a deposit of $49 to $200 depending on your individual credit, you can qualify for a higher credit limit after just five months of responsible card use.

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% for 6 months
23.99% Variable
$0
Please refer to issuer's website

Somewhat of a rarity in the realm of secured credit cards, the Discover it® Secured Card provides cardholders with healthy cash back rewards, including 2% back in restaurants and gas stations. Furthermore, you won’t even be charged an annual fee for the card.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review

at Capital Bank'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

2.9/5.0
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.39% (Variable)
$35
No Credit Check

While the OpenSky® Secured Visa® credit card charges an annual fee, applicants won’t need to undergo a credit check to qualify for the card. OpenSky also has a variety of resources and support options designed to provide a credit education to those struggling to rebuild.

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

at First Progress'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★
3.9

OVERALL RATING

2.9/5.0
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Our card reports monthly to all three major bureaus and approval is based upon a fully-refundable security deposit.
  • We can approve you at any credit score, no minimum required.
  • No processing or application fees required.
  • Full-featured Platinum MasterCard, accepted for car rentals, hotels, and millions of other locations worldwide.
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
9.99% (Variable)
$49
Bad / No Credit

Offering the lowest variable APR of our top picks, the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured credit card charges no processing or application fees. Unlike some other card options, applicants can also choose to have a larger credit limit, up to $2,000 depending on your deposit.

First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

at First Progress'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★
3.8

OVERALL RATING

2.7/5.0
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.99% (Variable)
$39
Bad Credit

The annual fee for the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured credit card is lower than that for the Prestige, but the APR is a bit higher. You can still choose your credit limit by putting down a deposit of up to $2,000.

+See More Secured Credit Cards

The Best “Unsecured Cards” for Rebuilding Credit

Unsecured credit cards, so-called because they don’t require a deposit or other collateral as security, are harder to obtain than secured cards. For those with poor credit, unsecured cards will not only be difficult to qualify for, but will likely charge fairly high interest rates and other fees.

When comparing unsecured credit cards, you’ll want to carefully analyze the APR, which will generally be in the 20% to 30% range. You’ll also need to research any annual fees, processing fees, or other usage fees that may be charged. All of our picks for unsecured cards will report to the three credit bureaus and offer easy online applications for quick decisions.

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Use your line of credit to shop over 450,000 items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
  • Fast, easy online application process and a quick decision
  • Not an access card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
$0
Poor Credit

A somewhat nontraditional option, a Fingerhut Credit Account can be used to purchase thousands of popular products through Fingerhut.com. Even better, your Fingerhut account won’t charge an annual fee, application fee, or other processing fees.

Total Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine VISA card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Processing Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Fair, Bad Credit

For the Total Visa® Card, everything from your APR and credit limit to your annual fee will be based on your credit, with initial credit limits maxing at $300. You’ll also be required to pay a processing fee to open your account and start making purchases.

Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

3.9/5.0
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Protection from fraud if your card is stolen
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.9%
$35 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

The Milestone® MasterCard® provides the same APR regardless of creditworthiness, but your annual fee will vary with your score when you apply. Some applicants may also be required to pay an account opening fee to establish an account.

First Access Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • Checking Account Required
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Processing Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Issued by Mid America Bank & Trust Company, founded 1920, Member: FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Bad Credit

Applicants for the First Access Visa® may receive an initial credit limit of up to $300 depending on their creditworthiness. In addition, your specific annual fee and APR will vary with your credit. Prospective cardholders will also need to pay a processing fee to open their accounts.

Indigo® MasterCard® for Less than Perfect Credit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★
3.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pre-qualify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • All credit histories considered
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.9%
$0 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

The Indigo® MasterCard® offers an initial credit limit up to $500, dependent upon your individual creditworthiness. Your specific APR and annual fee will also be based on your credit, with the most qualified candidates receiving lower rates and fees.

+See More Unsecured Credit Cards

Tips for Increasing Your Approval Chances

After making it through a rocky financial event that leaves your credit in ruins, starting over with a new credit card can be a key step to rebuilding your credit profile. After dealing with a credit-sinking event, however, the biggest worry might be whether you’ll even be approved for a new card.

The easiest way to ensure your approval odds are good is simply to apply for the right card — and the best way to know if the card is right is to get pre-qualified. Offered by most unsecured credit card issuers, getting pre-qualified (sometimes called pre-approved) for a credit card won’t impact your credit score and can be a good indicator of your approval chances. Remember that pre-qualification doesn’t guarantee approval.

Screenshot of Capital One Pre-Qualification Page

Pre-qualifying for a credit card can be a good indicator of approval upon application.

There may be ways you can better your approval odds by improving your credit score, as well. Five separate factors influence your credit score, so, depending on the nature of your poor credit, you may be able to improve one or more impacted factors.

For example, a large portion of your credit score is based on how much debt you currently owe (30%) across your accounts. Decreasing your current debt balances can drastically improve your score and, thus, increase your approval chances for new credit.

Another key to improving your approval odds for new credit is to avoid applying for multiple new lines of credit, regardless of type. This will help to ensure both your average account age (15%) and your new credit (10%) numbers don’t pull down your score.

Graphic of FICO Score Components

And you’ll definitely want to make sure that you’re paying all current credit accounts on time and as agreed. A huge part of your credit score is your payment history (35%), and recent late or missed payments will drag it down fast.

In the event that you have a large number of unsubstantiated accounts, mistakes, or other issues on your credit report, you may also benefit from working with an experienced credit repair company. A wide variety of negative and erroneous accounts can be effectively removed with the right credit repair company.

Improve Your Credit Over Time with the Right Card

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, debt can get the better of your finances. Small charges and big bills alike can merge to form huge debts. Those debts can often feel as though they have a gravity of their own, weighing your credit score down with their mass.

Even having come out the other side of credit chaos can leave you with rebuilding to do. With the perfect card — and some financial discipline — you can start putting your credit score to rights.