9 Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards for Bad Credit (2017)

credit card advice

Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: July 10, 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.

If you’ve been trying to get a credit card, but have bad credit, you may be wondering about the guaranteed approval card offers you’ve come across. Are they legitimate? And what does guaranteed approval really mean? While this term might sound like the answer to your credit card woes, the fact is that all credit cards come with some form of basic requirements before a company will issue one to you. A key factor in these so-called guaranteed approval credit cards is that the requirements to qualify are usually minimal.

Most issuers of this type of card will require you to have an active checking account and to show proof of income that exceeds a certain minimum amount. There is also the question of just how bad your credit is. Generally speaking, a credit score of between 300 (the lowest FICO score) and 650 is considered bad credit. However, some card issuers will consider scores of 550 to 650 as being simply poor credit and may consider you for an unsecured credit card.

Unsecured Cards | Secured Cards

Unsecured Cards with No Deposit Required

An unsecured credit card requires no security deposit and is a true line of credit from the card issuer. A drawback to these unsecured credit cards for bad credit, however, is that they typically come with high fees and a high interest rate or APR. But if used responsibly, they can help to rebuild credit and lead to you getting an unsecured card with more favorable terms.

Here are five unsecured cards for you to consider:

Surge MasterCard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Initial credit limit of $500.00* (subject to available credit)
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere that MasterCard® is accepted
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking account required
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Bad, Poor Credit

The Surge MasterCard® offers a fast and easy application process and all credit types are encouraged to apply. You’ll receive an initial credit limit of up to $500, based on your credit score and creditworthiness. This card can be used everywhere MasterCard is accepted.

Total Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT 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

The Total Visa® Credit Card is another card requiring no security deposit and offers all the benefits of a full-service Visa card. This card requires applicants to have a valid checking account and also charges a one-time application fee of $89. The available credit line is based upon your actual credit score and creditworthiness.

Milestone® MasterCard® - Bad Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.4

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® Gold MasterCard® issued by Genesis Bankcard is available to people with poor or even bad credit. This is a full-featured credit card with all of the MasterCard Gold card benefits.

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • Credit One Bank automatically monitors every account for credit line increase opportunities each month. We'll let you know as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line. A fee may apply.
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score. Find the card that's right for you in less than 60 seconds.
  • Eligible purchases will automatically get you 1% cash back, terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit, prepaid, or secured card. No need to load funds or tie up cash in deposits. There are no out-of-pocket costs to open your account.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • Email and text alerts remind you when your bill is due, your payment posts, or your available credit is running low
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0 - $99
Poor

The CreditOne Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® credit card requires no deposit and allows you to earn cash back on eligible purchases. There is no application fee, and the annual membership fee ranges from $0 to $99 for the first year, depending upon your actual credit score. The initial credit line and APR are based upon actual credit score and creditworthiness.

Indigo® MasterCard® for Less than Perfect Credit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.1

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® for Less than Perfect Credit, issued by Genesis Bankcard, allows you to see if you’re pre-qualified through its CardConnection tool before applying, avoiding an inquiry on your credit report. You even get to choose your card design, and you’ll have 24/7 account access through your Indigo Platinum account, where you can check your statement, account balance, and pay your bill online.

+See More Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit

Secured Cards with Approval Upon Deposit

One thing to consider with guaranteed approval credit cards is that many of them are secured credit cards. A secured credit card requires you to put down a security deposit, usually the amount of credit that will be extended to you — less processing fees, if any. This deposit is fully refundable if you keep your account in good standing, and may even earn a little interest in the process.

An advantage to a secured credit card is that even people with bad credit can usually get one. And because issuers of these cards report to the three major credit bureaus, their proper and responsible use can help to rebuild credit scores.

Here are four secured credit cards we recommend:

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

The First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® is a secured card with a minimum deposit of $200 and allows up to $2,000. No credit check is required, making this an excellent choice for those with bad credit. This Prestige version of the card has an annual fee, but comes with a very competitive APR, which makes this a better choice for people who carry a balance from month to month. Use of this card is reported to all three credit reporting agencies.

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

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Card allows for a credit line of as little as $200 and up to $3,000, with a corresponding security deposit. Applying for this card requires no credit history, and there is no credit check. That makes the OpenSky secured Visa card ideal for someone with bad credit. Use of this card is reported to all three credit reporting agencies.

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 First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® secured card has a minimum security deposit of $200, with up to $2,000 allowed. No minimum credit score is required, which makes this card a good choice for people with bad credit. There is a $39 annual fee, and the APR is reasonable. Cash advance fees are 3% of the transaction or $10.00, whichever is greater. Use of this card is reported to all three credit reporting agencies.

First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

at First Progress'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★
3.2

OVERALL RATING

2.0/5.0
  • 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
19.99% (Variable)
$29
Bad Credit

The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Card has among the lowest annual fees of any secured card. However, it does have a relatively high variable APR. Because of this, the First Progress Platinum Elite card is a good choice for those who don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month. The credit line is between $200 and $2,000 based on your security deposit. No credit history or minimum credit score is required for approval. Use of this card is reported to all three credit reporting agencies.

+See More Secured Cards for Bad Credit

A Prepaid Visa® or MasterCard® is Another Option

If you’re one of those individuals who likes the convenience of using a card but doesn’t like the idea of paying interest, a prepaid Visa or MasterCard may be right for you.

AccountNow Prepaid Visa Card

The AccountNow Prepaid Visa is our top recommendation.

A prepaid card works like any credit card, but allows you to draw your own money from an account associated with the card. It can also be reloaded as it’s needed, sometimes for a very modest fee, or even for free.

Prepaid cards are a great way to experience the convenience of plastic, without the potential of going into debt. Just be aware that prepaid cards do not report to the credit bureaus, and will not have any effect on your credit.