The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, September 29, 2022

10 Credit Cards with No Bank Account Needed

Best Credit Cards With No Bank Account Needed

credit card advice

Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank

Eric Bank has been covering business and financial topics since 1985, specializing in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences. In addition to his work on CardRates.com, Eric has appeared regularly on Credible.com, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Get.com, Zacks, Chron and dozens of other outlets. A former software engineer, Eric holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The FDIC reports that, as of 2019, approximately 7.1 million US households are unbanked, meaning they have no checking or savings accounts. Of these households, 29% say they can’t meet the minimum balance requirements, and 16.1% say they don’t trust banks.

If you count yourself among the ranks of the unbanked, read on to learn about credit cards with no bank account needed to open an account. You’ll see that you’ve got options, whether you have bad or no credit, are a student, or want a secured or prepaid card.

No/Limited Credit | Bad Credit | Students | Secured | Prepaid
FAQs & Methodology

Best Cards for No Credit with No Bank Account Needed

Some unbanked consumers have little or no experience using a credit card, which means they have no credit — or a thin credit file. The following two cards are available to unbanked individuals who meet other qualifying criteria.

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is specifically geared toward consumers who need to build credit. Although the initial credit line is modest, you can qualify for a higher limit by making your first six monthly payments on time.

There is no annual fee, and you can prequalify for this card with no impact to your credit score.

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or limits to how much you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account. It's that simple
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited cash back on purchases, and you can get one without a bank account.

CreditWise can help you track your credit-building progress and provide tips for improving your credit score over time.

Best Cards for Bad Credit with No Bank Account Needed

You may think the combination of bad credit and no bank account would doom you to a life without credit, but you’d be wrong. The following two unsecured credit cards can help you rebuild your credit by reporting your on-time payments to the major credit bureaus. Of course, paying late will hurt an already-damaged credit score and is something you must avoid doing to improve your credit.

Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Mastercard® Review

at Merrick Bank'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • Credit lines range from $550-$1,350 which double to $1,100-$2,700 after your account qualifies. No security deposit required.
  • Double your credit line by making at least your minimum payment on time each month for the first 7 months your account is open.
  • See if you are pre-approved within minutes, without affecting your credit score.
  • Build or rebuild your credit. As you pay your bill every month, we report to all three major credit reporting agencies.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free each month.
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen. Access your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get help staying on track with available Auto Pay and account alerts.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.70% to 30.70% Variable
$0-$72
See website for Details*

The Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Mastercard® offers a higher-than-average initial credit limit for people with poor credit scores. The APR and annual fee can be expensive, but it services consumers who don’t have a checking account by letting them pay their monthly bills at retail locations such as Walmart, Kroger, or MoneyGram, among other options.

Merrick Bank is a top-20 credit card issuer in the US that is dedicated to helping people build or rebuild credit.

Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at Milestone Mastercard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • 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.
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$35 - $99
Poor/Bad

The Milestone® Mastercard® – Less Than Perfect Credit Considered is aimed at consumers with less than perfect credit. The application process is easy, and you receive an instant decision.

The card charges an annual fee, but unlike other cards in this class, there are no application or maintenance fees. Cash advance fees are waived for the first year.

Best Student Cards with No Bank Account Needed

It’s hardly unusual for today’s students, who are mostly millennials and post-millennials, to attend college without feeling the need to open a bank account. The next two cards give students the opportunity to make purchases on credit without stepping foot in a bank.

Both are rewards cards that offer many benefits and protection features as well as charge low fees.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.24% - 24.24% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
15.24% - 24.24% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers cash back rewards and an introductory APR for new cardmembers. Students will appreciate the many security features, including free fraud and activity alerts and instant card freeze and unfreeze.

Late payments won’t raise your APR, and your first late payment won’t trigger a late fee.

Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.24% - 24.24% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
15.24% - 24.24% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The Discover it® Student chrome card offers cash back rewards – see card terms above for additional details. You can redeem your rewards at any time or use them instantly when you check out on Amazon.com.

The card’s many benefits include free FICO scores, introductory APR on purchases by new cardmembers, and free overnight replacement of lost or stolen cards.

Best Secured Cards with No Bank Account Needed

A secured credit card is a sure opportunity to establish or rebuild your credit, banked or unbanked. You deposit with the issuer an amount equal to the card’s credit line. The deposit serves as collateral if you miss a payment. If you practice creditworthy behavior, the issuer may eventually upgrade you to a secured card and refund your deposit.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
25.24% Variable APR
$0
New/Rebuilding

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is aimed at consumers with no credit and scores of 669 or less. It offers cash back reward along with many other benefits.

Your required minimum deposit secures your credit line. You receive automatic monthly reviews to see whether you qualify for an unsecured card.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review

at Capital Bank N.A.'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • View your FICO® Score through your OpenSky account, an easy way to stay on top of your credit
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.89% (variable)
$35
Poor

You can obtain an OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card without a credit check or bank account. The card accepts a refundable deposit between $200 and $3,000 that is deposited in an FDIC-insured account.

The issuer claims that 99% of new cardholders without a credit score were able to establish a score in as little as six months. The card has a low annual fee and a monthly fee that kicks in when the card is inactive for 12 months.

Best Prepaid Cards with No Bank Account Needed

Prepaid cards are a handy tool for unbanked consumers. You load cash onto the card and then use it to make purchases just as you would a regular credit card.

Both cards can cover overdrafts of up to $10, and your credit score is irrelevant to approval. These cards allow you to receive your direct deposit checks up to two days early.

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard Review

at Republic Bank & Trust Company'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Brink’s gives you the peace of mind you deserve. Securing cash and valuables since 1859.
  • With Brink’s Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster* than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • *Card issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Mastercard Debit cards are accepted. “Apply Now” for full details.
  • See additional Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® Details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
Not applicable

The Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard accepts cash, checks, transfers from other cardholders, and direct deposits. You can load cash onto your prepaid debit card at more than 130,000 reload locations on the NetSpend network.

You can expect to get up to two days faster when the card receives a direct deposit. Your deposits are kept in an FDIC-insured account at Axos Bank.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at NetSpend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your card.
  • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. Click "Get My Card " for full details.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Up-to $9.95 monthly
Not applicable

The NetSpend Visa® Prepaid Card can be loaded with cash, checks, and direct deposits (such as your paycheck or Social Security check). You can deposit checks quickly using the Mobile Check Load feature on the Netspend smartphone app.

In addition, there are more than 130,000 reload locations across the country. You can withdraw cash from the card at ATMs or at the cash register.

Can I Get a Credit Card without a Bank Account?

Credit card issuers know that millions of individuals are unbanked in the United States. So, it’s not surprising that many issuers welcome unbanked applicants and provide payment methods that don’t require bank accounts.

For consumers with no or limited credit, we recommend two cards from the same issuer. The Capital One Platinum Credit Card and the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card charge no annual fee and allow you to build a credit score. If you want cash back rewards, the QuicksilverOne® card lets you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases.

On the other hand, if your credit is poor, you need to rebuild your score. The Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Mastercard® is easy to get without a checking or savings account but can be expensive after you factor in its fees and interest rates.

If you want a general-purpose credit card despite not having a bank account or a good credit score, you may like the Milestone® Mastercard® – Less Than Perfect Credit Considered. It is fee-friendly and promises applicants a quick decision.

The two student cards from Discover differ only in their cash back schemes. The Discover it® Student Cash Back card realizes reward amounts based on rotating categories, whereas the Discover it® Student chrome card offers rewards on fixed categories.

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card and Discover it® Secured Credit Card let anyone obtain a credit card by depositing a refundable deposit that acts as collateral for your payments. These cards are an easy way to establish or rebuild credit and their issuers can promote you to an unsecured card if you make your payments on time for a set period.

Finally, the NetSpend Visa® Prepaid Card and Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard are more like debit cards, in that you must fund them before use. These are perfect for those who don’t want to own a bank account nor pay overdraft fees.

How Do I Pay My Card’s Bill without a Bank Account?

You have several ways to pay your credit card bill without having a bank account. The most obvious way is with cash. You can go into any bank that supports the credit card network (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) and make a credit card payment with cash or money order.

In addition, your credit card issuer may take payments at retail stores. For example, Capital One lets you pay your credit card at certain stores, as well as MoneyGram, Money Services, and Western Union locations. You can use the PayNearMe app to make a Capital One credit card payment at 7-Eleven stores.

PayNearMe Screenshot

PayNearMe is an app that supports cash payments at various nationwide retailers.

Money orders are also handy if you wish to mail in your payment. All credit cards have an address where you can mail payments.

Make sure you put your credit card account number on the money order. You may want to use certified mail to ensure proper delivery.

If you use prepaid cards, you can purchase a reload pack with cash or a money order at a participating retailer. Each reload pack has a unique serial number. You can then go online or call the card’s customer service number to use the reload pack number to transfer the cash to your prepaid card.

Another advantage of prepaid cards is that they accept direct deposits, in which the payer routes the payment directly to the card account. This can come in handy for paychecks, tax refunds, Social Security payments, and other sources. These have the advantage of speeding up your receipt of the payment by up to two days.

Alternatively, you can use smartphone apps like the Netspend Mobile App that have a mobile check capture feature to deposit the check to a prepaid account. You can endorse and photograph a check you’ve received and then transmit the image to your prepaid card account.

How Can I Boost My Credit with a Credit Card?

Most credit cards report your payments to at least one of the three national credit bureaus. This reporting is what determines your credit score. Here are some tips for boosting your score with a credit card:

  • Use your card responsibly. That means paying your monthly bill on time, not exceeding the card’s spending limit, and paying more than the minimum amount each month (preferably the full balance).
  • Pay off balances and maintain a credit utilization ratio (i.e., total credit balances divided by total credit limits) below 30%.
  • Ask to become an authorized user on another person’s credit card. With responsible use, this will help you start building credit right away.
  • Consider a secured credit card. Usually, you can obtain one despite having no or poor credit. By using the card responsibly, you may eventually be upgraded to an unsecured card.
  • Dispute errors on your credit reports. You can get free copies of your reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. Check them carefully and dispute any mistakes. Your credit score will immediately improve when a credit bureau removes derogatory information.
  • Do not close old credit card accounts, even if you no longer use the card. A long credit history helps your score.

Ultimately, your credit score should improve when you exhibit creditworthy behavior. Even if you’ve gone through negative events such as collections and bankruptcies, their impact starts to wane over time. By obtaining a credit card and using it responsibly, you can put yourself on the road to better credit.

Ranking Methodology

Our list of credit cards with no bank account needed for approval evaluates the best credit card offers that approve applicants with no, limited, or bad credit histories. To determine our rankings, we assessed the following factors:

  • rates, terms, and rewards offered
  • the ability to build credit with reported payments
  • deposits and/or fees required
  • overall customer satisfaction

CardRates’ reviews undergo a thorough editorial integrity process to ensure that content is not compromised by advertiser influence.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.