The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, April 21, 2024

8 Credit Cards with No Bank Account Needed (April 2024)

Best Credit Cards With No Bank Account Needed
Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. 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 journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. 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. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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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/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • 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
29.99% (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

  • 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
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (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 unsecured credit cards can help you rebuild 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.

3. Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Bad Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card is another subprime offering that doesn’t require a bank account for approval, but you’ll still need a way to submit payments online. The only other way to pay is to send a check by mail, but of course, checks are tied to bank accounts.

Milestone® Mastercard® Review

at Milestone Mastercard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Greater access to credit than before - $700 credit limit
  • Get a Mastercard accepted online, in store and in app
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • $0 liability* for unauthorized use
  • Access your account online or from your mobile device 24/7
  • *Fraud protection provided by Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. If approved, you'll receive the Mastercard Guide to Benefits that details the complete terms with your card.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Fair/Good

The Milestone® Mastercard® 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.

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 for all new cardmembers – 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 cash back 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 you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • 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 18.24% - 27.24% applies.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
18.24% - 27.24% 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

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – 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 cash back 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, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • 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 18.24% - 27.24% applies.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
18.24% - 27.24% 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 history.
  • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • 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, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate for free.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
28.24% 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

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back* on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Get free monthly access to your FICO score in our mobile application
  • Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Fund your card with a low $200 refundable security deposit to get a $200 credit line
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes with our mobile first application
  • Choose the due date that fits your schedule with flexible payment dates
  • Fund your security deposit over 60 days with the option to make partial payments
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • *See Rewards Terms and Conditions for more information
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
25.64% (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.

Brink’s Armored™ Account Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Brink’s knows Security! 24/7 access to a suite of security benefits to help keep your account armored.
  • Get access to over 100,000 Brink’s Money ATMs.
  • Get paid faster than a paper check with direct deposit.
  • Add funds to your Brink’s Armored Account and use Brinks Armored debit card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Account opening is subject to registration and ID verification. Terms & fees Apply. Deposit Account is established by Pathward®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
Not applicable

The Brink’s Armored™ Account 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

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • With 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 Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs apply.
  • Card issued by Pathward N.A., Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa debit card is accepted.
  • 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®. 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.