The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, August 9, 2020

9 Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards

credit card advice

Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Updated: June 2, 2020

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.

In the article that follows, we’ll explore credit cards that may be valuable to those with less-than-stellar credit and those who are looking to rebuild or even establish their credit.

Unsecured Cards | Secured Cards | Prepaid 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 some of our top-rated unsecured cards for you to consider:

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit

The Surge MasterCard from Celtic Bank offers robust credit lines and quick pre-approval decisions for those with bad or poor credit scores. In addition to receiving free access to your credit score from TransUnion, you’ll also have your payment activity reported to the major credit bureaus, which can help you rebuild credit over time with responsible usage.

Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

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

The Milestone® MasterCard® offers a fast and easy application process and all credit types are encouraged to apply. The card requires no security deposit and is very welcoming to those with poor credit. The Milestone® card can be used everywhere Visa is accepted, subject to available credit.

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuers Website
$0
Poor Credit

The FingerHut Credit Account is designed specifically for those with damaged credit.  This credit card requires applicants to have a valid checking account and enables cardholders to build credit through responsible use.  Applicants with bad credit can get approved for initial credit lines of $300 or more, and with responsible use, can increase that to more than $2,000 — without needing a security deposit.

+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 several secured credit cards to start your search:

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee
  • Unlike a prepaid card, there is regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Accepted at millions of locations worldwide
  • Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line
  • Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a secured card with an initial credit line of $200, and it offers credit line increases in as few as 5 months if you make your monthly payments. The card charges no annual fee and reports to all the major credit bureaus, making it an excellent choice for those with bad credit.

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
17.39% (variable)
$35
Poor

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.

The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

at First Progress'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★
3.8

OVERALL RATING

2.3/5.0
  • Invest your tax refund to improve your credit by making the refundable deposit for your new secured card today
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
  • Full-Feature Platinum MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI *See Card Terms.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% (V)
$29
Poor/Limited/No 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 dealing with credit or the potential for interest fees, a prepaid Visa or Mastercard may be right for you. Prepaid cards won’t require a credit check to qualify, nor will your payment behavior be reported to the credit bureaus.

A prepaid card works can be used in place of a credit card for many situations, including making purchases both in-store and online. Unlike a credit card, however, prepaid cards aren’t attached to credit lines; instead, the card will use pre-loaded funds to pay for purchases. It can also be reloaded as needed, sometimes for a very modest fee, or even for free. Here are a few our top options:

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • 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
Variable Monthly Fee
Not applicable
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

3.6/5.0
  • 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
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★
4.4

OVERALL RATING

2.5/5.0
  • Move money from your PayPal account to fund your prepaid card account.
  • Earn cash back and personalized offers, just for using your card.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • Card issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Click PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® for additional features & program details, and to request a Card.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
Not applicable

Prepaid cards are a great way to experience the convenience of plastic, without the potential of going into debt or the hassle of jumping through credit hoops. However, the fact that prepaid cards don’t report to the credit bureaus can be a double-edged sword, because while you won’t have to worry about your card impacting your credit, you also can’t use a prepaid card to establish or build a credit profile.

In other words, prepaid cards can be a good option for those consumers who want to make convenient, cash-free purchases, but it isn’t a good option for people looking to improve their credit history or credit scores.

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