8 Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards for Bad Credit (2018)

credit card advice

Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: June 18, 2018
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 | 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 five unsecured cards for you to consider:

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

  • 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
  • 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
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. (See complete WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account Terms and Conditions.)

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® 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.

First Access Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
3.7

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)
  • The First Access Visa Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Bad Credit

The First Access Visa® Card 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 $300, based on your credit score and creditworthiness. This card can be used everywhere Visa is accepted.

+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 three 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

★★★★
3.5

OVERALL RATING

2.3/5.0
  • 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
18.89% (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 Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

at First Progress'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

2.3/5.0
  • 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.

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. Here are a few of the top options:

Pink 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.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
No Credit Check
Brink

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • 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.)
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • *Card issued by BofI Federal Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Mastercard Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
No Credit Check
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.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Up-to $9.95 monthly
No Credit Check

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.