credit card advice
The internet is full of information. While only a portion of that information is actually correct, you can typically get a decent idea of the facts by exploring a few different sites and picking out the kernels of truth between them.
Take credit building. Although each blogger and expert seems to have different recommendations, you can pick up the main points by reading posts from a few different authors. For example, pretty much everyone will say to pay your bills on time and to maintain a low credit utilization rate.
Unfortunately, this advice can be problematic when you have bad credit. That’s because credit cards for bad credit tend to have low limits, making it hard to actually use your card and keep your utilization rate low. Other than making multiple payments each month, the best solution may be a card with a higher limit.
Best High-Limit Cards for Bad Credit with No Annual Fee
Perhaps one of the worst things about having bad credit is that it can get expensive. High interest rates, high fees, and low limits can all converge to exacerbate an already difficult situation, making it even harder to pull yourself out.
If you’re looking for a high-limit card and you have poor credit, a secured credit card is going to be your best choice. Happily, a number of secured credit cards offer decent limits and no annual fees, savings that can be put toward your deposit for an even higher limit.
at Discover Card'ssecure website
- No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
- It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
- Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
- Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
- 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
10.99% for 6 months
Please refer to issuer's website
This card offers a credit line equal to the size of your deposit, with a minimum deposit of $200. Larger credit lines are available with larger deposits, with a maximum credit line and deposit of $2,500 after being approved.
In addition to being upgradable to an unsecured product over time, this card also boasts the secured card trifecta of no annual fee, purchase rewards, and FICO credit score tracking, making it a good pick no matter what size deposit you can muster.
- No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
- Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
- You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
- Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
- Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
- It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
While this card doesn’t have a particularly high maximum limit — only up to $1,000 with a matching deposit — it has no annual fee and is upgradable. It’s also one of the few partially secured credit cards available from a major bank.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you could put down a deposit as low as $49 for a $200 credit line. Plus, cardholders who make their first five payments on time are eligible for a credit limit increase with no additional deposit necessary.
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® has a minimum deposit (and credit line) of $200, but the card allows for a maximum credit limit of up to $2,500 with a deposit of the same size.
- Check your balance, view transactions, and make payments using free online and mobile banking tools
- Provide a security deposit between $200 and $2,500
- Pay no annual fee
In addition to charging no annual fee, this card comes with a range of standard Mastercard benefits, as well as $0 Fraud Liability coverage, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and 24/7 online account access. Eligible cardholders may be automatically upgraded to an unsecured card over time.
Best High-Limit Secured Credit Cards for Bad Credit
The main reason that credit cards for bad credit tend to have low credit limits is that, frankly, creditors don’t trust people with troubled credit histories to pay back their debts. A lower credit limit means less risk for the issuer.
That’s why secured credit cards are the key to getting a high limit despite a low credit score. Secured cards require a cash deposit that acts as collateral for the credit line, reducing the risk to the issuer. Without that risk, the issuer can offer a much higher credit line than unsecured issuers can offer.
at First Progress'ssecure website
- 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
Bad / No Credit
This card’s low APR is what makes it stand out from the secured card crowd, but it also has a solid credit line range that starts with a minimum $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Approved cardholders can deposit up to $2,000 for a larger credit line, with the deposit size directly determining the size of the credit line.
While this card’s deposit is fully refundable like any other secured card, unlike some other cards on the list, this card won’t be eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured card, so you’ll need to cancel the card and apply for a new card when your credit improves.
The Green Dot Primor® Secured Visa® Classic Card has a low minimum $200 deposit requirement, but qualified applicants can put down a deposit of up to $5,000 for a credit limit of equal size.
- Provide a security deposit of $200 up to $5,000 for a credit line equal to your deposit
- Low 13.99% Fixed Purchase APR
- Pay $39 annual fee
This card is one of the few fixed-rate cards on the market, offering a set 13.99% APR that doesn’t vary with the market rate. There are no minimum credit score requirements, and applying for this card reportedly does not trigger a hard credit pull.
The U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card will require a deposit of at least $300 to open an account. For qualified applicants who want a higher credit limit, a deposit of up to $5,000 may be made for a credit line of equal size.
- Provide a security deposit of $300 up to $5,000 for a credit line equal to your deposit
- Deposit earns interest in a secured savings account
- Pay $29 annual fee
Unlike some secured cards, the deposit you make for this card doesn’t just sit there gathering digital dust. Instead, your deposit will be placed into a U.S. Bank secured savings account, where it will earn interest as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card has a fairly typical minimum deposit requirement of $300, with a somewhat unusual maximum limit of $4,900. Your credit limit will equal your deposit.
- Card can be used anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted — not a debit or prepaid card
- Make a minimum $300 deposit
- Pay a $39 annual fee
As with several other cards on the list, this card has the ability to automatically graduate to an unsecured credit card for qualified cardholders. To be eligible for an upgrade, be sure to make your payments on time each month and keep your utilization rate low.
Best High-Limit Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit
No matter who you are — a consumer, a bank, or a corporation — nobody wants to hand their money over to someone they can’t trust. This is the root of the credit scoring system and the reason why consumers with low credit scores have trouble getting loans and credit cards.
And unsecured credit is the most difficult to obtain of all. While a number of issuers do offer unsecured subprime credit cards, they have to mitigate that risk somewhere. In this case, it means you’re unlikely to find high-limit credit cards without a deposit or some other limitations.
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
See Issuers Website
In most ways, a Fingerhut Credit Account is more akin to a store credit card than a traditional open-loop card, particularly since the Fingerhut Credit Account can only be used to make Fingerhut purchases. On the plus side, this restriction means consumers with low scores may qualify for a fairly large unsecured credit line.
In fact, some reviews suggest users have received credit lines of up to $2,000 without a deposit. Plus, users don’t need to pay an annual fee, a rarity for an unsecured credit line when you have bad credit.
at the issuer'ssecure website
- 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
Fair, Bad Credit
This card is fairly indicative of the typical unsecured subprime credit card so far as its limits are concerned, as it offers the same flat $300 credit limit to all approved applicants, regardless of other factors. That limit will be subject to availability, meaning charges, like the processing fee or annual fee, will reduce the available credit.
In general, the small limit on most unsecured subprime credit cards is to minimize the risk potential for the issuer, as a small limit means less money is on the line should the cardholder default on the balance.
at Credit One'ssecure website
- Find out if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
- Eligible purchases earn 1% cash back rewards automatically, terms apply
- Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history
- Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities
- Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
- With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
19.99% - 25.99% Variable
$0 - $99
This card’s credit limits are extremely variable, ranging from a minimum of $300 up to a maximum of $3,000. The exact credit limit you’re offered will depend primarily on your credit history, though your income may also factor into the decision. Accounts are periodically reviewed for automatic credit line increases.
Most other aspects of this card are also highly variable based on your creditworthiness, including your APR and annual fee. Additionally, the type of rewards you can earn may also depend on your credit profile.
Best High-Limit Business Credit Cards for Bad Credit
If finding a credit card with a decent limit is a challenge for consumers with bad credit, it can feel downright impossible for business owners. After all, it’s hard to run a business when your credit card maxes out with a single office supply purchase.
But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. As in the consumer world, you can find secured business credit cards that allow you to obtain a much higher credit limit by making a large deposit. With more control over your credit limit, you can build business credit while also accessing the credit line your company needs.
The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is easily accessible to businesses of all types with a minimum $500 deposit for a credit line of the same size. For a larger credit line, a deposit of up to $25,000 can be made.
- Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase made with your card, redeemable as a statement credit or check
- Access credit lines from $500 to $25,000
- Pay $25 annual fee
This card offers a number of perks, including unlimited cash back rewards and a low annual fee. Cardholders can also receive up to 10 free employee cards. (The information related to Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)
The BBVA Secured Visa® Business Credit Card will require a deposit of at least $500 to open and maintain your account. However, users can make additional deposits (in $100 increments) to obtain a higher credit line. Your credit limit will be 90% of your deposit amount.
- Earn bonus points in categories you select, including office supplies, utilities, and travel
- Earn 1X point per $1 on all other purchases
- Pay no annual fee the first year, then $40
BBVA is a regional bank with limited locations around the country. As a result, this credit card is only available to small business owners in Alabama, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, California, and New Mexico.
The MidFirst Bank Business Secured Credit Card will offer a credit line equal to your deposit, with a minimum credit line and deposit of $1,000. For more credit, place a deposit of up to $50,000 to unlock an equivalent credit line.
- Your refundable deposit is kept in a First Credit Card Savings – Business account
- Deposits between $1,000 and $50,000
- Pay $35 annual fee
MidFirst Bank is a regional bank with limited locations; branches can be found only within Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona. Potential applicants will need to go to a MidFirst banking center to fill out a business credit card application.
Does Maxing Out a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit?
The long and the short of it is that consumers with bad credit have two choices: deal with a low limit, or obtain a secured credit card and make a large deposit for a higher credit limit.
While the latter can seem unpalatable to consumers with limited budgets, settling for a low credit limit can come with challenges. In particular, a low credit limit on a credit card you plan to use for your everyday purchases can make it all too easy to hit the end of your credit line.
Having your balance hit your credit limit is bad in a number of ways. First off, many credit cards will charge you an over-limit fee if you wind up on the wrong side of the line. But what’s worse is the potential credit damage.
Creditors don’t like maxed out credit cards; they’re typically seen as a sign that you’re having financial trouble and may be unable to pay your debts. This dislike is reflected in your credit scores through your credit utilization rate.
Your credit utilization rate is the ratio of how much credit you are using over how much credit you have. So, if you have a credit card with a $2,000 credit limit and it has a balance of $500, the utilization rate is: $500 / $2,000 = 0.25, or 25%.
The closer your utilization rate is to 100%, the more of a negative impact it will have on your credit score. A maxed out credit card — one with a utilization rate of 100% — does the most damage of all and can drop your score by a significant number of points.
And that damage can be even worse if you only have one or two credit cards, because the scoring models look at your individual utilization rates as well as your overall utilization rate across all of your cards.
A popular rule of thumb is to keep your utilization rates below 30%, though this is more of an arbitrary number; there is no actual magic number for the perfect utilization rate. In general, the best results come from simply keeping your utilization rate as low as possible.
While a small credit line can make this more difficult, it’s still possible to maintain a healthy utilization rate despite a low limit. For instance, you can make multiple payments during the month as you make purchases, particularly if you make any large purchases that eat up your limit.
Most issuers only report your balance once a month, typically at the close of your statement. So, making multiple payments on your credit card — before your statement closes — can help ensure your credit card balance is reported while it is at its lowest level. And, since your credit score is calculated using the balances reported to the credit bureaus, your score will reflect the lower utilization rate.
Another way to avoid problems with a low credit limit is simply to avoid using your card for very many purchases. For example, a good way to build credit with a credit card is to use the card for a small recurring charge, such as the monthly bill for a streaming service. Then, put the card somewhere safe and don’t use it for other purchases.
You can even set up automatic credit card payments through your bank. If you set it up so that your credit card is paid a few days after the recurring charge posts, you’ll ensure not only that your credit card gets paid before your due date each month, but also that your credit card balance is as low as possible when it is reported to the credit bureaus.
How Do You Increase Your Credit Limit?
If you’re tired of dealing with a low credit limit, you’ve probably wondered about ways to increase your credit line and make your life a little easier. Consumers have several methods for receiving a credit line increase, depending on their creditworthiness and the type of credit card.
The easiest way to get a credit limit increase is to simply wait for one to occur automatically. A large number of credit card issuers will regularly evaluate your account to see if your credit profile, income, and spending habits indicate you’d be a good candidate for an increase.
Unsolicited credit limit increases happen all the time, often without warning or notification. Issuers typically use a soft credit inquiry that won’t damage your credit score to check on your creditworthiness before offering an increase. You may also need to be a cardholder for a certain period of time to be eligible.
Unfortunately, subprime credit card issuers are often the least likely to offer unsolicited credit limit increases. Instead, you may need to go with option number two: asking for an increase.
The majority of credit card issuers — excluding some subprime cards with set limits — will allow you to request a credit limit increase after you’ve had your credit card account for a while (usually six months). If you meet the qualifications, you’ll receive a boost.
Requests for a credit limit increase initiated by the cardholder are often treated as credit applications, meaning they may result in a hard credit inquiry showing up on your credit reports. While this can be worthwhile for a decent limit increase, it’s something to keep in mind.
The third way to get a credit limit increase on your credit card only applies to certain secured credit cards. That’s because some secured cards allow you to add to your deposit even after you open your account, making it possible to increase your credit limit at any point with a larger deposit.
Not every secured credit card will allow post-account opening deposits. In fact, the majority of secured cards will only allow you to make a deposit before you start using your credit card to make purchases. Read your terms and conditions documentation or contact your issuer to see if your account is eligible for additional deposits.
Building Your Credit Can Also Help Build Your Credit Limits
Building credit takes a lot of work. It starts with the research, a process that, even with the internet, can take a significant amount of time, especially when you have to investigate a range of finance blogs and sites to get the best advice.
But, as much work as it can be, building your credit is well worth the effort. Not only does it mean an easier time qualifying for new credit, but it also means the quality of that credit will improve. You’ll see lower rates, lower fees, and higher credit limits as your credit scores increase.
Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. You may have to deal with a lower credit limit or secured credit card deposit for six months or a year as you build your credit. However, the right card — used responsibly — can help you boost your scores and your credit limits over time.