Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If used wisely, these credit cards can help you dig out of bad credit; you may even earn 2% cash back.

A young woman sits cross-legged in an apartment looking at her computer and credit card
(Image credit: Getty Images)

 Rates checked as of October 31, 2023.

This article covers our picks for the best credit cards for bad credit. We may get compensation if you visit partner links on our site. We may not cover every available offer. Our relationship with advertisers may impact how an offer is presented on our website. However, our selection of products is made independently of our relationship to advertisers.

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Discover It® Secured Credit Card - 2% cash back

Earn 2% cash back rewards on everyday spending plus a cash back bonus after a year of card membership. The card charges no late-payment fee the first time you miss a payment and no penalty APR. But late payments can damage your credit score, so it’s wise to pay on time.

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Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card - Low Deposit Amount Available

If you prefer a secured credit card with a low deposit requirement, this card is a good choice. With responsible card use – including on-time payments – you can eventually get your deposit back and graduate to an unsecured card. Just be aware that the interest rate is over 30%, so be sure to pay your bill in full and on-time to avoid high interest payments.

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Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card  - No interest*

Offered by the financial-technology company Chime®, this card is a little different from typical secured cards. You can use the security deposit itself to pay your credit-card bill. And because you can’t spend more than the deposit amount, you won’t be able to carry a balance and rack up interest charges. You must have a Chime checking account that has received a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 to be eligible to apply for the Chime Visa® Credit Builder Card.

Can the Chime card really help build your credit? The company points to a 2020 study conducted by Experian®, showing that members who made their first purchase with Credit Builder saw an average FICO® Score 8 increase of 30 points after approximately 8 months. 

Disclaimer

As an independent publication dedicated to helping you make the most of your money, the article above is our view of the best deals and is not the opinion of any entity mentioned such as a card issuer, hotel, airline etc. Similarly, the content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of those entities.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.

With contributions from