How To Get a Credit Card with Bad Credit

Got bad credit? You can still qualify for some credit cards; just be sure you do your research first.

A young woman smiles as she looks at a new credit card
Bad credit may not keep you from getting a credit card.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bad credit can be discouraging, especially if you want to make large transactions like renting a car or buying a home. You may be barred entirely from some of the best rewards credit cards and will likely pay much higher interest or fees for the credit products you can access. 

The good news is that you can improve your creditworthiness over time by following the steps below. Whether your credit problems stem from poor credit habits like failing to pay your bills on time, losing your job or bankruptcy, or having little credit history because you are young, there is a way to improve your credit. By knowing your credit score and using credit cards that require a deposit, store credit cards, or select traditional credit cards, you should be able to build back a favorable credit record. 

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Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor,

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.