Great Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Monday, November 17th, 2014
Updated: November 17th, 2014
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

If your credit is below the “good credit” benchmark of 700, you might think the only credit cards available to you are “bad credit cards.” But if that’s what you think, there’s good news: there are many great credit cards available for people with no-so-great credit.

Here’s what to look for in a good credit card (for people with bad credit):

  • A low interest rate. Many credit cards marketed to people with poor credit have high interest rates. While it’s true that the very lowest interest rates might not be available to you if your credit is on the lower end of the spectrum, there are still credit cards out there with reasonable interest rates. Look for one with the lowest possible interest rate on both purchases and balance transfers.
  • Speaking of balance transfers, try to find a card that will let you do one at a lower interest rate than what you are now paying on any revolving debt you may have. You may be able to find a balance transfer offer with a 0% APR interest rate for a few months. This will save you money in interest payments and help you knock down your debt faster. Chipping away at your debt will help improve your credit, so it’s a win-win situation.
  • Make sure the credit card reports to major credit bureaus. Some types of credit cards for people with limited credit don’t report your activity to credit bureaus. Secured cards are one of the kinds of credit cards that people with poor credit often turn to, but they are also the ones that may not report to credit bureaus. Just call customer service and ask which credit bureau they report to before you apply.
  • You can still get rewards. Just because your credit is poor, it doesn’t mean you cannot get a credit card that gives some rewards. There are many kinds of loyalty rewards, so whether you are looking for points, cash back, travel perks, or a sign up bonus, look for a card that offers what you want.
  • Student cards can be a way to get your credit back on track. Young people usually start college with no credit history, but they can still be approved for credit cards. That’s because they usually apply for a student credit card. These cards are designed for people who don’t have good credit, or any credit at all. They are regular credit cards that may have a lower limit, but they very rarely have annual fees, often have low interest rates, and may even offer rewards like 1% cash back on all purchases.

Remember, when you’re looking for a credit card that caters to people with bad credit, it doesn’t mean you are looking at bad credit cards. Just like bad things can happen to good people, good credit cards happen to people with bad credit history. The only way to improve your credit history is by using credit responsibly. And to do that, you need a great credit card.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

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