Whether you’re looking to improve your credit score or just need a credit card for the credit line, you may be wondering which credit card is the easiest to get? Eligibility requirements are especially important if your credit score is relatively low.
Many credit card issuers tout easy-approval and instant-approval credit cards. But it’s important to understand that, if a credit card is too easy to get, there may be a good reason for it.
What to watch out for with easy-approval credit cards
The easiest credit cards to get tend to be secured credit cards and store credit cards. But some credit card issuers market their unsecured credit cards for bad credit as another alternative.
An unsecured credit card could be a good way to rebuild credit, but some cards are loaded with fees. On top of annual fees, you could also be hit with monthly fees and processing fees just to open the account.
Needless to say, make sure you check the fine print before committing to anything. If you see that the card charges a lot of fees beyond an annual fee (which is the standard with a lot of credit cards for bad credit, albeit not the rule), that should be a red flag.
What about secured credit cards?
Secured credit cards function the same as regular credit cards with one difference: they require that you put up a security deposit — generally equal to your desired credit limit — to get approved.
But while you may think that deposit makes secured cards easy to get, it’s no guarantee.
Secured credit card issuers may still be selective when they consider your application. For example, some issuers may not approve your application if you have an unresolved bankruptcy, don’t have a checking or savings account, or if you’re incarcerated. You also might not qualify if your other accounts with the issuer aren’t current.
If your credit situation is really bad, the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card can make your life easier; the card doesn’t require a credit check or checking or savings account.
Consider store credit cards to avoid a deposit
Store credit cards can be another easy-approval option if your credit isn’t great. Retail stores are often more interested in encouraging you to shop more than making sure your credit is pristine.
As a result, store credit cards often have loose approval requirements, making them easier to get than traditional rewards credit cards. Of course, the trade-off is a high APR and a low credit limit.
But if you use the card responsibly and keep your balance low, you should be able to use it to build your credit so that you can get a better card in the future. And most importantly, store credit cards are unsecured, so you don’t have to worry about a deposit.
When you’re trying to get a credit card with bad credit, you may run into other questions that don’t seem to have a straight answer. As such, we’ve put together a short Q&A with a lot of the questions we’ve heard on the subject:
What is the easiest credit card to get with no credit?
If you’re new to the credit game, we recommend the Deserve Classic Mastercard. The card is designed specifically for people with no credit history and doesn’t require a security deposit.
Which credit card is best to build credit?
Really, any credit card that reports to all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — is a good choice. SuperMoney’s credit card search tool makes it easy to filter credit cards by the credit bureaus they report to.
What are some guaranteed approval credit cards with $1,000 limits for bad credit?
Unfortunately, most credit cards for bad credit offer credit limits on the smaller end. So, it might be tough to get one with $1,000 or more, especially if it’s unsecured. Also, remember that guaranteed approval credit cards typically aren’t a great option because they charge insane fees. Consider applying for a credit card that accepts a cosigner. That will make it easier to qualify for a higher credit limit. SuperMoney’s credit card search tool also allows you to filter credit cards by issuers who accept cosigners.
What are some easy-approval gas credit cards?
Some gas companies offer their own version of a store credit card to regular customers. We recommend checking out the BP Credit Card or the ExxonMobil Smart Card.
How do I use credit cards to build credit?
Focus on only using a small portion of your available credit. You could even use the card to pay a recurring monthly bill, such as a streaming service, and then set up autopay for the account. Even if that’s all you do with the card, you will still be building a good credit history.
Which credit cards are the easiest to get? 5 top picks
Once you’re ready to apply for a new credit card, here are five of the best available options that are easy to get whether you have bad credit or no credit at all.
- Deserve Classic Mastercard: This is an unsecured credit card and is a good option only if you have no previous credit history.
- OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: Despite the annual fee, this card is a good option if you have major issues on your credit report or no checking or savings account.
- Discover it Secured Card: This secured card offers rewards and will even give you your deposit back before you close the account if you manage it responsibly.
- Amazon Prime Store Card: This card is reserved for Amazon Prime members, but offers great cash back on Amazon.com purchases and promotional financing on large purchases.
- Milestone Gold Mastercard: This unsecured card does come with a $99 annual fee but practically everyone is approved and they report to all three credit bureaus.
As you compare and contrast each of these options, you’ll have a better chance of finding one that works best for your needs.
Ben Luthi is a personal finance writer and a credit cards expert who loves helping consumers and business owners make better financial decisions. His work has been featured in Time, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance, U.S. News & World Report, CNBC, Success Magazine, USA Today, The Huffington Post and many more.