9 Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit 2021

We’ve found credit cards that offer rewards, low fees, higher credit limits, and more―even if you have poor credit.
Best overall
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7
$0.00 annual fee for first year
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Mastercard card
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash back or points rewards
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Secured with collateral
Best for point rewards
BBVA
BBVA Secured Visa Business Credit Card
2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6
$0.00 annual fee for first year
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Visa card
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Points rewards
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Secured with collateral
Best no-collateral card
Capital One
Spark Classic from Capital One
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3
$0.00 annual fee for first year
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Capital One card
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash back rewards
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unsecured
Highest credit limit
First National Bank of Omaha logo
Business Edition Secured Visa Card
1.9 out of 5 stars
1.9
$39.00 annual fee for first year
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Visa card
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    No rewards program
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Secured with collateral
Best personal card
Bank of America
Cash Back Secured Credit Card
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8
$0.00 annual fee for first year
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Visa card
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash back rewards
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Secured with collateral

Data effective 5/3/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Without good credit (whether that’s personal credit or business credit), you may have a hard time getting a credit card. No matter if your low credit score is due to a lack of credit history or a problematic credit report, many card issuers won’t offer you a credit card―much less a good one.

But bad credit doesn’t have to mean you go credit card-less. It just means you need to find the right credit card company.

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best business and personal credit cards for bad credit. We’ve found the best cards that offer good rewards and low fees―all while building credit.

The best business credit cards for bad credit

Compare the best business credit cards for bad credit

Credit card
Card issuer
First-year/ongoing annual fee
Purchase APR
Get a card
Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Wells Fargo$0.00/$0.00Prime + 11.9%
BBVA

Secured Visa Business Credit Card

BBVA$0.00/$40.0016.24%
Capital One

Spark Classic

Capital One$0.00/$0.0026.99%
First National Bank of Omaha logo

Business Edition Secured Visa Card

FNBO$39.00/$39.0020.24%

Data effective 5/3/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

How credit cards for bad credit work

Like any credit card, a credit card designed for poor credit gives you a credit limit that you can spend up to (and then repay). And as you use your card, your credit card company should report your usage to the major credit bureaus―Equifax, Experian, and Transunion―which allows you to build credit over time. (That’s why you want to use a credit card instead of a debit card or prepaid card.)

But unlike a credit card for good credit, a credit card for bad credit will probably come with a higher APR (annual percentage rate), a lower credit limit, and a less impressive rewards program. And many credit cards for poor credit are secured cards, which means you have to offer a security deposit as collateral.

As you can see, credit cards for bad credit have some downsides. They’re best used as a stepping stone toward better credit (and a better credit card). So make sure you use your credit line responsibly and repay your card balance each month. That way, you can improve your credit score and qualify for a better credit card.

One more thing to note: It’s harder to find a business credit card for bad credit than a personal credit card for bad credit. In fact, some of the business cards below (like the Spark Classic) are designed for a fair credit score, rather than a poor credit score. 

If you can’t qualify for a business credit card, you can use a personal credit card for your business. Just know that a personal credit card can make your business finances more complicated, will probably come with a lower credit limit, and won’t build business credit like a business credit card will.

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best overall unsecured business credit card

Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7
  • $0.00 annual fee
  • Check
    No annual fee ever
  • Check
    Mastercard card
  • Check
    1.5% cash back or 1x points
  • Check
    $25,000 maximum credit limit

If you need a business credit card and you don’t have great credit, we think the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is your best option.

Like the name says, this Wells Fargo card is a secured Mastercard, which means you’ll have to offer a security deposit. Your credit limit will depend on how much you deposit, but it can be as low as $500 or as high as $25,0000.

But that’s all standard stuff. What really sets the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card are the low fees and interest rate and the relatively robust rewards. Wells Fargo offers the lowest interest rate of any credit card on this list (currently 15.15%) and it doesn’t charge an annual fee, making this an affordable credit option. You even get 10 free employee cards.

And like we said, it has good rewards. You can choose between cash back or points rewards. If you go for the cash back, you get a perfectly respectable flat rate of 1.5% per $1 you spend, while the points earn you a little less, at 1 point per $1). You can even earn bonus points anytime you spend at least $1,000 in a billing cycle.

Those low rates and competitive rewards make the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card competitive even with many unsecured cards for good credit. But it does have a lower credit limit and rewards rate than many unsecured cards, so we do recommend upgrading from this card when you can.

But as long as you need a card for bad credit, the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card offers a great option, thanks to low fees, decent rewards, and credit building capabilities.

Pros
Pro Bullet Low purchase APR
Pro Bullet Cash back or points reward options
Pro Bullet No annual fee
Cons
Con Bullet Low maximum credit limit

BBVA Secured Visa Business Credit Card: Best for rewards points

BBVA
BBVA Secured Visa Business Credit Card
2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6
  • X
    $40.00 annual fee
  • Check
    Annual fee waived for first year
  • Check
    Visa card
  • Check
    1.5x points rewards
  • Check
    Unlisted maximum credit limit

Prefer points to cash back? Then the BBVA Secured Visa Business Credit Card offers solid points rewards for businesses with less-than-ideal credit.

BBVA offers just points rewards on this secured card. It earns a flat rate of 1.5x points per $1 spent―a higher rate than the Wells Fargo Business Secured card. (Just note that you earn only on eligible purchases. Cash advances and balance transfers, for example, won’t earn points.) And once you have enough points, BBVA gives you flexibility by allowing you to redeem your points for account credit or gift cards. 

The BBVA Secured Visa Business Credit Card does have some big downsides though―particularly the fact that it’s available in only the seven states where BBVA Bank operates. (That would be Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.) And after your first year, this secured card comes with a $40 annual fee.

Even so, the BBVA Secured Visa Business Credit Card offers a good rewards rate with its point program, making it perfect for businesses with bad credit that want points rewards.

Pros
Pro Bullet 1.5x points on all purchases
Pro Bullet No annual fee for first year
Cons
Con Bullet Ongoing annual fee
Con Bullet Availability in just 7 states

Spark Classic from Capital One: Best no-collateral card

Capital One
Spark Classic from Capital One
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3
  • $0.00 annual fee
  • Check
    No annual fee ever
  • Check
    Capital One card
  • Check
    1% cash back
  • Check
    $50,000 maximum credit limit

The Spark Classic from Capital One stands out from all the other cards on this list for one simple reason: it’s an unsecured credit card.

That means you don’t need to offer a security deposit to get the Spark Classic. Instead, you can apply and get approved like any other unsecured card out there. But unlike most unsecured card options, Capital One designed the Spark Classic for businesses with just fair credit. So it’s easier to get approved for than most unsecured cards, but it doesn’t require collateral like a secured card would.

Of course, that means that Spark Classic does require some compromise on your part. It has just about the highest APR of any card on this list, and it earns a relatively low cash back rate of just 1% per $1 spent. In other words, it doesn’t have all the perks you’d find on the best business credit cards.

Still, the Spark Classic offers a nice compromise for businesses that don’t want to offer collateral to get a credit card but can’t yet qualify for better unsecured cards.

Pros
Pro Bullet No collateral required
Pro Bullet Moderate credit requirements
Pro Bullet No annual fee
Cons
Con Bullet High purchase APR
Con Bullet Low maximum cash back amount

Business Edition Secured Visa Card: Highest credit limit

First National Bank of Omaha logo
Business Edition Secured Visa Card
1.9 out of 5 stars
1.9
  • $39.00 annual fee
  • Check
    Annual fee cannot be waived
  • Check
    Visa card
  • Check
    No reward program
  • Check
    $100,000 maximum credit limit

If you’re looking for the highest credit limit you can get with bad credit, you’re looking for the Business Edition Secured Visa Card.

Like other secured credit cards, you’ll have to make a security deposit that determines your credit limit. But the Business Edition Secured Visa Card lets you give yourself a way higher credit limit than other secured cards on this list―up to $100,000. Plus, the Business Edition card lets your security deposit do more for you by earning interest on your cash deposit amount. Neat, right?

Unfortunately, the Business Edition Secured Visa Card is another geographically limited credit card. You need to be in one of the seven states (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas) First National Bank of Omaha operates in. And while you’ll get a (potentially) high credit limit, this card also comes with an unwaivable annual fee and no rewards at all.

But if those issues don’t bother you, the Business Edition Secured Visa Card gives you the chance at a way higher credit line than you can get from other credit cards for bad credit.

Pros
Pro Bullet Very high maximum credit limit
Pro Bullet Interest accrual on security deposit
Cons
Con Bullet Unwaivable annual fee
Con Bullet No credit card rewards
Con Bullet Availability in just 7 states
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The best personal credit cards for bad credit

As we said earlier, you can also use personal credit cards for your business or yourself. 

As you’ll see, these cards tend to have lower credit limits than the business cards above. And remember, these cards can help your personal credit score, but they won’t help your business credit score at all.

Compare the best personal credit cards for bad credit

Credit card
Card issuer
First-year/ongoing annual fee
Purchase APR
Get a card
american express logo

Cash Back Secured Credit Card

Bank of America$0.00/$0.0023.99%
discover card logo

Discover it Secured Credit Card

Discover$0.00/$0.0022.99%
petal credit card logo

Petal 1

WebBank$0.00/$99.0019.99%–29.49%
Capital One

Secured Mastercard

Capital One$0.00/$0.0026.99%
Open Sky logo

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

OpenSky$35.00/$35.0017.39%

Data effective 5/3/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Cash Back Secured Credit Card: Best overall personal credit card for bad credit

american express logo
Cash Back Secured Credit Card
  • $0.00 annual fee
  • Check
    No annual fee ever
  • Check
    Visa card
  • Check
    1–3% cash back
  • Check
    $4,900 maximum credit limit

Bank of America’s Cash Back Secured Credit Card is our favorite personal credit card for people with bad credit.

There are a couple reasons for that. First, the rewards program. The Cash Back Secured Credit Card earns at least 1% cash back on all your purchases, with a 2% rate on grocery stores and wholesale clubs and an even better 3% rate on one single category that you get to choose (like gas or dining). Put simply, that makes Bank of America’s rewards program better than any of the cards below.

And while the Cash Back Secured Credit Card doesn’t have the highest credit limit, it does give you a higher credit limit than most personal secured cards (depending on your security deposit, of course). Plus, if you develop a good credit history, you may qualify to get your cash deposit refunded. Throw in the lack of an annual fee and competitive (if not stellar) APR, and you’ve got a card that checks a lot of boxes.

Of course, the Cash Back Secured Credit Card has all the downsides you’d expect from a credit card for bad credit. The APR is higher than you’d get from most unsecured credit cards, for example, and the maximum credit limit is pretty low.

But for a secured card for bad credit, the Cash Back Secured Credit Card does a lot right―making it our favorite personal credit card for bad credit.

Discover it Secured Credit Card: Best for cash back matching

discover card logo
Discover it Secured Credit Card
  • $0.00 annual fee
  • Check
    No annual fee ever
  • Check
    Discover card
  • Check
    1–2% cash back
  • Check
    $2,500 maximum credit limit

The Discover it Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer the highest cash back rate we’ve seen, but it does have a nice perk: cash back matching.

All your Discover it purchases will earn between 1% and 2% cash back (with the higher rate applying to your first $1,000 in gas and restaurant purchases every quarter). While those rates don’t blow us away, your cash back rewards will go a lot further thanks to Discover’s matching program. Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first year, essentially doubling your rewards.

Rewards aside, the Discover it Secured Credit Card has no annual fee (nice) but a maximum credit limit of just $2,500 (less nice). It’s definitely not a card you’ll want to use long-term. Fortunately, Discover will also automatically review your account after eight months to see if you can qualify for a better, unsecured card.

So if you want to build credit and get cash back matching at the same time, we recommend checking out the Discover it Secured Credit Card.

Petal 1: Best for local shopping

petal credit card logo
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
  • $0.00 annual fee
  • Check
    No annual fee ever
  • Check
    Visa card
  • Check
    0–10% cash back
  • Check
    $5,000 maximum credit limit

Do a lot of local spending? The Petal 1 card might be the card for you, thanks to its rewards for staying local.

In fact, the Petal 1 offers up to 10% cash back on your purchases. That sounds impressive, but it comes with a big caveat: it applies to select local merchants (and your cash back rate could be much lower, like 2%). The Petal app will tell you what merchants qualify for those stellar cash back rates (including showing you the exact rate). So if you plan to shop locally anyway, Petal 1 could be a great way to maximize your cash back.

But since not all merchants participate, a lot of your Petal 1 purchases will earn 0% cash back. Kind of a bummer, we know. At least Petal 1 doesn’t charge an annual fee for its card. Plus, it has the highest credit limit of the personal credit cards for bad credit on this list (though it’s still a pretty low $5,000).

Put simply, the Petal 1 credit card won’t be right for everyone―but it can offer big cash back bonuses for people who prefer to keep things local.

Secured Mastercard from Capital One: Best for upgrading

Capital One
Secured Mastercard from Capital One
  • $95.00 annual fee
  • Check
    No annual fee ever
  • Check
    Capital One card
  • Check
    $1,000 maximum credit limit
  • X
    No rewards program

We’ve mentioned that a credit card for bad credit should be a stepping stone to a better card―and the Secured Mastercard from Capital One takes that seriously.

While Capital One isn’t the only card issuer to review your account automatically, it does it earliest. At just six months, Capital One will review your account to see if you can qualify for a better credit limit. And as long as you have your Secured Mastercard, Capital One will look at your credit history to decide if you can get your security deposit back (as statement credit). With regular reviews, you may find yourself upgrading to a better card in no time.

Of course, those perks do depend on your spending and payment habits. If you don’t build a better credit history by making regular, on-time payments, you shouldn't expect to qualify for a better credit card or deposit refund. And while you have the Secured Mastercard, you’ll have to settle for a measly $1,000 credit limit and no rewards.

In other words, we wouldn’t want to use the Secured Mastercard from Capital One for years on end―but its regular reviews make it a great short-term stepping stone to better credit.

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: Best for no credit check

Open Sky logo
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card
  • $35.00 annual fee
  • X
    Unwaivable annual fee
  • Check
    Visa card
  • X
    No rewards program
  • Check
    $3,000 maximum credit limit

Want a card issuer that won’t check your credit at all? Meet the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card.

Unlike the other cards on this list, OpenSky doesn’t do a credit check as part of your card application. That means you’ll never get rejected because of your low FICO credit score, and it means your personal credit score won’t take a hit due to a hard credit check. (Most other cards offer check-free pre-approval, but ultimately do a hard check when you submit your final application.)

And don’t worry―while OpenSky doesn’t check your credit, it does report your credit card activity to credit bureaus. So you’ll still build credit. Just know that you pay for the lack of credit check with an unwaivable annual fee and absolutely no way to earn rewards.

But if you really don’t want your card issuer checking your credit score, the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card was made for you.

Credit card for bad credit FAQ

What is the easiest business credit card to get with bad credit?

If you need to get a business credit card with bad credit, we recommend choosing a secured business card like the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. Secured cards require a cash security deposit as collateral, which means card issuers care less about your FICO score than the cash you offer up.

What credit card can I get with a 500 credit score?

With a 500 FICO credit score, you should still be able to qualify for many secured credit cards (assuming you can provide a cash security deposit), like the Cash Back Secured Credit Card from Bank of America or the Secured Mastercard from Capital One. 

If you’re worried, you can always choose a credit card from a card issuer that doesn’t do a credit check―like the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card.

What is the easiest credit card to get approved for?

The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card doesn’t require any credit check to get approved making it one of the easiest credit cards to get approved for when you have bad credit.

Recap: What is the best credit card for bad credit?

The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is our top credit card for businesses with bad credit, due to its low fees, moderate credit limit, and solid reward options. But there are other good business credit cards for bad credit too, like the BBVA Secured Business Credit Card (for people who prefer point rewards), the Spark Classic (if you want an unsecured credit card), and the Business Edition Secured Visa Card (for a higher credit line).

Plus, you can use personal credit cards, like Bank of America’s Cash Back Secured Credit Card, to build your personal FICO score―even if you use them for business expenses.

No matter which credit card company you go with, make sure you use your new card wisely and make regular payments. Before long, you’ll be building credit and be on your way to an excellent credit score―and a better credit card.  

Need more working capital for your business than a credit card can offer? Check out our rankings of the best business loans for bad credit.

Methodology

We looked at more than 40 personal and business credit cards in our research to find the best credit cards for bad credit. After identifying credit cards with low credit requirements, we compared factors like fees, interest rates, reward offers, and more to come up with our scoring and rankings.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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