Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit – January 2021

Having bad credit can make you feel like you’re a walking rejection letter. It can seem as if you’ll never find a bank or credit card company willing to approve your application. But there is a credit card out there for you — and it may be more affordable than you think. You just have to know where to look. 

Most credit cards for bad credit are secured, which means you have to pay a deposit to open an account. In many cases, this initial fee doubles as your credit limit. If you play your cards right — that is, use your card responsibly and pay your bill on time and in full every month — some creditors will return your deposit and consider you for an upgrade to an unsecured card. 

If your new year’s resolution is to turn your credit around, then picking one of Investopedia’s best credit cards for bad credit is a great way to start.


Discover it Secured

Best Overall + Cash Back

Regular APR: 22.99% (variable)

Transfer APR: 10.99% intro APR for six months

Annual fee: None

Deposit: $200

Upgrade available: Yes

Rewards program: Yes


Discover is known for its line of affordable credit cards, and the unsecured Discover it consistently tops lists of the best credit cards. And thanks to the Discover it Secured, you can enjoy many of the same benefits as its counterpart, even if you have bad credit.

Whether you want to build your credit or use it to consolidate your debt, this card is an excellent choice. The balance transfer APR may be shorter than most intro offers, but the regular APR is fair compared to other secured cards. 

If you use your card wisely, Discover will automatically consider you for an upgrade after eight months.


Discover it Student Cash Back

Best For Students With No Credit

Regular APR: 17.99% (variable)

Transfer APR: 10.99% intro APR for six months

Balance transfer fee: 3% of the transfer amount if made before February 10, 2021, then 5% after that

Annual fee: None

Rewards program: Yes


When you’re a broke college student who’s new to credit, you don’t want to pay sky-high interest rates. The Discover it Student Cash Back card makes it easy for students to build their credit and eventually upgrade to an unsecured card. 

This card offers lower interest rates than the Discover it Secured, which is why it’s the smart choice when you’re enrolled in school. Not only that, you can earn 5% cash back on new spending categories every quarter, plus 1% back on everything else. This way, you can save on gas, groceries, dining out, and other common student purchases.


Capital One Platinum

Best Unsecured Credit Card For Bad Credit

Regular APR: 26.99% (variable)

Annual fee: None

Rewards program: None


Who says you have to settle for a secured credit card when you have bad credit? The Capital One Platinum says otherwise. This card offers high approval rates for applicants with bad credit or no credit and who haven’t filed for bankruptcy within five years. 

With this card, you can enjoy affordable interest rates and no annual fee than other unsecured cards. While Capital One doesn’t offer a rewards program for this card, you don’t have to worry about a deposit or charges for foreign transactions. Once you build your credit, you can upgrade to an unsecured card that offers rewards. 


Wells Fargo Business Secured

Best For Small Business Owners

Regular APR: 15.15% (variable)

Annual fee: $25

Rewards program: Yes

Cash Advance APR: 23.99%


Small business owners need all the help they can get right now, and when you have bad credit, getting a company credit card can feel impossible. Thankfully, the Wells Fargo Business Secured makes things a little easier by letting you work on your business and personal credit profile. 

With it, you can earn 1.5% cash back (or one point for every dollar) and get 1,000 bonus points on the first $1,000 your business spends each month. Having this flexibility can go a long way to helping you adapt to new changes in your month-to-month. Plus, the Wells Fargo Business Secured offers one of the best credit limits of any secured card — as much as $25,000, depending on your creditworthiness.


SKYPASS Visa Secured

Best Travel Benefits

Regular APR: 16.24% (variable

Annual fee: $50

Deposit: $300

Upgrade available: Yes

Rewards program: Yes


If catching up on all the travel you missed in 2020 is another new year’s resolution, then make sure you book your next trip with the SKYPASS Visa Secured. Investopedia lists this credit card as one of the best for bad credit because it’s ideal for ex-pats and citizens who want to improve their credit while working in the US.

You can also earn miles when you fly with Korean Air and redeem your points for your next trip with the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes more than 20 major airlines like Delta, Air France, and KLM. 

Although you have to pay a $50 annual fee, the 5,000-mile bonus you earn after making your first purchase easily outweighs this cost. Not only that, but when you renew your account each year, you’ll also be eligible for a 1,000 mile-bonus.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are plenty of secured (and unsecured) credit cards on the market made specifically for people with bad credit. Compare deals and offers and see which one fits your needs the best. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to good — or even excellent — credit.


  • Woolsey, Ben. “Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 23 Dec. 2020,
Ian Schindler