The best no credit check cards give you access to the convenience and protections of a credit card even if you have no credit history or a bad credit score. Within this category, you’ll likely encounter many secured credit cards that are available without a credit check. Those with a credit check requirement are usually still available, with any available credit history used to help pick the card’s starting credit limit.
Among these cards, the best have no annual fee and reward you with cash back or travel miles and points, among other standard credit card benefits, such as protection from fraudulent purchases. Here’s a closer look at the best credit cards you can get with no credit or bad credit.
1.5% cash back on every purchase
U.S. Bank Cash+ Secured Visa Card
1% cash back, plus 5% cash in two categories and 2% cash back in a third.
U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Secured Card
Up to 4x points on select purchases, plus $15 annual streaming credit
Best for simple cash back rewards: card_name
The card_name is an easy-to-get credit card with 1.5% cash back rewards on all purchases. Like all the other cards on this list, there’s annual_fees annual fee. The $200 minimum security deposit is typical for a secured card. Still, it’s fully refundable, meaning if you close your account and pay your balance in full, Capital One will return it to you.
After keeping the card open and maintaining it responsibly, Capital One may upgrade your account to a version without a security deposit requirement. Capital One will report your card activity to all major credit bureaus, helping you build credit if you maintain a low balance and always pay by the monthly due date.
While most secured cards come with a high interest rate, you won’t have to pay any interest when you pay the monthly balance in full. This card will appeal to people who want to earn simple cash back rewards but are just starting with credit or are recovering from a series of late or missed payments, among other negative credit situations.
Best for cash back rewards: U.S. Bank Cash+ Secured Visa Card
The U.S. Bank Cash+ Secured Visa credit card is notable for its rewards system and no annual fee. All cardholder activity is reported to the three major credit bureaus. After demonstrating responsible card use, the lender may convert your card to an unsecured version, the standard U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card.
This card has a unique cash-back rewards system. Cardholders select two categories, and the first $2,000 spent per quarter between the two categories earns 5% cash back. Cardholders choose a third category to receive 2% cash back with no limit. All other eligible purchases earn 1% cash back.
The high interest rate isn’t a problem for those who pay off the card monthly. Also, look out for the 3% foreign transaction fee if you travel or purchase abroad. It’s also great for its potentially high limits, up to $5,000 with a $5,000 deposit. This card is a good choice for active users willing to spend a little more time choosing their rewards.
Best for travel rewards: U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Secured Card
U.S. Bank’s Altitude Go Visa Secured Card has no annual fee, reports to the major credit bureaus, and requires a minimum deposit of $300. Graduating to an unsecured card is a possibility with this pick, too.
Instead of cash back, this card features reward points, redeemable for travel, cash back, and other options. Cardholders can earn 4x points per dollar on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery, 2x for grocery stores, eligible streaming services, gas station, and EV charging station purchases, and 1x everywhere else.
This card includes a $15 annual streaming credit after 11 months of streaming purchases. This credit is like a $15 coupon that lowers your credit card balances. When you avoid fees and pay off the card in full every month by the due date, you can earn rewards while keeping and using the card for free.
Best for no annual interest rate: card_name
The card_name* is unique among our picks because it has no annual interest rate, fees, or minimum deposit to open an account. The Credit Builder card also lets you use your security deposit to pay your monthly bill, which most credit cards won’t allow. These features make this card uniquely affordable and accessible.
However, there are some caveats. The first is that you must open a Chime Checking Account first. There are also no rewards, meaning you won’t earn cash back or points on purchases.
Another drawback to this card is that it has no path toward getting an unsecured card, meaning Chime won’t graduate you to a less restricted card if you spend responsibly. Still, this card is an effective credit-building tool, as it reports to all three major credit bureaus, and the $0 minimum balance and no interest are unique among secured cards.
Best for low minimum deposit: card_name
The card_name has annual_fees annual fee. Capital One reports Platinum Secured card activity to all three major credit bureaus, which is great for credit building.
The most impressive aspect of this card is its low minimum deposit requirement. You can open an account with just $49, over four times less than what’s required to open an account with the card_name.
A downside of this card is that it carries no rewards, so unlike the Quicksilver, you won’t earn cashback on eligible purchases. However, the card_name offers several cardholder perks, including extended warranties and travel benefits. In addition to the low minimum deposit, these may make this an attractive option for people with lcredit_score_needed credit.
To find the best credit cards for people with bad or no credit, our team focused on finding credit cards with no annual fees, low minimum deposit requirements, and cash back or travel rewards. We only included cards that report activity to the major credit bureaus, as credit reporting is critical to building a positive credit history and good credit score.
Minimize the impact of the credit check when you apply for a card
Many people wonder how applying for a credit card will impact their credit score. When a card issuer pulls your credit files, it can negatively impact your credit score by a small number of points, typically around five or fewer. Because of that, you don’t want to apply for too many credit accounts quickly because it can signal to issuers that you’re a risky applicant. Don’t worry, though. Credit inquiries drop off your credit report after two years.
How to choose the right no-credit-check card for you
Choosing the right card depends on your priorities and needs. If you cannot deposit around $300 or more for a long time, a secured card with a high minimum deposit may not be the right decision. If you spend a lot of money on a particular category, such as groceries or dining, a card with those bonus rewards may be best, as it offers high rewards where you spend most.
How to compare no-credit-check cards
The first thing to do when comparing secured credit cards is to find the minimum deposit requirement and if there’s an annual fee. These should be easy to find on the card issuer’s website. Next, read about what rewards they offer to cardholders. Be sure to read about any restrictions in case rewards only apply to certain purchases.
Next, compare interest rates and fees. Most people should only use credit cards if they can be paid off monthly to avoid interest. But it’s good to know the potential charges, just in case.
Next, look into whether the secured card reports to all three major credit bureaus and whether the card has a path for graduating to an unsecured card. Once you understand the potential costs and benefits, you can decide which card is best for your unique needs.
Alternatives to no-credit-check cards to build credit
Some alternatives to these cards include unsecured credit cards or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. Unsecured credit cards typically have strict approval requirements, including a minimum credit score. However, the significant benefit of this type of card is that it doesn’t require a security deposit.
Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card is another strategy for raising your credit score without applying for the card yourself. If someone agrees to add you as an authorized user, you can use the card without being directly responsible for the payments. If the account is managed responsibly, it can positively impact your credit score. However, as the primary cardholder is responsible for your charges, you may struggle to find someone with good credit willing to add you.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are the easiest cards to get approved for?
The easiest cards to get approved for are generally cards with no credit checks, as there are fewer criteria you have to meet. Secured credit cards are easy to get because your credit line is backed by collateral. You can often input your information and see what cards you’re pre-approved for without impacting your credit score.
What do I need to get a credit card when I have no credit history?
If you have no credit history, there are still ways you can get a credit card. An option is to get a secured card, such as the ones included in this list of the best no credit check cards, as they can help people with bad or no credit build a positive credit history.
How long does it take to build my credit history?
Credit agencies consider various factors in determining your creditworthiness, so there’s no precise answer for how long it may take you to establish good credit. It depends on where you’re starting and how you use your available credit, among other factors.
Getting a credit score takes several months if you’re starting credit from scratch. Achieving excellent credit can take years and requires consistent, responsible financial activity. If you’re trying to rebuild credit after damaging your creditworthiness, you may need years to earn a good to an excellent score.
*The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.