[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners once they become available here — Discover it Secured and Credit One Cash Back Rewards Visa. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you have bad credit, you may think you’re automatically unqualified for credit cards that offer cash back or travel rewards. For many cards, that may be true.
But you’re not necessarily locked out of earning rewards. While most credit cards for people with bad credit don’t have many perks, a few provide cash back or travel rewards. Here are three. (Note: You should always check with the card issuers for specific terms and conditions before applying for any card.)
1. Discover it Secured
Rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations, 1% cash back on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: Discover matches the cash back you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 23.74%
Why We Picked It: This secured card offers cash back on everything, with an extra incentive for dining and gas purchases.
Benefits: Secured credit cards require a security deposit equal to your credit line. For instance, a $300 deposit lands you a $300 limit on your card. Discover’s secured card offers 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, they’ll match the cash back you earn your first year.
Drawbacks: You’ll need an upfront security deposit of at least $200 to access this card.
2. Credit One Bank Cash Back Rewards Visa
Rewards: 1% cash back on all eligible purchases
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 to $75 the first year, $0 to $99 after
APR: Variable 15.65% to 24.15%
Why We Picked It: This unsecured card provides 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Benefits: Credit One Bank’s cash-back cards earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases, which vary based on which of their five cash back cards you qualify for. Eligible purchases may include gas, groceries, utility bills and dining.
Drawbacks: Credit One isn’t transparent on how they determine which of their cash-back cards you’ll receive, and there’s a highly variable annual fee.
3. AeroMexico Visa Secured Card
Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on gas and groceries, one mile for every dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 5,000 bonus miles with your first purchase and a companion flight certificate
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, $25 after
APR: Variable 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Frequent AeroMexico flyers can earn miles toward their flights.
Benefits: This secured card earns two miles per dollar spent on gas and grocery purchases and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases. Points are redeemable for AeroMexico flights. New cardholders get a bonus of 5,000 miles and a round trip flight for a companion. There’s also an annual $99 companion certificate. All flights get a complimentary checked bag.
Drawbacks: If you prefer another airline, you won’t get much mileage out of this card.
How to Choose a Rewards Card for Bad Credit
Choosing a rewards card for bad credit depends on your financial circumstances. One of the most important reasons to get a card for bad credit is to rebuild your credit, so you’ll want to choose a card that can help you do that.
Pay attention to the fees and APR associated with any card you’re considering. While a security deposit for a secured card may seem like a steep upfront expense, it might be worth it if you can avoid higher fees later.
Choose a card that rewards your spending habits and provides incentives for the types of purchases you tend to make. And make sure you’re avoiding these seven red flags as you’re deciding on a credit card for bad credit.
What Is Required to Get a Rewards Card for Bad Credit?
Many credit cards for bad credit are available to consumers with a checkered or nonexistent credit history, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to qualify. Before you apply, you should know your credit score so you can have a better idea of what cards are right for you. You can check two of your credit scores for free with Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Discover it Secured and Credit One Cash Back Rewards Visa credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.