Home > Credit Cards > Credit Cards for Bad Credit: Best of 2017

Comments 0 Comments

[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 completely. While most credit cards for people with poor credit don’t have many perks, gas cards, travel cards, and cash back cards for bad credit are available.

Here are our picks for the three best rewards credit cards for bad credit, focusing on the top perks for gas cards, travel cards, and cash back reward cards.

1. Discover it Secured Card

Best For: Gas credit card rewards for people with bad credit.
Rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations each quarter; 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches the cash back you earn in the first year. This is one of the best sign-up bonus credit card offers available—whether you have poor credit or not.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: This is one of the best secured credit cards for bad credit you can find—and one of the best gas credit cards you can get with bad credit. This secured card offers cash back on everything, with an extra incentive for dining and gas purchases.
Benefits: Secured credit cards are one of the safest and easiest ways to establish and improve your credit. With bonus cash back for the first year and no annual fee, this is one of the best credit cards for poor credit available. Discover’s secured card offers 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Drawbacks: You’ll need an up-front security deposit of at least $200 to access this card.
Credit Needed: Poor credit, bad credit, and no credit applicants accepted. 

2. Credit One Bank Cash Back Rewards Visa

Best For: Consistent cash back rewards for poor credit.
Rewards: 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 to $99
APR: Variable 16.99% to 24.99% APR on purchases.
Why We Picked It: This unsecured card provides consistent 1% cash back on all eligible purchases and offers credit-building features for those with poor credit.
BenefitsCredit One Bank’s cash back cards earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, which vary based on which of its five cash back cards you qualify for. Eligible purchases may include gas, groceries, utility bills, and dining. The card also offers credit score tracking and pre-qualification, which many other cards for bad credit do not offer.
Drawbacks: Credit One isn’t transparent on how it determines which of its cash back cards you’ll receive, and there’s a highly variable annual fee.
Credit Needed: Applicants with poor credit are eligible, but this card is recommended for applicants with fair credit to help build their credit health. 

3. AeroMexico Visa Secured Card

Best For: Airline miles and travel rewards for people with poor credit.
Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on gas and groceries; one mile for every dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 5,000 bonus miles with your first purchase.
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $25.
APR: Variable 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Frequent AeroMexico flyers can earn miles toward their flights, making this a great airline credit card for people with poor credit.
Benefits: This secured airline miles credit 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 companion certificate, and all flights get a complimentary checked bag.
Drawbacks: If you prefer another airline, you won’t get much mileage out of this travel card.
Credit Needed: Applicants with poor credit or no credit are eligible to apply for this secured credit card.

How Can Bad or Poor Credit Affect Credit Card Eligibility

Credit affects many aspects of your life—including the credit cards you can apply for. All credit cards have some sort of credit requirements that applicants must meet to be approved, which means many cards will not approve you if you have poor or bad credit. If your credit score is low, a secured card or other card specifically designed for bad credit can help you rebuild your credit. 

How to Choose the Best Rewards Credit Card for Bad Credit

It may not seem like it, but there are many credit card companies for people with 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 poor 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 up-front expense, it might be worth it if you can avoid higher fees later and improve your credit health.

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 with 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 your credit report for free with Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Discover it Secured and Credit One Bank 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 these cards. 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.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.



Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team