Home > Credit Card Reviews > Credit Cards for Bad Credit: Best of 2018

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[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

Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee

Apply Now
on Discover's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A

Ongoing Apr:
24.49% Variable on purchases & balance transfers

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 10.99% for 6 months

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Poor-Bad-No Credit
Snapshot of Card Features
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.

Card Details +

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

Credit One Bank® Cash Back Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now
on Credit One Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A*

Ongoing Apr:
19.15% - 25.24% Variable

Balance Transfer:
N/A*

Annual Fee:
$0 - $99

Credit Needed:
Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, no annual fee, and a competitive APR are just a few of the benefits qualified applicants will enjoy. Terms apply.
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Managing your account is easy with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Pick a card that fits your style. Multiple card designs are available, a fee may apply
  • Monitor your credit with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts
  • Do your part to help the environment with the option to go paperless

Card Details +

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. Official NASCAR Credit Card from Credit One Bank

Official NASCAR® Credit Card from Credit One Bank®

Apply Now
on Credit One Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A*

Ongoing Apr:
17.24% - 25.24% Variable

Balance Transfer:
N/A*

Annual Fee:
$0 - $99

Credit Needed:
Poor-Bad
Snapshot of Card Features
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore, terms apply
  • No need to fret—you’re covered by $0 Fraud Liability
  • Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • Monitor your credit with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts

Card Details +

Why We Picked It: NASCAR fans will get something extra out of this card.
Benefits: Cardholders earn 1% cashback on all qualifying purchases and double cashback on purchases at the NASCAR.com Superstore, as well as exclusive offers and discounts from NASCAR partners.
Drawbacks: If you’re not a NASCAR fan, you won’t get much out of this credit card.
Credit Needed: Applicants with poor credit or no credit are eligible to apply for this 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.

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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.

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