Subprime credit cards are cards designed for people with bad credit or limited credit history. Most major credit card companies define subprime as a credit score of 660 or below. Subprime credit cards tend to have higher interest rates and fees, lower credit limits, and fewer perks than credit cards for people with better credit scores. Many subprime cards also require you to place a refundable security deposit, to reduce the risk for the issuer.
Not all subprime credit cards are created equal, however. Credit cards for people with no credit, especially students, tend to be more attractive than the cards you can get with bad credit: secured credit cards and unsecured credit cards for people with poor credit. But in either case, you’ll need to consistently pay your monthly bills on time if you want to graduate beyond subprime credit cards.
An alternative to getting a subprime credit card is to become an authorized user on another person’s credit card. If they pay the bills on time, you’ll build credit. You can learn even more about navigating your way around subprime cards below.
What you should know about subprime credit cards:
Subprime credit cards are for people with bad or limited credit. Credit card companies may use specific credit score thresholds to define subprime. Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover define subprime as a credit score of 660 or below. Bank of America sets the benchmark at 680.
Secured cards have the highest approval odds but require a security deposit. Unsecured cards are harder to get with bad credit. But if you have no credit, you should be able to get a starter or student credit card, as long as you have a stable income.
The best way to rebuild your credit with a subprime credit card is to pay your balance on time and in full every month.
Subprime credit cards can be a great way to establish or rebuild your credit standing. Responsible use of the credit made available to you should improve your credit score over time.
The subprime credit cards are those you can get when your credit is bad. That includes secured credit card, where you need to fund your enitre credit limit and unsecured credit cards, with low credit limits and high fees.
From the two, it's best to go with a secured card.
The Fingerhut Credit Account is the easiest unsecured card to get. But it won’t suit everyone’s needs. Fingerhut is an online marketplace, and its card can only be used to make purchases on the site. So while it will give you an unsecured line of credit, it won’t really help you cover emergency expenses.… read full answer
If you’re looking for a card that can be used for anything, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is your best bet. You can get approved for it with bad credit. It offers a $300 starting spending limit. And you can use it wherever Visa is accepted.
Those aren’t your only options, though. WalletHub’s editors compared all of the unsecured credit cards in our database of 1,000+ offers. And we selected our favorite easy-to-get offers.
Here are the easiest unsecured credit cards to get:
The easiest unsecured credit cards to get generally work best for minor emergencies. You will only receive a small amount of spending power, after all.
Unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit also tend to be very expensive, charging lots of fees and high interest rates. So if you don’t need a small emergency loan, the best course of action is to improve your credit inexpensively with a secured card. Secured cards are cheaper than unsecured cards, build credit just as effectively, and offer the closest thing you’ll find to guaranteed approval.
The best credit card for a 550 credit score is the OpenSky Secured Visa Card. There’s no credit check when you apply, so approval is almost guaranteed. You just need $200 for a refundable security deposit and enough income to make monthly payments. The OpenSky Secured Card also reports to all three major credit bureaus every month, which is your ticket to a better credit score. And a $35 annual fee isn’t too much to pay for that.… read full answer
The Discover it Secured Card is another great 550 credit score credit card. It has a $0 annual fee and actually rewards you for making purchases. A 550 credit score won’t keep you from getting approved either. But a pending non-chapter 7 bankruptcy will.
Those aren’t the only credit cards you can get with a 550 credit score. In fact, there are two kinds of credit cards for people at that credit level: secured credit cards and unsecured credit cards for bad credit. A 550 credit score is within the bad credit range, unfortunately. Bad credit goes from 300 to 639. But picking the right 550 credit score credit card and using it responsibly could help you improve your score to “fair” territory within 12-18 months.
The best credit cards for a 550 score:
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Discover it® Secured
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered
Before applying for a card, make sure to check out its terms and conditions, or a FAQ page if there is one, just to make sure you fit the criteria for eligibility. You can also try getting pre-approved for a credit card. It won’t hurt your credit, and it will give you a good idea of your odds if you decide to apply.
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