3 easier approval credit cards to help you rebuild credit

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In a Nutshell

Even if you have a limited or poor credit history, you may still qualify for easier approval credit cards like the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® or the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®.

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The best easier approval cards to help you rebuild credit 

Best for building credit and earning rewards Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards
Best if you have a limited credit history  Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Best if you’ve previously filed bankruptcy Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® 

If you have no credit, poor credit or you’re trying to rebuild your credit after a collection account or bankruptcy, getting approved for a traditional credit card may be tough.

Even if you find a card that’s touted as “easy approval”, there are some important factors to consider before hitting that “Apply Now” button.

The good news: Some credit card issuers can work with you even if your credit history isn’t perfect.

“When someone looks for easy approval options, usually that means that the individual’s credit history is far from perfect,” says Alex Gerard, personal finance and banking expert, and founder of Cardsmix.com. There are two main types of cards that you may get approved for: secured and unsecured cards.

When you apply for a secured card, you generally need to put down a deposit which then usually acts as your credit limit. Your deposit is eventually refunded but you still need cash on hand to apply – according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, this amount can range from $50 to $300, which can be a limitation for many applicants.

If you have a poor credit history, you may qualify for unsecured cards (which don’t require a deposit) but these may come with high interest rates and fees.

Here are three easier approval credit cards that can help you rebuild credit:

  1. Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards
  2. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
  3. Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Best for building credit and earning rewards: Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

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Who’s it for?

Generally speaking, this card may be a better fit for people who have fair credit. It may be especially appealing if you’re trying to rebuild your credit and earn rewards at the same time.

Why we like it

If you’re just starting to research easier approval credit cards, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards is a great place to start. You can see if you prequalify for this card without affecting your credit score, and if you’re rated as pre-qualified, this means you’ve met all the lender’s criteria so far.

However, you still need to apply for the card and being fully approved will depend on other factors, including your income.

Once approved, you’ll get a credit line starting at $300, with the potential for future credit line increases based on your overall credit performance.

But the most appealing aspect of this card is the fact that you’ll get 1 percent cash back on eligible purchases (terms apply), with rewards posted to your account monthly.

Watch out for

This card comes with a lot of fees, and some of them are pretty costly. The annual membership fee ($0 - $99) varies based on individual factors, and it may reduce the amount of your initial available credit below $300.

For example, if your first annual membership fee is $75, your initial available credit will be only $225. This card also comes with an annual percentage rate (APR) on the higher end of the range: 19.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

How to use it

You’ll want to take advantage of the 1 percent cash back on eligible purchases, but remember not to overspend just to maximize your cash back.

Also, this card offers access to a mobile app that makes managing your account and paying off your monthly bills a breeze.

Best if you have limited credit history: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

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Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

From cardholders in the last year

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Who’s it for?

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a secured card, which means that it’s potentially a good option for consumers with a limited or poor credit history.

Why we like it

With this card, for example, you’ll get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, (the amount is based on your creditworthiness).

Secured cards are typically easier approval credit cards and may be a good fit if you’re looking to rebuild your credit. Pay off your monthly bills on time and you may see your credit score rise, as Capital One® reports to all three major credit bureaus.

While this card lacks a rewards program, it also comes with a $0 annual fee. You may even be eligible for a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time, with no additional deposit needed.

Watch out for

Don’t mistake this for a prepaid card or a debit card. You have to make on-time payments and pay back your balances to improve your credit — or risk not getting your security deposit back. Keep in mind that this card comes with a high variable APR of 24.99% on purchases.

How to use it

In a word, responsibly. The point of a secured credit cards is to help you build or rebuild your credit, so the focus here isn’t on rewards spending. Also, as your credit limit is low, you should use this card for small purchases only to avoid using too much of your limit.

Best if you’ve previously filed bankruptcy: Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

From our partner

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

Who’s it for?

This card may be especially appealing if you’ve previously filed bankruptcy, as you may pre-qualify with no impact to your credit score.

Why we like it

If you’ve filed bankruptcy, you might feel hopeless about rebuilding your credit. How will you ever get approved for a credit card again? And how can you rebuild your credit if no one will approve you?

The answer may be a credit card like the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® , which offers the benefit of a quick decision — you can see if you pre-qualify quickly without it affecting your credit score.

If you use this card responsibly, it may help you rebuild credit, as Indigo® reports your payment history to all three major credit bureaus.

Creative types may also appreciate the fact that there are several different card designs to choose from.

Watch out for

There’s an annual fee of $75 - $99. You’ll also want to watch out for a relatively high APR of 23.90% for purchases and a penalty APR of 29.90%. The latter may apply if you miss a payment.

How to use it

As with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, it’s important to use this card responsibly. We recommend keeping your credit use low and making full, on-time payments.

How to responsibly use a credit card to build credit

Here are some general tips on how to responsibly use a credit card, whether its secured or unsecured:

  • Always make payments on time. A late payment can have a significant effect on your credit.
  • When possible, pay off your balance in full. Consistently carrying a balance can lead to a cycle of debt, as well as cost you a lot in interest.
  • Closely manage your available credit. Try to keep your credit card usage below 30 percent of your total available limit, as high usage can have a negative effect on your credit.

Bottom line

If you have less than stellar credit, opting for one of the above easier approval credit cards could be a good option. These cards tend to appeal specifically to consumers with poor credit or a limited credit history.

But before committing to one of these cards, you might also want to consider a retail credit card. “These cards are easier on approval, but have limited use — mostly you can use them only at that particular store chain,” Gerard says.

Still, these cards often come with an instant approval. If you’re approved, you can start shopping with the card soon after filling out the application.

No matter which card you choose, make sure to stay on top of your payments and keep your balances low.

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