In a NutshellIf you’ve had some credit bumps in the past, a second-chance credit card with no security deposit can help you rebuild your credit without needing to give up a couple hundred dollars upfront.
This offer is no longer available on our site: Petal® 1 Visa® Credit Card
Building credit can take time, and you may not want a secured card if you don’t have enough cash to cover the security deposit. Fortunately, you might qualify for a second-chance credit card with no security deposit.
If you have bad credit, second chance credit cards may help you improve your credit health. But as unsecured credit cards, they don’t require that you put any money down upfront to secure the line of credit. Here are our picks for the top second-chance credit cards with no security deposit.
- Best for cash back: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Best for rewards: Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
- Best for no annual fee: Capital One Platinum Credit Card
- Best for alternative credit: Petal® 1 Visa® Credit Card
- How we picked these cards
- Can you get an unsecured credit card after bankruptcy?
- How to make the most of second chance cards with no security deposit
Best for cash back: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Here’s why: The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make.
Even if you’ve defaulted on one loan in the past five years, you might still qualify for the card. Other negative credit report items, though, could make it difficult to get approved. Capital One doesn’t disclose the card’s minimum credit limit upfront. But after you’ve established some history of making your payments on time (in as little as six months), your account will be reviewed for a higher credit line.
The card does charge an annual fee of $39, but you can offset it by earning cash back if you spend at least $2,600 each year, and as your credit improves, you might be able to replace it with a no-annual-fee card.
Some of the card’s benefits include no foreign transaction fees and the ability to create virtual credit card numbers when shopping online to keep your actual card number more secure.
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has a variable APR of 30.49%* Variable for purchases. That’s pretty high, so you’ll want to avoid overspending or carrying a balance from month to month.
If you’re interested in learning more, read our review of the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Best for rewards: Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
Here’s why: Like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases. But this card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Keep in mind, though, that you won’t actually earn the rewards until you pay off your purchases. You’ll get the cash back in the form of a statement credit on your account.
This is not a traditional credit card. Instead, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® functions as a revolving line of credit. You’ll pay off your monthly balances over time with equal monthly payments at a fixed interest rate of 14.99% - 29.99%.
Because it’s not like a typical credit card, another major benefit is that you can use it to transfer money to your bank account without it counting as a cash advance. Depending on various factors, your credit limit can be as high as $50,000 — though most are $25,000 or less.
Learn more about the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® before you apply.
Best for no annual fee: Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Here’s why: If you want to focus solely on building credit instead of rewards potential, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card can be worth considering — especially because there’s no annual fee to offset with rewards.
In some cases, credit card rewards can encourage overspending. But if you’ve had trouble with that in the past and your top priority is building credit, this is a decent card to consider. It’s relatively basic, with no annual fee and a variable 30.49%* Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. There’s also no foreign transaction fee, so you can take it with you abroad.
Read our review of the Capital One Platinum Credit Card to determine if it’s right for you.
Best for alternative credit: Petal® 1 Visa® Credit Card
Here’s why: Petal will review your banking history along with your credit history to get an idea of your overall financial picture — so you may be able to qualify even if your credit isn’t great.
The card also offers between 2% and 10% cash back at select merchants. The card has a $0 annual fee and foreign transaction fees. Credit limits range from $300 to $5,000, depending on various factors. And if you pay your bills on time for six months, you may be able to qualify for a higher credit line.
The card’s variable purchase APR ranges from 25.24% - 34.74%* Variable, so it’s a good idea keep an eye on your balance.
If you like what this card has to offer, read our review of the Petal® 1 Visa® Credit Card to learn more.
How we picked these cards
There are several second-chance credit cards out there that don’t require a security deposit, but many of them charge various fees, including annual fees. Some also charge high interest rates or restrict where you can use your card, making it difficult to use regularly.
We made sure to focus on credit cards that offer reasonably good features, such as rewards, and accessibility. That said, it’s important to take time to research several options before deciding which one is the best fit for you.
Even though these second-chance credit cards may be easier to qualify for with poor credit compared to premium cards, it may be easier to be approved for a secured credit card. If you have trouble opening an unsecured card, consider a secured card instead.
And if you’re a student with little to no credit, you can compare student credit card offers on Credit Karma.
Can you get an unsecured credit card after bankruptcy?
If you have a recent bankruptcy on your credit report, it’ll likely make it hard to qualify for a second chance credit card. But there could be a possibility if your bankruptcy has been discharged.
That being said, even if you do qualify for an unsecured credit card, you’ll likely face high fees and a high APR.
How to make the most of second-chance cards with no security deposit
After you get your card in the mail, take advantage of the opportunity to build up your credit as soon as possible. Here are some of the most important things you can do.
- Establish a positive payment history by setting up automatic payments each month or by requesting an alert when your bill is due. While you just need to make the minimum payment for it to be considered on time, consider paying the card in full to avoid interest charges.
- Avoid maxing out your card each month. That’s because your credit utilization rate is an important factor in your credit scores. Consider making multiple payments throughout the month, or find out when your credit card issuers report your account activity to the consumer credit bureaus and make a payment before that date.
As you practice these good credit habits, you’ll have the chance to improve your credit over time, giving you a better chance of getting a better credit card or a loan with more favorable terms in the future.