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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.
Second-chance credit cards may help you build credit. But as unsecured cards, they don’t require that you put any money down upfront as a security deposit. Here are our picks for the top second chance credit cards.
- Best for cash back rewards: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Best for no annual fee: Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
- Best for borrowers with a bankruptcy: Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
From cardholders in the last year
Here’s why: The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on each $1 spent on every purchase, making it easy to rack up rewards while you work on rebuilding your credit.
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. On top of the card’s rewards program, you can also get access to a higher credit line after you make your first five monthly payments on time.
The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $39, which you can offset if you spend at least $2,600 each year. The card also has no foreign transaction fee, making it a good travel companion if you’re planning a trip abroad. Other benefits include the ability to create virtual credit card numbers when shopping online to keep your actual card number more secure, travel-accident insurance and rental car insurance.
The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has a variable APR of 26.98% for purchases. That’s pretty high, so you’ll want to avoid overspending or carrying a balance from month to month. You’ll also want to avoid paying late because the card charges a late fee of up to $39.
If you’re interested in learning more, read our editorial review of the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Here’s why: Annual fees are common with second-chance credit cards with no security deposit. But with the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card, you can use the card to work on improving your credit without worrying about that yearly cost.
The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card doesn’t offer rewards. But if your top priority is building credit, then getting cash back, points or miles may not be an important feature for you. Like the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card offers access to a higher credit line after you make your first five monthly payments on time.
The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card also has no foreign transaction fee, offers the option to create virtual credit card numbers, and offers travel-accident and rental car insurance.
The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card’s variable purchase APR, at 26.98%, is also high. So make sure to pay your balance in full and on time each month to avoid interest charges, or you risk a late-payment fee of up to $39.
You might still be able to qualify for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card if you have one defaulted loan in the previous five years, but you may not get approved if you have other negative information on your credit reports.
Read Credit Karma’s editorial review of the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card to find out if this card is right for you.
If you’re not sure whether you qualify for the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® based on your credit history, consider applying for prequalification. This results in a soft credit inquiry, which won’t affect your credit scores.
Just remember: Applying for prequalification doesn’t increase your approval odds, nor does it mean you’re actually approved for a credit card. Instead, prequalification gives you an idea of whether you might be approved for the card.
If you do qualify for the card, your annual fee will be $75 the first year ($99 after that).
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® carries a variable purchase APR of 24.90%, making it a little less expensive to carry a balance compared with our other picks. But it’s still a good idea to avoid carrying a balance with this card. Just remember to avoid paying late because the card charges a late fee of up to $39.
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® offers a handful of perks, including rental car insurance, extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance and travel assistance services.
Read our review of the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® 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, which may include secured cards, before deciding which one is the best fit for you.
Even though these second-chance credit cards may be easier to qualify for than premium cards, it’s still generally easier to be approved for a secured credit card. If you have trouble opening an unsecured card, consider a secured card instead.
If you’re a student with little to no credit, consider a student credit card as a good first step instead.
How to make the most of a second-chance credit card with no security deposit
After you get your card in the mail — if you’re approved — take advantage of the opportunity to build your credit as soon as possible. The most important things you can do with an unsecured credit card are to track your purchases, pay your monthly bill on time (and in full, if possible), and keep your balance low relative to your available credit.
You can help 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 and on time to avoid interest charges.
Also, while it’s important to track your purchases if you use the card regularly, you’ll want to avoid maxing out your card each month. That’s because your credit utilization rate is an important factor in your credit scores.
If your credit use is too high, a new account could hurt your credit instead of helping it. To keep your balance low, consider making multiple payments throughout the month, or find out when your card issuer reports 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.