Second Chance Credit Cards: Best Unsecured Options for People with Poor Credit

Sometimes life happens, occasionally at the peril of your credit score. But rest assured that no matter how unflattering your credit history may be, there’s always a chance to turn things around. Second chance credit cards present customers with a unique opportunity to rebuild their credit history, as long as they’re used responsibly. Join us for an explanation of what a second chance credit card is and how to get one. We’ll also break down some of the best cards for customers in a variety of different financial situations.

What is a Second Chance Credit Card?

Man in glasses with finger crossed and holding a credit card

These types of credit cards are known as “second chance” cards because they are designed for people whose credit scores aren’t as flattering as they’d like. While some second chance cards come with lower credit cards, higher fees, or both, they do provide an opportunity to get your credit back on track. For these reasons, it’s highly recommended to use a second chance credit card primarily as a credit-building tool. This means only making select purchases that you’re certain you can pay off as quickly as possible.

How to Get a Second Chance Credit Card?

two women stare shocked at the camera holding a mobile phone and a credit card pink background

First and foremost, it’s incredibly important to find the right card for you. Make sure to read the fine print and get a thorough understanding of the card’s terms and any fees that may go along with them. Once you’ve selected the right card for your situation, all that’s left to do is apply. The average second chance credit card application can be filled out online in minutes, sometimes with no impact on your credit score.

How to Get Approved for a Second Chance Credit Card

Approval requirements vary widely, depending on the type of credit card you apply for and the company that issues it. That’s why we’ve included a variety of different types of cards in our review of the best second chance credit cards below. We’ll point you in the direction of everything from secured credit cards and prepaid cards to unsecured credit cards with no security deposit requirements.

Benefits of Second Chance Credit Cards

woman wearing a black jacket holding a Unique platinum credit card

Second chance credit cards are a means of ensuring that you aren’t judged based on your past financial mistakes forever. The idea is to use them to show that you can indeed be trusted to make your payments on time. Once you do, your credit score will slowly but surely start to rise again.

Just keep in mind that it’s incredibly important to use them responsibly to keep from making your credit score worse than it already is. Many second chance credit cards also offer helpful credit score monitoring tools to help increase your chances of success.

Will Credit Card Companies Give You a Second Chance?

Visa and Mastercard credit cards closeup

Almost all credit card companies, including major issuers like Visa, Mastercard, and Capital One, have some version of a second chance credit card. As noted above, however, the terms and requirements for these cards can vary widely, so the trick is finding the best one for you. Below we’ll look at options that are worth looking into from companies such as OpenSky, Netspend, Chime, and Petal.

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild Credit With a Second Chance Credit Card?

Illustration credit score

This can depend a great deal on how low your credit score is and what other forms of debt you currently have. In general, however, the average customer can expect an increased credit score within six months of making their payments on time. Many second chance credit cards also offer credit increases for customers who demonstrate responsible use.

Best Second Chance Credit Cards

Let’s take a look at some of the best second chance credit cards for bad credit, fair credit, and everything in between. From the best second chance unsecured credit cards for bad credit to the best second chance credit cards with no security deposit or checking account, here are some of our top picks.

Easiest Second Chance Credit Cards to Get

Looking for a card that will approve you when others won’t? It may be worth it to you to look into these cards, which don’t require a stellar history for approval.

Unique Platinum Credit Card

Unique Platinum Credit Card

The Unique Platinum Card is a bit different from the average Visa or Mastercard, but if you’re really looking to repair your credit, then that may be a good thing. The Unique Platinum Card is available even to customers with bad or no credit but is designed to be used exclusively at myuniqueoutlet.com.

If you struggle with impulse buying, this can be a great way to limit yourself to only making a few purchases each month. That way, you’ll be more likely to reap the rewards of paying off your balance right away.

Pros

  • $ 1000 credit limit available for purchases on MyUniqueOutlet website
  • 0% APR
  • Unique benefits such as roadside and legal assistance, as well as RX discounts
  • Each month, members receive up to $ 25 worth of rewards in the form of promotional deals or discounts

Cons

  • $ 19.95 monthly membership charge
  • Very limited range of use

Surge Mastercard® Credit card

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card

Mastercard’s Surge Credit Card is designed specifically for customers with bad to fair credit. You can initially expect to be approved for a credit line from $ 300 to $ 1,000, which you can double by making your first six monthly payments on time. While the Surge Mastercard® is fairly easy to get approved for, its variable APR is incredibly high. It’s only recommended for use on purchases you can pay off very quickly.

Pros

  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Enjoy access to your free monthly credit score
  • Zero liability protection
  • Chance to increase double your limit with responsible use

Cons

  • Annual fees from $ 75 to $ 99
  • Variable APRs range from 24.99% to 29.99%

Second Chance Credit Cards With No Security Deposit

While secured credit cards can be a great way to rebuild your credit, many require you to fork over a large initial security deposit. If you’re looking for deposit-free options, then check out the following cards instead.

QuicksilverOne from Capital One® Credit card

QuicksilverOne from Capital One® Credit Card

Capital One’s QuicksilverOne Credit Card is one of the few rewards cards designed for customers with fair credit. Cardholders enjoy 1.5% cash back on every purchase, as well as unlimited access to credit monitoring tools from Capital One’s CreditWise.

Pros

  • Automatic consideration for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Free access to credit scores and credit monitoring tools
  • Cash back rewards for everyday purchases
  • Available for those with less than perfect credit
  • No security deposit required

Cons

  • 24.99% APR
  • $ 39 annual fee

Indigo® Mastercard® Credit Card

Indigo® Mastercard® Credit Card

Mastercard’s Indigo® Credit Card offers an alternative to secured credit cards for those with fair credit. You can get pre-approved in seconds with no impact on your credit score and start building your credit with responsible use.

Pros

  • Monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus
  • No security deposit required
  • Fast and easy pre-qualification
  • Zero Liability and ID Theft Protection

Cons

  • 24.90% fixed APR
  • 0 – $ 99 annual fee

Second Chance Credit Cards Unsecured

If you’re looking to turn things around after a particularly rocky credit patch, then there are a few cards that may be able to help. It’s important to note that while the following cards are open to customers with bad credit, they can be an expensive endeavor. They are recommended for emergency and very responsible use only.

FIT Mastercard® Credit Card

FIT Mastercard® Credit Card

The FIT Mastercard is likely to approve you when other cards won’t and offers an initial credit limit of up to $ 400. With responsible use, it’s possible to increase your credit line in six months.

Pros

  • Open to those with bad credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Free monthly credit score when you sign up for e-statements

Cons

  • $ 99 annual fee
  • $ 6.25 monthly maintenance fee after the first year, Incredibly high 29.99% APR

Total Visa® Credit Card

Total Visa® Credit Card

The Total Visa® Credit Card is another option for those with bad credit. While no security deposit is required, it’s worth considering whether you’ll end up saving money in the long run, as the card does come with considerable fees.

Pros

  • Access to free credit monitoring by TransUnion
  • Credit limit of up to $ 300
  • Monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus

Cons

  • $ 89 one-time program fee required to activate your account
  • 34.99% APR is among the highest in the industry
  • Annual fee of $ 75.00 the first year and $ 48.00 after that
  • Monthly service fees of $ 6.25 per month after the first year

Second Chance Credit Cards With No Checking Account

No checking accounts? Not necessarily a problem with the following credit cards and prepaid cards.

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Credit Card

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Credit Card

While the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card isn’t technically a credit card, it has all the same benefits and is available with no credit check. The card offers direct deposit and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. Just make sure you carefully review the fees, as they may add up quickly unless you’re aware of them.

Pros

  • No credit check required
  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Netspend Mobile App can be used to manage your card from anywhere

Cons

  • $ 9.95 per month plan free or pay as you go fee of $ 1.95 per purchase
  • Cash reload fee of $ 3.95
  • Inactivity fee of $ 5.95 / month after 90 days
  • $ 2.95 ATM withdrawal fee
  • $ 0.50 ATM balance inquiry fee

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

When it comes to repairing your credit quickly, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is one of the best second chance credit card offers around. You can choose your own credit line, as it will equal whatever refundable deposit you put down upfront.

Pros

  • No credit check required
  • Your credit limit equals your initial deposit of as low as $ 200
  • Build credit quickly with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Credit tips and educational resources
  • Reasonable variable 18.99% APR

You may also like: Top 7 Best Banks to open a Checking Account Online in the US

Second Chance Credit Cards With No Annual Fee

One of the downsides of bad credit is the reality of being forced to pay high fees. But the following options offer customers the chance to avoid annual fees entirely.

Chime Credit Card

Chime Credit Card

Chime has quickly become one of the most popular ways to rebuild credit with its unique two-card system. When you sign up for a Chime Checking account, you’ll have the option to apply for a Credit Builder Visa Card as well. It can help you rebuild your credit with no interest or annual fees.

Pros

  • No credit check needed to apply
  • No security deposit required
  • Use auto-pay to automatically deduct payments each month from your Chime checking account
  • Conveniently manage your account with the Chime app

Cons

  • Chime checking account required to apply

Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card

Petal® 1

The Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card also offers an excellent opportunity to rebuild credit with no annual fee. Petal believes that your credit score doesn’t always tell the entire story and assesses applicants with a unique Cash Score based on banking history.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Credit limits from $ 300 – $ 5,000 available
  • Cash back rewards of 2 – 10% at select merchants
  • Turn on auto-pay to ensure you never miss a payment

We hope this has helped point you in the direction of the best second chance credit card for you! No matter how far down the wrong financial path you may have strayed, it’s never too late to turn things around.

You may also be interested in reading: The Easiest Credit Cards to Get For Immigrants (No SSN or Credit Score Required)

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