If you have a bad credit history, there are two reasons you’ll find it difficult to find unsecured credit cards. Number One: you have bad credit, so that limits the number of lenders who will work with you. Number Two: Many lenders don’t like to say the words “bad credit,” so they either talk about “rebuilding” credit to mean bad credit, or they just offer cards with interest rates that are so high they will still make money even if some of their bad credit customers default.
That said, the cards below offer instant approval, have no annual fee, and they use language (or very high interest rates) in a way that make us believe they approve some customers with bad credit. They are not guaranteed to approve you, but we consider them worth the try:
- Fingerhut – “Apply Today, Buy Today” if you are approved. On the Fingerhut site you’ll see this language that suggests wide acceptance: “When you use your WebBank/Fingerhut Credit Account, and you make your payments on time, you build your credit with us, and we report your good payment history to the credit bureaus.”
- Capital One Platinum MasterCard – While Capital One lists this card as being “for people with average credit,” their definition of average credit is closer to our definition of bad credit. For example, if you can say “yes” to this statement, “I have defaulted on a loan in the past 5 years,” Capital One still thinks you might have average credit. No annual fee, interest rate of 24.99% APR. Note that Capital One says they “will attempt to provide a decision in 60 seconds or less. However, in some cases we need to collect additional information to make a decision.”
- Amazon.com Store Card – This is the Amazon credit card issued by Synchrony Bank and only accepted at Amazon.com (NOT the Amazon Visa issued by Chase). Offers special financing on large purchases but the everyday interest rate is a very high 26.74%, so bad credit may be OK. From the application: “If you are approved, we will instantly add the card to your Amazon.com account.”
- Belk Credit Card – This department store credit card has a high 25.49% interest rate, which indicates it is open to less-than-perfect credit. And since it tells you that you’ll save 20% on your purchases when you open a card and make a purchase today, you know it’s all about giving out instant approvals.
- Best Buy Credit Card – The big electronics and appliance superstore offers a number of Visa and store-only cards you can get approved for instantly, at a very high 25.99% interest rate that suggests bad credit customers can get approved. Offers a rewards program and/or special financing on your purchases.
- Gap Credit Cards – With its 25.74% interest rate and an “Apply Now and Save Today” message (you’ll get 15% off your first online order with the card), it’s fair to say that bad credit isn’t totally frowned upon. Card accepted at the other Gap family stores, too — Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta.
- JCPenney Credit Card – The 26.99% interest rate suggests that bad credit customers are often approved. Can be used immediately upon approval, with a 15% discount on the first day’s purchases.
- Kohl’s Credit Card – This card’s 24.74% interest rate leads us to believe that many customers with fair to bad credit are being approved.
- Lowe’s Credit Card – The 26.99% interest rate on this card suggests it approves many bad credit customers. Offers 5% off of Lowe’s purchases. On large purchases over $299, you can choose 0% financing instead of the 5% discount.
- Macy’s Credit Card – An interest rate of 25.99% suggests that most are approved, including people with bad credit. Offers instant credit and immediate use, with the chance to get 20% off card purchases on the day of approval as well as the next day.
- Newegg.com Credit Card – Online superstore offers 0% financing on larger purchases, but the day-to-day 29.99% interest rate suggests they’ll take on bad credit customers. “Get a response in seconds” to your online application.
- Sears Credit Card – This credit card accepted at Sears and Kmart stores has a 25.99% interest rate, which indicates it approves plenty of bad credit customers. And it offers instant approval — in fact, you’ll get $10 off your first card purchase when you’re approved and use the card today.
- Shell Platinum MasterCard – Gas credit card has an interest rate of 24.49%, suggesting that bad credit may be OK. Also says “Receive an immediate response” on the application page.
- Sunglass Hut Credit Card – A fairly limited credit card, as you can only use it for sunglasses at Sunglass Hut stores. Nevertheless, its 29.99% interest rate suggests it is open to bad credit customers, and if you are approved, you can use the card and get a 20% discount on your first purchase on that same day.
- TJX Rewards Credit Cards – “Open an account today” to earn rewards on TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post purchases. The 27.74% interest rate tells you that bad credit customers will be considered. Note that you could be approved for a TJX MasterCard (accepted anywhere MasterCard is accepted) or the TJX store card (accepted only at TJX stores).
- Tractor Supply Credit Card – “Apply today, buy today” is announced on this retailer’s credit card application, so instant approval is definitely possible. And the 26.74% is an indication that many customers with less-than-perfect credit card are getting approved.
- Zales Credit Card – You’re only going to be able to buy jewelry at Zales with this one, but you can “own it today” in the words of the Zales site. That 29.74% interest rate also tips you off to the fact that bad credit customers can likely be approved for this. Also offers financing at a much lower APR for larger purchases.