Secured credit cards

7 Best Credit Cards for a 500 Credit Score (Bad Credit)

If you have poor credit, getting a credit card is not out of your reach. In fact, it may be a good way to start rebuilding your credit. In this article, we list some of the best credit cards for a 500 credit score.

Best Credit Cards for a 500 Credit Score or Less

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

The card_name card requires a deposit to get the card. However, it can be a great way to improve your credit score if you use it correctly.

You can also make a security deposit of up to $1,000 to increase your credit line. With consistent on-time payments, you can earn your security deposit back and get upgraded to an unsecured card.

Pros:

  • Reports to all three credit bureaus
  • You might qualify for a lower security deposit with a higher credit line
  • You can add an authorized user

Cons:

  • There’s no guarantee you’ll get approved
  • High APR
  • You must get approved for credit line increases even with a higher security deposit

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: $49 – $200
  • Credit Limit: Starts at $200
  • APR: 29.99%

Approval Odds

Credit Score of Approved and Denied Applications

Read more in our Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card Review


Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

The card_name card stands out by offering rewards. Cardholders can earn 1.5% cashback on all purchases (no categories to manage).

You can earn your deposit back with on-time payments and upgrade to an unsecured Capital One card.

Pros:

  • Requires only a $200 minimum deposit
  • You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit, check in the mail, or gift cards to your favorite stores
  • There’s no limit to the amount of rewards you can earn
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus
  • Automatic credit line increases
  • $0 fraud liability

Cons:

  • High APR
  • The cashback percentage is a flat rate for all categories (no bonuses)

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: $200 refundable minimum deposit
  • Credit Limit: $200 to $3,000 based on creditworthiness
  • APR: 29.99%

Approval Odds

Credit Score of Approved and Denied Applications

Read more in our Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card Review


U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card is another great rewards credit card for people with poor credit. You’ll need a security deposit of at least $300, but you’ll earn cashback on every purchase.

You can earn 5% cash back on two categories of your choice each quarter. Plus 5% cash back on air, hotel, and car fees booked through the Rewards Travel Center. You can also earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries, or restaurants, and 1% cash back on everything else.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • The option to choose a bonus category to boost your cashback
  • Offers some of the highest rewards for a secured credit card

Cons:

  • You have to manage your rewards by selecting categories quarterly
  • There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee
  • You can only get your rewards as a bank deposit if you bank at U.S. Bank; otherwise, you can get a statement credit

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: $300 – $5,000
  • Credit Limit: Same as your deposit
  • APR: 27.49%

Approval Odds

Credit Score of Approved and Denied Applications

Read more in our U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card Review


Citi® Secured Mastercard®

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a good option for people who don’t have any credit. Citi does check your credit score, but it’s not as rigorous as applying for an unsecured card. You qualify based on your current income and debt.

The card doesn’t have an annual fee, and they report to all three credit bureaus to help you build credit. Citi will also send you automatic alerts to keep you on track with your account.

Pros:

  • Offers free access to your FICO score so you can watch your credit-building efforts pay off
  • You can choose your payment due date to make it easier on yourself
  • You can qualify with no credit score

Cons:

  • No introductory offers
  • You can’t get your deposit back until you close the card and don’t have any outstanding payments
  • You only have 14 days from the date of approval to fund your credit line

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: $200 to $2,500
  • Credit Limit: Same as your deposit
  • APR: 27.74%

Approval Odds

Credit Score of Approved and Denied Applications


Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card offers excellent rewards. You can choose your spending categories to earn rewards in and you get free access to your credit score.

You’ll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% everywhere else.

Bank of America can also upgrade you to an unsecured card with on-time payments. To help you with that, it also offers customized account alerts so you can stay on track with your payments.

Pros:

  • Offers free access to your FICO score
  • You choose which categories you earn the most cash back in
  • Everyone gets 2% cash back on groceries which is a big spending category for most families

Cons:

  • No introductory offers
  • There’s a $2,500 combined cap for the 3% and 2% rewards categories each quarter; then you’ll earn 1%
  • There’s no set date to find out if you qualify for an unsecured card

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: $300 to $4,900
  • Credit Limit: Based on your deposit, creditworthiness and income
  • APR: 28.24%

Read more in our Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card Review


Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is a secured credit card. But, you must have a Chime Checking account and receive a qualifying $200 direct deposit to be eligible to apply.1 To use your card, transfer money from your Checking account to your Secured Credit Builder Account. The amount you transfer becomes your credit limit.

Chime reports your payments to the credit bureaus, so you’ll get credit for them. One of best features of this card is there’s no interest rate.

Pros:

  • There’s no credit check when you apply
  • No APR
  • You are in charge of how much you can spend on the account
  • You can help build credit and avoid debt by using the Safer Credit Building feature2

Cons:

  • Doesn’t pay rewards (cashback)
  • There isn’t an option to upgrade to an unsecured card
  • You can only apply if you have a Chime Checking account and $200 qualifying direct deposit1

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: No minimum3
  • Credit Limit: Based on how much you deposit to your secured Credit Builder account
  • APR: 0%

Read more in our Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card Review

The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A.

1To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits

2On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.

3Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.


Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card can be a good starting point if you have bad credit or no credit. Unlike the secured cards above, you don’t need to make a security deposit.

You can also earn 2% to 10% cash back on certain purchases with periodic offers. You can also earn a higher credit line with six months of on-time payments.

Pros:

  • You don’t need credit to qualify, or you can have bad credit and still qualify
  • You don’t need a security deposit
  • You can build credit with timely payments
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons:

  • No introductory offers
  • You can’t choose your payment date
  • You must wait six months to see if you’re eligible for a credit line increase

Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Security Deposit: None
  • Credit Limit: $300 to $5,000
  • APR: 25.24% - 34.74%

Approval Odds

Credit Score of Approved and Denied Applications

Read more in our Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card Review

Research Methodology

We know how important it is to build your credit. To choose the cards in this list, we looked at the following:

  • Qualification requirements
  • APRs
  • Rewards
  • Credit building features

Why These Cards Are Better Than Prepaid Cards

You might opt for a prepaid card because it’s easy to qualify for and use, but they don’t help build credit. Each credit card mentioned above reports your payment history to the credit bureaus.

Payment history and credit utilization are important to your credit score. You can improve your credit score by making your payments on time. You should also keep your credit card balance at 30% or less of your credit line.

Your credit score affects you in many areas of your life. Improving it can help you secure new loans and get lower interest rates on those loans. You can even get lower insurance premiums.

How to Choose a Credit Card with a 500 to 550 Credit Score

As you look at your options for a credit card for poor credit, keep these factors in mind.

No Annual Fee

You shouldn’t have to pay for a credit card for poor credit. There are many options (as we mentioned above) that don’t have an annual fee. Some cards even pay rewards and still don’t charge an annual fee.

Low Minimum Security Deposit

You don’t need a hefty credit line as you build credit. Look for a card with a low security deposit. Take the lowest amount allowed and use it responsibly to build your credit score.

Reports to All Three Credit Bureaus

Opening a credit building credit card doesn’t do much good if they don’t report to all three credit bureaus. So always ask which credit bureaus they report to and if it’s only one or two, keep looking. You never know which credit bureau a future lender may pull. You want to maximize your chances of approval by fixing your score with all three bureaus.

Allows You to Monitor Your Credit Score Easily

The whole point of a credit-building credit card is to build a better credit score. The only way to know if you’re successful is by monitoring your credit score. Many credit card companies offer free access to your FICO score. Take advantage of this and keep an eye on your score.

Allows You to Upgrade to a Better Card

You want to upgrade to a better card for rewards or a higher credit line. This can help keep your credit utilization low and improve your credit score.

More Tips to Improve Your Credit

Besides opening a credit building credit card, here are more ways to improve your credit.

Don’t Miss a Credit Card Payment

Your payment history is the largest part of your credit score. Don’t miss a payment by more than 30 days, or it can hurt your credit score again. Instead, make your payments well before they are due and watch your credit score increase.

Pay Your Balances in Full

If you carry high balances, it can hurt your credit score. Don’t fall for the minimum payment trap. Instead, pay your balances in full by not charging anything you can’t afford to pay right away.

Don’t Max Out Your Credit Line

Keep track of your credit utilization. This is the amount of credit you have outstanding compared to your total credit line. Ideally, you shouldn’t have over 30% of your credit line outstanding at one time. It’s even better to pay your balance in full.

Set Up Autopay

Set up autopay if you’re worried about missing payments or losing track of your bills. Many credit card companies also allow you to pick your due date. Choose a date you know you can cover your bills and then set up autopay.

Use a Budgeting App

If you aren’t comfortable with autopay, use a budgeting app that sends reminders so you pay your bills on time. A budgeting app can help you set aside your money and pay your bills on time. Or at least remind you to do so.

Don’t Apply for New Credit Often

Each time you apply for new credit, it lowers your credit score by a few points. When you’re trying to build credit, the last thing you need is something else to lower it. Only apply for new credit when you need it to avoid excessive inquiries on your credit report.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the easiest card to get approved for with poor credit?

Any secured credit card is usually a good bet if you have poor credit. The security deposit you put down on a secured credit card makes up for your low credit score.

If you default on your card, the credit card company keeps your security deposit. Of course, it pays to make your payments on time to help build credit rather than take a chance of hurting it again.

How long does it take to rebuild credit?

Rebuilding your credit won’t happen overnight. But, with consistent effort, you should see slight changes in a few months. It’s always essential to keep up with good payment habits to help your credit score get as high as possible.

Will two credit cards build credit faster?

If you can use two credit cards and pay your bills off on time, two credit cards can help you build credit faster. You’ll have the payment history and credit lines from both cards reporting to the credit bureaus. This can give your credit score more substance and the chance to increase faster.

What is a good credit score?

Every lender has a different view of what makes a good credit score. Typically, a credit score over 670 can be good, and scores from 580 – 669 can be fair.

Final Thoughts

Getting a credit card with a poor credit score isn’t impossible. You may need a security deposit at least for the first few months. Then you’ll need to prove you can use your credit card responsibly.

The key is to find a card that reports to the credit bureaus to help increase your credit score. Then you can get better rates and terms on future loans or lines of credit.