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Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit for December 2023

Consider secured options like Discover it® Secured Credit Card or Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card for rebuilding credit, explore unsecured possibilities with Self Visa® Credit Card for personalized credit limits.

by Tamilchandran

Updated Dec 01, 2023

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Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit for December 2023

Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit for December 2023

A bad credit score generally refers to a credit score that falls below a certain threshold, making it more challenging for individuals to qualify for favorable financial terms, such as loans or credit cards. Credit scores are numerical representations of an individual's creditworthiness and are typically assessed by credit bureaus using various factors from the individual's credit history.

As of December 2023, several credit cards cater to individuals with poor credit, offering options for both secured and unsecured cards. It's crucial to understand the terms and conditions associated with these cards, considering factors such as interest rates, fees, and credit-building features. Here are two options worth considering:

American Express Optima® Credit Card

The American Express Optima® Credit Card is designed to aid individuals in rebuilding credit post-debt settlement with Amex. Not requiring a security deposit, it stands out in accessibility. However, its restricted availability, high penalty APR, and an annual fee of $49 are notable drawbacks.

The card lacks rewards or benefits, emphasizing its focus on credit rebuilding rather than additional perks. It's tailored for a specific audience and requires careful consideration due to its limitations.

Milestone Mastercard® – $700 Credit Limit

The Milestone® Gold Mastercard® targets individuals with poor to fair credit, offering a $700 credit limit without requiring a security deposit. While it provides greater access to credit and reports account history to major credit bureaus, it comes with a drawback – a high annual fee with specific terms undisclosed. For those able to provide a security deposit, alternative secured cards with lower annual fees (ranging from $0 to $29) are available, providing similar credit rebuilding benefits.

The card allows Mastercard acceptance online, in-store, and in apps, accompanied by 24/7 mobile access to account information. Despite the absence of a welcome bonus, the application process is swift and straightforward, making it an option for those aiming to improve their credit profile.

Self Visa® Credit Card

The Self Visa® Credit Card is a user-friendly option for building or rebuilding credit, with no credit check required. It allows applicants to choose their credit limit starting from $100, providing a personalized approach.

While there's a $25 annual fee and a 29.24% variable APR on purchases, the card emphasizes credit-building over perks, offering an opportunity to increase the credit limit over time for accounts in good standing. It's particularly suitable for individuals with bad, poor, or no credit seeking a structured path to credit improvement.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa offers a compelling package for individuals with a credit score ranging from excellent to fair (650 - 699). With a $200 welcome bonus, no annual fee, and a competitive 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases, it strikes a balance between credit card flexibility and predictable loan-like payments.

The card's contactless technology and mobile app enhance convenience, and the $0 Fraud liability ensures security. Additionally, qualifying is quick without impacting your credit score, making it an attractive option for those seeking a versatile financial tool.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an inclusive option for credit building, requiring no minimum credit score for application. It features a refundable security deposit starting at $200, offering a credit line equal to the deposit. With 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants (up to $1,000/quarter) and 1% on other purchases, it provides rewards.

The card includes automatic reviews at 7 months for potential transition to an unsecured line. Identity protection features, such as data removal from select sites and Dark Web monitoring, add security. The card has no annual fee and offers the Cashback Match™, doubling cash back in the first year. The variable APR is 28.24%.

MarketsHost extends a warm invitation to explore the multifarious aspects of Credit Cards, providing invaluable insights that empower you to master your financial destiny.

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What is a Bad Credit Score?

A poor credit score typically indicates a credit rating that is below a specific threshold, creating increased difficulty for individuals to meet the criteria for favorable financial terms, such as loans or credit cards. Credit scores serve as numerical assessments of an individual's creditworthiness, usually determined by credit bureaus through the analysis of various factors within the person's credit history.

The two most commonly used credit scoring models are FICO and VantageScore. While the specific definitions of credit score ranges can vary between these models and different lenders, a bad credit score is generally considered to be:

FICO Score

  • FICO scores range from 300 to 850.
  • A score below 580 is often considered poor or bad credit.


  • VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850 as well.
  • A score below 600 is typically considered indicative of poor or bad credit.
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What are the Factors Influencing Bad Credit Score?

Factors that contribute to a lower credit score include late payments, high credit card balances, accounts in collections, bankruptcies, and other negative entries on a credit report. Individuals with bad credit may find it difficult to qualify for traditional financial products, and if they do, they may face higher interest rates and less favorable terms.

Credit scores are not static and can be improved over time through responsible financial habits, such as making timely payments, reducing outstanding debts, and managing credit responsibly. Regularly monitoring your credit report for inaccuracies and addressing any issues promptly can also contribute to credit score improvement.

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How Can One Select Bad Credit Credit Cards?

When navigating bad credit credit card options, a strategic approach involves considering the advantages and considerations of both secured and unsecured cards. Careful assessment of terms, fees, and eligibility criteria allows individuals to make informed decisions that align with their unique financial circumstances and objectives. This proactive approach not only facilitates access to credit but also ensures that the chosen card contributes positively to the process of rebuilding or establishing credit.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards, like the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, operate similarly to traditional unsecured cards but require a security deposit as collateral. This deposit increases approval chances for individuals with bad credit. However, it's essential to compare options as some may come with higher fees or interest rates.

Unsecured Credit Cards

Unsecured credit cards, in contrast, don't demand an upfront deposit, providing immediate access to credit. This category includes various card types such as cash-back, travel, and student cards. Careful evaluation of terms, fees, and interest rates is crucial to finding a suitable card while avoiding unnecessary costs.

How to Get Approval for a Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Getting approval for a credit card with bad credit can be challenging, but not impossible. There are some credit card options that are designed for people with low credit scores, such as secured cards and unsecured cards with no credit checks. However, these cards may have higher interest rates, fees, and lower credit limits than regular cards.

To increase your chances of getting approved for a credit card with bad credit, you should:

Check your credit score and report to see where you stand and what factors are affecting your credit. You can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Compare different credit card offers that match your credit profile and needs. You can use online tools to pre-qualify for some cards without affecting your credit score. You can also call the card issuer and ask about their approval requirements and criteria.

Apply for one card at a time and wait for a response. Applying for multiple cards in a short period can lower your credit score and reduce your approval odds. If you get rejected, you can ask the card issuer for the reason and try to improve your credit situation before applying again.

Use your credit card responsibly and pay your bills on time and in full every month. This can help you Build Your Credit History and score over time and qualify for better cards in the future.

Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit of November 2023 - FAQs

1. Can I get a credit card with poor credit?

Yes, secured cards like Discover it® Secured Credit Card are designed for individuals with poor credit.

2. What's a secured credit card?

It's a card requiring a security deposit, like the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, offering credit-building opportunities.

3. Are there unsecured options for poor credit?

Yes, the Self Visa® Credit Card provides unsecured access with personalized credit limits for poor credit.

4. Any rewards for poor credit cards?

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa offers a $200 bonus and cash back rewards for those with fair credit.

5. How to improve credit with a poor credit card?

Responsible use, timely payments, and monitoring credit with tools like CreditWise on Capital One cards contribute to credit improvement.

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