How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit

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No matter how the economy is performing, people will always need loans. Lenders need to understand every risk your creditworthiness is largely determined by three simple digits, also known as a credit score.

When you apply for a credit card, an auto loan, or a mortgage, having a good credit score makes it more likely to be approved and get favorable terms.

A bad score can make it nearly impossible to qualify for credit. If you’re in a bad place with your credit, it can be a complex process to improve your score. 

The fastest way to fix bad credit is through building good credit. How do you do that when you can’t get approved? There are a few steps you can take now to get approved

Hot Tip: Looking for a new credit card? Check out our credit card page to learn more about our top picks!

Check Your Credit Score

Knowing your credit score is the first step in rebuilding your credit. The reality of your credit score can be discouraging, especially if it’s been years since you last checked. 

Don’t pay to check your credit score; just head to like millions of your fellow Americans. It’s easy to use the platform to check your credit score and monitor your credit.

Get Walmart MoneyCard

The Walmart MoneyCard won’t directly improve your credit, but it’s a great way to get cashback when you shop at Walmart. It’s a prepaid debit card issued by Green Dot Bank. 

The card offers several perks if you can’t get approved for a traditional credit card. 

  • It offers overdraft protection.
  • You earn cashback rewards at Walmart: 3% cash back at, 2% cash back at Walmart fuel stations, and 1% cash back at Walmart stores
  • An early direct deposit option that allows you to receive your salary up to two days ahead or government benefits up to four days ahead.
  • You earn a 2% interest rate on your savings and chances to win prizes. This month, for example, you can win free groceries for a year.

Get Kikoff Credit Account

A Kikoff credit account may be a better solution to building and improving credit. This tool was created to provide a fair, effective, equitable, and simple pathway for people who don’t aren’t able to get approved for a traditional credit card.

Kikoff offers a $750 revolving line of credit people can receive without a credit check. It also has 0% interest and $0 in hidden fees. You can also build a monthly payment history with all the necessary tools. All you need is a minimum $50 deposit.

Kikoff’s Credit Account addresses three key factors determining a credit score: payment history, credit utilization, and average account age. Kikoff Credit Account encourages a long payment history since it influences your credit score more than any other factor. It also lowers your credit utilization ratio — also known as the amount of credit you use relative to your credit limit.

Other Moves You Can Make With Poor Credit

Apply for Credit Cards Designed for Poor Credit 

Many credit card options exist specifically for people with a poor score seeking to build credit. Most credit card issuers offer unsecured and secured credit card options for those with poor credit.

Unsecured Credit Card

An unsecured card requires no security deposit or down payment to access a line of credit. Because the card issuer considers your credit score to be a risk, they’ll charge higher rates and fees.

Secured Credit Card

A secured card is better if you want to build and improve credit without high interest rates or fees. Think of a secured card as a security deposit — the issuer will require an initial deposit as collateral.

Secured cards usually require a minimum payment by specific dates. If you can’t make these payments on time, the issuer will use your deposit to cover the money you owe.

Apply for a Gas Credit Card Instead of a Store Credit Card  

Gas prices have remained high for the last few years and may continue to rise in the near future. One way to use high gas prices to your advantage is to apply for a gas credit card.

A gas credit card accrues rewards for every dollar you spend on gas. There are accounts affiliated with specific gas station companies while others are typical rewards cards. 

and poised to rise again thanks to OPEC+’s supply cuts, applying for a gas card instead of a store credit card may be wise. Even if you have poor credit. Some cards offer as much as 1.5%-2% cash back without restrictions; others offer more generous rewards.

Become an Authorized User

Becoming an authorized user on an account is a quick way to build credit. The main issue is that you need to know someone who’s willing to add you to their credit card account as a secondary account holder.

You don’t have the privileges as the primary card holder, like requesting account changes or increasing credit limits. The financial behavior associated with that account will be reported to credit reporting agencies in your name. You get the credit-building perks of owning a credit card in good standing without your poor credit getting in the way.

Bottom Line

Don’t ignore your credit or overlook a bad credit score. Having good credit makes it easy to qualify for home and auto loans, credit cards, and more. Bad credit hampers your options to obtain and build credit. 

Follow these tips and keep a close eye on your credit score. As you slowly but surely make good credit decisions you’ll see that score creep up as well.