Skip to content
2020

Best Credit Cards for Limited or No Credit

Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.

If you don't have any credit yet, it might seem hard to take that first step towards building a credit history. How can you be approved for a credit card if you don't have any credit reports to check? There are actually quite a few options for you, covering both secured cards and unsecured cards.

Best Credit Cards for Limited or No Cred...
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Our Selection Criteria

  • No or low fees: You may need to pay an annual fee if you’re just starting to build your credit profile, but not in every case. Avoid predatory cards with exorbitant setup or monthly fees.
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus: To build a credit history your card activity needs to be reported to the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. All the cards mentioned on this page will report activity in this way.
  • Easy to use: Establishing a credit history doesn’t need to cause headaches. The best credit cards for no credit won’t cause problems when charging to the card, making payments, or checking account information.
  • Reliable customer service: Many issuers that offer cards for people with no credit tend to have poor customer support. Save yourself a lot of trouble by sticking with the major card issuers as much as possible.
  • Rewards: Credit cards for no credit don’t usually offer rewards, but there are a few that do. Rewards aren’t important for establishing a credit history, but if you can qualify for a rewards card, it’s a nice bonus.
  • Other perks: Most cards for no credit only come with some basic shopping and travel protections. But in some cases you’ll find some more valuable benefits being offered.
Is a Credit Card for No Credit Right for You?
Best Credit Cards for Limited or No Cred...
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Is a Credit Card for No Credit Right for You?

If your goal is to establish a positive credit history, credit cards can help you get there. Even starting from nothing, there are some credit card offers that can help get your foot in the door.

Although you won’t qualify for the most valuable and interesting cards, you aren’t stuck with the absolute worst cards either. Having no credit can actually be better than having poor credit when it comes to applying for your first credit card.

You don’t have a history of negative activity weighing you down, which could automatically disqualify you from some card offers. (If you do have a negative credit history, check out some credit cards designed for bad credit.)

It’s important to always use credit cards responsibly, and this is even more crucial when you’re trying to build credit. This is actually pretty simple; the main challenge is making consistent, on-time payments (preferably of your full statement balance) month after month.

If you can handle these three conditions, you can use a credit card (or cards) to help establish an excellent credit history.

Take some time to read more in our Definitive Guide to Building Credit with Credit Cards. You’ll learn all about how credit cards affect your credit, how to use them to increase your scores, and how to qualify for the best cards on the market.

There’s more to a strong credit history than just credit cards. Check out the other elements that factor into your credit and how to maximize each category for the best credit scores.

Our Selection Criteria
BEST PICK FOR

Secured With Rewards, No Annual Fee

Discover it® Secured

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR See Terms

The Discover it® Secured (Review) is our pick for the best secured card. Rather than punishing you for having no credit, this card actually has a decent cash rewards program.

You’ll need to make a minimum security deposit of $200, with a maximum of $2,500.

Discover will review your credit card account every 8 months. If these automatic reviews reveal evidence of responsible card use, on this and other accounts, they may return your security deposit and allow you to keep using the card.

There isn’t an option to upgrade the Discover it Secured to an unsecured card. Instead, you need to just apply for a different Discover card as usual.

  • 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • restaurants
    • gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: New cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year
  • Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Keep tabs on your FICO 8 Credit Score, based on your TransUnion report, and get tips to improve your credit scores.
  • Social Security number alerts: Notifications if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

The information related to Discover it® Secured has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Secured, Low Security Deposit

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® (Review) is a good pick if you want to pay the lowest security deposit possible.

Depending on your creditworthiness — such as income and rent payments — you’ll be given a minimum required security deposit. This will be one of the following:

  • $49
  • $99
  • $200

No matter which amount you’re required to deposit, you’ll end up getting a $200 credit limit. So you may end up paying just $49 for a $200 limit, if they decide you’re worth the risk. Or you may have to pay $200 to get a $200 limit, which is the normal offer for most secured cards.

The maximum security deposit for the Capital One Secured card is $1,000.

  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • CreditWise Credit Monitoring: View data from your TransUnion credit report, and see your VantageScore 3.0 based on that report.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: None

The information related to Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Unsecured, No Annual Fee

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.99% (Variable)

You don’t need to be a student to apply for the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review), despite the name.

This rewards credit card is designed for average or limited credit. But you may have a chance of being approved with no credit history, especially if you have a high income and solid employment history.

  • 1% cash back for every purchase
    • pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back
  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • CreditWise Credit Monitoring: Keep tabs on your TransUnion credit report, and see your VantageScore 3.0 based on that report.
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

The information related to Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Unsecured, Low Fee

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card (Review) was designed for people with fair or average credit histories, though it may also be accessible for people with limited or no credit.

There aren’t many features (though you will get easy access to a higher credit line) but you can use this card to help build up your credit scores and eventually qualify for a sweet rewards credit card.

  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • CreditWise: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report, online or through the mobile app.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Including Travel Accident Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waivers, and more
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 26.99% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

The information related to Capital One® Platinum Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Unsecured, Easy Acceptance

Petal® Visa® Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee
Regular APR 12.99% to 29.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Petal® Visa® Credit Card is specifically designed to help you break into the world of credit. How?

Even if you have no established credit history at all, with no credit scores, you still have a chance at approval because Petal will take a look at your “full financial picture.” This means you’ll have to link your bank account to Petal, so it can see how you handle your money. If you do have some established credit, Petal will check it with a hard inquiry, and in this case you may not have to link your bank account.

You won’t find any fees here, apart from potential interest fees. No annual fee, foreign transaction fee, late payment fee, etc. And you can avoid interest fees, too, by always paying your statement balance in full.

There’s even a solid cash back rewards program, where you can earn more by making on-time payments. Overall, it’s an excellent and inexpensive option for improving your credit scores.

Spending Rewards
  • 1% cash back on purchases initially
  • 1.25% cash back on purchases after 6 on-time payments
  • 1.5% cash back on purchases after 12 on-time payments
  • Petal Offers: Get up to 10% back with select merchants, with no activation necessary.
  • Visa Local Offers: Earn Uber Cash when making purchases at select merchants by adding your Petal card to the Uber app.
  • Free credit score: Check one of your credit scores from your Experian credit report, whenever you’d like.
  • Purchase APR: 12.99% to 29.49% Variable
  • Credit limit: $500–$10,000
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: None
  • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, international fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee
  • Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments
  • Variable APRs 12.99% to 29.49%
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
  • Up to 10% cash back from select merchants
  • Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
  • Cash flow technology may help applicants without credit history get approved
  • $500 – $10,000 credit limits
  • Petal’s mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
  • See if you’re pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No deposits required
  • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC
BEST PICK FOR

Professional Immigrants to the U.S.

Jasper Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit level Limited Credit History
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 15.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Relocating to the U.S. comes with a set of challenges, one of which is the problem of how to start building up your credit. How do you get approved for credit cards and other financial products if you don’t yet have an established credit history?

The Jasper Mastercard® (Review) was designed to fill that gap for professional immigrants, lowering the traditional barriers to entry. You don’t need a credit history to get approved, and you don’t need an SSN to apply, although you will need to get one and provide it to Jasper within 60 days of card activation (if you’ve been living in the U.S. for at least a year, you’ll need to undergo a credit check and provide an SSN to apply).

You can also apply for this card before you even land in the U.S. — you can submit an application up to 60 days in advance, or check to see if you’re prequalified if your move date is further away.

While the Jasper card was originally created to help immigrants, anyone in the U.S. with limited or no credit can use it to help improve his or her credit scores.

  • Apply by 9/30/20 to receive a $50 Amazon gift card upon activation; use promo code: CreditInsider
  • No credit history required for relocating professionals
  • No SSN required to apply for relocating professionals (an SSN must be provided to Jasper within 60 days after card activation)
  • Shopping and travel protections: Extended Warranty, Price Protection, Satisfaction Guarantee, Purchase Assurance, Cellular Wireless Telephone Protection, MasterRental Collision Damage Waiver, and more
  • Purchase APR: 15.49% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit limit: Up to $5,000
  • May be helpful for professionals who recently started a new job in the U.S., without a traditional credit history
  • No credit scores or SSN required to apply (SSN required within 60 days of card activation, or at time of application for those living in the U.S. for at least a year)
  • Mastercard Priceless Cities and Airport Concierge perks
  • Online travel booking service
  • Shopping and travel protections, including cell phone protection
  • Credit limit up to $5,000
  • No annual fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Use this card responsibly to improve your credit over time
  • The Jasper Mastercard® is issued by WebBank pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. WebBank, Member FDIC © 2019.
  • Special Promotion: Apply by September 30, 2020, to receive a $50 Amazon gift card upon activation. Use promo code: CreditInsider
    *terms apply

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Discover it® Secured, Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, and Capital One® Platinum Credit Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

Person holding a card while smiling
INSTANT, ONLINE, IN MINUTES

Find your next credit cards with the benefits you're looking for

Get Started
Pleased person with hands below head