1. Best Credit Cards
  2. Guaranteed Credit Card Approval No Deposit

12 Best Credit Cards for Bad or No Credit in 2023: Guaranteed Approval With No Deposit

Need a new credit card? Want guaranteed approval? These cards should do the trick.

Jane Tumar - Finance Writer
Written by

Jane Tumar

Jane Tumar - Finance Writer
Written by
Jane Tumar
Finance Writer

Storyteller by day, data enthusiast when I have free time, meticulous researcher—always. I’ve been working as a content writer for the past 3 years. With my degree in Computer Science and Literature, I am a breathing and walking juxtaposition. I love metaphors, SQL, and round brackets (duh!).

Learn more about our editorial process

Derek Sall - Founder/Personal Finance Expert
Reviewed by

Derek Sall

Verified by an expert
Derek Sall - Founder/Personal Finance Expert
Reviewed by
Derek Sall
Founder/Personal Finance Expert

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.

Learn more about our editorial process

Kacper Kozicki - Editor-in-Chief
Edited by

Kacper Kozicki

Kacper Kozicki - Editor-in-Chief
Edited by
Kacper Kozicki
Editor-in-Chief

Kacper is an editor, writer, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands.

Learn more about our editorial process

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer
Fact-checking

Deepti Nickam

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer
Fact-checking
Deepti Nickam
Finance Writer

Content writing and marketing professional with 5+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.

Learn more about our editorial process

July, 31 2023
Edited:
Reviewed:
Updated:

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20 min

The below credit cards have been researched, reviewed, confirmed, vetted, re-vetted, and then ranked based on five categories: the annual fee, intro offer, regular APR, the standard rewards rate and the maximum rewards rate. These are the best "guaranteed approval" credit cards with no deposit for 2023.

Why Trust Us
Advertiser Disclosure
Summary
Guaranteed approval card with $1,000 limit
petal-2-visa-credit-card

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®

4.4
Annual Fee
$0
Reward rate
1%–10%
You'll earn up to 1.5% on everyday purchases and up to 10% at selected merchants (if you qualify).
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Credit needed: Bad to fair (300–600)

117 people chose this

Petal 2 Review
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

N/A

Fees

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

N/A

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

N/A

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

N/A

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we like it

Petal 2 Visa® is called “cash back, no fees” for a reason.

To use the card you don’t have to pay any annual, monthly or penalty fees.

It’s a great teen credit card to build credit—there’s no credit check to apply and no security deposit.

You can also make some extra cash on your way to good credit scores—from 1% to 1.5% on everyday purchases, up to 10% at chosen merchants.

Pros

  • No fees
  • No credit check to apply
  • Cash back on everyday purchases

Cons

  • Potentially high APR
Best credit card for building credit with no deposit
card_name
3.8
Annual Fee
annual_fees
Reward rate
1%–2%
Rewards rate is determined during pre-qualification.
Intro offer
bonus_miles
No intro offer.
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Credit needed: Bad (300–629)
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Fees

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we like it

Look on any forum, and you’ll see that many people are approved for $1,000 limits with the Mission Lane card. It’s kind of their thing, along with no activation fees or “over-limit” fees. This card is for people with limited credit or those who need to rebuild their credit. 

Pros

  • $0–$59 annual fee (assessed after application).
  • Credit limits start from $300 (but there are automatic increases).
  • 1% or 2% cash back on eligible purchases.

Cons

  • High APR
  • Foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Best credit card for building credit with no deposit
chime-credit-builder-secured-visa-credit-card

Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

3.5
Annual Fee
$0
Reward rate
N/A
Intro offer
N/A
Secured card
Credit needed: Bad to fair (300–600)

26 people chose this

Chime review
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

0%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

N/A

Fees

Annual fees

$0

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

N/A

Foreign transaction fees

N/A

Late payment fees

N/A

Regular APR

0%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

N/A

Annual fees

$0

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

N/A

Foreign transaction fees

N/A

Late payment fees

N/A

Why we like it

Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is a great option for teenagers on a budget. 

All you need is a $200 deposit, and you can start using the card. As you’re literally using your own money, Chime doesn’t charge you any fees—and there’s no APR at all.

What’s good for building credit is that the issuer doesn’t report your credit utilization ratio—which means that even if you use 100% of your balance (instead of the recommended 30%), you’ll be fine.

Pros

  • Low security deposit
  • No annual, monthly, or penalty fees
  • 0% APR

Cons

  • No intro bonus or rewards program
Guaranteed approval card with $1,000 limit
merric-bank-credit-card

Merrick Bank Double Your Line Mastercard

3.2
Annual Fee
$0–$72
Reward rate
N/A
No rewards
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
24.45%–29.95%
Credit needed: Poor–Fair (300–629)

11 people chose this

Learn more
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

24.45–29.95%%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

24.45–29.95%%

Fees

Annual fees

$0 to $72

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

4%

Foreign transaction fees

2%

Late payment fees

Up to $40

Regular APR

24.45–29.95%%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

24.45–29.95%%

Annual fees

$0 to $72

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

4%

Foreign transaction fees

2%

Late payment fees

Up to $40

Why we like it

Pros

  • Low annual fee.
  • Higher credit limit than other similar cards.
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus.

Cons

  • High APR.
Best for 500 credit score
destiny

Destiny Mastercard®–$700 Credit Limit

3
Annual Fee
See Terms*
Reward rate
N/A
No rewards
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
See Terms* for APR
Credit needed: Bad (300–629)

7 people chose this

Learn moreDestiny review
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

See Terms*

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

See Terms*

Fees

Annual fees

See Terms*.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

See Terms*

Foreign transaction fees

1%

Late payment fees

See Terms*

Regular APR

See Terms*

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

See Terms*

Annual fees

See Terms*.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

See Terms*

Foreign transaction fees

1%

Late payment fees

See Terms*

Why we like it

The Destiny Mastercard® - 700 Credit Limit is an unsecured credit card that’s likely a good fit for people with bad to fair FICO scores. 

Pros

  • Fairly low APR for bad credit—See Terms*.
  • Higher credit limit of $700.
  • 1% foreign transaction fee.

Cons

  • High annual fee.
  • Cash advance fees (See Terms*).
  • Penalty fees (See Terms*).

*Destiny terms and conditions.

Guaranteed approval card with $1,000 limit
avant-credit-card

Avant Credit Card

2.6
Annual Fee
$59
Approved appications submitted directly through the Avant website will have a $39 annual membership fee.
Reward rate
N/A
No rewards
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
30.24% APR
Credit needed: Fair (580–629)

8 people chose this

Learn moreAvant Card Review
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

30.24%–35.24%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

30.24% to 35.24%

Fees

Annual fees

From $0 to $59

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

Either $10 or 3%, whichever is higher.

Foreign transaction fees

$0

Late payment fees

Up to $39

Regular APR

30.24%–35.24%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

30.24% to 35.24%

Annual fees

From $0 to $59

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

Either $10 or 3%, whichever is higher.

Foreign transaction fees

$0

Late payment fees

Up to $39

Why we like it

If you’re a couple of months into your credit journey, or making a comeback after a stumble, Avant Credit Card would be a great stepping stone to excellent credit.

Merrick Bank Double Your Line is a double-edged sword. It offers a sizable credit limit for its category (it’ll double after seven months, if you put down at least the minimum payment). But it’s also costly.

Pros

  • Low annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • Potentially high credit limit of $3,000.

Cons

  • High APR.
Top unsecured card with $1,000 limit
reflex-platinum

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

2.8
Annual Fee
$75–$125
First year fee is between $75–$99, then $99–125 after that.
Reward rate
N/A
No rewards
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
29.99% APR (Variable)
Credit needed: Bad (300–629)

3 people chose this

Reflex review
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

29.99%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

29.99% (Variable)

Fees

Annual fees

$75–$125 first year, then $99–$125 after that. Additional annual maintenance fee of up to $120.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$10 or 3%, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fees

3%

Late payment fees

Up to $41

Regular APR

29.99%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

29.99% (Variable)

Annual fees

$75–$125 first year, then $99–$125 after that. Additional annual maintenance fee of up to $120.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$10 or 3%, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fees

3%

Late payment fees

Up to $41

Why we like it

The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® is a near-carbon copy of the Surge card. It's even backed by the same company (Continental Finance). 

Pros

  • The initial credit limit of $300–$1,000 (subject to available credit).
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000. (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time.)
  • It comes with all the protections and benefits of a Mastercard.

Cons

  • The APR of 29.99% is quite high.
  • First year annual fee of $75–$125, then $99–$125 per year after that.
  • The maintenance fee is free for the first year—but then may increase to $10 per month.
  • No cash advances during the first 95 days an account is open.
Best credit card for bad credit with no deposit
surge-platinum

Surge® Mastercard

2.8
Annual Fee
$75–$99
First year fee is between $75–$99. Also a yearly maintenance fee of up to $120 after the first year.
Reward rate
N/A
No rewards
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
29.99% APR
Credit needed: Bad (300–629)

19 people chose this

Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

29.99% APR (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A (see website for details)

Balance transfer rate

N/A (see website for details)

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A (see website for details)

Cash advance APR

29.99% (Variable)

Fees

Annual fees

$75–$125 first year, then $99–$125 after that. Additional annual maintenance fee of up to $120.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$10 or 3%, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fees

3%

Late payment fees

Up to $41

Regular APR

29.99% APR (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A (see website for details)

Balance transfer rate

N/A (see website for details)

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A (see website for details)

Cash advance APR

29.99% (Variable)

Annual fees

$75–$125 first year, then $99–$125 after that. Additional annual maintenance fee of up to $120.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$10 or 3%, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fees

3%

Late payment fees

Up to $41

Why we like it

The Surge® Mastercard® is backed by Continental Finance, one of America’s leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for consumers with less-than-perfect credit. The initial credit limit ranges from $300 to $1,000. Make your first six monthly minimum payments on time and get your credit limit doubled.

Pros

  • Mastercard’s zero liability protection.
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian (when you sign up for e-statements).

Cons

  • The APR of 29.99% is pretty high.
  • First-year annual fee of $75–$99, then $99 after that.
  • The monthly maintenance fee is free for the first 12 months, but then could jump to $10 per month ($120 annually).
  • 3% foreign transaction fee.
Best credit card for bad credit with no deposit
credit-one-platinum

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

3
Annual Fee
$75
First year annual fee is $75, then $99 thereafter
Reward rate
1%
Intro offer
N/A
No intro offer
28.49% APR
Credit needed: Bad (300–629)

47 people chose this

Learn more
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

28.49%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

28.49% (Variable)

Fees

Annual fees

$75 for the first year, then $99 thereafter.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$5 or 8% (whichever is higher)

Foreign transaction fees

$1 or 3%, whichever is greater

Late payment fees

Up to $39

Regular APR

28.49%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

28.49% (Variable)

Annual fees

$75 for the first year, then $99 thereafter.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$5 or 8% (whichever is higher)

Foreign transaction fees

$1 or 3%, whichever is greater

Late payment fees

Up to $39

Why we like it

This card was created specifically for those looking to rebuild their bad credit. And it’s one of the few rewards cards in the subprime market.

Pros

  • Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases.
  • Minimum credit limit of $300, but upwards of $2,500.
  • No additional maintenance fees.

Cons

  • The APR is above average at 28.24%.
  • The first year annual fee is $75 but then moves up to $99 a year after that.
  • The 8% cash advance fee is high.
  • There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Best credit card for building credit with no deposit
tomo-credit-card

Tomo Credit Card

3.8
Annual Fee
$0
Reward rate
N/A
Intro offer
N/A
0% APR (forever)
Credit needed: Bad to fair (300–600)

24 people chose this card

Learn more
Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

0%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

0%

Cash advance APR

0%

Fees

Annual fees

$0

Balance transfer fees

0%

Cash advance fees

0%

Foreign transaction fees

0%

Late payment fees

0%

Regular APR

0%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

0%

Cash advance APR

0%

Annual fees

$0

Balance transfer fees

0%

Cash advance fees

0%

Foreign transaction fees

0%

Late payment fees

0%

Why we like it

Tomo credit card has no annual fee and a 0% APR (forever).

It accepts folks with no credit score, and has some teen-approved benefits (like free DoorDash for three months, ShopRunner membership, or cellphone protection).

You can’t carry a balance on the card, but your spending power is totally up to you. All you need to do is link your bank accounts and Tomo will establish your credit line based on them—you’ll get a credit limit that works for you.

Pros

  • 0% APR (forever)
  • World Elite Mastercard® benefits
  • No security deposit

Cons

  • Checking account required
  • Cash back only for brand ambassadors
Best credit card for students with no credit
Annual Fee
annual_fees
Reward rate
1%–5%
You'll earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter (like Amazon), grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases is unlimited.
Intro offer
N/A
intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Credit needed: Bad to fair (300–600)

34 people chose this

Learn more

Discover matches all the cash back you've earned in the first year.

Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Fees

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we like it

If you’re looking for a student credit card, one without an annual fee and with a cash back program is the one to go.

Discover It Student Cash Back checks these boxes, giving you 5% cash back on purchases at restaurants and wholesale clubs.

Additional perk is Discover-only unlimited cash back match—whatever you earn in rewards during first twelve months is doubled.

Pros

  • No annual fee.
  • 5% cash back.
  • Unlimited cash back match in the first year.

Cons

  • Confusing cash back plan.
Best credit card for students with no credit
card_name
4.6
Annual Fee
annual_fees
Reward rate
1%–2%
Earn 2% on gas and restaurants (up to $1,000 of combined spend each quarter). Earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Intro offer
Cashback match
bonus_miles_full
intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Credit needed: Average (630–689)

43 people chose this card

Learn more

Unlimited cashback match in the first year.

Details
Rates/APR

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Fees

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we like it

As with other Discover cards, the major benefit here is in the rewards. If you’re often the designated driver on the way to the game, take the chance to earn some rewards at the pump.

Pros

  • No annual fee.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations.
  • Unlimited cashback match in the first year.

Cons

  • Complicated rewards.
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Top 12 Credit Cards for "Guaranteed Approval"

It’s tempting to look for a guaranteed approval card to lower the chances of being given the cold shoulder. You won’t like hearing this, but the “guaranteed approval” is a myth. You need to meet a set of requirements for every card you apply for, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get it.

However, the cards below are the closest thing to guaranteed approval that you'll ever get.

Best “Guaranteed Approval” Credit Cards With $1000 Limits

Unsecured credit cards for bad and fair credit have a downside—low credit limits. A ceiling of $200 is more likely to make you want to cry than the latest rom-com. But what if we told you there are outliers with limits over $1,000?

Top Pick–Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

N/A

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

N/A

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we love it

Petal 2 truly stands out from the rest of “guaranteed approval” unsecured credit cards for bad credit. It scores high in every category. “No fees forever” is a mouth-watering offer, and the card offers a minimum of 1% cash back (up to 10% for selected merchants).

Petal 2’s best feature is its high credit limit. You can potentially qualify for a ceiling of $10,000. That’s fifty times the smallest limit.

What to look out for

This card is for people with limited and poor credit, with one exception. If you filed for bankruptcy in the past 48 months, you'll be rejected. Your APR and credit limit will depend on your “creditworthiness”, so the first-rate options are not a given. Still, a credit limit of up to $1,000 is within your reach.

Avant Credit Card

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

29.99%–34.99%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

29.99% to 34.99%

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

From $0 to $59

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

Either $10 or 3%, whichever is higher.

Foreign transaction fees

$0

Late payment fees

Up to $39

Why we like it

This one is for people with a fair score. If you’re a couple of months into your credit journey, or making a comeback after a stumble, Avant Credit Card would be a great stepping stone to excellent credit.

Avant is relatively inexpensive for its category—there are no foreign transaction fees and likely no annual fee, either. Its high credit limit helps you keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%.

What to look out for

Pay your balance on time and keep your credit utilization to a minimum—your APR is steep and Avant may lower your credit limit if you drop the ball.

Merrick Bank Credit Card

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

24.45–29.95%%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

24.45–29.95%%

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

$0 to $72

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

4%

Foreign transaction fees

2%

Late payment fees

Up to $40

Why we like it (and why we’re weary of it)

Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card is a double-edged sword. It offers a sizable credit limit for its category (it’ll double after seven months, if you put down at least the minimum payment).

But it’s also costly. The APR is crazy, and the fees are hefty. Choose this card if the credit limit is what you’re after. On the plus side, this card will help you keep your credit utilization low. The annual fee is still much smaller than the deposit for secured credit cards.

You also get the standard Mastercard perks and monthly reports to the three credit bureaus, so (re)building your credit should be a walk in the park.

Best Credit Cards for Building Credit: No Deposit

Building credit is smoother and faster than fixing it. Lenders can be more lenient towards newcomers than those who are returning after a rough patch. If you’re new, use this to your advantage.

Top Pick–Tomo Credit Card

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

0%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

0%

Cash advance APR

0%

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

$0

Balance transfer fees

0%

Cash advance fees

0%

Foreign transaction fees

0%

Late payment fees

0%

Why we love it

Tomo is almost a hybrid between a credit and debit card. You can’t carry a balance (read, won’t end up in debt), as it automatically pays your charges every week. This also means you don’t have to fret over your APR or any interest charges.

Tomo Credit Card offers a ton of other benefits through its partnership with Lyft, DoorDash, and HelloFresh (covering all areas of your daily expenses).

What to look out for

There’s no credit check when you apply (yay!), but you need to link your bank account—checking, savings, or even investment—so they can evaluate your financial profile.

This card is ideal if you have a steady income or substantial savings, but no credit history. You’re almost guaranteed an approval with any (or no) credit score, but your initial credit limit will be determined by your financial history and paying power. And when it comes to the credit limit, the more, the merrier!

But watch out, your account will be frozen if you can’t pay off your weekly charges. Use this card to learn healthy financial habits, build credit, and move on to top-tier credit cards in the future.

Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we like it

Frequently raised credit limits are the highlight of this credit card. You can qualify for a $1,000 credit limit from the beginning, and it’ll be raised automatically if you make the first six payments on time. And that’s just for starters.

The cash back is always sweet when you deal with guaranteed approval credit cards for bad/no credit. With this card, you can earn solid rewards, while enjoying no annual fee. When you apply online, Mission Lane boasts an instant decision on your application. It’s a great choice when you need a card ASAP.

What to look out for

Pay attention to the high APR and other fees, and be careful not to overspend or skip payments. This credit card is a good option for people with no credit history or below-average credit. However, if your credit score is approaching 300, you won’t qualify for Mission Lane Cash Back.

Chime Credit Builder

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

0%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

N/A

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

$0

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

N/A

Foreign transaction fees

N/A

Late payment fees

N/A

Why we like it

We know, we know, this is cheating. Chime Credit Builder is technically a secured credit card— but it’s not your traditional one.

For one, the money you transfer to your credit card is not a security deposit that is out of your reach until you close your account—with Chime, you can use this money to pay off your monthly charges.

There’s also no minimum requirement. You set your own credit limit, however big or small. You can also move this money back to your checking account any time. The coolest part is that Chime doesn’t report your credit utilization. Even if you deposit $100, and use all of it this month, it’s not going to ruin your credit.

There are no fees, no interest charges, and the card encourages you to spend the money you already have. Perfect for building your credit fast.

What to look out for

You’ll need a Chime checking account to qualify for this credit card, but you can apply for one in a matter of minutes. They won’t run a credit check when you apply, which practically guarantees an instant approval.

This might seem odd if you’re looking for credit cards with no deposit, but this credit card is a bit like a reloadable prepaid debit (with the extra perk of reporting to the three major credit bureaus). You can always start slow, if you don’t have a lot of money to deposit right away.

Read more: Chime Credit Card Review

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit (With No Deposit)

We have a larger selection of reliable unsecured credit cards for bad credit if you want to dig deeper. Here are our top picks.

Our PickDestiny Mastercard

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

24.9%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

29.9% (Variable)

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

$75 for the first year, then $99 thereafter.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$5 or 5%, whichever is higher (not to exceed $100)

Foreign transaction fees

1%

Late payment fees

Up to $40

Why we like it

Destiny Mastercard is a solid candidate to help you fix your credit. You can apply for it with a bad credit score and even derogatory marks on your report. To be sure you’ll get approved, you can pre-qualify with no impact on your credit score.

Even though Destiny doesn’t offer any rewards, the fees—bar the annual fee—are relatively low for this type of card. No cash advance fee for the first year is a rare and attractive benefit. The card also offers $0 Fraud Liability and other identity theft protections as part of Mastercard benefits.

What to look out for

Unfortunately, you'll get a fixed credit limit with no increase even after repairing your credit. Check out our full Destiny Mastercard Review for an in-depth look at this card.

Surge Platinum Mastercard

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

29.99% APR (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A (see website for details)

Balance transfer rate

N/A (see website for details)

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A (see website for details)

Cash advance APR

29.99% (Variable)

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

$75–$125 first year, then $99–$125 after that. Additional annual maintenance fee of up to $120.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$10 or 3%, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fees

3%

Late payment fees

Up to $41

Why we like it

It ain’t stellar when it comes to fees, but you’ll get a high credit limit. Be responsible, make your payments on time, and after six months it’ll double to $2,000—which is rare for this kind of cards.

Surge embraces customers with really low credit scores. You’ll qualify easily even after bankruptcy. It’s a traditional, even slightly boring, option. But it’s reliable, and has all the typical protections Mastercard offers.

Ultimately, Surge is not the card you want to stick to for long, but it’ll help you boost your credit score and upgrade to superior options in no time.

What to look out for

The fees and APR are pretty brutal. It’s our advice for all credit cards, but be careful and pay off your balance in full and on time every month. Note that a checking account in Celtic Bank is required to get Surge Mastercard.

Reflex Mastercard®

Rates/APR

Type

Description

Regular APR

29.99%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

29.99% (Variable)

Fees

Type

Description

Annual fees

$75–$125 first year, then $99–$125 after that. Additional annual maintenance fee of up to $120.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$10 or 3%, whichever is higher

Foreign transaction fees

3%

Late payment fees

Up to $41

The Reflex Mastercard® isn’t the cheapest option for an unsecured card. The higher annual fees and APR are off-putting, but it does offer credit limits of up to $1,000 for people with bad credit (you can double it after six months of timely minimum payments).

Like a few other bad credit credit cards, you can get near-instant approval by applying online. 

But first you should consider if you want to be tied to such high rates without the perks offered even by some of the secured cards on our list.

Pros

  • Easy to qualify for.
  • Credit limit of $300–$1,000.

Cons

  • $75–$125 annual fee (assessed after application).
  • High variable APR.
  • Monthly maintenance fee of $10 (starting year two).

Read our full Reflex credit card review to learn more.

Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

28.49%

Intro APR

N/A

Balance transfer rate

N/A

Balance transfer intro APR

N/A

Cash advance APR

28.49% (Variable)

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

$75 for the first year, then $99 thereafter.

Balance transfer fees

N/A

Cash advance fees

$5 or 8% (whichever is higher)

Foreign transaction fees

$1 or 3%, whichever is greater

Late payment fees

Up to $39

Why we like it

Two things that make this credit card stand out from its competitors are: cash back rewards—though rather modest—and periodic reviews of your credit limit.

Many cards for people with the lowest credit scores have a fixed limit. No credit-line increase makes it harder to dig your way out of bad credit (remember credit utilization rate?). You won’t have this problem with Credit One Bank Platinum Visa.

What to look out for

Don’t take out cash advances because of the sky-high fee. There’s an additional $19 annual fee if you add an authorized user to your account.

Best Credit Cards for Students With No Credit

We’ve saved the best for last. Here’s a selection of student credit cards. Why student credit cards are the sweetest:

  • Nobody expects you to have exceptional credit as a student. These cards are easy to get.
  • They offer competitive rewards and unique perks.
  • You can keep using your credit card even after graduation. It automatically becomes a regular credit card, while you get to keep the rewards and low fees you’ve been enjoying.

Top Pick–Discover It Student Cash Back

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we love it

Not many starter credit cards offer amazing rewards. This one does. You can earn 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories (from Amazon.com and digital wallets until the end of 2022, for example) and an extra 1% (everywhere else).

Unlimited Cashback Match means that Discover will automatically double your rewards at the end of your first year. If you earn $250, you'll get $500. We wish we could go back to being students just to qualify for this credit card!

What to look out for

The 5% cash back rewards are capped. Rewards are limited to $75 per quarter (that’s $1,500 spent in every category). Discover cards have limited acceptance abroad, unlike Visa or Mastercard. If you're planning to hit the road, consider another option. We have a suggestion below.

Don’t forget to log into your account and activate your quarterly spending categories. They must be activated manually every time.

Discover It Student Chrome

Rates/APR

Type Description

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer rate

balance_transfer_rate

Balance transfer intro APR

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Cash advance APR

cash_advance_apr

Fees

Type Description

Annual fees

annual_fees

Balance transfer fees

balance_transfer_fees

Cash advance fees

cash_advance_fee

Foreign transaction fees

foreign_transaction_fee

Late payment fees

late_payment_fee

Why we like it

Your eyes are not betraying you—this card is eerily similar to the cash back version. The rewards are a bit less fancy, but the flat rate has its own benefits.

This card would work best for those who are less organized or have a lot on their plate. You don’t need to activate the rotating categories, so you never risk forgetting about them. It’s also great for students who own a car!

What to look out for

You can earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 per quarter. Like its sibling, Discover It Student Chrome has limited acceptance abroad.

Best Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards—The More You Know

Oliver Wyman and Experian’s 2022 report on access to credit says that 11% of adult Americans are credit invisible, 8%—unscorable, and 22% have subprime credit scores.

That’s 106 million Americans who can’t access prime credit cards and loans. Immigrants and people under 25 are especially likely to be affected. But, get this—you absolutely can apply for a credit card with bad credit, average credit, or no credit at all.

This article will help you choose from:

  • Credit cards with limits that’ll last you more than one trip to the grocery store.
  • Starter credit cards, if you’re only testing the waters.
  • Second chance credit cards for people with bad credit.
  • Credit cards for students (with the hottest benefits!).

Read on to find out how you can qualify, even if you don’t have a perfect credit score (yet).

Similar articles:

Is Guaranteed Credit Card Approval a Myth?

We all hate to be rejected, whether it’s a job application or a date. When it comes to applying for a credit card there’s also the risk of lowering your credit score. If you’re denied, it’ll leave a record—a bit like getting an “Undatable” status on your Tinder profile for everyone to see.

No wonder it’s tempting to look for a “guaranteed approval” card to lower the chances of being given the cold shoulder. You won’t like hearing this, but the “guaranteed approval” is a myth. You need to meet a set of requirements for every card you apply for, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get it.

But hey, only death and taxes are certain, as the saying goes. When people talk about credit cards with guaranteed approval, they mean credit cards created for subpar credit (for the 57 million Americans with subprime credit scoresi). They have less strict requirements when it comes to your score.

Still, the lender might check your credit history, income, age, or Social Security number. Getting denied a “guaranteed approval” credit card is like being turned down if you’re a charming millionaire—hard, but not impossible.

Soft inquiries vs. hard pull: what affects your credit score?

With many credit card companies, you can check if you pre-qualify for their card—they call it pre-approval, and it can take seconds. Your credit score shouldn’t be affected, as it’s a type of soft inquiry. It’s like when you check your own score.

hard inquiry (“hard pull”), on the other hand, can harm your credit score (at least temporarily). That’s what lenders do when they review your credit report and history. Hard inquiries will stay on your credit report for two years. (That’s one of the reasons you shouldn’t apply for twenty credit cards at once.)

Checking your credit report periodically is a healthy financial habit. You can request your report from Credit Karma for free.

Bad credit: how to read credit scores

Your credit score shows your credit behavior as a number, based on data in your credit report. Of all the scales and methods to calculate your credit score, 90% of American financial institutions will use the FICO score to see if you qualify for their cards and loans:

  • Exceptional: 800+
  • Very Good: 740–799
  • Good: 670–739
  • Fair: 580–669
  • Poor: 300–579

We’ll be focusing on the bottom two here (if you were in the top ones, you wouldn’t be reading this.) Yes, you’ve got some catching up to do since the average credit score in the US is at a historic high of 716 points (according to FICO’s annual reporti), but you’re in the right hands.

Read more:

Unsecured Credit Cards = No Deposit

Secured credit cards, for which you need to put down a cash security deposit when you open an account, are more common.

Your credit limit usually equals the amount you’ve deposited. They’re less risky for the lender. If you miss a payment, they’ll cover it with your security deposit. Maybe you don’t want to pay at least $200 upfront, so you’ll go for the “guaranteed credit card approval no deposit” option.

We’ve compiled a list of the best unsecured credit cards that won’t require a deposit.

A Quick Note on How to Compare Credit Cards

Credit card agreements hold plenty of information about your card. Here’s what you need to pay special attention to. We’ve tried to highlight these four categories in our ranking so that you could make an informed decision about your next credit card.

APR

Your APR is arguably the most important information you need to know about your card. It tells you how much interest you'll pay for carrying your balance. As for the APR—the lower, the better. Zero is the dream.

Ideally, you’d want to get a special offer of a 0% introductory APR that will make that dream come true. Just don’t forget to set a wake-up call for when the introductory offer expires (usually after 6–18 months).

Fees

Credit cards are notorious for a range of fees they can charge. Annual fee, late payment fee, foreign transaction fee, balance transfer, cash advance, over-the-limit fee—we can go on and on.

Aim for the lowest fees possible, especially when it comes to the annual fee. You can avoid the rest, if you're financially responsible and pay off your balance in full every month. As for your annual fee, it's practically set in stone (and in your credit card agreement).

Rewards

On the bright side, credit cards may offer perks to soften the blow of infinite fees. Among the common rewards are cash back, airline miles, and redeemable points. Sign-up bonuses are also included in this category, and can be worth your while. Credit cards for poor and limited credit are more stingy with their rewards, but there are a few hidden gems.

Credit Limit

Your credit limit is the maximum amount you can borrow from your credit card provider. It’ll be assigned to you during the application process based on your “creditworthiness”.

Bear in mind, your credit limit is directly linked to your credit utilization ratio, one of the key factors that affect your credit. It’s part of the amounts owed category, making up 30%i of the total FICO score.

 To calculate it, divide your current balance (the sum of all balances, if you have several cards) by your total credit limit. If your balance is $100 and your credit limit—$1,000, your credit utilization ratio is 10% (good job!). A hack to remember: 30 is your number! Keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% to keep a good score.

Guaranteed credit card approval with no deposit is commonly associated with:

  • High APRs
  • High fees
  • Minimal rewards
  • Low credit limits

I hope we’ve managed to prove that this doesn’t have to be the case!

FAQ

How do I get a credit card with bad credit?
  1. Check your credit score and credit report.
  2. Compare those with the requirements of the credit card.
  3. Request pre-qualification on the issuer’s website.
  4. If you get pre-approved, submit your actual application.
What is the easiest credit card to get with bad credit?

The easiest credit cards to get are secured credit cards, student credit cards, and the so-called credit-builders (credit cards designed for people with poor or no credit). If you're asking about a specific card, Destiny Mastercard is one of the easiest cards to get on our list.

Do you have to make a deposit to get a credit card?

In most cases, you don’t need to make a deposit to get a credit card. That’s because most credit cards are unsecured. If you're applying for a secured credit card, then you'll need to deposit cash to get it.

Guaranteed approval credit cards with $10,000 limits for bad credit with no deposit: do they exist?

Generally, they don’t. Unsecured credit cards for poor credit have low credit limits. But there’s an exception to every rule. Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa and Tomo Credit Card both have credit limits of up to $10,000. Whether you can get it or not will depend on your financial history and other factors.

Sources

See all

Average U.S. FICO® Score Stays Steady at 716. (n.d.). FICO Decisions Blog. Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.fico.com/blogs/average-us-fico-score-stays-steady-716-missed-payments-and-consumer-debt-rises

How Owing Money Can Impact Your Credit Score | myFICO. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/amount-of-debt


Hepinstall, M., Chandrasekhar, C., Carroll, P., Dykstra, N., & Ulucay, Y. (n.d.). Financial Inclusion And Access To Credit. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/insights/2022/jan/financial-inclusion-and-access-to-credit.html