In this article, we are going to explore credit cards for bad credit. The goal is to help you find the best credit cards available to consumers with no or poor credit history. We’ve found some fantastic secured credit cards worth considering. We’ll also talk about how you can use unsecured credit cards to build your credit score.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why people have bad credit. It’s challenging to manage your finances in today’s economic climate. Just paying a bill late will impact your credit score and affect your ability to get access to unsecured credit. If this happens, expect to receive a lower credit limit and pay a higher annual fee.
It can feel like a vicious circle. The problem is, not having a credit limit makes managing your finances even more difficult. People need a credit card to have the flexibility to afford any unbudgeted costs life throws in their path.
If you are looking for credit cards for bad credit or no credit, this article is going to help point you in the right direction. We are going to introduce you to the best credit cards for bad credit. We will also share with you the best way to use credit cards to start to build your credit score, so you have more options in the future.
The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
It was not easy to find unsecured credit cards available to people with poor or no credit history. Most unsecured credit cards will expect you to have a positive credit score. If you have no credit history, some cards will give you a very small credit limit, but that might not be the ideal solution for many people.
Instead, we’ve focused on secured credit cards that require a security deposit. This means you control the credit limit. There are some great offers available, plus they also allow you to build your credit.
Our team has researched and analyzed all the credit cards and credit card providers on the market today to find the best credit cards for bad credit. We’ve picked out our two top secured credit cards. Each offers something a little different, and we hope you’ll select the one that fits your needs perfectly.
We’re going to introduce each credit card. We will walk you through the advantages, explain some of the disadvantages, then summarise why this card is worth choosing.
Refresh Financial Secured Card
One of the most exciting and rare things about the Refresh Financial Secured Card is that it guarantees every application.
There are not many credit cards on the market that offer a guarantee. This makes this card ideal for those who are young or new to Canada and haven’t had time to build up a credit history. It’s equally a good option for those who have hit on hard times and now suffering from a poor credit score. Both types of applicants will be limited in their ability to get credit.
Helping people build a better credit score is the main objective of Refresh Financial. They focus on secured credit cards, loan solutions and education on how to manage and build your credit score. This means when you choose a Refresh Financial product, you’re in good hands.
- As this is a guaranteed credit card, there are no credit checks before approval. You will be accepted even if you suffered from bankruptcy or foreclosure in the past.
- The minimum deposit is just $200, with the maximum deposit capped at $10,000. This makes this secured Visa card very accessible to most people.
- The annual fee of $48.95 can be split into a $3 payment each month to make payment easier.
- Refresh Financial Secured Card offers a 21-day interest-free grace period on all purchases.
- The additional fees are quite low too. They charge $0.10 if the transaction is declined and 0.50 if you want to pay a bill. This is respectable when compared to other credit cards.
- As mentioned, there is an annual fee of $48.95. Competitor cards don’t ask for an annual fee. However, be mindful that secured Visa or MasterCard providers will make money from you somehow. This is at least transparent. You also can break the fee down into monthly payments to make it more palatable.
- The interest rate of 17.99% is in the con section because credit cards for bad credit naturally have higher interest rates. However, compared to other bad credit secured cards, this interest rate is one of the best.
At INCOME.ca, we have a lot of respect for the Refresh Financial Secured Card. We love the fact it’s all-inclusive and available to everybody. We also appreciate that the minimum deposit is lower than any other secured cards on the market. There is an annual fee, but the other fees are not extortionate. The interest rate is respectable, and if you have any issues, they have fast and efficient customer support.
Home Trust Secured Visa
This credit card is a bit different than Refresh Financial’s guaranteed credit card option. It isn’t guaranteed, but it is targeted for people with bad or poor credit. In many cases, you will be successful in getting a card.
The application starts with a credit check. Once accepted, you can get interest rates lower than 20%. It is a great way to start to build a credit score because Home Trust will report your payments to both Equifax and TransUnion. This will help to build your credit score over time.
- The first thing that grabs your attention with the Home Trust Secured Visa is the annual fee. There isn’t an annual fee. For a secured credit card, this is rare.
- You have a 21-day grace period on new purchases before you are charged any interest. This means you have the flexibility to buy things and not have to pay more than the original cost.
- This card helps to build up a credit score by sharing the information with the Equifax and TransUnion.
- The minimum security deposit, or credit limit, is a little higher than the Refresh Financial Secured Card. You are required to pay a deposit a minimum of $500
- The standard interest rate is a little higher than the Refreshed Financial Secured Card. It’s currently at 19.99%. This is not a terrible interest rate. However, it is worth noting it is higher than other cards available for people with bad credit, including the Refresh Financial option.
This card is a good option for most people suffering from bad credit. You don’t have to pay an annual fee for a start. Additionally, the standard interest rate is okay. A 21-day grace period means you have the option to pay off the balance before you are charged any interest. There is a credit check, it’s not for everyone, but most people will be accepted if their credit history is bad, but not terrible.
Can I Get a Guaranteed Approval Credit Card?
There is a variety of credit card offers available today in Canada that claim to guarantee approval. Refresh Financial’s Secured Card is one. Naturally, people are skeptical, and one of the questions we get asked regularly is if a credit card is genuinely guaranteed.
The short answer is no. There are some legal limitations put on financial institutions in terms of giving people access to credit. For example, there are age restrictions. So, there are exceptions.
However, in spirit, credit cards can be guaranteed. When card providers guarantee a credit card, the card issuer doesn’t consider your credit score or income level when processing your application. These are key criteria with standard credit applications. Everything from a mortgage to a car loan would need this information.
Types of Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Secure Credit Card
To understand how a secured credit card works, you need to understand the basics of a pre-paid card. When you load the pre-paid card with cash, known as a deposit, you can use the card whenever necessary. For example, many parents like to give their teenagers access to money using pre-paid cards. They can pay for food and travel ( see also Aeroplan and Air Mile credit cards) or have access to money in case of an emergency.
A secured credit card uses the same concept of preloading the card, but this money is used as a security deposit. The card user can pay for products and services using the card as a traditional credit card. They will have a grace period where no interest is charged. Should they not make your payment on time, the security deposit can be used.
A secured credit card can act as a credit builder. It will connect to the most important credit bureaus in Canada and positively impact your credit score if you make payments on time. However, it’s important to remember, should you fail to make a payment, the secured card provider will use the security deposit paid on the card.
Unsecured Credit Card
An unsecured credit card works very much like a traditional credit card. No security deposit is required. However, should you suffer from no or poor credit, access to this type of card will be limited. Some providers offer a minimum amount of credit for you to use to demonstrate your ability to pay back promptly. This, in turn, will help build your credit score and get you access to more credit. However, they usually come with a credit check. Although they might accept people with less than perfect credit, they tend not to be as welcoming to people with poor credit as secured cards.
How to Rebuild Your Credit Score
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts or easy, quick fixes when it comes to repairing your credit score.
Having a negative score can impact you financially for years. It’s a vicious circle. Typically without good credit, you are unable to get any credit at all. Then, you are not able to pay back your debt on time to be able to build a credit score. However, there are ways that you can start to rebuild the trust of lenders – read our ‘How Long Does it Take to Rebuild Credit? post.
Let’s go through some of the simple things you can do to start to rebuild your credit score.
Open a New Checking and Savings Account
Simply opening a checking and savings account will help you start to manage your finances more effectively. Equally, these types of accounts have little to no fees. If you pick the right savings account, you can even start to earn money on the cash you are able to put away each month as savings.
The best habit you can have is saving money each month. Even if it’s only a few dollars to start with, the habit of saving money is contagious. With the right savings account, you’ll be able to see your pot start to grow.
Pay Your Bills on Time
Most people know that having debt is common. The financial industry wants you to have debt; they make money by you borrowing money. The key to building credit is paying your bills on time. It’s that simple. You get rewarded for paying bills on time, and you lose points if you are late.
Every person has a credit score. You could have good or bad credit. You can he even have no credit, but you do have a score. That score determines the type of finance and interest rates you are offered on financial products, from a mortgage to a contracted mobile phone.
There are credit bureaus that track each individual’s credit score. It matters less how much money is to be paid back, just that you pay it back on time, every time.
Apply for New Credit Cards
The best way to go about building your credit score is to start with a secured credit card. This allows you to start demonstrating your new good habits when it comes to paying bills in a timely manner. Even with a secured credit card, they will inform the credit bureaus that you are paying your balance off in time.
Once you have been able to demonstrate your ability to pay your bills, try to apply for an unsecured credit card. Pick one that is targeted towards people with less than perfect credit history. Obviously, you’re going to pay a higher interest rate because you are a higher risk to the credit card issuer.
When you first get the unsecured credit card, you can expect to have very limited withdrawal limits. However, as you start to use the card to make regular payments, as your credit score increases, so does your credit limit.
The goal is to use both cards simultaneously and pay them back ideally within the 21 day grace period you get before interest is applied. Now you have demonstrated your ability to pay back multiple lines of credit at the same time and on time. This is one of the best ways to start to rebuild your credit in Canada.
The Bottom Line
Life is not easy, especially financially. People need some financial flexibility. Having access to a credit card definitely helps. Unfortunately, not everyone has good credit. A standard credit card provider will run a credit check and will have criteria in place that only accepts applicants with the best credit scores.
But an unsecured credit card is not your only option. A secured credit card issuer cares less about your credit score. We feel the top two credit cards for people with bad credit are the two we’ve talked about in this article.
The Refresh Financial Secured Card is our top pick. But, if you’re looking for a credit card that doesn’t have annual fees, then you’ll want to look at the Home Trust Secured Visa. Both will give you access to credit while giving you the ability to start to build your credit score. Over a period of time, you will have more credit options available to you.