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The easiest credit cards to qualify for are typically not the best in terms of benefits and interest rates. We compared offers to find credit cards that are easy to obtain but still provide decent value. Additionally, we broke out the top choices into several categories to help narrow your search based on the type of card user you are.
Easy-to-get credit cards 2021
|Discover it® Secured Credit Card||Bad credit||$0||Read Review|
|Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||Fair credit||$39|
|Journey Student Rewards from Capital One||Students||$0||Read Review|
|Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students||International students||$0|
|SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card||Airline||$50||Not available on ValuePengin|
|Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business||Small businesses||$0||Read Review|
Easy-to-get credit card for people with bad credit
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Why we like it: It has decent rewards, unlike many other cards for people with bad credit.
What's not great about it: Like most easy-to-get credit cards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card suffers from high interest rates.
Since most secured credit cards are designed to build your credit, they're not likely to come with any lucrative rewards. However, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a rare exception: You'll earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. Plus, Discover offers an exciting welcome offer (that most easy-to-get credit cards don't have): Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. These rewards are reminiscent of credit cards people with average or good credit get.
As a secured card, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card requires you to put down a security deposit when you first sign up. If you ever decide to close your account, you'll have the option to have your deposit refunded — provided that you don't have any outstanding obligations. However, this is what makes the card easy to get for someone with bad credit — don't think of this as a con.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card also provides a pathway for users to build their credit over time. After seven months, Discover will automatically review your account each month. With responsible credit habits, you'll be eligible to get your security deposit back and transition to a nonsecured credit card.
Easy-to-get credit card for those with fair credit
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
- Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
- Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
- Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
- $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
- No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
- Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
- Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
Why we like it: Solid rewards rate and no fees on foreign transactions (None) and balance transfers ($0 at this Transfer APR).
What's not great about it: This card has an annual fee ($39) and a high purchase APR (26.99% (Variable)).
Those with fair credit who want to earn a better rewards rate could consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. You'll earn an unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day, and you can redeem your rewards for a check, statement credit and even gift cards.
Still, the downsides of this card are that it comes with a $39 annual fee and an APR of 26.99% (Variable). You don't want to be penalized for late payments, so this high percentage rate is something to consider. Otherwise, this card offers excellent perks, such as no foreign transaction fees and no balance transfer fees.
Easy-to-get credit card for college students
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Why we like it: Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time — plus, foreign transaction fees? There are None.
What's not great about it: The 26.99% (Variable) APR is very high. You don't want to catch yourself carrying a balance with this card, or else your interest charges could be through the roof.
The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is available to students with limited credit histories. It comes equipped with some decent rewards, making it a good starter credit card. Students who pay their bills on time receive 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time, incentivizing you to make your monthly payments.
The "journey" part of this card's name is quite appropriate since it doesn't come with any foreign transaction fees. Some credit cards, including those designed for students, charge a 3% fee for purchases outside of the United States. However, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One does away with this charge, so you can use it on your vacation or when studying abroad.
Easy-to-get credit credit card for international students
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
- Receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after your first purchase with your new Deserve EDU Mastercard (Lifetime Value of $59).
- Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you'll automatically start earning cash back on all purchases.
- Feel secure with cell phone protection up to $600.
- No deposit required. No annual fees.
- No international transaction fees on purchases abroad so you can travel with confidence.
- No Social Security Number required for international students to apply.
- Refer A Friend Program: Refer anyone to Deserve using your personal referral code. Upon approval, card activation and use, you'll receive $30 and so will your referral. Referral bonuses are unlimited!
- Manage and track your spending, set automatic payments and securely freeze your card all through one easy to use app.
- See if you prequalify with no impact to your credit score in minutes.
- Deserve Mastercards are issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC.
- Enjoy Mastercard Platinum Benefits intended to make your life easier like Mastercard ID Theft Prevention™ and Master Rental®.
Why we like it: You don't need a Social Security number to sign up for this card. The rewards are student-centric, such as complimentary Amazon Prime Student membership for one year.
What's not great about it: Only eligible for current students.
The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students is great for individuals who only have an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) and no Social Security number. The card has $0 annual fee and offers a suite of benefits for students, including an Amazon Prime Student membership for one year, cell phone protection up to $600 and a collision damage waiver. You can also use this card abroad as there are None foreign transaction fees.
This card earns rewards in the form of 1% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases. With a relatively low 18.74% Variable APR, this could be an excellent card for international students looking to build their credit.
Easiest airline credit card to get
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
Why we like it: It's one of the only airline cards that's a secured credit card. It offers bonus miles, which can be redeemed on Korean Air and SkyTeam partners.
What's not great about it: There's an annual fee of $50 and you're limited to certain airlines.
While the vast majority of airline credit cards are unsecured, the Korean Air SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card is one exception that could be easy to attain. Although this card is specific to Korean Air, you can redeem the SKYPASS miles you earn for flights on SkyTeam alliance partners like Delta Air Lines and Air France.
This card comes with a sign-up bonus of 5,000 miles after your first purchase. Upon card renewal, earn an additional 1,000 miles each year. While this isn't necessarily a large sign-up bonus, it could help you redeem your way to your next flight. Additionally, SKYPASS miles are some of the most challenging airline miles to earn and have many valuable redemption possibilities. The card's rewards rate is standard, as you'll earn 1X miles for every $1 you spend.
To determine your credit limit, you'll need to make a security deposit ranging from $300 to $5,000. While there is an annual fee of $50 with the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card, you'll enjoy travel benefits such as car rental insurance, as well as the ability to work towards elite status through Korean Air's Morning Club.
Easy-to-get business credit card
Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
Why we like it: Designed for those with fair credit to earn unlimited 1% Cash Back on every purchase on business expenses.
What's not great about it: Extremely high APR 26.99% (Variable), so you'll want to avoid mismanaging your finances.
If you're a small business owner or are self-employed, you'll want a business credit card to separate your personal expenses and earn rewards at the same time. However, qualifying for a business card can be difficult for many reasons — especially if you have a lower credit score.
Thankfully, the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business has more lax requirements and is catered to those who have fair credit. In addition to the card's $0 annual fee, you'll enjoy an unlimited 1% Cash Back on every purchase. While this is a mediocre rewards rate, many easy-to-get credit cards don't offer any rewards at all. Depending on how many business expenses you have, the cash back you earn could quickly add up and help you offset your purchases. The APR is extremely high at 26.99% (Variable) — but if you use the card wisely, you could strengthen your credit score while earning cash back at the same time.
What are the credit score ranges?
Based on the FICO model, here's what your credit score means:
- Under 580: Poor credit
- 580-669: Fair credit
- 670-739: Good credit
- 740-799: Very good credit
- 800 and above: Excellent credit
Since it takes both time and effort to raise your credit score, starting with any of the options listed in this guide could help you build your score to the ideal range.
What is a secured credit card?
A secured credit card could be an excellent option for beginners. As the name suggests, a secured credit card differs from a traditional credit card because it requires the cardholder to first put down a security deposit to open the account. For those who have poor credit — or perhaps no credit at all — this security deposit acts as a safety net if you can't pay off your balance.
In most cases, your security deposit will be the equivalent of your credit line. For example, by putting a $500 deposit down, you'll be awarded a $500 line of credit. Then, you can use your new card like any standard credit card, borrowing up to your credit limit and paying at least the minimum due each month. Upon closing your account, the lender returns your entire security deposit if you don't owe any remaining balances. Some cards will even return the security deposit for those who make 100% on-time payments for a certain time period, often between eight and 12 months.
While each secured credit card will have their nuances, these cards can help you build (or rebuild) your credit from the ground up. Meanwhile, unsecured credit cards don't require any deposit before applying, but they can be harder to qualify for if you lack credit history. The terms on unsecured cards may also be poor for users with low credit scores, including expensive monthly maintenance fees and annual fees.
Tips for getting approved for a credit card
Whether this is your first credit card or your fifth, the following tips can help boost your odds of approval.
Apply for a secured credit card
As mentioned above, a secured credit card is a safer bet for those who aren't confident about qualifying for an unsecured card. Providing a security deposit will show lenders that you're liable for any potential missed payments, and there's minimal risk attached. To learn more, visit our guide for top secured credit cards.
Be wary of instant approval credit cards
When searching for the easiest credit cards to get, you may come across instant approval and guaranteed approval credit cards. Here are two things you should know about these types of cards:
- Instant approval is a bit of a misnomer. Instant approval credit cards don't mean you will be instantly approved for them — they will simply give users a quick response about whether or not they are qualified (usually within 60 seconds). This, however, does not guarantee approval. These cards aren't always easy to get, either: Some cards marketed as "instant approval" only accept consumers with excellent FICO scores.
- "Guaranteed approval" cards are often the domain of predatory lenders. Individuals seeking easy-approval credit cards are typically credit-challenged, meaning they have low or nonexistent credit scores or don't have access to established banking institutions. In recent years, predatory lenders have targeted this segment of the population, as they tend to be the most vulnerable and desperate for credit. These kinds of companies will typically charge high interest rates and fees that are well above market average. If you are shopping for a credit card in this space, you should be aware of your basic rights and protections.
Take advantage of preapproval tools
If the credit card you're interested in offers a preapproval tool, be sure to take advantage of it. In a matter of a few minutes, you'll know whether or not you're likely to qualify for a particular card — all without affecting your credit score in the process. Keep in mind, though, that a preapproval does not necessarily guarantee approval for your card application.
While credit cards can have enticing offers, if you're just starting out or rebuilding your credit, chances are you won't qualify. To avoid submitting application after application and eventually hurting your credit score, you'll want to find a credit card that matches your needs the best. Once you spend some time building your credit and making on-time payments, you'll be able to qualify for bigger and better rewards-earning cards — but, first, start with the cards that are easiest to get.
The information related to Discover it® Secured Credit Card, Journey Student Rewards from Capital One, Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students, SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card and Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.