Credit Cards for Bad Credit with No Annual Fee

September 5, 2013, Written By Natalie Rutledge
Credit Cards for Bad Credit with No Annual Fee

Finding a credit card with bad credit can be a bit of a challenge. A number of credit card issuers don’t want to take on the risk of this kind of account because low credit scores indicate a certain amount of financial irresponsibility. Fortunately, there are plenty of credit cards for bad credit on the market that report to credit bureaus. These cards give you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score if you use them prudently.

We will look at credit cards for bad credit with no annual fee. One of the options listed here may be just what you have been looking for.

Which Credit Cards for Bad Credit Have No Annual Fees?

A significant number of credit cards for bad credit have no annual fees, at least those that come from well-known banks. You will also find cards that have very high interest rates and annual fees. You want to avoid those if at all possible. Here is a look at some of the opportunities available to you:

  • Capital One Secured MasterCard – This is a secured credit card, meaning that you load the money to act as your credit card balance. You still have to pay it back like a normal card, but when you cancel your account, you get it all back (minus outstanding balances). The card has no annual fee and reports payments every month to the credit bureaus.
  • Horizon Gold Credit Card – This card has a guaranteed $500 limit, and it does not require you to make any kind of deposit. The catch is that you can only use that $500 through the Horizon Gold store online. You will still be able to build credit through a card like this, but you won’t be able to make any purchase you want. If all you’re looking for is a score booster, this is an option.
  • 1st Platinum Plus Credit Card – This is a lot like the Horizon Gold card, but it offers up to $3,500 in a credit limit. You can only spend the money on the 1st Platinum Plus website, but you don’t have to pay an annual fee. There are no credit turndowns, so anyone can qualify. It’s another decent option if you just want to improve your score.

If you can get around the idea of an annual fee, you may also want to explore the Credit One Platinum Visa. It will give you a chance to build credit, and it automatically tracks improvements on your credit score. In addition, you will receive 1% cash back on certain purchases. The problem is you have to pay $75 for the first year and $99 a year thereafter. The annual fee is split into monthly payments, but it’s still something you have to think about. It is an option for bad credit.

Prepaid Debit Cards

If you’re not looking for a credit card specifically, you may want to explore your prepaid card options. These will not improve your credit score, but they will give you a place to store your money so you don’t have to carry cash. There are no credit requirements for prepaid cards because you are the one who puts up the balance for them. Then you can spend whatever money you load. Here are some prepaid cards to think about:

  • ACE Elite Debit – This card has relatively few fees, no APR, no over the limit fee and no cash advance fee. The card even has different card designs to choose from, one of which has a breast cancer awareness theme.
  • Prepaid Visa KLS Rushcard – This card is backed by the FDIC, which means your funds are federally protected. It has no annual fee, no cash advance fee, no balance transfer fee, and you can get government benefits two days early if you set up a direct deposit with this card.
  • READYdebit Platinum Visa Prepaid Card – This card is also backed by the FDIC, and it is reloadable at over 50,000 locations nationwide. It offers direct depositing with few fees.
  • AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card – This card offers free direct deposit and free online bill pay. One drawback is that you will have a $2.50 fee per ATM withdrawal.
  • Vision Premier Visa Prepaid Card – This isn’t the cheapest prepaid card on the list, but it has no annual fee or over the limit fee. However, you will need to cover a $9.95 activation fee, plus a monthly fee between $7.95 (direct deposit) and $9.95 (no direct deposit).

Other Fees to Keep in Mind

Finding credit cards for bad credit with no annual fee is easy. The hard part is finding the card that offers the least number of fees for your personal use. When you start looking through your card options, consider what you’ll spend on interest rates, transaction fees, monthly fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, cancellation fees and activation fees. All of these will be listed in your terms of agreement. Read over them carefully before signing up for a card, and you will be able to make the right choice.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 5, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at
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