[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you have bad credit, you may think you’re automatically unqualified for credit cards that offer cash back or travel rewards. For many cards, that may be true.
But you’re not necessarily locked out of earning rewards completely. While most credit cards for people with poor credit don’t have many perks, gas cards, travel cards, and cash back cards for bad credit are available.
Here are our picks for the three best rewards credit cards for bad credit, focusing on the top perks for gas cards, travel cards, and cash back reward cards.
Best For: Gas credit card rewards for people with bad credit.
Rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations each quarter; 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches the cash back you earn in the first year. This is one of the best sign-up bonus credit card offers available—whether you have poor credit or not.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: This is one of the best secured credit cards for bad credit you can find—and one of the best gas credit cards you can get with bad credit. This secured card offers cash back on everything, with an extra incentive for dining and gas purchases.
Benefits: Secured credit cards are one of the safest and easiest ways to establish and improve your credit. With bonus cash back for the first year and no annual fee, this is one of the best credit cards for poor credit available. Discover’s secured card offers 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Drawbacks: You’ll need an up-front security deposit of at least $200 to access this card.
Credit Needed: Poor credit, bad credit, and no credit applicants accepted.
Best For: Consistent cash back rewards for poor credit.
Rewards: 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 to $99
APR: Variable 16.99% to 24.99% APR on purchases.
Why We Picked It: This unsecured card provides consistent 1% cash back on all eligible purchases and offers credit-building features for those with poor credit.
Benefits: Credit One Bank’s cash back cards earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, which vary based on which of its five cash back cards you qualify for. Eligible purchases may include gas, groceries, utility bills, and dining. The card also offers credit score tracking and pre-qualification, which many other cards for bad credit do not offer.
Drawbacks: Credit One isn’t transparent on how it determines which of its cash back cards you’ll receive, and there’s a highly variable annual fee.
Credit Needed: Applicants with poor credit are eligible, but this card is recommended for applicants with fair credit to help build their credit health.
3. AeroMexico Visa Secured Card
Best For: Airline miles and travel rewards for people with poor credit.
Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on gas and groceries; one mile for every dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 5,000 bonus miles with your first purchase.
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $25.
APR: Variable 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Frequent AeroMexico flyers can earn miles toward their flights, making this a great airline credit card for people with poor credit.
Benefits: This secured airline miles credit card earns two miles per dollar spent on gas and grocery purchases and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases. Points are redeemable for AeroMexico flights. New cardholders get a bonus of 5,000 miles and a round-trip flight for a companion. There’s also an annual companion certificate, and all flights get a complimentary checked bag.
Drawbacks: If you prefer another airline, you won’t get much mileage out of this travel card.
Credit Needed: Applicants with poor credit or no credit are eligible to apply for this secured credit card.
How Can Bad or Poor Credit Affect Credit Card Eligibility
Credit affects many aspects of your life—including the credit cards you can apply for. All credit cards have some sort of credit requirements that applicants must meet to be approved, which means many cards will not approve you if you have poor or bad credit. If your credit score is low, a secured card or other card specifically designed for bad credit can help you rebuild your credit.
How to Choose the Best Rewards Credit Card for Bad Credit
It may not seem like it, but there are many credit card companies for people with bad credit. Choosing a rewards card for bad credit depends on your financial circumstances. One of the most important reasons to get a card for poor credit is to rebuild your credit, so you’ll want to choose a card that can help you do that.
Pay attention to the fees and APR associated with any card you’re considering. While a security deposit for a secured card may seem like a steep up-front expense, it might be worth it if you can avoid higher fees later and improve your credit health.
Choose a card that rewards your spending habits and provides incentives for the types of purchases you tend to make. And make sure you’re avoiding these seven red flags as you’re deciding on a credit card for bad credit.
What Is Required to Get a Rewards Card with Bad Credit?
Many credit cards for bad credit are available to consumers with a checkered or nonexistent credit history, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to qualify. Before you apply, you should know your credit score so you can have a better idea of what cards are right for you. You can check your credit report for free with Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Discover it Secured and Credit One Bank Cash Back Rewards Visa credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.