If you can't get a credit card because you have bad credit, here are your options.

If you’re trying to rebuild your credit, then you’re probably aware of this Catch-22…

You need to open up a new credit card account to rebuild you payment history, but no one wants to offer you a new credit card when you have bad credit.

What you end up with are two types of credit cards designed for those with a troubled (or no) credit history.

First, you have your secured cards, which are available to just about anyone who doesn’t have a pending bankruptcy and can verify their identity. These cards require that you submit a refundable security deposit, which determines your credit limit. Otherwise, secured cards are used just like standard credit cards. Cardholders must make a monthly payment, and they can incur interest charges when they carry a balance.

Then, there are the so-called “sub-prime cards.” These aren’t secured cards, but they’re designed for people with credit problems. These cards typically have higher fees, higher interest rates, and fewer benefits.

Here are three of each kind to help you rebuild your credit…

Secured cards

1. Discover it Secured card — Offers you a chance to rebuild your credit as well as rewards. First, you make a minimum deposit of $200, which becomes your credit limit. Then you can use your card the same way that you would any other credit card. You also earn 2 percent cash back on up to $1,000 spent each quarter on gas and at restaurants, and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. The standard interest rate is 23.74 percent. No annual fee.

2. Capital One Secured MasterCard — Begin using your card after making an initial deposit of as little as $49. Benefits include access to Capital One’s Credit Tracker application, which not only shows you your credit score but can peer into the future with a “what-if” simulator. And since Capital One offers other non-secured cards, you’ll eventually be able to move to a standard credit card with Capital One after establishing a history of on-time payments. The standard purchase APR is 24.99 percent. No annual fee.

3. LANPASS Visa Secured Card from US Bank — This card has several things going for it, including frequent-flier miles and travel discounts. First, it has no annual fee for the first year, and a mere $25 a year after that. In addition, you receive 5,000 miles with the South American carrier LAN, as well as one additional mile per dollar spent. It also offers a single 10-percent discount each year on LAN ticket purchases up to $500. Requires a minimum deposit of $300.

Standard, non-secured credit cards

1. Capital One Platinum — This basic card is offered to applicants who have had credit problems in the past but don’t have poor credit. You can expect a modest credit line at first but may receive a higher line after making your first five monthly payments on time. While this card offers no rewards, it comes with benefits such as extended warranty coverage, auto rental insurance, and a price-protection policy. The standard interest rate is 24.99 percent. No annual fee.

2. BankAmericard Credit Card for Students — This student credit card is offered as a way for young adults to build credit history. You start off with 20,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. You also receive an introductory interest rate of zero-percent APR on purchases for 12 months, and subsequent rates of 15.74-23.74 percent, depending on your creditworthiness. Other benefits include monthly FICO credit score online or on your mobile app. No annual fee.

3. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card For College Students — Offers new applicants 2,500 ThankYou points after spending just $500 within the first three months of account opening. You also earn double points on all dining and entertainment purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. It offers zero-percent APR introductory financing on purchases for seven months, followed by an APR of 14.74-24.74 percent, based on your creditworthiness. No annual fee.

Meet the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele


Steele is a freelance writer for Debt.com and is an expert on credit cards.

Credit & Debt

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Article last modified on February 13, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The 6 Best Credit Cards That Help You Build Credit - AMP.