Best Student Credit Cards

Top Credit Building Solutions and Credit Cards

Top Credit Building Solutions and Credit Cards

Top Credit Building Solutions

New Offer

The Upgrade Card

The Flexibility of a Credit Card with The Low-Cost Predictability of a Personal Loan

  • No Annual Fee
  • Credit Limits from $500 to $50,000
  • Great for Larger Purchases
  • Automatic Credit Reporting
  • Contactless Payment Technology
New offer: The Upgrade Card combines the flexibility and convenience of a credit card with the low-cost predictability of a personal loan. This card is ideal for individuals with fair, good, or excellent credit. The Upgrade Card is also perfect for making larger purchases that you may need to time to pay off. A Visa Signature credit card, you can use the Upgrade Card wherever Visa is accepted. The Upgrade Card features lower costs compared to traditional credit cards and credit lines ranging from $500 to $50,000. Click here to see terms, conditions, rates, and fees.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

6.99% to 29.99%

Annual Fee

$0 No Annual Fee

Featured Credit Cards

  • Unsecured Credit Card
  • Opportunity to Access Additional Credit
  • Automatic Credit Reporting

The Applied Bank® Unsecured Classic Visa® Card is “designed for you to build credit.” Unlike many other credit building solutions, this credit card is unsecured. With the Applied Bank Unsecured Class Visa Card, cardholders do not need to be secured with a deposit account like a checking account. This card is ideal for individuals with limited or bad credit. Approved cardholders receive benefits like automatic credit reporting to the three major credit reporting bureaus and the opportunity to access additional credit. See full terms, rates, and fees here.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

29.99% Fixed Rate

Annual Fee

$75 the first year, $45 annually after the first year

  • Secured Credit Card
  • Low Annual Fee
  • Automatic Credit Reporting
  • The College Points' #1 Secured Credit Card

The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card is a fantastic secured credit. With a low minimum security deposit (just $200) and a low annual fee, this card is ranked as the top secured credit by The College Points. This card is ideal for individuals with limited credit history or bad to fair credit. Maintain a security deposit of $200 to use your card. See full terms, fees, rates, and product details.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

19.99% Variable Rate, 24.99% Variable Rate for Cash Advances

Annual Fee

$29 Annual Fee

  • Secured Credit Card
  • $0 Fraud Liability
  • Automatic Credit Reporting

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank is a well-rounded secured credit card. Ideal for individuals with limited, poor, or fair credit, this card reports to all 3 major credit bureaus. You’ll also receive your FICO® score each month at no additional charge. Credit lines range from $200 to $2,000 depending on your desired security deposit. Additionally, you’ll also have the opportunity to receive an increased line of credit after 9 months of having your card. See full terms, fees, rates, and product details.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

17.45% Variable Rate, 22.45% Variable Rate for Cash Advances

Annual Fee

$36 Annual Fee

  • Unsecured Credit Card
  • Opportunity to Access Additional Credit
  • Automatic Credit Reporting

The Reflex Mastercard® is an unsecured credit card for individuals with less than stellar or limited credit. Credit limits range from $300 to $750 with the potential to receive a credit limit increase after making your first six required minimum payments on time. The Reflex Mastercard comes with $0 fraud liability and automatic credit reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus. See rates, fees, and terms here.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Variable Rates from 25.90% to 29.99%

Annual Fee

Variable Annual Fee from $75 to $99

Credit Cards for Poor or Limited Credit

Featured Unsecured Credit Cards

for limited and less than perfect credit

Surge Mastercard®

The Surge Mastercard is a credit card with $300, $500, and $750 credit limits. Optional security deposit to access $500 credit limit. Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion when you sign up for e-statements. Checking account required. 

First Digital Mastercard®

The First Digital Mastercard is a genuine full-service Mastercard credit card that’s accepted nationwide. Designed for US consumers who may have had credit issues in the past. Build up your credit history with a card that reports to all three major credit bureaus every month. Checking account required.

Merit Platinum Card

With the Merit Platinum Card, a credit check is not required. Members can receive an initial $500 credit limit. Applicants must be 21 years of age, a legal U.S. resident, and provide accurate identity and application information. Card reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.

Featured secured Credit Cards

ideal for building or repairing credit

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

No credit check is required when you apply for the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred Credit Card. Low 9.99% fixed APR that won’t increase even if you are late on payments. $200 minimum security deposit required.

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

No credit history required with the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard secured credit card. Credit line is secured with a fully-refundable deposit of $200 to $2,000. Apply in minutes with no negative impact to your credit score.

First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

The First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard secured credit card is a full-feature Platinum Mastercard. Applying for this card doesn’t impact your credit score. Additionally, this card reports to all 3 major credit bureaus. Fully-refundable deposit of $200 to $2,000 required.

Top Credit Building Solutions

Self (formerly Self Lender) allows you to open a credit builder account. Simply pay off your credit building account with payments starting at $25 per month. Once your account is paid off, you’ll be able to unlock your savings in the form of a CD. Learn more.

Experian Boost may be able to boost your credit score instantly. Additionally, you’ll unlock other features from Experian including your Experian credit score and FICO® credit score. Learn more.

Secured vs. Unsecured, What’s The Difference?

Secured Credit Cards

If you’ve been searching for credit cards with high approval odds despite a less than stellar credit score, you’ve likely come across several secured credit cards. While a secured credit card is used like any other credit card, there is one major difference between a secured and unsecured credit card. Secured credit cards are backed by a deposit, not credit history or income. However, secured credit cards may still require applicants to undergo a credit check and verify their income. Nevertheless, in the event a secured credit card requires the applicant to undergo a credit check or income verification, both factors carry less weight in determining whether or not to extend a line of credit to the applicant. As previously mentioned, this is because secured credit cards as backed by a security deposit.

When you apply for a secured credit card, you may be asked to select a desired line of credit amount. You may also be assigned a line of credit. In both scenarios, you will be required to back up your credit line with a security deposit. The amount required to secure your new line of credit will vary. Some secured credit cards require cardholders to secure their line of credit with a deposit amounting to just 10% of their credit line. Other cards may require a deposit of 50%, 100%, or 200% of the applicant’s desired line of credit.

what is a secured credit card

So, what exactly is this security deposit? When you apply for a secured credit card, you will likely be asked to link a bank account. Depending on the card and line of credit, a set amount is withdrawn from your linked bank account. That amount is then used to secure your line of credit. Secured credit cards are a fantastic way to repair or build your credit score. While traditional credit cards (unsecured credit cards) require applicants to undergo a credit check, secured cards allow applicants to bypass a credit check. Secured cards allow individuals with poor or limited credit to receive a credit card. Over time as you make payments, your payment history is reported to credit bureaus. Eventually, your score will begin to improve, allowing you to access additional lines of credit and other credit cards.

Unsecured Credit Cards

So, what’s an unsecured credit card? An unsecured credit card is essentially any traditional credit card. A traditional credit card requires applicants to undergo a credit check and verify their income. In most cases, the card issuer may not immediately require an approved cardholder to link a bank account. Unsecured credit cards back a cardholder’s line of credit using their credit score and income.

what is a traditional unsecured credit card

Traditional unsecured credit cards are often difficult to get if you have poor credit or limited credit history. This is due to the card issuer or bank not being able to guarantee that the applicant is low credit risk. However, there are still unsecured credit cards available to individuals with less than stellar credit or limited credit history. These cards often require an applicant to link their bank account during the application process. Unsecured credit cards for individuals with poor or limited credit typically come with a significantly lower credit limit and higher interest rates. Still, unsecured credit cards for poor credit are a great way to repair or build credit without having to provide a security deposit.

The decision to apply for a credit card or products should not be based solely on the content found on this website or others. The College Points may receive compensation for activity including but not limited to online purchases or completed applications through affiliate websites and partners.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, The College Points earns monetary compensation through select links and advertisements displayed on this site. The College Points may receive compensation for your purchase(s) or application(s) completed through these links and/or advertisements. Content containing affiliate links are noted in each post. The opinions and statements expressed on The College Points including all landing pages and blog posts are solely the views of the author and not that of any credit card issuer, bank, affiliate or other publication.