Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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If you’re just starting out and need credit, it can be frustrating when no one will give you credit.
How do you get started building a credit history? Or in the case of bad credit, begin rebuilding a positive credit history?
It’s a precarious situation, but there are actually plenty of choices that will help you easily get approved for a new credit card to start building credit, or earn a second chance to improve bad credit.
You may even find that you can qualify for a rewards-earning card!
In this article we’ll cover:
Let’s take a look at how to get started and review our choices for the easiest credit cards to get approved for. Note that the recommended credit scores listed below are solely provided by Upgraded Points and not credit recommendations from issuers.
If you don’t know your credit score, your first step on the path to good credit will be to determine your starting point and find out your credit score. You don’t have to pay to secure this information.
Once you’ve determined your score, you’ll know which credit cards you can consider and begin the improvement process if applicable.
Many credit card issuers offer pre-qualification or pre-approval options on their websites. This is an opportunity to input your information to see if the issuer has any credit offers available to you.
The best part of pre-qualification or pre-approval is that it does not affect your credit score since no hard inquiry is being done. There is no guarantee you will ultimately get approved, but it does increase your chances.
Find out more about this risk-free option for learning whether you have offers waiting in our guide to pre-qualified or pre-approved credit offers.
Want to find out if there are credit card offers waiting for you without having to complete and submit a formal credit card application? These offers can be accessed risk-free through the CardMatch online tool.
The CardMatch tool is easy to use and does not affect your credit score. Just input some minimal information and a list of any available offers will be displayed.
We’ve chosen some of these easy-approval credit cards since they strike a balance between the ability to earn rewards and the ease of qualifying for the card.
Others offer easy access and allow you to build or rebuild your credit history.
The Capital One Platinum card is great for those looking to build up their credit score and credit history, without paying a deposit or annual fee.
If you’re ready to get serious about building or rebuilding your credit, you’ll want a credit card for which approval is probable, one that has a simple structure and is easy to manage, and ideally, has some benefits you can use. This is where the Capital One Platinum Credit Card really shines.
While it is not a rewards-earning credit card, the Capital One Platinum serves the purpose of building or rebuilding credit and has a high chance of initial approval.
Unlimited 1.5% cash-back on all purchases while you work your way up to a higher credit line. Redeem rewards for any amount at any time.
If you’re looking to build your credit, and earn cash-back rewards while doing so, then the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a fantastic option. You can increase your credit line just paying your bill on time every month and you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash-back on all of your purchases.
No need to keep track of special spending categories here — the QuickSilverOne Cash Rewards card earns 1.5% cash-back on every purchase.
We also recommend The Indigo Mastercard as there’s no impact to your credit score and you can get instantly approved for the card.
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® can be a good option for people with no credit or bad credit, including students and people who have previously declared bankruptcy. Not only does it not require a credit check to get prequalified, but it also helps build (or rebuild) credit by making regular payments.
On the downside, it does have a lower credit limit, may charge an annual fee based on your creditworthiness, and has a high APR that can mean big fees if you miss a payment. This article will look into some of the reasons why the Indigo Platinum card can be a good card for you and also discusses some alternative options.
When it comes to selecting a business credit card with easy access, the additional ability to earn rewards is a big positive.
While most business credit cards require excellent credit to be approved, card issuer Capital One provides access for those with a fair credit score level or better.
|Credit Card||Benefits & Info|
|Capital One Spark Classic for Business|
Recommended Credit Score: 580+
|Capital One Spark Cash Select|
Recommended Credit Score: 670+
|Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business|
Recommended Credit Score: 670+
Don’t let an annual fee keep you from selecting a particular credit card either — the increased earnings may far offset the cost of an annual fee.
For example, if your business spends $50,000 a year, your net earnings would be $905 on the Spark Cash Card (2% cash-back minus the $95 annual fee).
Spending $50,000 on the Spark Cash Select Card with no annual fee would result in $750 cash-back.
Hot Tip: When looking for a credit card that is easy to qualify for, you’ll find Capital One at the top of the list of issuers offering accessible options with reward-earning potential. Plus, Capital One allows you to see if you’re pre-qualified for their credit cards.
Student credit cards can be easily secured with little or no credit history, making these cards easy to get approved for.
Another option for easy credit card approval is a secured credit card, which will allow you to be approved with no credit history or even bad credit.
Secured credit cards do require a security deposit and generally come with lower credit limits.
Because these secured credit cards report to all 3 credit bureaus, you will be building a positive credit history when you manage your card well.
Hot Tip: Secured credit cards can be an excellent alternative for building or rebuilding credit, but there’s more you need to know. Our complete guide to secured credit cards offers tips on what you should look for, how to apply, and our recommendations for the best secured cards.
Store-branded credit cards are designed to reward the loyalty of frequent retail customers, encourage additional purchases, and of course, generate interest income for the card issuer.
Perhaps you’ve been approached when checking out at your favorite retail store with a comment such as, “Want to save 10% on today’s purchase?”
Or you may be offered a store-branded credit card during checkout when making a purchase online.
Characteristics of store-branded credit cards can include:
Check out our guides to store-branded credit cards and learn more about these easy-approval credit cards. Our Comenity Bank store credit card guide and Synchrony Bank store credit card guide tell you everything you need to know.
For ease of access to credit and a sure way to affect your credit history positively, you can’t beat establishing an account with Self.
Self, formerly Self Lender, is essentially a secured loan that doesn’t require a hard pull on your credit or any credit history.
Here’s how it works.
The loan does charge interest, but there is no security deposit required and no hard inquiry on your credit report.
Let’s look into the near future when you’ve managed your entry-level credit card well, improved your credit score, and are ready for a premium rewards-earning credit card.
These credit cards require a good to excellent credit score.
Our favorite choice for a first-time travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 2X valuable and transferable Ultimate Rewards Points on travel and dining purchases.
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
When it comes time to use your points for travel, you’ll enjoy 25% more value booking via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
The card functions well as a travel rewards card too, earning big on airline tickets and at AmexTravel.com.
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Check out our recommendations for the best first-time credit cards for earning rewards and cash-back.
Having bad credit affects your life in so many ways. Here are some examples of what you can expect with bad credit:
Good credit changes your life in a positive way.
Not only are you able to do all the important things we just mentioned, but you’ll also have the additional ability to qualify for credit cards that earn valuable rewards.
I get it: sometimes things happen that are out of your control and your credit is affected. Or perhaps you just made a few mistakes; many of us have been there. The important thing to know is that there is a path back to good credit.
And if you’re just starting out, there’s also a path to securing new credit that is totally in your control.
There are 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Credit card issuers use 1 or more of these reporting agencies to access your credit score/history and determine if granting credit to you is warranted.
While definitions and calculations vary, credit scores generally range from 300-850.
Experian defines poor (bad) credit as a credit score between 300-579 and a fair credit score as 580-669.
Equifax considers a credit score of 700-749 as good and 750+ as excellent.
Knowing the credit score range you’re in is a critical first step in the process of securing a credit card.
If you want to have your own place to live, a vehicle to drive, a cell phone, and be able to afford insurance, you’re going to need good credit! Here’s where to start:
Regardless which credit card you secure, follow these tips for managing it well:
There’s always a path to securing new credit or rebuilding your past bad credit history, and it starts by knowing where you currently stand.
Once you’ve discovered your credit score, reviewed your credit report, and selected a credit card that is easy to get approved for, your journey begins.
It’s not easy to improve your credit — you’ll have to manage your new credit well — but the rewards for doing so are life-changing!
The information regarding the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Spark Classic for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
The card you can easily get approved for will depend on your credit score. With poor credit, you may have to start with a secured credit card that requires a security deposit.
With fair credit or better, you may qualify for a store-branded credit card.
With no credit history, you may also qualify for a store-branded credit card or begin with a loan from Self.
If you personally access your credit report, it does not affect your credit score. Plus, it is a good practice to do so.
You’ll want to check to make sure everything that is on your report is accurate and that there are no errors.
Using any of the risk-free pre-qualification tools or the CardMatch tool also does not affect your credit score.
If a lender or credit card issuer accesses your credit report as a result of an application you submitted, there is an effect on your credit score (but it is usually temporary).
Several of these application “hard” credit inquiries can also negatively affect your credit score.
If you have no credit or bad credit, the secured credit card issuer is granting credit to someone who has not proven they can manage credit or has not managed credit well.
Over time, once you have proven that you can manage your credit, you may qualify for an unsecured card or even a rewards-earning credit card.
Some secured card issuers refund your security deposit after a period of on-time payments. Others refund your security deposit when the card is closed.
A store-branded credit card is one of the easiest to get approved for. You may be asked when checking out at your favorite local retail store or look for an application brochure near the cash register.
You can also go online to the store’s website and attempt a purchase; you may receive an offer during checkout.
You will also find the credit card application and card details on the retailer’s website.
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