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Credit Cards

Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Updated August 28, 2018

Unsecured cards are the most popular type of credit cards available — they are simply regular credit cards. The term “unsecured” means that you don’t need to deposit money or use any other collateral in order to receive a line of credit — credit card issuers extend credit based on your credit history and various other factors.

That’s why, if you have bad credit, it can be difficult to qualify for most good credit card deals. Poor credit is considered at or below a 579 credit score, and it signals to lenders that you’re a high-risk borrower.

Poor credit doesn’t make it impossible to access credit cards, however, but the key is to use credit responsibly so your credit score will improve and you’ll have a chance at qualifying for better deals.

We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the best options for people with bad credit.

Our top picks

Unsecured card: Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

APPLY NOW Secured

on Credit One Bank’s secure website

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

Regular Purchase APR
19.99% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0-$99
Rewards Rate
1% cash back on purchases for qualified applicants, terms apply

Credit One is hardly the best credit card out there, with a host of potential fees that make it expensive to carry. On the plus side, however, it is accessible to those with poor credit. It offers several cards that carry the potential for 1% cash back on purchases for qualified applicants, terms apply. People with bad credit will find it hard to qualify for credit cards and harder to qualify for cards with rewards. Therefore, the cashback feature is a good perk of Credit One cards. But remember — not everyone will qualify for a cashback card.

Terms

  • Regular purchase APR: 19.99% - 25.99% Variable
  • Cash advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Annual membership fee: $0-$99
    Depending on your account, the annual membership fee will be divided into 12 equal portions and billed monthly or it will be billed yearly for the second and each following year your account is open
  • Authorized user participation fee: $19 annually (if applicable)
  • Cash advance fee: Either $5 or 8% of the amount of each Cash Advance, whichever is greater, or $10 or 3% of each Cash Advance, whichever is greater.
  • Late payment fee: Up to $38
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $38

What to watch out for

The annual fee will hit your account right away — eating into your total available limit. The fine print of the terms and conditions explains:

NOTICE: If your Account has an Annual Membership Fee, it will be billed to your Account when it is opened and will reduce the amount of your initial available credit. For example, if your Account is established with a credit line of $300 and your First year Annual Membership Fee is $75, your initial available credit will be $225.

This is key to realize if you are charged an annual membership fee. You can quickly see your credit limit decrease when opening your account;especially if you are charged the highest annual fee.

Another term to be aware of is the authorized user participation fee at $19 annually. Most personal credit cards do not charge a fee for authorized users so this is an added fee Credit One charges if you decide to add an authorized user.

Secured card: Discover it®Secured

Discover it® Secured

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Secured

Regular APR
25.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
Minimum Deposit
$200
Credit required
bad-credit
Poor/New to Credit

The Discover it®Secured is our top pick for secured cards for numerous reasons — from the automatic monthly account reviews starting at 8 months to the cashback program, this card provides exceptional benefits for cardholders.

Pros:

  • Automatic monthly account reviews: Starting at 8 months, Discover will review your account to see if you qualify for receiving your security deposit back. If you have responsible credit management across all your credit products, you may be graduated to an unsecured card and recieve your security deposit back.
  • Cashback program: This card has a unique feature that’s uncharacteristic of secured cards — a cashback program where you can earn 2% cashback at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cashback on all your other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score: You receive your free FICO® Credit Score with Discover Credit Scorecard as well as other credit information, like recent inquiries and revolving utilization. This is a great way to track your credit progress and checking your score doesn’t affect hurt your credit.

Cons:

  • High APR: Most secured cards have high APRs, and this one does, too. But, if you pay your balance in full each month, you won’t be charged interest.

Read our review of the Discover it®Secured. 

The risks of unsecured cards for bad credit

The majority of unsecured cards that accept people with bad credit have numerous fees that can have you questioning if the card is really helping you.

Here are several drawbacks you may see with unsecured cards for bad credit:

  • High APRs: Typical cards have APR ranges that max out around 25%, but unsecured cards for bad credit can have APRs near 30%. Also, since you have bad credit, you most often will receive the highest APR listed in the terms and conditions.
  • Annual fee: Many credit cards in general have annual fees, but this can often be outweighed by the added benefits provided. However, unsecured cards for bad credit often lack the added benefits that cards for good credit offer.
  • Processing fee: Unsecured cards for bad credit often charge a processing fee that serves to open your account and lets you access your credit. This is something you won’t find with unsecured cards from major banks and credit card issuers.
  • Monthly service fee: This fee is characteristic of some unsecured cards and is another cost you have to keep in mind before applying since it can effectively lower your line of credit.

Credit card options when you have bad credit

Store credit cards

Odds are you’ve been asked to apply for a credit card while checking out at a store or online. The card offers often entices you with a rewards program or discount on your current purchase, and gets you thinking if you should apply. The card that you’re being offered is a store credit card and these cards can only be used at the issuing store. Since they are more likely to approve you compared with regular credit cards, they may seem like an easy way to establish credit, but there are some pitfalls to keep in mind.

Pros:

  • Good approval odds: Store cards are more likely to extend you credit than regular credit cards.
  • Rewards and discounts: Store cards often give you rewards for each purchase you make and send you card member discounts. This can be a great way to save money at stores where you frequently shop.

Cons:

  • Limited use: You most likely can only use your card in the issuing store. For example, a Target REDcardTM Credit Card can only be used for Target purchases.
  • High interest rates: Store cards tend to have higher interest rates than regular cards, so make sure you pay your statements in full and on time to avoid interest charges.

Store card options

Walmart Credit Card®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Walmart’s secure website

Walmart Credit Card®

Regular Purchase APR
24.65% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Save 3% on Walmart.com purchases including Grocery Pickup, 2% on Murphy USA & Walmart gas, and 1% at Walmart & anywhere your card is accepted.

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Target’s secure website

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
24.65% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% at Target & Target.com

Lowe’s Advantage Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lowe’s secure website

Lowe’s Advantage Card

Regular Purchase APR
26.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Get 5% off your eligible purchase or order charged to your Lowe’s Advantage Card.

Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Home Depot’s secure website

Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99%-26.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0

Secured credit cards

A secured credit card requires you to deposit money upfront, which acts as collateral in case your account defaults. The amount you deposit typically becomes your line of credit. For example, if you put down a $200 security deposit, that means you likely have a $200 credit limit;deposit more and your credit limit will increase. Typical security deposits are $200, but you can be asked to deposit more or less depending on the card.

Pros:

  • Less chance of overspending: Since your credit limit is equal to the amount you deposit, it’s unlikely you will have a high credit limit. This can prevent you from charging large amounts and falling into debt.
  • Great way to build or improve: Secured cards are our favorite way to build or improve credit since you are more likely to be approved for a secured card with bad credit, and you can see your score rise with proper credit behavior and spending as little at $10 a month.

Cons:

  • Security deposit required: You may not have the money available for the required security deposit, therefore possibly ruling out your chances of a secured card.
  • Low credit limit: Your line of credit is equal to your security deposit and most people don’t have the money available to deposit hundreds or thousands of dollars, making your available line of credit lower than unsecured cards.

Secured card options

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Regular Purchase APR
26.99% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$49, $99, or $200

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good option for people who may not be able to afford a $200 security deposit since they also offer a $49 or $99 deposit — but take caution that you don’t choose your deposit, Capital One® does. So you may not receive the lower deposit.

Pros:

  • Potentially low security deposit: You may qualify for a $49 or $99 deposit instead of the $200 deposit depending on your creditworthiness. If you qualify for one of the lower deposits, you will still receive a $200 line of credit.
  • Access to a higher credit line: When you make your first 5 monthly payments on time, you receive a higher credit line.
  • Account reviews: Capital One® reviews your account to see if you can be transitioned to an unsecured card and receive your deposit back. However, there is no set time frame for when your account will be reviewed.

Cons:

  • High APR: Similar to other secured cards, this card has a high APR that can be an issue if you carry a balance. A good rule of thumb is to pay each bill in full and on time to avoid interest charges.

Read our review of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

Credit builder loans

A credit builder loan is when a lender (typically a credit union) puts funds into a savings account or CD and a borrower makes monthly payments until the amount is paid off. Typically, the borrower cannot access the funds until the balance is paid in full. Your savings act as collateral for the lender, so if you don’t make payments they know they won’t lose money.

The monthly payments you make include interest fees and often occur over a 12-, 18- or 24-month term. Credit builder loans can be a good way for you to improve your credit score and act as a forced savings since you can’t withdraw funds until you repay the amount you borrowed.

Pros:

  • Report to the credit bureaus: Credit builder loans report to the major credit bureaus, allowing you to rebuild or establish credit history — as long as you follow the terms of your loan and make timely payments.
  • Source of savings: Since the funds are placed in a savings account or CD, you have a forced savings that is accessible at the end of the loan term.

Cons:

  • Funds are locked: You can’t withdraw money borrowed until your loan is paid off. So if you need money upfront, a credit builder loan isn’t a good option.

Options

Self Lender

Credit builder loans at Self Lender offer 12 or 24 month loans where you pay back a loan from $525 to $1,700. Funds are deposited into a CD that’s FDIC-insured and earns interest. However, you cannot access the funds until the loan is paid off. There is a $12 or $15 nonrefundable administration fee that you pay when you open your account. After that, you pay equal monthly payments for the term of your account (these payments include interest charges). Once you pay off the amount borrowed, you can access your funds plus interest earned.

Republic Bank

At Republic Bank, you can take out a credit builder loan for 12, 18 or 24 months with loan amounts of $500, $1,000 or $1,500. Your funds are placed in a CD that earns interest and is only accessible once the loan is paid. There is a $10 processing fee when you open your account. When you complete your monthly payments (which include interest), you can either withdraw your funds or leave them in a CD.

Unsecured credit card options for bad credit

An unsecured credit card is simply a regular credit card. Unlike secured cards, there is no minimum security deposit required to access a line of credit. These cards often provide higher credit limits than secured cards and can help you build credit when used responsibly.

Pros:

  • You won’t need to make a deposit to access your line of credit.
  • Unsecured cards typically have higher credit limits than secured cards. And, the two cards mentioned below both have credit limits starting at $300.

Cons:

  • Many secured cards for bad credit come with annual fees, so you’ll have to make sure the fee is worth it. If the unsecured card has an annual fee but no rewards, look for alternatives.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$39
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
26.96% (Variable)
Credit required
bad-credit
Average/Fair/Limited

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good unsecured card for those looking to earn cash back while building credit — just watch out for the $39 annual fee.

Pros:

  • You can earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. This is a decent rate considering this is a card for those with average/fair/limited credit.
  • When you make your first five monthly payments on time, you receive a higher credit line.

Cons:

  • This card comes with a $39 annual fee. Annual fees are common for cards aimed at people with poor credit, but you can find cards without annual fees like the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card mentioned below. With this card, if you spend $2,600 a year, you’ll earn enough cash back to recoup the fee.
  • This card comes with a high APR that can be an issue if you carry a balance. Try to always pay on time and in full so you don’t incur interest charges.

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Non-rewards Card
Regular Purchase APR
26.96% (Variable)
Credit required
bad-credit
Average/Fair/Limited

The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is a decent option if you want a no-frills, unsecured credit card that can allow you to build credit without the distraction of rewards.

Pros:

  • When you make your first five monthly payments on time, you receive a higher credit line.
  • This card is no-frills, but that may be the best option for you if you think you may be tempted to overspend with a rewards card. You can use this card to build credit and work toward a higher credit score.

Cons:

  • Similar to most cards for less-than-stellar credit, there is a high APR. However, if you pay your balance on time and in full each month, this won’t be an issue.

Total VISA® Credit Card

Total Visa® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TOTAL’s secure website

Total Visa® Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
29.99%
Annual fee
$75 for first year, then $48 annually

The Total Visa® Credit Card is also accessible to those with poor credit, but it comes at a steep price —  a long list of fees. Apply with caution.

Terms

  • Regular purchase APR: 29.99%
  • Cash advance APR: 29.99%
  • Processing fee: $89 (one-time fee)
  • Annual Fee: $75 for first year, then $48 annually
  • Monthly servicing fee: None for first year (introductory). After that, $75 annually ($6.25 per month).
  • Additional card fee: $29 annually (if applicable)
  • Cash advance fee: None for first year (introductory). After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Late payment fee: Up to $38
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $38

What to watch out for

The Total VISA® Credit Card has numerous fees that make this card quite expensive to use, and many fees are not typical of mainstream credit cards. The APR is one of the highest on the market at 29.99%, and typical credit cards have APRs that max out around 25%.

The $89 processing fee is something you won’t see with most credit cards and is a large amount to incur upon approval for the card.

Similar to Credit One, the annual fee for the Total VISA® Credit Card is deducted from your initial credit line, lowering your available credit until the fee is paid off:

Notice: The Annual Fee will be assessed before you begin using your card and will reduce the amount of credit you initially have available. Based on your initial credit limit of $300.00, your initial available credit will only be $225.00 (only $196.00 if you choose to have an additional card).

There is a monthly servicing fee of $75 annually ($6.25 per month) associated with this card that is quite steep and characteristic of cards for bad credit. Also, if you take out additional cards, you will be charged $29 annually. Considering the processing fee, annual fee and monthly service fees, you’re looking at a jaw-dropping amount of fees with this card. In the first year, if you’re only considering the processing and annual fee, you would be charged $164 and subsequent years would incur $123 in fees from the annual fee and monthly servicing fees.

On the plus side, one fee it doesn’t have is a credit limit increase fee. This is a fee some cards for people with bad credit charge when your credit limit increases, but the Total VISA® Credit Card does not charge this fee. So, going from a credit limit of $400 to $500 will not incur a fee.

Learn more

How to build credit

As someone with bad credit, it’s important to practice responsible credit behavior and follow several rules so you can improve your credit.

  1. Pay your bills on time: When you receive a bill, pay it as soon as possible and always before the due date. By paying on time, you won’t be charged a late payment fee and the lender won’t have to report your bad credit behavior to the credit bureaus. Use autopay features or set calendar alerts so you don’t forget.
  2. Pay your statement balance in full every month: Don’t carry a balance on your card because you’ll be charged interest on any overdue amounts and can fall into debt.
  3. Don’t max out your card: If you receive a $500 credit limit, don’t spend the full amount each month because that shows lenders you’re a risky client and negatively impacts your credit score. The amount of your available credit you use is known as utilization and the goal is to have a 20% or lower utilization rate — so spend $100 on a card with a $500 credit limit.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, Credit Cards

Longest 0% Purchase Credit Card Offers From Banks &Credit Unions –January 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

0% purchase credit card
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If you’re about to make a big purchase that you need time to pay off, using a 0% introductory purchase offer on a credit card could be the cheapest way to spread the payment out over time.

  • You can currently find 0% deals for as long as 20 months with no fees, but since rates after the intro period are high, only use these deals if you’re sure you can handle paying off the debt before the period is up.
  • When searching for 0% purchase cards, make sure you select a card that waives interest. Far too many cards, especially those offered by retailers only defer the interest which means you can get get a nasty surprise when the intro period is up.

Below we list the longest 0% purchase credit cards broken up by length of 0% intro period from our database of over 3,000 credit card products from banks and credit unions:

20 Months 0% Intro APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

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on US Bank’s secure website


The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a long 0% introductory APR for the first 18 billing cycles for purchases and an 0% introductory APR for the first 18 billing cycles for balances transferred within 60 days from account opening (after, 14.74% to 25.74% Variable APR). However, this card offers few other benefits. There is no rewards program, but there is cellphone protection that can reimburse you for damage or theft up to $600 (with a $25 deductible), for up to two claims ($1,200) per 12-month period when you pay your cellphone bill with your card.

18 Months 0% Intro APR

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


The 0% introductory APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers for the TruWest Visa® Signature Card is one of the highest for a credit union. It also has a very low ongoing APR of 10.15%-11.15% Variable after the intro period ends. This card is restricted to people who live, work, own a business or go to school in select Arizona and Texas communities or who work for select employers. You can read more about membership eligibility on TruWest’s website. You can earn 1 point per dollar spent, and up to 10 extra points per dollar spent by taking advantage of bonus point offers with the Get Extra Points Rewards Program. You can also earn up to 1.5% cash back with the trurewards program.

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


Another card from TruWest that offers a long intro period is the TruWest Visa Platinum Card, with 0% introductory APR for 18 months on purchases. Again, this card is only available to TruWest Credit Union members. This card has one of the lowest starting variable APR ranges at 8.20% - 22.20% Variable, which is beneficial for anyone who qualifies for the low rate and may carry a balance after the intro period ends (though we recommend paying off debt beforehand).

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


The TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card has a competitive 0% introductory APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, the purchase APR is 10.15% - 17.15% Variablee. As with the other TruWest cards, this one is only available to members. You can benefit from a rewards program where you Automatically earn up to 1 point for every $1 you spend, and earn up to 10 extra points per dollar spent. Also, earn up to 1.5% cash back with the TruRewards program. However, this is a low rewards rate compared to other 0% intro purchase cards on this list.

15 Months 0% Intro APR

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers an intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.99%-25.99% Variable. This card is a great choice for people who want to take advantage of the 0% intro periods and earn rewards. With the cash back program, you can earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® provides a 0% Intro APR for 15 months
on purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers — that is shorter than other flat-rate cash back cards. After those 15 months, purchases are subject to a standard APR of 16.99% - 25.74% Variable. With the cash back program, you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it’s automatic.
The information related to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website


The 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months on purchases and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months means that the Chase Freedom® offers is complemented with a cash back program that is great for those looking to maximize cash back in bonus categories. You can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. After the promotional period, the purchase APR is 16.99% - 25.74% Variable.

BankAmericard® credit card

BankAmericard® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website


The BankAmericard® credit card has a 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles
(after that, a 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR applies). There are no rewards; however, this card may be a good option if you plan on making large purchases.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees


The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers an introductory 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 15.24%-26.24% Variable. There is also a cash back program — earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website


The Wells Fargo Platinum Card has a long period for you to pay off debt with a an intro 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers. Following the intro period, theAPR on purchases will be 13.74%-27.24% (Variable). Besides the promotional APR, this card is fairly basic. It does have one other notable perk: You can receive up to $600 of cellphone protection (subject to $25 deductible) against eligible reasons when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card.*

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website


The PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card is a basic card that offers Introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening, then 12.24%-22.24% Variable APR, based on your credit. There is no rewards program or noteable perks. However, there is U.S.-based customer service available 7 days a week.

Truly Simple® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank

Truly Simple® Card from Fifth Third Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fifth Third Bank (OH)’s secure website


This card offers a decent intro period at 0% APR for 15 billing cycles, however this card is restricted to residents of Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. There is also no penalty APR if you miss a payment. The standard APR of 13.74%-24.74% variable applies after the intro period ends.

BB&T Bright Card

BB&T Bright Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on BB&T’s secure website


The BB&T Bright Card offers a good intro period from a community bank at 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (variable 12.99%-21.99% variable APR after). Note that this card is restricted to residents of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards from APG FCU

Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards from APG FCU

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on Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU’s secure website


This card offers a competitive 0% intro APR on purchases and qualified balance transfers compared to other credit unions at 0% intro APR for 15 months (12.49% - 17.99% Variable APR after). To qualify for this card you need to live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in Harford or Cecil County or certain areas in Middle River, Maryland. There is a subpar rewards program where you can earn one point for every dollar spent on purchases.

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on KeyBank’s secure website


The KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card has a decent intro period for purchases at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. It also has a decent intro period for balance transfers at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. After the intro period ends, 12.24% - 22.24% Variable APR applies based on creditworthiness. This card is restricted to people who live in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington. There is no rewards program.

Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® has a decent 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR, but you can find other cards with longer periods, and/or rewards. This card is predominantly known for its balance transfer offer where you get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and an intro Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Deferred versus Waived Interest

Not all 0% offers are created equally. Some credit card companies offer “deferred” interest, whereas others off “waived” interest.

Let’s take a simple example. You spend $1,000 on a credit card with an APR of 18%. You will make payments of $75 every month. There is a special offer that gives you 0% interest for 12 months. On “Credit Card A” interest is deferred. On “Credit Card B” it is waived. After making 12 payments of $75, the remaining balance in month 13 would be $100.

Credit Card A: Deferred Interest

With a “deferred” interest offer, the bank does not forgive the monthly interest accrual. Instead, the bank just keeps track of the interest that would have accrued. If you do not pay the balance in full during the promotional period, you will get retroactively charged the interest at a high interest rate. In the example above, you would be charged approximately $117 in month 13. (I use “approximately” because credit card companies have slightly different ways of calculating and charging interest. But it is safe to assume that you would be charged more than $100 of interest on your remaining $100 balance.)

Credit Card B: Waived Interest

Waived interest is very different. For every month of the promotional period, the credit card company actually forgives the interest. There will never be a retroactive catch up after the promotional period ends. In our example, you would only be charged $3.26 of interest in month 13, compared to more than $100 in the deferred example.

Deferred interest products are surprisingly common. If you are being offered 0% financing by a retailer, you are probably being offered a deferred interest product.

How To Qualify For A 0% Purchase Credit Card

In order to qualify for a 0% intro purchase credit card, you will need to have good credit. If your credit score is above 700, you are highly likely to be approved by one of the issuers. If your score is between 650 and 700, you still have a good chance.

With a credit score below 650, it is highly unlikely that you would be approved, though you may want to check to see if you are pre-qualified for a card before applying. Many of the banks let you check to see what deals they are specifically targeting to you, and you can see a list of them here. Checking what you’re pre-qualified for won’t show up on your credit report or score.

In addition to your credit score, the credit card company will want to ensure that you are employed. And most credit card companies will look at your debt burden.

If your debt burden is more than 50%, it is unlikely that you will be approved.

The lower your debt burden, the better your chances. You calculate your debt burden by dividing the monthly payments on your credit report (which would include your mortgage, auto loans, student loans, personal loans and credit cards) by your monthly paycheck before taxes are taken out.

When Is A Personal Loan Better?

There is no lower interest rate than 0%. So, if you are able to use a 0% credit card to make a purchase, that is your best bet. However, there are a few circumstances where a personal loan might be a better option:

  • Your credit score is too low for a 0% offer. Personal loan companies are offering increasingly competitive interest rates, especially for people with lower credit scores.
  • You need to borrow money for a big cash expense. For example, you might need to pay a contractor who does not accept credit cards. If you need cash, a personal loan is always a better deal than a credit card.
  • You don’t trust yourself with credit cards. Some people feel nervous with credit cards. You might be tempted to spend more than you want. Or, you might be tempted to only pay the minimum due, extending the repayment term. A personal loan can be an easy way to borrow a set amount of money for a set period of time.

If you want to consider a personal loan, you can compare and apply using our personal loan comparison tool. You can check your interest rate and see if you are approved without hurting your credit score at most lenders.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Credit Cards

Best Cashback Sign-Up Bonus Offers of January 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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Searching for the best cashback sign-up bonus deals? Look no further. MagnifyMoney has compiled the best cashback card deals right here.

If your reward card spending mirrored that of a millennial in the Department of Labor’s most recent survey, you could potentially charge around $1,800 per month over that two-year period, according to a CompareCards.com* study.  You would earn on average nearly $750 in cashback rewards over two years after taking into account any annual fees the cards assess.

After looking at the available cashback cards, we found five we felt offered the best sign-up bonuses. All five cards offer a cashback bonus without having to spend large amounts of money to get it. Plus, they all offer ongoing cashback options and perks once the cashback intro bonus is gone — all with no annual fees.

Cards with the best sign-up bonuses

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Rate
4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The sign-up bonus for this card is earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. It has solid rewards, where cardmembers can earn 4% cash back on dining; 4% cash back on entertainment; 2% cash back at grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases. The card comes with broader cash-back earning categories. Dining includes restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. Entertainment covers tickets for movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, pool halls and bowling alleys. It also covers purchases at record and video rental stores.You get your rewards without having to worry about rotating cashback bonuses or quarterly sign-ups. Cash back won’t expire as long as the card is active and there are no limits on how much cash back you can earn. The card comes with travel assistance services, a concierge, extended warranty and price protection. Plus, there is no foreign transaction fee.This card is best for those who want to earn more cash back for dining and groceries. Outside of that, there are other cashback cards that offer better rewards in top spending categories. Entertainment rewards don’t include digital streaming and subscription services. Just know, there is an annual fee — $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card starts with One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, the highest among the three cards highlighted in this review. Once you spend $500 in three months to get the cashback bonus, it’s applied to your rewards balance within two billing cycles.Cardmembers get a flat 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day, and you don’t have to register every quarter to get it. You’re also not limited to select categories to get the cash back and there’s a None foreign transaction fee.Let’s say you spend $2,000 a month on the card. At unlimited 1.5% cash back, you’ll get $360 at the end of the year. Your rewards don’t expire during the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.The perks with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card are pretty good considering it’s a no-fee credit card. There’s the usual benefits that come with Visa Signature®, including free upgrades and special savings at hotels, resorts and spas, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and fine wine and food events, free 24-hour concierge service, shopping and savings and special offers from retailers. There are also popular benefits like purchase security, roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance.

Other cards may offer more bonus points or miles — for a higher spend — than the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. They may also more in cashback awards, especially in targeted categories like travel and dining, than what’s offered with this card.

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.
New Uber Visa Card members can Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. The cashback bonus is applied to your card as soon as you make the required purchases within the first 90 days after you open your account. You don’t pay foreign transaction fees on the card.If you spend around $800 a month on dining, you’ll earn $384 a year in cash back. The cash back in the travel category includes airfare, hotels and home share services like Airbnb. Spend $1,500 a month with the Uber Visa Card on these categories and get $540 back after a year.After your bonus is credited, there are more perks that come with the Uber Visa Card. Music lovers who spend at least $5,000 a year on it can get up to a $50 credit for online digital subscription services. You get up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft when you pay your mobile phone bill with your card. The card also gives you access to invitations to exclusive events and offers in select U.S. cities.

You can redeem your Uber Visa Card points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back, all via the Uber app once your balance hits $5 or 500 points. You must add your Uber Visa Card to your Uber account to take advantage of this feature. As long as the account is active and in good standing, your points never expire.

There are other cards that offer higher cash back for popular categories like airfares, hotels and dining. The cashback balance on your Uber Visa Card must reach $25 before you can use it for gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit. Your cash back redemption is capped at $500 a day. And the card doesn’t have an intro balance transfer rate.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

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TruWest Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
10.15%-11.15% Variable
Annual fee
$0
With the TruWest Visa® Signature Card, you earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first 90 days after being approved. It’s not the most lucrative bonus out there, but we like it for a different reason: This is by far the lowest spend requirement among the three cards in this review. The best feature of the TruWest Visa® Signature Card is that it starts with a generous 0% introductory APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After 18 months, there’s a very reasonable 10.15%-11.15% Variable APR.

You automatically Earn up to 1.5% cash back with the TruRewards program plus you get up to 1 point for every $1 spent. If you spend $1,000 a month on the card, you’ll get $180 back after a year of spending.

The fine print: You must be a member of the TruWest Credit Union, with a minimum deposit of $5 to qualify, before you can apply for the TruWest Visa® Signature Card. To become a member, you must either: live, work or own a business in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima or Yavapai counties in Arizona, or Travis or Williamson counties in Texas; attend school in Travis or Williamson, Texas; or be related to a member or be the surviving spouse of a deceased member.

How to use points

You can earn 5,000 bonus points when you add a cardholder to your account, which gives you more ways to boost your point totals. You also earn up to 10 extra points per $1 spent when you use them to make qualifying purchases on the TruRewards website.

You can use your points and cash back in the Get Extra Points program, where you can apply your cash back to your credit card account, buy gift cards from TruWest or retailers, book a flight, hotel or cruise, buy more than 300 different items ranging from electronics to jewelry and donate points to your favorite charities. You can choose the split-pay option, where you can redeem points and pay for items using your TruWest Visa® Signature Card.

Like the, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the TruWest Visa® Signature Card gives you access to all the benefits of the Visa Signature program.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back in your choice category, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases & 1% cash back on every purchase
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers new cardmembers $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, one of the highest in this category. Once you meet the spending requirement, the bonus will be applied to your rewards balance after eight to 10 weeks. This card has a flat 3% cash back in your choice category, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases & 1% cash back on every purchase.As of Jan. 14, 2019, the $0 annual fee Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card comes with higher rewards in more rotating categories and more flexibility. Cardmembers can earn higher cash back for gas, dining, travel, online shopping, drug stores and home improvement and furnishings — the latter three are categories that usually aren’t included for higher cash back. You’re free to switch higher cashback categories once a month instead of quarterly, like other competing credit cards, remaining on the last category chosen if you forget or don’t choose to switch.But you still only earn higher cash back on spending of up to $2,500 per quarter. After that, the rewards drop to 1% cash back per dollar spent. The only perk with this card is a free FICO® credit score monthly. While it’s nice that cardmembers can change spending categories every month, there are competing cards that offer more points per dollar spent in popular categories, better perks and more ways to redeem your rewards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

New cardmembers earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Use that bonus for cash, gift cards, travel or pay with points. Earn a simple Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.Although the cashback rate on this $0 annual fee card is lower than others, you don’t have to worry about changing bonus reward categories every quarter. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, combine the cash back earned on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with points earned on the other two cards. Use them at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website, where you can get between 25% and 50% more value when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.If you use this card outside of the country, be prepared to pay a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. Other cards offer higher rewards in categories, such as travel or dining. The only perks that come with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® are purchase protection and extended warranty.

Alternatives to these cards

If these cashback bonus offers aren’t quite showing you the money, you may want to consider cards that offer double cashback benefits — with no annual fee, but also no cashback sign-up bonus — as an alternative.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer doesn’t force you to register in order to get cash back. Unlike cards with higher cashback options, almost all of your purchases are covered.

There are no caps on the total amount of cash back you can earn. So if you spend $1,000 a month on the card, that means you’ll get $120 in cashback rewards in a year. And you can get another $30 a year back if you make payments of $250 a month.

Once your cash rewards balance hits $25 or more, you can redeem your cash rewards as a check, a statement credit to your account, a gift card or as credit to a linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account where you have paid a Citi credit card bill at least twice.

Benefits that come with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer aren’t as robust as other cards in this category. And don’t use this card when you travel outside the U.S., since it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If your account is closed, you won’t be able to earn or redeem your cash rewards, and you forfeit any accumulated cash rewards. Your cash rewards balance will expire if you have not earned any cash back from purchases or payments for 12 months.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

The great thing with the Discover it® Cash Back is that it matches all the cash back new cardmembers earn at the end of their first year. So if you earned $1,200 in cash back in your first year, Discover will match that to $2,400 after your first 12 consecutive billing periods. The cash back is then applied to your account in the following one or two billing periods.

Each quarter, you can earn 5% cash on specific categories up to the quarterly maximum. It’s stand-alone grocery stores in the second quarter, restaurants in the third quarter and Amazon.com and wholesale clubs in the fourth quarter.

You must register for the categories each quarter in order to get the cashback reward. The cashback quarterly maximum is $1,500 for the Discover it® Cash Back, but there’s no limit on the overall amount of cash back you can earn.

If you do a balance transfer, you can save money if you pay off the balance before the end of the card’s 14-month term. But you will pay a 3% balance transfer fee.

The Discover it® Cash Back gives you free access to your FICO® Score on monthly statements, online and on the mobile app, and allows you to use the Freeze it® on/off switch feature that stops purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if you misplace your card.

After the first year, the Discover it® Cash Back’s cashback match rewards goes away, and you don’t get the more robust travel and purchase benefits of other cards.

The bottom line

The introductory cashback bonuses for these credit cards can seem appealing when you first sign up. But you need to ask which benefits remain once you spend that initial bonus. And you need to balance whether the card is just as appealing once the more attractive intro purchase and balance transfer rates expire.

Since you don’t have to worry about annual fees, focus on a card with benefits that go beyond the initial intro cashback bonus. You want to get unlimited rewards with at least 1% cash back at a bare minimum.

It’s even better if you get a card that goes above the usual 1% on items in selected categories. You also want to have access to a website that will let you maximize your cashback rewards and get discounts for shopping. And you want a card that offers secondary perks like travel discounts, purchase and travel insurance and car rental collision coverage.

Keep your balances low and pay your card on time because you may end up paying your credit card company for the privilege of getting cashback rewards.

*CompareCards.com and MagnifyMoney.com are both owned by LendingTree.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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