You can still get a gas credit card if you have bad credit, though you may have fewer options than if you had good or better credit. Generally, most of the best gas cards for bad credit are cards designed for people who have spotty credit histories and accept applicants with scores less than 670.

And the best gas cards for bad credit offer solid rewards on gas purchases without charging an arm and a leg on fees. Here’s what you need to know about choosing, getting and using a gas credit card, even if you don’t have perfect credit.

Comparing the best gas cards for bad credit

Card name Best for Rewards highlights Bankrate review score
Discover it® Secured Credit Card Secured card gas rewards 2% back on the first $1,000 you spend at gas stations and at restaurants each quarter (then 1%) as well as 1% back on all other purchases 5.0
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card Students 1.5% cash back on all your purchases 4.6
Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit Building credit 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas and grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services (terms apply) 2.3
Shell | Fuel Rewards Card Easy approval Save at least 5 cents per gallon of gas with automatic Gold status within the Shell Fuel Rewards program (up to 20 gallons) N/A
Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Card Co-branded welcome offer 3 cents per gallon in fuel credits on every fill-up N/A

Best gas cards for bad credit

Discover it® Secured Credit Card image
Best secured card for gas rewards

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card image
Best gas card for students

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit image
Best for building credit*

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Rating: 2.3 stars out of 5
Best for easy approvals

Shell | Fuel Rewards Card

Best co-branded welcome offer

Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Card

What’s a gas card?

Gas credit cards can help you rack up rewards when you fill up your tank. Most gas credit cards offer a percentage of your spending back as cash, just like other cash back credit cards. However, credit cards for bad credit tend to have less lucrative rewards programs and more fees.

There are two main types of gas credit cards:

  • You can only use closed-loop gas cards with specific brands, such as Shell or Chevron. One thing to consider as you compare cards is that closed-loop, gas-only credit cards tend to be easier to qualify for but come with high interest rates. Take the ExxonMobil Smart Card, for example. It has an ongoing interest rate much higher than the average credit card APR and you can only use it at participating Exxon and Mobil locations.
  • With traditional gas rewards credit cards, you can earn your points or cash back on gas and other eligible purchases. These cards tend to be more useful since you aren’t limited to only using them at a specific gas station chain and you can use them for all your purchases — not just gas.

How to choose a gas credit card for bad credit

If you have bad credit, your gas card options are somewhat limited compared to someone with good or better credit. To find the card that best fits your needs, consider the following.

Check your credit score

Knowing your score can help your research

If you’re on the border of poor and fair credit (around 579 or so), you might be able to qualify for cards that require fair credit. And if you have no credit history, you may qualify for credit cards for no credit. These cards may offer better terms and rewards than secured cards or cards designed for bad credit.

Check your credit score for free before you start comparing gas credit cards to understand your likelihood for approval.

Check your favorite gas station

Choose a card that covers your preferred gas stations

If you exclusively refill your car at a specific gas station chain, check if it has a co-branded gas credit card. You may find the perks and benefits associated with that co-branded card outpace the rewards on a general gas credit card. If your favorite gas station chain doesn’t have a credit card offer, then check out cards that have boosted earnings for gas like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

Review your spending habits

Choose a card with reward categories where you spend frequently

Many gas credit cards can earn points or gas discounts on more than just gas. Review your average spending habits to see which card offers the best potential rewards in the categories you spend most.

Building credit with a gas card

Using a gas credit card can be a great way to build your credit, especially if gas is a big chunk of your spending. Instead of charging your refuels to a debit card, you can charge them to a credit card and diligently pay off the balance at the end of each month to establish a positive payment history.

Whether you use a closed-loop card or a rewards credit card for bad credit, all of your credit activity and payments will be reported to one or more of the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Pros of building credit with a gas card

  • Some gas cards are fairly easy to get approved for, either because they are gas-only credit cards or geared to consumers with poor credit.
  • Most gas cards report to the three credit bureaus, which can help you build credit over time.
  • Gas cards can help you earn rewards or discounts when you fill up.

Cons of building credit with a gas card

  • Gas cards for bad credit may only offer mediocre rewards.
  • You may have to pay an annual fee and many gas cards come with a high APR.
  • Some gas cards for bad credit are secured credit cards, meaning you have to put down a cash deposit as collateral.

What’s next?

For a better idea of what cards you qualify for, enter some basic information into CardMatch™, Bankrate’s prequalification tool. And if need more insight into what categories best fit your rewards needs, our Spender Type Tool can point you in the right direction.

The bottom line

People who want to build credit while earning back on their everyday purchases should look into gas credit cards, whether secured or unsecured. Like grocery purchases, gas is a common expense that can earn reliable rewards on a regular basis with the right card.

Just make sure that you’re keeping an eye on unwanted fees or limitations, and that you only apply for a store-branded gas card if you fill up with that brand frequently.

*The information about the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit and ExxonMobil Smart Card, Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Card and Shell|Fuel Rewards® Card has been collected independently by The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.