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Easiest credit cards to get in 2022

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woman using credit card in living room
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Getting approved for a credit card isn’t always easy, and that’s especially true if you have a low credit score or a limited credit history. Many of the best credit cards are targeted to people with good or excellent credit, which puts those who are just starting out at a significant disadvantage.

Still, some credit cards are significantly easier to get approved for—even if you have made some major credit mistakes in the past. If you’re looking for easy approval, there are a few types of cards you should check out: secured cards, unsecured cards for bad credit, student cards and store cards.

The easiest credit card to get approved for may not be ideal as a long-term card, but you will get the chance to build your credit history so you can later qualify for top-tier credit cards.

Secured credit cards

Secured credit cards require a security deposit, which will often double as your credit limit. You might have the option to put down anywhere from $49 to $3,000. The benefit of choosing a secured card is that the credit score requirements are loose, but unlike other credit cards for bad credit, they often come with rewards and no annual fee. Essentially, you offer up the security deposit for better benefits and fewer fees than you’d get otherwise.

And when your credit climbs into the “good” range, you can often graduate to an unsecured card. At that point, or if you decide to close your account (while in good standing), most issuers refund your security deposit.

Here are a few of our favorite secured credit cards of 2022.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn customizable cash back in various bonus categories
  • 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable APR
  • Periodic account reviews to see if you’re eligible to have your security deposit returned

Why it’s an easy card to get

Bank of America offers prequalification through its site when you log in to your account. You can determine which cards are your best matches before you apply, and it doesn’t affect your credit.

The Customized Cash Rewards is rare among secured cards in that it offers cash back. It offers rewards just like its unsecured counterpart, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. With the secured version of this card, you can earn 3 percent cash back on category purchases of choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement; 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 of combined 3 percent and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent); and 1 percent on all other purchases.

If all goes well and you make your payments on time, you can eventually request an upgrade to the unsecured version of the card.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
  • 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable APR
  • Periodic account reviews to see if you’re eligible to have your security deposit returned

Why it’s an easy card to get

Just like the Bank of America Customized Cash card, you can be prequalified for this card through the issuer’s site. This card also has the same cash back rate as the unsecured version, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. You earn 1.5 percent unlimited cash back on all purchases.

Unsecured credit cards for bad credit

If you have bad credit and aren’t able to provide a security deposit, you’re not out of luck. There are credit cards designed for consumers with poor credit that don’t require security deposits, but they often come with more fees, higher APRs and fewer rewards.

So when would it make sense to choose an unsecured card? Remember, secured cards usually set your credit limit as the same amount you provide as a security deposit. An unsecured card might make more sense if you’re hoping for, say, a $1,000 credit limit but don’t have that much money to put away in a security deposit.

Here are a few solid unsecured credit cards.

Indigo® Mastercard®

  • Get prequalified online without a hard inquiry on your credit report
  • Annual fee between $0 to $99 based on your creditworthiness
  • 24.90 percent fixed APR
  • No security deposit required
  • Reports to the three credit bureaus

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Indigo Mastercard is geared to people with imperfect credit, so you may be able to qualify with a low credit score or no credit history at all. This card also reports your credit activity to the three credit bureaus, so you can use it in the short term to build credit and boost your score over time.

Keep in mind that you may have to pay an annual fee depending on your creditworthiness. Also, note that the credit limit on this card is set at $300, so you will only be able to use your card for small purchases.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Get prequalified online and without a hard inquiry on your credit report
  • 26.99 percent variable APR
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit limit in as little as six months

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card doesn’t offer any rewards, but it allows you to build your credit score without an annual fee. You’ll likely start off with a low credit limit, but Capital One promises to look at your account and consider raising your credit limit in as little as six months.

This card also lets you see if you’re prequalified online, so you can assess your ability to get this credit card before you fill out a full application.

Student credit cards

A lot of people get their first credit card in college. But without much on your credit file, you might find it tough to find a good credit card you qualify for. Enter student credit cards. With these cards designed specifically for young consumers, a lack of credit history isn’t a barrier. Plus, they often come with perks and rewards tailored to credit newcomers.

Here are a few of our favorite student credit cards.

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase
  • Earn 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
  • Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • No annual fee, foreign transaction fees or hidden fees
  • Automatic consideration for a higher credit line in as little as six months
  • 16.49 to 26.49 percent variable APR

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is available to people with fair credit, which is often where credit newcomers start out. Usually, scores in the “bad” range are reserved for people with negative items on their credit report (think missed payments or bankruptcy).

You’ll earn rewards on all of your spending—no need to keep up with bonus categories—and you will can earn boosted rewards on certain bookings through Capital One Travel. With no annual fee, foreign transaction fees or hidden fees, this card can help you improve your credit score at potentially no cost. The Quicksilver for students is simple and beneficial, a good combination for someone looking for a starter credit card.

Discover it® Student chrome

  • Earn 2 percent cash back on gas stations and restaurants for up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter (then 1 percent back); 1 percent back on all other purchases
  • Discover will match all the rewards you earn after your first year
  • No annual fee
  • 0 percent intro APR for six months on purchases, then 14.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable APR
  • 10.99 percent intro APR for six months from date of the first balance transfer, then 14.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable APR

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Discover it Student chrome is marketed to students, so you can qualify if you have a limited credit history or a low score. You’ll earn rewards on your spending, and Discover will match all the rewards you earn after the first year.

You’ll also qualify for a low introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for a bit of time, which can help you save on interest. Since there’s no annual fee, this card can help you build credit and save money at the same time.

Store credit cards

If you’re a loyal shopper of a particular brand, check whether they offer their own credit card. For example, if you love Athleta, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, the Banana Republic Visa® Card could be very rewarding. A big perk of retail credit cards is that their credit requirements are often low, making them easy to qualify for. Some retail cards can only be used at one particular retailer, and others can be used anywhere.

If you decide to go this route, be sure you don’t feel incentivized to overspend on things you don’t need. Also, be wary of high interest rates. There are hundreds of store credit cards out there. Here are a few popular cards spanning various categories:

  • Lowe’s Advantage Card
  • TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®
  • Macy’s Credit Card
  • Ann Taylor’s ALL Rewards Credit Card
  • Wayfair
  • Best Buy

The bottom line

If you want to build credit but can’t seem to get approved for the credit card you really want, try one of the cards mentioned above. From there, you can boost your credit by paying your credit card bill on time and keeping your card balance low. Eventually, you may be able to upgrade or switch to a card that offers more of the benefits you want.

The best way to know when you’re ready to upgrade is to keep an eye on your credit score. Once your FICO score hits 670, you’ll officially have “good credit” and can begin applying for more competitive credit cards. You can also wait until your FICO score is “very good,” or any score over 740. At that point, you will have a better shot at getting approved for the best cash back credit cards and rewards credit cards on the market today.

Information for the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card last updated on 8/1/2022

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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Part of  Guide to credit cards with bad credit