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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’ve 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. These include secured cards (for no credit history), unsecured cards (for bad to fair credit), student cards (for no or fair credit) and store cards (for fair credit).

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 rewards credit cards.

Best secured credit cards for no credit history

Secured credit cards require a security deposit, and this deposit will often serve 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 — they often require no credit history.

But unlike other credit cards for no credit or bad credit, secured cards often come with rewards and no annual fee. Essentially, you offer up a security deposit in exchange 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, if you decide to close your account (while in good standing), most issuers will refund your security deposit.

There are many top secured credit cards to check out, but here are two we recommend:

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

What this card is good for

  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn customizable cash back in various bonus categories
  • Periodic account reviews to see if you’re eligible to have your security deposit returned

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card is rare among secured cards in that it offers a high rate of cash back in choice categories: You can earn 3 percent cash back in a category of your choice (choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores and home improvement), 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent on all other purchases. Note that 3 percent and 2 percent categories are limited to $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then you’ll earn 1 percent back. Other perks include flexible rewards redemption options, credit education tools and free FICO credit score access.

If all goes well and you make your payments on time, you can eventually request an upgrade to the unsecured version of the card, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, which comes with the same rewards structure and more perks.

What to look out for

  • 26.24 percent variable APR

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured card is available to those with no credit history. Plus, if you already have a Bank of America account, Bank of America provides prequalification offers through its site after you log in. You can then determine which cards work best for you before you apply, and it won’t affect your credit.

The information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card was last updated on Sept. 27, 2022.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

What this card is good for

  • $0 annual fee
  • Flat cash back on all purchases
  • Periodic account reviews to see if you’re eligible to have your security deposit returned

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card allows you to earn the same flat cash back rate — an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases — as its unsecured counterpart, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. It also comes with flexible rewards redemption options, free FICO credit score access and credit education tools.

What to look out for

  • 26.24 percent variable APR

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured card doesn’t require a credit history to apply. And just like the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured card, you can prequalify for this card through the issuer’s site.

The information about the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card and the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card was last updated on Sept. 27, 2022.

Best unsecured credit cards for bad to fair 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. However, they often come with more fees, higher APRs and fewer rewards.

So, when would it make sense to choose an unsecured card? Remember, the amount you provide for your security deposit usually serves as your credit limit, too. So if you’re hoping for a $1,000 credit limit, for example, but you don’t have that much money to put down for a security deposit, an unsecured card might make more sense for you.

Here are some of the best unsecured credit cards for bad to fair credit:

Indigo Mastercard

What this card is good for

The Indigo® Mastercard® is a great option to consider if you have bad credit as a result of past credit mistakes. This card’s application process is quick and easy and it generally has a high approval rate. Plus, you’ll only be subject to a soft credit check, meaning your credit score will not be affected.

What to look out for

  • Annual fee between $0 to $99 depending on your creditworthiness
  • 24.90 percent fixed APR

It’s important to keep in mind that you may have to pay an annual fee depending on your creditworthiness. Also, note that the maximum credit limit for this card is $300, so you will only be able to use your card for small purchases (especially if you don’t want to hurt your credit utilization ratio).

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Indigo Mastercard is geared toward people with bad to fair 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 all three credit bureaus, so you can use it in the short term to build credit and boost your credit score over time.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

What this card is good for

  • $0 annual fee
  • Get prequalified online without a hard inquiry on your credit report
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit limit in as little as six months

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 review your account for a credit limit increase in as little as six months.

What to look out for

  • 26.99 percent variable APR

Why it’s an easy card to get

This Capital One Platinum requires a fair to good credit score. You can also check if you’re prequalified online, so you can assess your ability to get this credit card before you fill out a full application.

It’s also worth noting that this card comes in a secured version, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, which may be worth considering if your credit isn’t good enough for the unsecured version. Unlike other secured cards, the Capital One Platinum Secured only requires a deposit of $49 to secure a credit line of $200.

Best student credit cards for fair or no credit

A lot of people get their first credit card in college. But without much in your credit file, you might find it tough to find a good credit card that you qualify for. That’s where student credit cards come in. These cards are specifically designed for young consumers, so 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 the top student credit cards:

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

What this card is good for

  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees or hidden fees
  • Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months of account opening
  • Automatic consideration for a higher credit line in as little as six months

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card allows you to earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, so there’s no need to keep up with bonus categories. You’ll also earn 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. With no annual fee or hidden fees, this card can help you improve your credit score at potentially no cost. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, making this a great option if you’re planning to study abroad.

What to look out for

  • 16.49 to 26.49 percent variable APR

 Why it’s an easy card to get

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards is available to students 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 (like missed payments or bankruptcy).

Discover it Student chrome

What this card is good for

  • $0 annual fee
  • Discover will match all the rewards you earn after your first year

The Discover it® Student chrome offers 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent back) and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Plus, Discover will match all of the rewards you earn during your first year.

This card also comes with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for six months (then a 15.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable APR), which can help you save on interest. And since there’s no annual fee, this card can help you build credit and save money at the same time.

What to look out for

  • 2 percent cash back rate capped at $1,000 per quarter
  • 3 percent intro balance transfer fee (then up to 5 percent fee; see terms)

Why it’s an easy card to get

The Discover it Student chrome is marketed to students, so you can qualify if you have no credit history or a low score.

Best store credit cards for fair credit

A big perk of retail credit cards is that their credit requirements are often low — many store cards require a fair credit score or better — making them easier to qualify for. But if you’re a loyal shopper at a particular retailer, you should see if it offers its own store credit card. For example, if you love Athleta, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, the Banana Republic Visa® Card* could be very rewarding.

However, note that some retail cards can only be used at one particular retailer, and others can be used anywhere. Also, if you decide to go this route, be sure you don’t feel incentivized to overspend on things you don’t need — store credit cards often have high interest rates.

That said, there are hundreds of store credit cards out there. Here are a few of the most popular store cards:

  • Target RedCard™*
  • Lowe’s Advantage Card*
  • TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®*
  • My Best Buy® Credit Card* or My Best Buy® Visa® Card*
  • Kohl’s Card*
  • Walmart Rewards® Card* or Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®*

The bottom line

If you want to build credit but you don’t qualify for the credit card you really want, try one of the cards mentioned above first. From there, you can boost your credit by keeping your card balance low and paying your credit card bill in full and on time. 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. Or, you can wait until your FICO score is over 740, which is a very good score. At that point, you will have a better shot at getting approved for some of the best cash back cards and best rewards credit cards on the market today.

*All information about the Banana Republic Visa® Card, Target RedCard™, Lowe’s Advantage Card, TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®, My Best Buy® Credit Card, My Best Buy® Visa® Card, Kohl’s Card, Walmart Rewards® Card, Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

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.
Edited by
Associate Editor
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Part of  Guide to credit cards with bad credit