[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
The new year is officially here, and you’ve probably come up with a New Year’s resolution or two. If one of yours is to become more financially stable and improve your less-than-stellar credit, we’re here to help. Check out these four credit cards that can help you get a fresh start in 2020.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to manage the card responsibly, keeping your balance low and trying to pay it in full each month if you want to improve your credit. Doing so will also help you avoid racking up interest charges. Some of these cards carry relatively higher interest rates than cards aimed at people with higher credit scores, so carrying a balance can really add up after a few months.
And, as with any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores before applying so you know where you stand. You can get your a free credit score, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.
The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
- Choose your own credit line based on how much money you want to put down as a security deposit.
- Initial deposits can be from $200 to $3,000. You can increase your credit line at any time by adding additional money to your security deposit, up to $3,000.
- After 9 months, we review your account for a credit line increase. No additional deposit required!
- Secured Credit Cards are great for people looking to build or rebuild credit and are available to people with all kinds of credit backgrounds.
- Unlike a debit card or a pre-paid card, it helps build your credit history. As you pay your bill every month, we report to all three major credit-reporting agencies.
- Get 100% U.S.-based customer service & get your FICO® Credit Score for free each month.
- Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen. Access your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
- Card issued by Merrick Bank, Member FDIC.
Card Details +
Why We Chose It: The Secured Visa from Merrick Bank is impressive because it regularly reviews your account after the first year to apply credit line increases with no additional security deposit required. Its variable APR is also lower than many other secured cards available to individuals with bad or no credit. It does have an annual fee, so keep that in mind when you use the card.
APR: 17.45% Variable
Annual Fee: $36 for first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
- The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
- Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
- Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
- A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
- Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
- With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
- Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 22.49%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Card Details +
Why We Chose It: The Citi Secured Mastercard is straightforward, with no frills and no hidden fees. The card doesn’t offer any rewards, but there’s also no annual fee and a relatively low APR. It offers flexible payment due dates to work with your paychecks, and you can use this card globally anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
APR: 22.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee: $0
Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit
- Less than perfect credit histories can qualify, even with prior bankruptcy!
- Choose your card design with chip technology at no additional cost
- Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
- Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
- 24/7 access to your account, even on mobile!
- Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
- Accepted nationwide wherever Mastercard is accepted
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Why We Chose It: The Indigo Platinum MasterCard offers pre-qualification, meaning you don’t have to ding your credit score only to be denied. You won’t find many perks with this card, though, other than the ability to improve your credit over time, but that is your main goal.
Annual Fee: $0 - $99*
At publishing time, the Citi Secured Mastercard, Secured Visa from Merrick Bank, Capital One Secured Mastercard and Indigo Platinum Mastercard are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.