Best Credit Cards for No Credit [September 2023]

Secured cards and student cards can be great options — and some even offer rewards — if you’re a borrower with no credit history.
Updated Sept. 17, 2023
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Credit cards provide the opportunity to build credit and earn rewards. Unfortunately, many of the best credit cards require you to have a good credit score to qualify for them. For those who haven't borrowed money before, securing a card with no credit can be a challenge.

The good news is there are a number of credit card offers out there that are available even to people with low credit scores or no credit at all. Here are some great options to consider so you can compare and find the best new credit card for you.

The best credit cards for no credit for September 2023

In this article

The best credit cards for no credit for September 2023

Card name Best for Benefits & perks Annual fee
Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card1

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Borrowers in solid financial shape who are looking to avoid fees and secure a high credit limit
  • 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants
  • Credit limits as high as $5,000
  • No deposit required
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Borrowers looking for a secured card with a low security deposit requirement
  • Automatic credit line reviews
  • Pick your monthly payment
  • No foreign transaction fees
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Users who need to repair their credit or have no credit history
  • No credit check when applying
  • Set your own credit limit from $200-$3,000 with a refundable deposit
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

International students who don’t have a Social Security number
  • Earn a free year of Amazon Prime Student after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Cell phone protection and car rental insurance

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card: Best for no fees and high credit limit

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No security deposit required
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • No intro APR for purchases
  •  No balance transfers or cash advances

If you're generally in good financial shape but simply don't have a strong credit history, the Petal 1 Visa Card could be perfect for you. If you have a credit score, Petal will do a credit check. 

But if you don’t have a credit history, don’t worry — Petal has technology that will analyze your banking history to see how much money you make and how responsible you've been with paying bills. 

It then uses that data to approve you for a card with a credit limit between $300 and $5,000 (which is well above what many student and secured cards offer).

Recommended credit score: Fair

Why we like it:

  • No fees: This card has a $0 annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and no security deposit required to open the account.
  • Cashback rewards: This card offers 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants.
  • Build your credit: Reports to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) so you can build credit over time.
  • Budgeting tool: This card comes with a budget and credit score tracking mobile app, available for both iOS and Android.

What we don’t like:

  • No balance transfers or cash advances: This card does not allow you to do balance transfers or cash advances, but this makes sense since this card is suited for those with a limited credit history.
  • Cash back is limited: While users can earn 2% to 10% cash back, this only applies to select merchants. However, keep in mind that many cards that don’t require a strong credit history don’t offer rewards programs at all.

Other benefits include: Cardholders will have access to the mobile app and the ability to track spending in the Spending Planner. This can make it simpler to create a budget and help you keep tabs on your credit utilization, which is a key component of your credit score. 

This will also allow you to learn more about credit score ranges and methods of building a solid credit history.

Get more details in our Petal 1 Visa Card review.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card: Best for a low security deposit

  • Potential access to a higher credit line
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel coverages
  • No rewards program
  • High variable APR
  • Requires a security deposit

The Capital One Platinum Secured is unique among secured cards because most require you to put down a refundable deposit equal to your credit limit. If you want a $200 credit limit, you need to put down a $200 deposit. 

But you may not have to do that with this card. The Capital One Platinum Secured provides a $200 credit limit, but some borrowers are allowed to put down deposits of only $49 or $99 instead of the full $200, depending on their credit history.

Recommended credit score: Bad, Poor

Why we like it:

  • Automatic credit line reviews: You can be considered for a higher credit limit as few as six months after opening your account. If a credit limit increase is approved, no additional deposit is required.
  • Personalized payments: You’re able to pick your payment due date, allowing you more flexibility to fit it into your monthly budget.
  • No annual fee: The Capital One Platinum Secured has a $0 annual fee.

What we don’t like:

  • No rewards program: Like many secured credit cards, the Capital One Platinum Secured does not earn points or cash rewards.

Other benefits include: The student cards and the Petal 1 Visa Card are available only to a limited number of people — students or those who have a strong banking history. But secured credit cards are available to virtually any borrower.

The big difference between secured vs. unsecured debt is lenders take no risks with secured cards because you have to put down collateral in the form of a cash security deposit.

Read our full Capital One Secured Visa Credit Card review for more details.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card: Best for no credit history

  • No credit check when applying
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Set your own credit limit
  • $35 annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

The OpenSky Secured Visa is designed for those who are looking to repair their credit or have no credit history. This secured credit card doesn’t require a credit check or even a checking account to be eligible.

Instead, you submit a refundable deposit between $200 to $3,000, which acts as your credit limit. Because you put down this deposit upfront, a credit check isn’t required.

Recommended credit score: Fair, Bad, Poor

Why we like it:

  • No credit check to apply: If you’re getting denied for other cards because of bad credit, OpenSky could help — you can apply even if you have no credit at all. OpenSky won't pull your credit when you apply for this card.
  • Comes with standard Visa benefits: This card has many of the benefits available with other Visa credit cards, including acceptance worldwide and fraud protection.

What we don’t like:

  • Has annual fee: The OpenSky Secured Visa has an $35, but that isn’t bad, considering the card doesn’t require a credit check.
  • Foreign transaction fees: If you travel outside of the country, you’ll be charged 3% of the amount you charge every time you use your card.

Other benefits include: You can establish or repair your credit by using this card responsibly. If you use this card for purchases you can afford and make on-time payments in full, you can build positive credit history over time.

Read our full OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card review for more details.

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students: Best for international students

Editor's note:
This card is not currently accepting new applications. For college students looking to build credit and earn rewards, check our recommendations for the best credit cards for students.

  • No Social Security number needed to apply
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • Only available for students currently enrolled in a U.S. college
  • Low rewards rate
  • High variable APR

International students with no Social Security number have very limited options for securing credit, but the Deserve EDU Mastercard is one of them. This student cashback card isn't just a good choice because it doesn't require a Social Security number; it also offers great features.

Recommended credit score: Excellent, Good, Fair

Why we like it:

  • Welcome offer: Earn a free year of Amazon Prime Student after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
  • Cashback rewards: This card offers 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • No SSN requirement: You don’t need a Social Security number to apply for this card if you’re an international student.
  • Collision damage waiver: You can receive car rental coverage against damage and theft on eligible vehicles when you use your card to pay for the entire rental and decline the collision or loss damage waiver from the rental company.

What we don’t like:

  • Low rewards rate: Earning 1% cash back on all purchases is basically the bare minimum for most credit cards that earn rewards. However, this isn’t terrible, considering it is a student credit card without many requirements.
  • Limited redemption options: The only redemption option available for this card is receiving automatic statement credits in $25 increments, which some users might find limiting.

Other benefits include: This card has a $0 annual fee, and there are no fees for international transactions either. Plus, there are other perks, including a statement credit if you sign up for a Mint Mobile Wireless plan or pay for three months of renters or homeowners insurance purchased from Lemonade using your card.

Read our full Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students Credit Card review for more details.

How to get your first credit card

If you're applying for a credit card for the first time, you can expect the process to take place entirely online (unless you'd prefer to mail in an application). Typically, you will need to provide some basic information when you submit your application for a card.

Some of the information you may be asked to provide when sending in your credit card application includes:

  • Your name
  • A U.S. mailing address
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver's license number or other approved form of identification
  • Bank account details (checking account and/or savings account)

Once you've submitted your application, you may get an instant decision, or it may take a few days for the credit card issuer to review your documentation. If you are declined, the credit card company will typically provide you with an explanation of the decision by mail.

What is the difference between an unsecured and a secured credit card?

On this list, you'll notice that some of the credit cards are secured and others aren't. If you apply for one of the secured cards, you'll need to put down a minimum security deposit equal to the line of credit given to you (unless you choose the Capital One Platinum Secured and qualify to make a smaller deposit).

Your deposit is refundable and is held in escrow by the credit card company, and you'll use the card just like any other by charging on it and paying off your purchases each month. However, the deposit protects the lender because that money is there for them to seize if you fail to pay your bill.

If you pay as promised, eventually, you will get back the deposit you made, either when you close the account or if you qualify to have your card converted to an unsecured one after you've demonstrated responsible use of your credit line.

Unsecured cards don't require any type of deposit, which means they present a greater risk for lenders who would have to take legal action to collect from you if you don't pay as promised. Because of the added risk associated with nonpayment, unsecured cards can be harder to qualify for than secured ones. That said, there are some unsecured credit cards for bad credit.

How a credit card can help you improve your credit

Obtaining either a secured or an unsecured credit card can be very helpful in building credit. Responsible use of a credit card can raise your credit score, especially if you have no credit history at all.

There are several different ways using your credit card can help you improve your credit score, including:

  • Develop a positive payment history. This is the most important determining factor in your credit score, as lenders want to see you've been responsible with paying your debt. If you pay your bill on time each month, this will be reported to the three major credit reporting agencies that prepare your credit report. The data on your payment history will then be used (along with other criteria) to assign you a credit score. Unfortunately, if you make late payments, that will also be reported and will hurt your score.
  • Keep your credit card balance low. Credit utilization is the second most important factor that determines your credit score. It's the amount of credit you use, versus what's available to you. For example, if you have a $1,000 credit line and charge $300 in it, you'd be using 30% of your available credit. So 30% would be your utilization ratio. A lower ratio is better, so aim to keep balances to 30% or less of your available credit. And, contrary to popular belief, you can still build credit even if you pay off your card in full each month.
  • Keep your old credit cards open. The length of your credit history is an important factor in your score, and older accounts help you to improve your score by showing a longer track record of good borrowing behavior. So once you open your first card, don't close it if you don't have to.
  • Avoid applying for too many cards at once. Each time you apply for credit, you get a hard inquiry on your credit report that stays there for up to two years. Fewer inquiries are better in the eyes of the credit bureaus, so you don't want to apply for lots of cards all at once.

Four ways to build your credit score

If you are interested in building your credit, there are several ways to do it, including the following:

  1. Become an authorized user on someone else's credit card. If you can't qualify for a card on your own, see whether a trusted family member with good credit would be willing to name you as an authorized user on one of their cards. Essentially, this means that you are able to use a primary cardholder's credit card account, and that account information will show up on your credit report. So if you and the primary cardholder make on-time payments, it could potentially build your credit score over time. However, missed and late payments will also show up on your credit report, so it's important to behave responsibly as an authorized user. 
  2. Apply for a secured credit card. A secured card can be a handy starter credit card when you have a limited credit history or no credit history. Many secured credit cards report monthly payments to the three credit bureaus, which could help you build credit over time with responsible use. 
  3. Take out a credit-builder loan. Credit-builder loans work differently than traditional loans, but they can potentially help you improve your credit as you make on-time payments each month. These loans are typically small (less than $1,000), and once you're approved, the lender will hold the total loan amount in a secured account. When you make monthly payments toward the loan balance, they'll show up on your credit report. And once you've paid off that balance, you'll get the full amount of money (plus interest, in some cases.) 
  4. Use tools like Experian Boost. If you make regular monthly payments from a bank account, Experian Boost could be a good option for building your credit. It allows you to add your utility, cell phone, and streaming services payments to your Experian credit report. Positive payment history for those bills may result in a boost to your credit score. 


Can you get a credit card without credit?

While you might not be able to get approved for a top travel rewards card or balance transfer card with no credit, it is possible to get approved for certain types of cards. If you're interested in applying for a credit card with no credit or limited credit history, starting with a secured credit card could be a good strategy. 

Secured credit cards typically require that you put down a security deposit, which serves as your credit limit. But these cards can offer some benefits to cardholders. For instance, if you opt for a secured credit card that reports your payment history to the credit bureaus, you could potentially build credit and increase your FICO score over time. 

If you'd prefer an unsecured credit card, but you're concerned about your chances of being approved, you might still have some credit card options. For instance, you don't necessarily need a stellar credit score to get approved for the Petal 1 Visa Card. 

Taking the time to compare credit cards can help you find the right option for your wallet.

What are the best credit cards for no credit?

Here are FinanceBuzz's top picks for the best credit cards for no credit or limited credit: 

  • Best for no fees and high credit limit: Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

  • Best for a low security deposit: Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Best for no credit history: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • Best for international students: Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Is no credit the same as bad credit?

No, having no credit and having bad credit is not the same thing. If you have no credit, that means you have not yet established a credit history, or you have a very limited one. Creditors don’t have enough information about your borrowing or repayment habits, which makes it difficult for them to determine your creditworthiness. People with no credit history are typically young adults, new to the United States, or someone who has never used credit products.

If you have bad credit, that means that your credit report has negative information, such as late payments, defaults, or high amounts of debt. Someone with bad credit is typically considered a higher risk to lenders than someone with no credit. This can lead to higher interest rates, difficulty obtaining a loan, or less favorable terms.

Bottom line

There are many great credit cards available for people without a strong credit history. Because opening up a credit card can help you to build credit and work toward other personal finance goals, you might consider your options and apply for one if you don't have any debt already and are eager to earn a good credit score. 

Then, use your card to make purchases and pay them back in full each month. This way, the potentially high interest rate on the credit card won’t cost you a penny, and you can build up a payment history to show lenders how reliable you are.


In selecting these cards, we considered who would be most likely to need a card they can qualify for without credit, including students, those without Social Security numbers, and individuals who may have either a limited credit history or bad credit history.

We looked for different types of credit cards that would be easy for these individuals to qualify for, and that also offered other special features such as a rewards program or cardholder perks such as cell phone insurance or auto rental insurance.

The goal was to find credit cards that provide the best overall value in terms of cardholder benefits and either low or no fees, or fees justified by the features the card provides. We did not review all credit cards in the market, and this is not intended to be a complete list.

Great for Building Credit

Chase Freedom Rise℠

Chase Freedom Rise℠

Current Offer

$25 statement credit for enrolling in automatic payments within the first three months of account opening

Annual Fee


Rewards Rate

1.5% cash back on all purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Christy Rakoczy Christy Rakoczy has a Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School with a focus in Business Law, and a Certificate in Business Marketing with an English Degree from The University of Rochester. As a full-time personal finance writer, she writes about all things money-related but her special areas of focus are credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, smart debt payoff strategies, and retirement and Social Security. Her work has been featured by USA Today, MSN Money, CNN Money and more, and you can learn more at her LinkedIn profile.