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Easiest Credit Cards to Get Approved For in 2021

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated July 28, 2021 . Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Advertising Disclosure: LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

Whether you’re new to credit, recovering from bad credit, or just don’t want to risk a hard inquiry on your credit report only to get a rejection notice, you have options.

LendingTree evaluated credit cards that are easiest to get approved for with straightforward terms so you won’t be smacked with expensive and often unexpected fees issuers of subprime credit cards usually charge you.

Typically, subprime cards are marketed to those with bad credit and often come with a variety of fees, including an annual fee, a monthly account servicing fee, and more, making them very expensive tools to rebuild your credit. They also tend to have very high interest rates. If you’re trying to rebuild credit, we recommend avoiding subprime cards and applying for a secured card instead.

Easiest Credit Cards to Get Approved For
Best for no credit check OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Best secured card Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Best unsecured card Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Best card for students Discover it® Student Cash Back
Best retail card Target REDcard™ Credit Card
Best business card Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Best For No credit check

OpenSky<sup>®</sup> Secured Visa<sup>®</sup> Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Apply Now
on OpenSky's secure site
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $35
Regular Purchase APR 17.39% (variable)

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card — issued by Capital Bank — is a no-frills card that doesn’t require a credit check when you apply.

It’s a secured credit card, meaning you must submit a security deposit of a minimum of $200 to the issuer that will be equal to your credit limit (with a maximum security deposit of $3,000).

In other respects, it works the same as an unsecured credit card. It’s aimed at consumers with limited/bad/poor credit who want to improve their credit score and reports account and payment activity to all three credit bureaus.

If you’re worried about incurring a hard inquiry on your next card application (which can temporarily knock down your credit score), consider the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It’s unique in that it doesn’t run a credit check when considering your application, though other financial factors will be considered. It’s a secured card, meaning you’ll have to submit a security deposit that will serve as your credit limit. You can get the deposit back if you pay off and close the card.

The downside to this card is that it charges an annual fee of $35 without offering any rewards, nor does the issuer give you an opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card, as some competing secured cards do after you show responsible usage. However, if you want to avoid a hard inquiry, this card could allow you to improve your score and eventually get approved for a card without an annual fee or one that offers cash back or travel rewards.

This card’s regular purchase APR is 17.39% (variable).

  • Apply for this card even if you don’t have a checking account
  • Set automated email alerts so you never miss a payment
  • Request a credit limit increase at any time (you must also increase your deposit)

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card — issued by Capital Bank — is a no-frills card that doesn’t require a credit check when you apply.

It’s a secured credit card, meaning you must submit a security deposit of a minimum of $200 to the issuer that will be equal to your credit limit (with a maximum security deposit of $3,000).

In other respects, it works the same as an unsecured credit card. It’s aimed at consumers with limited/bad/poor credit who want to improve their credit score and reports account and payment activity to all three credit bureaus.

If you’re worried about incurring a hard inquiry on your next card application (which can temporarily knock down your credit score), consider the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It’s unique in that it doesn’t run a credit check when considering your application, though other financial factors will be considered. It’s a secured card, meaning you’ll have to submit a security deposit that will serve as your credit limit. You can get the deposit back if you pay off and close the card.

The downside to this card is that it charges an annual fee of $35 without offering any rewards, nor does the issuer give you an opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card, as some competing secured cards do after you show responsible usage. However, if you want to avoid a hard inquiry, this card could allow you to improve your score and eventually get approved for a card without an annual fee or one that offers cash back or travel rewards.

This card’s regular purchase APR is 17.39% (variable).

  • Apply for this card even if you don’t have a checking account
  • Set automated email alerts so you never miss a payment
  • Request a credit limit increase at any time (you must also increase your deposit)

Best For Secured card

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 22.99% Variable APR

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is unique among secured cards in that it offers a rewards program — 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically

Discover also makes it easy to upgrade to an unsecured credit card. After you’ve used your card for eight months, Discover will start conducting monthly reviews of your account to see if you’re eligible to upgrade and get your deposit back.

There’s also an excellent signup bonus for new cardmembers: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Whether you’ve struggled with credit in the past or are completely new to credit and want to get off to a great start, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card can help you on your journey.

It’s a secured credit card, meaning you must submit a security deposit (a minimum of $200 up to $2,500) equal to the amount of your credit line. In the event you don’t pay off what you charge to the card, Discover will use the deposit to recoup that loss. In other respects, secured cards function just like regular credit cards (also known as unsecured cards).

A great feature of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is that it earns cash back. Unlike some unsecured cards for bad credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card doesn’t hit applicants with expensive fees and confusing terms. It’s consistently one of our top credit card choices for building credit.

  • Free FICO Score access
  • Discover Identity Alerts (free upon activation)
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online
  • U.S.-based 24/7 customer support

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is unique among secured cards in that it offers a rewards program — 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically

Discover also makes it easy to upgrade to an unsecured credit card. After you’ve used your card for eight months, Discover will start conducting monthly reviews of your account to see if you’re eligible to upgrade and get your deposit back.

There’s also an excellent signup bonus for new cardmembers: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Whether you’ve struggled with credit in the past or are completely new to credit and want to get off to a great start, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card can help you on your journey.

It’s a secured credit card, meaning you must submit a security deposit (a minimum of $200 up to $2,500) equal to the amount of your credit line. In the event you don’t pay off what you charge to the card, Discover will use the deposit to recoup that loss. In other respects, secured cards function just like regular credit cards (also known as unsecured cards).

A great feature of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is that it earns cash back. Unlike some unsecured cards for bad credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card doesn’t hit applicants with expensive fees and confusing terms. It’s consistently one of our top credit card choices for building credit.

  • Free FICO Score access
  • Discover Identity Alerts (free upon activation)
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online
  • U.S.-based 24/7 customer support

Best For No security deposit

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is pretty much a no-frills credit card. It doesn’t offer a rewards program, but it is available to those whose credit is average/fair/limited.

It’s an unsecured card, meaning you don’t have to submit a security deposit — and you’re likely to get a higher credit limit than the standard $200 security deposit that you would be required to submit for a secured card. After demonstrating responsible usage on this card, you might be able to upgrade to another Capital One card offering cash back or miles.

If you carry a balance from month to month on your Capital One Platinum Credit Card, you will be subject to a high purchase APR of 26.99% (variable). That said, high interest rates are relatively common for credit cards designed to help you build or establish credit.

If you’re looking for a credit card that doesn’t require a security deposit that is designed for consumers with average/fair/limited credit and could be used to improve your credit score, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card could help.

In addition to offering unlimited access to your credit score, the $0 annual fee card automatically reviews your credit line after six months to see if you qualify for a higher credit limit. Know that your initial credit limit may be low, which is typical for cards marketed to individuals looking to rebuild their credit profiles.

  • $0 fraud liability
  • Virtual card numbers through Eno.
  • Monitor your credit score progress with CreditWise

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is pretty much a no-frills credit card. It doesn’t offer a rewards program, but it is available to those whose credit is average/fair/limited.

It’s an unsecured card, meaning you don’t have to submit a security deposit — and you’re likely to get a higher credit limit than the standard $200 security deposit that you would be required to submit for a secured card. After demonstrating responsible usage on this card, you might be able to upgrade to another Capital One card offering cash back or miles.

If you carry a balance from month to month on your Capital One Platinum Credit Card, you will be subject to a high purchase APR of 26.99% (variable). That said, high interest rates are relatively common for credit cards designed to help you build or establish credit.

If you’re looking for a credit card that doesn’t require a security deposit that is designed for consumers with average/fair/limited credit and could be used to improve your credit score, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card could help.

In addition to offering unlimited access to your credit score, the $0 annual fee card automatically reviews your credit line after six months to see if you qualify for a higher credit limit. Know that your initial credit limit may be low, which is typical for cards marketed to individuals looking to rebuild their credit profiles.

  • $0 fraud liability
  • Virtual card numbers through Eno.
  • Monitor your credit score progress with CreditWise

Best For Students

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Introductory APR 0% for 6 months on purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR

If you’re a college student over the age of 18 with a steady source of income, the Discover it® Student Cash Back has a lot to offer.

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Plus, the sign-up bonus is a great value if you put most of your spend on this card the first year you have it Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

This card also offers an intro APR of 0% for 6 months on purchases, after which a 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR will apply.

Finally, Discover offers a good grades credit for up to five years. Each school year that your GPA is 3.0 or higher, you can get a $20 statement credit.

Students willing to keep track of bonus categories can maximize their cash back with the Discover it® Student Cash Back, while also building credit through responsible credit practices.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers a higher cash back rate on purchases that fall into specific categories (such as Amazon, grocery stores and restaurants) that change every quarter. Cardholders are required to activate those categories in order to earn the higher cashback rate.

Despite the effort required to activate a new category every quarter, the Discover it® Student Cash Back’s rewards program along with its $0 annual fee make it hard to beat.

  • Free FICO Score access
  • Freeze your card online
  • Discover® Identity Alerts
  • Customer service based 100% in the U.S.
  • No penalty APR
  • No late fee on your first late payment

If you’re a college student over the age of 18 with a steady source of income, the Discover it® Student Cash Back has a lot to offer.

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Plus, the sign-up bonus is a great value if you put most of your spend on this card the first year you have it Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

This card also offers an intro APR of 0% for 6 months on purchases, after which a 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR will apply.

Finally, Discover offers a good grades credit for up to five years. Each school year that your GPA is 3.0 or higher, you can get a $20 statement credit.

Students willing to keep track of bonus categories can maximize their cash back with the Discover it® Student Cash Back, while also building credit through responsible credit practices.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers a higher cash back rate on purchases that fall into specific categories (such as Amazon, grocery stores and restaurants) that change every quarter. Cardholders are required to activate those categories in order to earn the higher cashback rate.

Despite the effort required to activate a new category every quarter, the Discover it® Student Cash Back’s rewards program along with its $0 annual fee make it hard to beat.

  • Free FICO Score access
  • Freeze your card online
  • Discover® Identity Alerts
  • Customer service based 100% in the U.S.
  • No penalty APR
  • No late fee on your first late payment

Best For Retail

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Highlights
  • 5% discount at Target and Target.com
  • $0 annual fee
  • 22.90% variable APR

Store cards are generally much easier to qualify for than other credit cards as they tend to have lower credit limits and higher APRs.

If you regularly shop at Target or Target.com, you may want to consider the Target REDcard™ Credit Card.

The $0 annual fee card offers a 5% off at Target. In store. Online. Every time. Plus, cardholders have access to exclusive perks, such as free two-day shipping and extended returns.

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card is best for Target shoppers since the card cannot be used outside of Target and Target.com. The ongoing discount is also easy since it’s instantly applied at checkout.

Since your initial credit line may be low, it’s important to keep your balance to below 30% of your credit limit when trying to build up your credit score. For example, if your credit limit is $300, then don’t charge more than $90 to your card every month and pay off the entire balance when the statement is due since the APR is high.

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card is geared toward applicants with good credit, with credit scores starting from 690-850.

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Extended 30-day return policy
  • 10% card discount coupon every card anniversary

Store cards are generally much easier to qualify for than other credit cards as they tend to have lower credit limits and higher APRs.

If you regularly shop at Target or Target.com, you may want to consider the Target REDcard™ Credit Card.

The $0 annual fee card offers a 5% off at Target. In store. Online. Every time. Plus, cardholders have access to exclusive perks, such as free two-day shipping and extended returns.

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card is best for Target shoppers since the card cannot be used outside of Target and Target.com. The ongoing discount is also easy since it’s instantly applied at checkout.

Since your initial credit line may be low, it’s important to keep your balance to below 30% of your credit limit when trying to build up your credit score. For example, if your credit limit is $300, then don’t charge more than $90 to your card every month and pay off the entire balance when the statement is due since the APR is high.

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card is geared toward applicants with good credit, with credit scores starting from 690-850.

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Extended 30-day return policy
  • 10% card discount coupon every card anniversary
The information related to the Target REDcard™ Credit Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Best For Business owners

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • No annual fee
  • Build and strengthen credit for your business by using this credit card responsibly
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • No foreign transaction fees

Business owners with less-than-stellar credit can build credit history and earn cash back with the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business. It’s a flat-rate, $0-annual-fee card that’s worthy of consideration if you think you’ll struggle to qualify for other business credit cards.

Cardholders earn 1% cash back on every purchase. Rewards don’t expire as long as the account is open, and there’s no cap on how much cash back you can earn. However, there is no signup bonus that comes with this card.

Redemption options include:

  • Statement credits
  • Statements for previous purchases
  • Checks
  • Gift cards

While some business credit cards require good or excellent credit to be approved, the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is designed for business owners with fair/limited credit. Use it responsibly and as your credit score rises, you can apply for a card with more lucrative rewards.

If you don’t know where your credit score stands, it’s wise to check it before applying. Note that both personal and business credit can be considered when applying for a small business card.

If business requires you to travel abroad, don’t worry about paying a foreign transaction fee on each purchase – there is none.

Plus, there’s no charge for extra cards to issue to your employees, and you’ll earn cash back on the purchases they make.

  • Virtual card numbers
  • Year-end spending summary
  • Roadside assistance
  • Extended warranty

Business owners with less-than-stellar credit can build credit history and earn cash back with the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business. It’s a flat-rate, $0-annual-fee card that’s worthy of consideration if you think you’ll struggle to qualify for other business credit cards.

Cardholders earn 1% cash back on every purchase. Rewards don’t expire as long as the account is open, and there’s no cap on how much cash back you can earn. However, there is no signup bonus that comes with this card.

Redemption options include:

  • Statement credits
  • Statements for previous purchases
  • Checks
  • Gift cards

While some business credit cards require good or excellent credit to be approved, the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is designed for business owners with fair/limited credit. Use it responsibly and as your credit score rises, you can apply for a card with more lucrative rewards.

If you don’t know where your credit score stands, it’s wise to check it before applying. Note that both personal and business credit can be considered when applying for a small business card.

If business requires you to travel abroad, don’t worry about paying a foreign transaction fee on each purchase – there is none.

Plus, there’s no charge for extra cards to issue to your employees, and you’ll earn cash back on the purchases they make.

  • Virtual card numbers
  • Year-end spending summary
  • Roadside assistance
  • Extended warranty
The information related to the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

The bottom line

While no credit card is ever a guaranteed approval, you should have a better shot at getting one of the cards on this list. Some provide opportunities to upgrade to better cards down the road. And while others may not have an option to upgrade, they can still help you increase your credit score with responsible usage, which can help you qualify for a better card down the road.

Once approved, make sure to pay your balance in full each month and keep your utilization ratio low. A good rule of thumb is to never use more than 30% of your credit limit — so if you have a card with a $500 limit, don’t charge more than $150 to it at any time.

You should also keep an eye on your credit score to make sure your credit card usage is having the desired effect. There are resources where you can do this for free, such as the LendingTree app.

Finally, for tips on smart credit usage, take a look at how one credit card user managed to raise his score by 100 points in 30 days.

Glen Luke Flanagan

Overview

Glen Luke Flanagan covers credit card news for LendingTree.com. He joined the team in June 2019. His work ranges from reviews of new cards to in-depth pieces on protecting your financial information, and his background is in journalism and government communications. 

Experience

As a journalist in North Carolina and South Carolina, Glen covered topics including city government, state government, local businesses, public safety and more. During his time at The State newspaper, Glen’s work appeared on the websites of newspapers across the United States owned by The McClatchy Company. His reporting at The News Herald and The State newspaper won awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Press Association, respectively.

Education

Glen earned his B.A. in media studies with a concentration in journalism from Radford University, graduating summa cum laude in May 2014. After graduation, he participated in a Dow Jones News Fund training and internship. Out of more than 600 applicants, only 86 were accepted into the DJNF program that summer. He was later one of approximately two dozen fellows selected from journalists across the country to participate in the University of South Carolina’s 2016 Media Law School, which was sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates. This program gave fellows an intensive crash course in public records, bankruptcy law, podcasts and more.

Read More

The above offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available. Check the Issuers’ website for more details.