Qualifying for credit cards can be difficult with limited or poor credit. The classic catch-22 is that you need good credit to qualify for credit accounts, but you need credit accounts to build good credit.
One way to get around that trap is to open credit cards that don’t require a credit check when you apply. They’re less common, but there are enough that you should be able to find one that meets your needs.
To help you get started, let’s review some of the best credit cards with no credit check.
5 Best Credit Cards With No Credit Check
When compiling this list, we primarily considered the following factors:
- Annual fees
- Cashback rewards
- Means of underwriting
- Customer review trends
- Security deposit requirements
- Annual percentage rates (APR)
Based on that research, here are our top picks for the best credit cards with no credit check:
- Tomo Credit Card – Best Unsecured Credit Card
- OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card – Best for Unbanked Consumers
- Chime Credit Builder Secured Card – Best for Revolving Security Deposits
- GO2bank™ Secured Visa® Credit Card – Best Traditional Secured Card
- Self Visa® Credit Card – Best for Pairing with a Credit Builder Loan
⚠️ These cards don’t require credit checks, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to qualify for them. Several have alternative eligibility requirements, and the card issuers may reject your application if you don’t meet them.
BEST UNSECURED CREDIT CARD
Tomo Credit Card
Financial history check
Instead of checking your credit score, Tomo uses your financial history to underwrite your application by reviewing your bank and investment account activities. If you have healthy cash flows, an emergency fund, and an investment portfolio, you should qualify for the card, which has no fees and rewards.
In addition, the Tomo Credit Card is unsecured, which means you won’t have to provide a security deposit when you sign up for an account. There aren’t many unsecured credit cards with no credit check.
BEST FOR UNBANKED CONSUMERS
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Credit cards with no credit check usually require a security deposit. Since the providers can’t verify your creditworthiness, it’s reasonable to ask for another form of assurance. Unfortunately, you typically need a checking account to fund that deposit. As a result, unbanked individuals with poor credit struggle even more to get credit cards.
OpenSky is one of the few credit card issuers that doesn’t require a bank account when you apply. Its card is secured, but you can fund your deposit via Western Union transfer, check, or money order.
BEST FOR REVOLVING SECURITY DEPOSITS
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Chime checking account
Most secured credit cards require that you provide a lump-sum deposit upfront equal to the account’s credit limit. It’s refundable, but you won’t see it until you upgrade to an unsecured line or close the card.
The Chime credit builder secured card requires a deposit at the beginning of every month instead. It becomes your credit limit for the period and automatically pays off your balance at the end. However, you get to set the monthly deposit, and there’s no minimum, making it much more flexible than traditional secured cards.
BEST TRADITIONAL SECURED CARD
GO2bank™ Secured Visa® Credit Card
If you want a traditional secured card, GO2bank offers a decent one with no credit check. You need to have a bank account with the provider and set up direct deposit to qualify for the card, but its terms are more favorable than OpenSky’s.
Not only is there no annual fee, but you can earn some reasonable cashback rewards. In addition, the minimum security deposit is much lower than average. You can open a card with as little as $100.
BEST FOR PAIRING WITH A CREDIT BUILDER LOAN
Self Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card
Self credit builder loan
Self’s primary product offering is a credit builder loan. It’s an installment debt secured by its own proceeds, which you receive once you pay off the account. It doesn’t require a credit check and is a great way to improve your payment history with installment debt.
If you’re interested in establishing a diverse credit mix, Self is a good option. Once you have the installment account in good standing for three months and pay off at least $100 of its principal, you can automatically open Self’s secured card.
1. Tomo Credit Card
The Tomo Credit Card is one of the more favorable credit cards you can get without a credit check. There are no annual fees or interest charges, and it has a decent rewards program for a card accessible with a bad credit score.
You earn discounts and benefits on Doordash, ShopRunner, and Lyft. Most importantly, the account doesn’t require a security deposit, which is rare for credit cards with no credit check.
That said, Tomo has some notable drawbacks. For one, there are no interest charges because the card won’t let you carry a balance for more than a week. It automatically debits your bank account every Monday to pay off your current balance, no matter when you incurred the charges.
If you want to use your credit card to defer payments, this will be a serious problem, and the Tomo Credit Card might not be your best choice. If your main objective is to build credit, those weekly payments could be ideal, as they will keep your credit utilization low.
In addition, Tomo uses an alternative underwriting method that involves reviewing your bank and investment account activity. As a result, you can still fail to qualify for the account, even though Tomo doesn’t check your credit.
Finally, the company receives consistent complaints from previous applicants and cardholders. Users report encountering glitches and problems throughout their customer journeys, with little assistance from customer support. Tomo is a relatively new company and they may sort these problems out, but you should be aware of them.
Unfortunately, there are very few unsecured credit cards that you can get with no credit check. If you’re not willing to compromise on those two factors, you’ll need to make other sacrifices and take calculated risks.
2. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Besides its lack of a credit check, the OpenSky secured account’s primary appeal is that it doesn’t require a bank account. You can qualify for the card without one and pay the security deposit using a money order, check, or Western Union transfer.
That’s highly beneficial to the 6% of American adults who are unbanked, especially since it’s not always easy to rectify that issue. Unpaid overdraft fees, bounced checks, and bank account closures can damage your banking history, making it difficult to qualify for new accounts.
Otherwise, the OpenSky Secured card is a typical starter card. There’s a $35 annual fee, and you won’t earn any cashback rewards on your purchases. It also requires a traditional security deposit, starting at $200.
The APR is relatively low compared to other accounts on this list at 22.64%, but that’s still too high to be affordable. Carrying a balance on even the cheapest of credit cards is a losing strategy.
Unfortunately, reviews indicate that the credit card company’s customer service may leave something to be desired. Apparently, the phone line is often unavailable, and representatives aren’t always as helpful as they could be.
📗 Learn More: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review
3. Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
The Chime credit builder card’s unique draw is its revolving security deposit system. Instead of requiring a large lump sum upfront that’s inaccessible for months at a time, you make a new deposit each month.
The amount becomes your credit limit for the period, and the funds you provide go toward your balance at the end of each month. Fortunately, there’s no minimum, so you can forego the deposit entirely when cash is limited.
An interesting result of that system is that Chime doesn’t affect your credit utilization ratio because there’s no fixed credit limit. You don’t have to worry about damaging your score by running up a balance on the account.
Otherwise, the Chime card has fairly average terms. There’s no annual fee and no interest because you can’t carry a balance, but you won’t be able to earn any cashback rewards.
There are no alternative means of underwriting instead of a credit check, but you need a Chime bank account to sign up. The provider won’t accept your monthly deposits from any other account.
Fortunately, Chime generally receives positive customer reviews. Comments indicate that the card is effective at building credit, the mobile app is easy to use, and the customer service is reasonably responsive.
📗 Learn More: Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card Review (2023)
4. GO2bank™ Secured Visa® Credit Card
GO2bank offers a traditional secured credit card with no credit check. You’ll need to provide a security deposit upfront to qualify, but you get to determine the amount and set your credit limit. The minimum amount is only $100, which is lower than average.
In addition, you must have a GO2bank account with direct deposits of at least $100 in the last 30 days to qualify. The provider requires that you fund your security deposit by transferring money from the GO2bank checking account.
GO2bank’s secured card is pretty rudimentary otherwise, like most credit cards with no credit check. There’s no annual fee, but the APR is high, and you won’t be able to earn any cashback rewards.
The most notable downside is that reviews suggest you may encounter account problems and struggle to receive adequate assistance. Previous customers report that there’s often a language barrier with the support team. However, many complaints are about the company’s prepaid debit cards, not the secured card.
5. Self Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card
The Self Visa credit card is a great way to build a foundation for your credit mix. To qualify for the account, you must first open a Self credit builder loan. It’s a unique type of installment debt that uses your proceeds as collateral, keeping them in a locked account for the life of the loan. As a result, it doesn’t require a credit check either.
During the repayment term, you make monthly payments as you would for any other loan. Once you’ve made three on time and paid off $100 in principal, you can open the Self Visa credit card using the amount as your security deposit.
Other than the unusual process for opening the card, it’s similar to other no-credit-check cards. There’s a $25 annual fee, and no cashback rewards or introductory offers.
Self receives mixed ratings across review platforms. Comments indicate that customer service can be tough to reach when you need to resolve issues or close accounts. In addition, they note that the loan and card are effective at building credit if you pay on time but have no safety net for missed payments and can be costly.
📗 Learn More: Self Visa Credit Card Review
Choose a Card You Can Use Safely
Credit cards are incredibly convenient for managing your finances and building credit when used effectively. However, misusing them can quickly backfire, trapping you in a cycle of expensive debt and tanking your credit score.
As a result, it’s essential that you build a solid financial foundation and learn to use credit cards safely before applying for one. Here are some best practices to follow:
- Keep an emergency fund equal to your credit limit
- Avoid using cards to finance large purchases
- Set up autopay to prevent yourself from forgetting payments
- Pay your statement balance monthly to avoid interest charges
Credit cards should primarily be a way to build credit and earn rewards. Their interest rates are too high to risk carrying a balance on the account. If you think you might struggle to pay your statement balance on time each month, consider waiting to apply until your finances are more stable.
📗 Learn More: How to Use Credit Cards Wisely: 11 Rules to Live By
Consider Secured Cards with Credit Checks
Applying for a credit card with no credit check is an easy way to qualify for an account despite having bad credit or limited credit history. However, it’s usually not necessary. Plenty of accounts with credit checks are available to subprime applicants.
If you’re willing to undergo incur a hard inquiry, you may be able to qualify for a credit card with more favorable terms than the ones on this list. Explore those options thoroughly before committing to a card with no credit check.
📗 Learn More: The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit in July 2023
Take Your Next Steps
Opening a credit card is an effective way to establish or rebuild your credit score. You can also significantly speed up the process by acquiring additional credit accounts, especially installment loans that diversify your credit mix.
However, you must learn how credit works before proceeding. Improving your score while protecting your finances is complex, and the journey is long with many potential pitfalls. Fortunately, you can be successful with patience and discipline. It takes time, but your efforts will pay off!
All Credit Builder Accounts made by Lead Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender, Sunrise Banks, N.A. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender or Atlantic Capital Bank, N.A. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. Subject to ID Verification. Individual borrowers must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security Number are required. All loans are subject to ID verification and consumer report review and approval. Results are not guaranteed. Improvement in your credit score is dependent on your specific situation and financial behavior. Failure to make monthly minimum payments by the payment due date each month may result in delinquent payment reporting to credit bureaus which may negatively impact your credit score. This product will not remove negative credit history from your credit report. All loans subject to approval. All Certificates of Deposit (CD) are deposited in Lead Banks, Member FDIC, Sunrise Banks, N.A., Member FDIC or Atlantic Capital Bank, N.A., Member FDIC.
The Self Visa® Credit Card is issued by Lead Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.
How We Chose the Best Credit Cards with No Credit Check
We evaluated these cards on several criteria.
- Annual fees. No fees are best, and lower fees are better than higher ones.
- Rewards. You don’t expect significant rewards in a card with no credit check, but there’s nothing wrong with taking the rewards you can get.
- Means of underwriting. Even cards with no credit check will look into your creditworthiness. We looked at the way the card issuers do that.
- Customer review trends. A positive reputation is a good thing.
- Security deposit requirements. Most cards with no credit check will require a deposit. A wider range of deposit options is a plus factor.
- Annual percentage rates (APR). If you pay your statements before the due date (as you should), you won’t pay interest at all, but it’s still worth looking for a low APR.
Not all of these factors will be important to all card users. You should look at the factors that are most important to you!