You might think just because you’ve had some credit challenges or haven’t yet established a solid credit history that you are not entitled to some of the same perks and benefits credit card companies offer to people with excellent credit.

But that’s not necessarily the case. There are actually several credit cards that come with their own incentives, rewards and cash back programs that cater to the less-than-perfect credit score crowd. You just have to know where to look!

Bad Credit Cash Back Cards

Cash back credit cards usually offer strictly cash back deals, either for all purchases or designated purchases. So, say you buy a $200 fur coat on a credit card that offers 1% cash back rewards for anything you buy. You just earned $2 back and the company will usually deposit that amount back onto your card along with other cash back you earned at the end of your statement period. Here are a few great cash back cards:

Discover it Card

The Discover it card gets our top pick for treating all their customers the same. Whether you have bad credit, fair credit or excellent credit, you can cash in on some of their stellar perks. They offer 5% cash back at various stores, and those stores change each quarter. So, you might get rewards for gas purchases, grocery purchases, or even coffee. But they also give 1% cash back for all purchases not on the list for the quarter. You literally save at least 1% on everything you buy on the card. But here’s the icing on the cake — in the first year you have the card, they will MATCH every cash back reward you received that year. That’s just money in the bank!

Capital One QuicksilverOne

Capital One is notorious for serving customers with all types of credit scores, so chances are they have one that will fit your needs no matter your situation. This card in particular, though, is offered to people with fair to excellent credit and offers a 1.5% cash back rewards program for every purchase made on the card. They also offer promotions occasionally, such as 50% back on Spotify subscriptions during the first quarter of 2018.

Capital One Platinum

This is one of Capital One’s credit cards offered to people with even lower credit scores than the QuicksilverOne accepts. It offers 1% cash rewards on eligible purchases, which may vary from time to time. You just have to check their website to see which stores they are offering rewards for at the time of your purchase.

Credit One Bank VISA

Credit One’s Visa accepts applications with less than perfect credit and offers a 1% cash back reward on all eligible purchases. You will have to visit their website to find out which stores they offer rewards for at the time of your purchase. They also give you free access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so that you can monitor your credit progress.

Capital One Journey Student Rewards VISA

This card from Capital One is designed especially for students to build credit. They offer 1% cash back rewards initially, but will boost that to 1.25% with on-time payments. Capital One also does not limit the rewards you can earn and they never expire. 

Bad Credit Rewards Cards

Rewards cards can offer cash back deals, but they also offer added rewards like airline miles or bonus points used to purchase various merchandise. Here are a few rewards cards we recommend:

Southwest Chase VISA

If you like to travel, you will love the Southwest VISA card that accepts even people with less than perfect credit scores. You will earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on the card for Southwest purchases. That includes airline, hotel and rental cars. And 1 point per dollar you spend on everything else. Best part — the points are unlimited!

Bank of America Student Travel Card

Designed specifically to help students build a credit history, the Bank of America Student Travel card comes with a pretty amazing rewards program. They offer 1.5 points for every dollar you spend initially and you are eligible for their Preferred Rewards Program which earns you more points at different levels. They also offer special incentives and bonus points for travel-related purchases, making it easy for students to build credit while seeing the world. 

USAA Military Affiliate Card

You don’t have to be affiliated with the military to apply for this card. It’s just a way to show your appreciation and you can choose any affiliation you wish — Airforce, Navy, Marines, etc. They offer a card for people with lower than average credit scores that allows you to redeem points for cash, merchandise, travel or donations and you get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase. You can choose VISA or American Express for this card.


Just because you have less than perfect credit, bad credit or no credit, that does not mean you shouldn’t reap some of the benefits these companies have to offer. Secured credit cards and low score credit cards can be a great way to rebuild your score, but don’t get stuck with a lousy company just because you don’t think you have choices. Do your research and choose the card that best meets your needs. This list is an excellent place to start. A few rewards and perks should just be a part of the package!

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