Below, you will find a mixture of both secured and unsecured credit cards that we highly recommend for consumers with bad to fair credit. Please note that they are being shared with you for informational purposes only. Some credit information provided may contain affiliate links, which if approved, may earn us a small commission to help keep our service prices low. Please see the Legal & Affiliate Disclosures below for complete details.
We have listed our recommendations in the order that we suggest you apply. Please read the descriptions carefully, and only apply to the accounts that best fit your current circumstances (lower scores vs higher scores, etc). Furthermore, only apply for the number of accounts, within each category (credit cards, installments, auto, mortgage, etc) that you need.
You should have at least 3 revolving accounts (ie, credit cards/retail store accounts) - but no more than 5 (to keep it manageable). Only you know what is manageable for you. And for the record, there's no difference (from a credit reporting standpoint) between secured & unsecured credit cards. So they're both considered to be within the same category.
You should have at least 2 installment accounts reporting - but no more than 3 (to keep it manageable). Ideally, you're going to need to have at least 1 auto loan, and 1 mortgage loan. If you also have student loans or a personal loan reporting, that's fine, but auto and mortgage are more critical. This, along with your revolving credit lines, will give you a nice acceptable mixture of credit, which makes up 15% of your score.
Please note that while its important to have this installment mixture, these are accounts that you can acquire over time. Unlike the revolving credit that you need right now, you do not need to establish installment credit immediately, especially if you're just starting out on your credit building/re-building journey. Focus on the revolving accounts first, and then add-on the installments after 3 months or so.
With that being said, you will also find some installment accounts below that you may sign up for IF, and ONLY if, you need to establish a mixture of credit as well.
QUICK TIP: If you're in the market for a home loan/mortgage, do NOT finance a new auto loan until AFTER you have purchased and moved into your new home.
If you have any questions about credit establishment and building, then please feel free to give us a call. Active Clients may call or text their dedicated Credit Concierge for further assistance as needed.