Best Credit Cards With No Credit Check - NerdWallet

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Credit cards that advertise "no credit check" can be appealing to those with poor credit (FICO scores of 629 or below), since applying for them won't impact your credit scores. But often, such cards come with high fees and interest rates — hence the name fee-harvester cards.
They may let you dodge that hard pull on your credit report, but you'll pay for it in the long run.
But some credit card companies — especially newer startups in the space — are advertising both no credit check and no fees of any kind. Many of these so-called alternative credit cards have proprietary underwriting technology that can evaluate creditworthiness by looking at other factors, like your bank account, instead of traditional FICO scores and credit histories.
In short, if you have poor credit, fee-harvester cards and traditional secured credit cards are no longer your only options. Here are some low- and no-fee cards that don’t require a credit check.
» MORE: Alternatives to instant-approval credit cards
Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
Tomo Credit Card
Grow Credit Mastercard
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
GO2bank Secured Credit Card
Credit check: None.
Security deposit: No upfront security deposit is required. You decide your credit limit based on how much you move to your secured account.
Fees: None.
APR: None.
For those with poor credit or no credit, the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card removes many of the limitations of traditional secured credit cards. A Chime Spending Account — a free bank account that allows you to receive direct deposits — is required to get the card. You'll also need at least $200 in direct deposits made to the Chime Spending Account within the past 365 days to show that you have a source of income.
However, this card doesn't require an upfront security deposit as many secured credit cards do, so you're not paying $200 that will be wrapped up and untouchable for an undetermined amount of time.
You also get to decide how much you spend. The money you move from the Chime Spending Account to the Credit Builder secured account determines the amount of your credit limit. So if you move, say, $25 to your secured account, you’ll be able to spend $25 with the card. The money in the secured account can also be used to pay off the balance, and those payments will allow you to build credit. For instance, if you spent $15 on gas with your secured card, you'd be able to use that same $25 to pay off the $15. Your payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus.
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card requires a Chime Spending Account to qualify. It’s free to open one, but it does require some additional effort beyond the card's application. And if you prefer the option to carry a balance from month to month, this card doesn't allow it.
» MORE: Review of the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
Credit check: None.
Security deposit: None.
Fees: None.
APR: None.
The Tomo Credit Card, issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, is ideal for those with poor credit or no credit. It earns 1% cash back and may offer a possible credit limit of up to $10,000, depending on eligibility. TomoCredit, the company behind the card, has proprietary technology that weighs many data points including, but not limited to, income (or income potential), account balances and contact information. The bank uses this data to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the card.
To provide this information, you're required to link at least one account through Plaid, a third-party service provider. You may link a checking account, savings account, investment account or another eligible account. Payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. That's a must-have feature when you're trying to establish credit, because these companies collect the information used to calculate your credit scores.
The Tomo Credit Card may have some features that aren't ideal for everyone. For instance, you can't carry a balance from one month to the next with the card. Plus, it requires you to start off with a seven-day schedule in which payments are automatically deducted from your bank account.
» MORE: Review of the Tomo Credit Card
Credit check: The company runs only a soft credit check, which won't impact your credit score.
Security deposit: None for most membership plans.
Fees: None with the free membership tier. (Other tiers will cost you.)
APR: None.
The Grow Credit Mastercard is a virtual card issued by Sutton Bank that is friendly to those with poor credit or no credit. Grow Credit has proprietary technology that looks at income to evaluate creditworthiness. To weigh that information, the company requires you to link a bank account through Plaid.
With the card, you choose one of four membership plans that help you build credit as you pay for eligible monthly subscriptions or bills. For example, if you normally pay $8.99 a month for Netflix, you can make that payment with the Grow Credit Mastercard. The payments, if made on time and in full, will build your credit. (Qualifying subscriptions and bills vary by membership plan.) It reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.
You can't use the card for any transactions other than the qualifying bills and subscriptions. You also can't carry a balance from one month to another.
Note that two of the paid membership plans — the Grow membership tier (annual cost of about $60) and the Accelerate membership tier (nearly $120 annually) — are not worth the cost. That's money you won't get back. You're better off with Grow Credit's free membership plan or secured membership plan. It's also worth exploring a secured credit card that offers a chance to get your deposit back.
» MORE: Review of the Grow Credit Mastercard
Credit check: None.
Security deposit: A $200 minimum deposit is required.
Fees: A $35 annual fee. Depending on your transactions and payments, other fees may apply.
APR: The ongoing APR is 17.39% Variable APR.
The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a traditional secured credit card ideal for those with poor credit. Among secured credit cards, it’s one of the few that lets you qualify without a credit check or bank account. It also reports payments to all three credit bureaus and lets you carry an ongoing balance.
The card’s minimum $200 deposit requirement may be an obstacle for some. And while the $35 annual fee is on the low end, it's possible to find secured credit cards that don't charge an annual fee. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card also doesn’t offer a path to upgrade to an unsecured card once you've established a good payment history, so you’ll have to close your account if you want to get your security deposit back.
» MORE: Review of the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Credit check: None.
Security deposit: A $100 minimum deposit is required.
Fees: A $0 annual fee. Depending on your transactions and payments, other fees may apply.
APR: The ongoing APR is 22.99% (as of this writing).
The GO2bank Secured Credit Card is a solid option for those with poor credit. To apply, you’ll need to have a GO2bank account and direct deposits totaling at least $100 in the past 30 days. There won't be a credit check to apply, and it has a relatively low minimum security deposit requirement among secured credit cards: $100. The amount deposited determines your credit limit.
As with a regular credit card, the lower the credit limit, the less you’ll want to spend. Using less than 30% of your available credit limit can help your credit score. The GO2bank Secured Credit Card also reports your payments to all three credit bureaus, which helps you build credit.
Aside from the required security deposit, the GO2bank Secured Credit Card also requires you to have a GO2bank account to qualify, which adds an extra step in the application process. It doesn’t offer a path to upgrade to an unsecured credit card once you've established a good payment history, so you’ll have to close your account if you want to get your security deposit back. The card also charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on every purchase, so it’s not ideal for traveling abroad.
» MORE: Review of the GO2bank Secured Credit Card
About the author: Melissa Lambarena is a credit cards writer at NerdWallet. Her work has been featured by The Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today. Read more
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Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
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