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Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

One of the most common questions I receive from Creditnet readers is "How can I rebuild my bad credit?"  My responses generally include several suggestions, but the first recommendation I give is always the same- you need to build positive payment history. Sure, there are quite a few other tricks you can try that may provide short-term credit score boosts, but building positive payment history will have more of a lasting effect on your FICO scores than anything else. After all, it accounts for the largest chunk of your FICO score. So how can you go about building positive payment history when your credit is in the tank and you fear you'll never get approved for a credit card again? Fortunately, there are credit issuers out there who are willing to take a chance on you again.  These guys often get a bad rap because they offer products with higher than average fees and interest rates to consumers trying to rebuild credit.  However, the truth is these cards can provide huge long-term benefits for those that truly care about fixing the mistakes they've made and getting their personal finances back on track. Of course, there are some products that stand out above the rest. Here are my picks for the top 2 credit cards for bad credit in 2011:

Orchard Bank Visa Card

If you think your credit is decent enough to qualify for an unsecured card, Orchard Bank credit cards are your best option on the market today. Your annual fee and interest rates will vary depending upon your current credit level, but once again, you don't care about interest rates. You won't be carrying any balances! You can, however, expect your annual fee to fall somewhere between $35 to $59, which you'll find isn't bad at all when compared to other bad credit credit cards. It's important to remember that these cards are stepping stones on your way back to healthy credit.  If you play your cards right, you shouldn't be using them for more than 6-12 months.  And while it may be a bit painful to pay a higher annual fee and not receive any rewards while using your new card, that's a small price to pay for building positive payment history and watching your FICO scores rise once again.

First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Intro APR N/A
Regular APR
19.99% Variable
Balance Transfer
N/A

First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Highlights

  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!

  • Full-featured Platinum MasterCard, accepted for car rentals, hotels, and millions of other locations worldwide

  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval!

  • Credit Limit is Secured by Your Refundable Deposit ($300 minimum)

  • Quick and Complete Online Application

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Expert Rating: 4.45 / 5 stars

First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Intro APR N/A
Regular APR
14.99%
Balance Transfer
N/A

First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Highlights

  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!

  • Fund Your New MasterCard Secured Credit Card with Your Tax Refund Today

  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval!

  • Get a Credit Limit Equal to Your Refundable Deposit ($300 minimum)

  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option

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Expert Rating: 4.40 / 5 stars

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Intro APR N/A
Regular APR
11.99%
Balance Transfer
N/A

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Highlights

  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!

  • We Can Approve You at Any Credit Score; No Minimum Score Required!

  • Approval is Based on a Fully-Refundable Security Deposit ($300 minimum)

  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time!

  • Monthly Reporting to All Three Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History

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Expert Rating: 4.50 / 5 stars

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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