Which Credit One Card Is Right for You?

Estimated read time: 10 minutes

For people with bad credit scores, getting approved for a credit card without putting down a security deposit is nearly impossible. And even when they decide to go the secured card route, the security deposit is usually the same as their card's limit, which means they're not really getting any credit loaned to them at all. Fortunately, there's a credit card company willing to actually offer credit cards to people with less than stellar credit scores.

Seven million people across the United States have already taken advantage of Credit One's unsecured credit cards, and a lot of them started with low credit scores. Credit One consistently meets the needs of people who would typically be rejected by most credit card companies.

Another thing people with lousy credit scores usually don't expect to have is the ability to earn cash back on their purchases. For those who qualify, Credit One even offers cardholders the chance to earn cash back on their spending, with three different card options, and we are taking a good look at each one so you can compare them against each other before making your choice.

Find out how three of Credit One's credit cards stack up against one another and you'll also take a look at what existing customers have to say about the quality of their service. After you've checked out the perks of each card and the things you need to watch out for, you should be able to make an informed choice on which Credit One card is best for you, even if you've had problems with your credit and you need an unsecured credit card with the opportunity to earn some cash back.

Key Features

Making unsecured cards available to people with bad credit.

Way back in 1984, Credit One was started in California as the First National Bank of Marin. FNBM was a a full service bank offering a wide range of products like bank accounts, loans, and credit cards. A little over 10 years later, the leaders of the bank realized its most successful products were secured credit cards, so that's where they shifted their focus.

Found a home in Vegas. The bank moved from California to Las Vegas in 1998, and officially changed its name to Credit One in 2006, becoming a prominent member of the Las Vegas business community, and ultimately, a founding partner for the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season in 2017.

Low credit score lender. Today, Credit One focuses on providing unsecured credit cards to the subprime market, which means people with damaged credit scores. FICO credit scores range from 300 at the lowest end, to 850 at the highest. People with "Fair" (under 700), "Bad" (below 650), or "Very Bad" (below 560) credit scores have typically had very limited options when it comes to credit cards.

Secure a card and rebuild your credit. Usually, their only choice is to put down a security deposit and get a card with a credit limit equal to the amount of the deposit. Of course, this isn't really getting a line of credit at all, but at least they can start rebuilding their credit score by using their credit responsibly.

Cash back is rare for subprime cards. Since people in low credit score situations are glad to have a credit card at all, the cards they qualify for usually don't bother to offer the opportunity to earn cash back.

Credit One has changed the game. These unwritten rules have been thrown out the window by Credit One. By offering unsecured cards with cashback earnings to people with low credit scores, Credit One is making credit cards more accessible to those who were excluded in the past.

Credit One has three types of cards, all of which we will look at in detail here:

The Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit
The Official NASCAR Visa
The Cash Back Rewards Visa

The Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit

Popular for those working back from a damaged credit score.

Credit One's Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit is exactly what its name suggests. People with hurting credit scores can apply for the card and get approved, then use it responsibly to start improving their score.

The first step to rebuilding credit. One customer testimonial describes how the Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa worked for them. After a messy divorce, the woman found herself suffocating in debt, and lost her home. She filed for bankruptcy and had no idea where to start rebuilding her credit. Six months later, she successfully applied for the Credit One Platinum Visa as the first step in her journey to rebuild her credit. Several years later, she is back on her feet and remarried, with a son about to attend college. Her particular testimonial ends with:

Thanks to Credit One, I believe the American Dream is possible and I am excited to see what the future holds.

No security deposit required. Like all of Credit One's credit cards, the Platinum Visa is an unsecured card, so there is no need to put down a deposit to get one. If you've been declined by other credit card companies due to your poor credit rating, and you need a line of credit to prove your creditworthiness, this card could be for you.

Enjoy a reduced annual fee in year one. Although there isn't a requirement to put down a security deposit, in general, an annual fee is charged for using the Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa. The best annual fee offer, however, is actually reserved for people with "Excellent" credit. The fee ranges from $0 to $99 with a reduced fee of in the first year.

People with high credit scores have a ton of credit card options, many of them with better terms like higher rewards earnings or big introductory bonus offers. So, it's not likely there are going to be many people with high credit scores applying for a Credit One card (unless they confuse it with Capital One, which happens all the time!)

Low credit limit for starters. Customers frequently report getting a relatively low credit limit, and some complaints include a mention of the annual fee being taken off automatically when they start.

Credit limits increase upon qualification. Credit One promises its customers they'll be automatically considered for higher credit limits and will raise their credit limit as soon as the customer qualifies. Most credit card companies have similar policies to offer a higher credit limit when you qualify for it.

Free credit score checking lets you see your progress. For people who are using the card to rebuild their scores, another handy feature is a free monthly credit score report. You can always check the status of your credit score, and watch it rise each month as your credit habits start to improve.

Credit One Platinum Visa holders can earn cash back

The chance to earn cash back is generally not an option offered to people with low credit scores. Although the card's earning rate is only average at 1% cash back for select purchases.. Being able to earn any points at all is a privilege for most cardholders who were issued a card despite their bad credit.

Customers are racking up the cash back. On its website, Credit One has a live ticker calculating the total cash back paid out to its card members to date. Currently, it is almost $70 million dollars (and counting!) Cash back shows up each month as a statement credit.

When does Credit One start charging interest on purchases?

Unlike most other credit cards, Credit One often doesn't provide a grace period for paying off your balance. You'll be charged interest from the moment you purchase, rather than when you carry an unpaid balance into the next billing cycle. That means you need to be mindful of your APR which is up to 26.24%.

Delays in processing payments. Even if you submit your payment on the day of the purchase, customers report that it still takes several days to process, and you'll be charged interest on those days. You can fast track a payment and have it processed the next day, but some customers have complained about the associated fee.

Choose your own payment date. Once every six months, you can change the due date of your payment, up to six days before or after the regular date.

Consider a secured card before signing up for the Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa.

If your priority is to repair your credit score, you may want to consider a secured credit card as a cheaper alternative to a Credit One card. Rather than paying the big annual fee, you can find a secured card with no fee (or a lower fee) and put a deposit down.

Build your score and get your money back. Continue to use your secured card responsibly and before you know it, your score will be lifted out of the subprime range. When you graduate to an unsecured card (hopefully with no annual fee), you can get your deposit back. If you want to improve that credit score of yours to qualify faster to get your security deposit back, a small personal loan just might help.

The Official NASCAR Visa

A card that helps auto racing fans with low credit scores get in the driver's seat.

Credit One has a partnership with the popular car racing circuit known as NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing). In addition to partnering on a credit card with NASCAR, Credit One has also sponsored cars and drivers: The Credit One logo has been emblazoned on a car in over a dozen races.

The Official NASCAR Visa is also an unsecured card offered to people with lower credit scores—specially for NASCAR fans who buy a lot of official NASCAR merchandise. Patriotic NASCAR fans can choose between a design sporting the red, white, and blue of the American flag flying high, or one with a Credit One branded car in the race lead.

Look closely at your offer when you apply

When you apply for a Credit One card, you'll be offered one of six cash back earning packages. For the NASCAR card, there are two possibilities, so you'll want to make sure to choose the one that's best for you.

The Cash Back Rewards Visa

The best for earning cash back for people with slightly better credit scores.

The credit score you'll need to qualify for the Credit One Cash Back Rewards Visa is a bit higher than the "Fair" and "Bad" scores qualifying for the previous cards.

You'll need a "Good" credit score (700 or higher) to get approved for this one. If your credit score doesn't qualify you for the Cash Back version of the Credit One Visa, you can start with the Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit and build your score. Once your score is high enough, you can request an upgrade to the Cash Back Rewards Visa.

Earn cash back on everything, not just limited eligible expenses

Everyone who gets approved for the Credit One Cash Back Rewards card gets the same cash back offer and all expenses are eligible.

But compared to other cash back cards, it's still difficult to rack up a lot of points with the Cash Back Rewards card.

Do Credit One cards like the Cash Back Rewards Visa have security features?

Since all of Credit One's credit cards (including the Cash Back Rewards card) are Visa cards, they all come with the security features Visa is known for.

You're covered for fraud. There is a $0 fraud liability coverage included with the cards in case someone makes unauthorized purchases.

Feel protected when you travel. If you book travel expenses on a Credit One Visa, you get travel accident coverage and waiver insurance in case you get in an accident with a rented car.

Prequalify for the Credit One Cash Rewards Visa

If you're considering signing up for the Credit One Cash Rewards Visa, you can find out if you qualify without taking a hit on your credit score. The online application to prequalify asks for information, like your income and your social security number.

Offers on hand in just a minute. According to the website, in less than 60 seconds, you'll find out if you're approved and the card terms Credit One is offering. You'll know whether or not you qualify for the Cash Back Rewards Visa or if you have to settle for the Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit. When you choose the best card you're offered, you'll be able to go through the full online application process.

Check the mail for a preapproved offer. Many people who sign up for a Credit One credit card start by receiving a preapproval offer in the mail. When you get a preapproved mail offer, go to the "Accept Preapproved Offer" page on the Credit One website. Enter the code found on your offer and your social security number and you'll get the list of cards for which you qualify.

For customers with low credit scores, a Credit One Visa could help you rebound

Being denied the privilege of using a credit card can be extremely frustrating. When you suffer from a low credit score, your options are seriously limited. That's why Credit One should be applauded for offering credit card options to low credit score applicants without requiring a deposit.

The cashback earning rates with Credit One Visas can be modest, but when you consider the fact that many of their customers normally wouldn't even qualify for a credit card at all, it's easy to understand.

Seven million Americans have signed up for a Credit One Visa, and together they've already earned over $50 million in cash back. Thanks to Credit One, individuals who were left out in the past, due to lower credit scores, can now get the credit they need. More than that, now they can repair their scores while earning some cash back each time they shop or pay.

Do you have a Credit One Card? How has the company worked out for you so far? Any great tips (or stories) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below!