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Easiest credit cards to be approved for

Nov. 13, 2020
9 min read
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Whether you're new to the world of credit cards or are looking to rebuild your credit after hitting a financial rough patch, you're probably on the lookout for a card that you're most likely to be approved for. While getting denied for a credit card certainly isn't the end of the world (most of us at TPG have been denied for at least one throughout our credit card journeys), it makes sense that you'd want to apply for something with the best odds.

But for those who may not have established credit or a high credit score, it can be hard to know which cards are right for you. So today, I'm walking through some of the easiest credit cards to be approved for.

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Beginner rewards cards

If you're just getting started, you likely won't be approved for an ultra-premium credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express. But that doesn't mean you can find rewards credit cards with higher approval odds for beginners who may not have a long-established credit history.

Keep in mind that while these cards are easier to be approved for than many top-tier cards out there, you will still need a decent credit score. Many people can be approved for one of these cards straight out of the gate, but those who are trying to repair bad credit may need to start elsewhere before building up to one of these cards.

Related: What is a good credit score?

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by The Points Guy staff)

As one of Chase's no-annual-fee cash back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is easier to get approved for than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. And you're getting a fantastic rewards card out of the deal. This card comes with an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

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You'll earn 5% back on Lyft and travel booked through Chase's portal, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all non-bonus spending. The best part is that while this is an easy card to be approved for, it's also pairable with higher-tier Chase cards such as the CSP and CSR. So you can apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited as a beginner and then combine it with a Sapphire card down the road once you've established credit history and a high credit score to maximize your earning and redemption options.

Related: Chase details Freedom Unlimited improvements, new Freedom Flex card

Discover it Cash Back

(Photo by Topalov/Getty Images.)

Another option is the no-annual-fee Discover it Cash Back card. Discover is a great card issuer for beginners — in fact, my first credit card ever was a Discover it Cash Back credit card that I applied for in college. You'll earn 5% on the first $1,500 spent on rotating categories each quarter and 1% on everything else. Discover also matches the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, meaning you could get $600 in cash back from the rotating categories alone in your first year with the card.

You won't be charged an annual fee, and the card doesn't come with foreign transaction fees, either. Just keep in mind that you'll have to log into your Discover account to activate the rotating categories each quarter in order to earn rewards.

Related: Throwback: TPG staff talk about their first credit cards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Eric Heglas/The Points Guy)

If you don't have the credit score to apply for Capital One's top rewards credit cards, make sure to check out the issuer's lineup of no-annual-fee credit cards such as the VentureOne. These cards are easier to be approved for than their annual-fee counterparts, but they still come with solid rewards rates and no foreign transaction fees.

The VentureOne specifically is great for beginner travelers who are searching for their first travel credit card. New cardholders can earn 20,000 miles after you spend $500 in the first three months. When it comes to everyday spending, you'll earn 1.25x on all purchases.

Related: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs. Capital One VentureOne Card: Which one is right for you?

Cards for building credit

If your credit score is less-than-stellar, you may be hard-pressed to find a lot of unsecured credit cards that are easy to be approved for. However, there are a few on the market that offer some benefits for those looking to rebuild their credit score over time.

Related: The 6 best starter cards for building your credit

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

If you have a lower credit score, the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit offers a way for you to repair your credit score over time while still offering you some of the benefits you get with a rewards credit card. While the card is unsecured (meaning you don't need a down payment that acts as your credit limit), it does come with an annual fee — $75 for the first year, then $99 annually. The annual fee for the second and future years may be divided into 12 equal portions and one portion will be billed each month at $8.25 of the applicable year depending on your account.

You will earn 1% cash-back rewards on eligible gas and groceries as well as your monthly mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. It's not lucrative, but it is a way to earn some rewards while rebuilding your credit.

Check out our guide to Credit One Bank credit cards for more details.

The information for the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa Rebuilding credit card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

While you won't earn rewards with the Cap One Platinum, this credit card is marketed by Capital One as a great starting place for those who don't have established credit yet. It's easier to be approved for than most unsecured credit cards out there, which makes it a great option if you're looking to boost your credit score. Capital One will automatically monitor your credit line after six months with the potential to increase it. A higher credit limit can help lower your overall credit utilization and improve your credit score.

Capital One also makes it easy to monitor your credit profile through its CreditWise tool.

Related: The best Capital One credit cards of 2020

Secured cards

If you have a bad credit score, your only option may be a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are easiest to be approved for because they are less risky for card issuers. You pay a deposit that acts as your line of credit. While secured cards rarely come with a way to earn rewards, they are a good way to rebuild your credit so that you can eventually apply for better rewards credit cards, be approved for other types of credit (such as a mortgage or car loan) and more.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

If you're looking for a card that doesn't come with a credit check, this could be the secured card for you. You'll pay a $35 annual fee and you'll need a minimum of $200 for the security deposit. Subject to approval, you could potentially have a credit line of up to $3,000 if you have that kind of cash to put down for the security deposit. The card also allows you to change your payment due date once per year to help you align your bill due dates with your schedule.

Check out our guide to the best secured credit cards for more details.

Discover it Secured

The Discover it Secured is one of the only secured credit cards out there that earns rewards. After putting down a minimum $200 as a security deposit for a $200 credit limit, you'll be able to earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter you enroll and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, just like Discover's other rewards credit cards, you'll have your cash back matched at the end of your first year.

Discover will waive your first late payment penalty fee, and you'll have access to your FICO credit score for free. After you've had the card for eight months, Discover will review your account to see if you are eligible to move to an unsecured card (and get your security deposit back).

Check out our guide to Discover credit cards for more details.

Bottom line

While you may be drawn to top travel and rewards credit cards such as the Amex Platinum or Citi Premier® Card, beginners or those who are rebuilding credit will want to focus your application efforts on cards that are easiest to be approved for. Hopefully, this guide is a good jumping-off point while you research which card is right for you as you continue in your credit journey.

Featured image by (Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023