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Best Unsecured Credit Cards for June 2022

If you're ready to graduate from credit cards requiring a security deposit, these cards are the next step up.

You've probably heard the term "secured credit cards" more often than "unsecured credit cards." That's because unsecured credit cards are actually just traditional credit cards -- you apply and get approved based on your income and credit score. They don't require a security deposit as collateral like secured credit cards do. 

If you're searching for unsecured credit cards, you've likely been building your credit with a secured credit card and are ready to withdraw your security deposit and move on to better rewards and perks. The picks below are good for a variety of situations, budgets and credit scores. They should help you continue building your credit so you can eventually qualify for credit cards for good credit.

For home, car and wellness

Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions*
APR8.99% -29.99% APR
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good/Fair Credit
Reward Rates
  • Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
  • 1% on everything else
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
  • 1% on everything else

Our Take

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa** is a great option because it covers some of the most basic spending categories, and doesn't encourage you to spend on extras like restaurants and travel. You get 3% cash back on home, health and auto purchases. These categories cover purchases like hardware stores, landscaping services, tires, car dealers, gym memberships, exercise equipment and more. And for all other purchases, you earn 1% cash back.

With an 8.99% to 29.99% APR, you can potentially qualify for a relatively low APR if you have good credit.

For unlimited cash-back match

Card Highlights
Intro OfferIntro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
APR12.74% - 23.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months
Recommended Credit Average/Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR12.74% - 23.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Late Payment Fee None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $41.
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Our Take

Discover it® Cash Back** is a common unsecured card. It offers a decent cash-back program, but then the welcome bonus takes things to the next level. 

You'll earn 5% on quarterly rotating categories upon activation that feature common expenditures like restaurants, grocery stores, Amazon.com and gas stations (on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%). You'll also earn the typical 1% back on all other purchases. With the Unlimited Cashback Match, Discover will match all of your cash back earned at the end of your first year and deposit it to your account automatically. Depending on your spending habits, this is one of the best welcome bonuses on the market.

For more details on the rotating category and welcome bonus, check out our full review of the Discover it® Cash Back.

Approval based on your income

Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR13.50% – 20.50% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2x points on every dollar spent
  • Earn 3x points on every dollar spent that entire year when you spend $15,000+ in a year
  • 4X points for 30 days for each friend you invite who gets the card
Annual FeeNone
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR13.50% – 20.50% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee 2% of the amount of each transfer.
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2x points on every dollar spent
  • Earn 3x points on every dollar spent that entire year when you spend $15,000+ in a year
  • 4X points for 30 days for each friend you invite who gets the card

Our Take

The X1 Card** is unique among high-caliber rewards credit cards, as well as unsecured cards. It only issues a soft credit pull before approving you, so it doesn't get much information about your credit history and instead relies on income. To verify your income, you'll have to allow X1 access to your online bank account where your paychecks are deposited. X1 also grants exceptionally large credit lines compared to its competitors (the average initial credit line granted is $24,300). A big credit line may also help improve your credit score, as it provides a cushion for your credit utilization ratio, a major component of your credit score.

For more information, see our full review of the X1 Card.

Basic cash back for average, fair or limited credit

Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR26.99% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Average, Fair, Limited
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Annual Fee$39
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A
Balance Transfer APR26.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee $0 at this Transfer APR
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Our Take

If you're still in the credit range of 580 to 669, you may or may not qualify for the above picks. If you want a safer bet, the Capital One QuicksilverOne offers one of the best cash-back rates for widely accessible unsecured credit cards. You'll earn 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases with no limit, and you can earn 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply) -- but you will have a $39 annual fee.

For fair credit with no annual fee

Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR13.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Limited/Fair/Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.

Our Take

The Petal 2 Visa Credit Card, issued by WebBank, is an unsecured card you may get approved for with a subprime credit score, and you won't owe an annual fee. And while you can still earn up to 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases with this card, it'll require some patience and responsible card use. 

With this card, you can earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. But if you make 12 on-time monthly payments, you'll get bumped up to earning 1.5% on all eligible purchases. You may also earn 2% to 10% cash back on purchases at select merchants.

FAQs

What is an unsecured credit card?

An unsecured credit card is any credit card that does not require a security deposit or any other collateral for your credit line. Unsecured credit cards determine your credit line based on your credit history and score.

What is a secured credit card?

This type of credit card usually requires an upfront deposit equal to the credit limit. So, for a card with a credit limit of $500, you'd need to deposit $500. Secured credit cards are still subject to late and rejected payment fees and generate interest on outstanding balances. As such, a secured credit card presents lower risk to card issuers and allows them to extend lines of credit to borrowers who don't have good credit or meet the minimum credit score threshold.

How is my credit score calculated?

Credit scores are calculated by looking at a variety of factors related to your personal credit, including length of credit history, payment history, amounts owed, new credit and credit mix. The exact weight of each factor depends on the score model (FICO, VantageScore or other) and your credit history. If, for example, you have no credit history, the other factors may be weighted more heavily.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card. 

*To qualify for the $200 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Rewards Checking account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening. The bonus will be applied as a one-time credit to your account and will not otherwise reduce the amount of your regular monthly payments. The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit card transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive a bonus.

**All information about the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa, Discover it Cash Back, X1 Card, and Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.