Wells Fargo Secured Card. The annual fee is just $25. However, it has a variable 18.99 percent APR, so try not to carry a balance, says Harzog. Your deposit can be anywhere from $300 to $10,000. If you use the card responsibly, you'll be considered for an unsecured credit card. "That's helpful because that's why people are doing this—they want to get an unsecured card," Harzog says.
US Bank Secured Visa Card. It has an affordable annual fee of $35. Similar to the Wells Fargo card, the bank offers an accelerated path toward an unsecured card. Depending on your credit behavior, you could qualify for an unsecured card in as little as 12 months. "It's a stepping stone to get a low-interest credit card," says Sekar.
Be aware the APR is high: 20.99 percent on purchases and 23.99 percent on cash advances.
The Platinum Zero Visa Card from Applied Bank. The big drawback is that this card comes with a $9.95 monthly maintenance fee ($119.40 annually), so the fees are going to sting. But Hardekopf says the Platinum Zero is ideal for someone who expects to carry a balance from month to month, since the bank charges zero percent interest on purchases. There's also no credit check required.
The bottom line: There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Says Sekar: "It's a long, hard slog, but there's no credit score that's beyond repair."