If you have a bad credit score, there’s more than one reason why gas credit cards can be useful:
- Saving money on fuel
- Some are easier to qualify for
- Most don’t charge an annual fee
So which are the best gas credit cards for people with bad credit? Here are a few to think about…
Tip: If you want a MasterCard that also gives rewards for fuel, try this one out from Barclays. It’s labeled as being for “average” or “fair” credit, unlike all the other reward cards on the market from banks like Chase, BofA, Citi etc. which label theirs as being for “excellent credit” only. If your credit isn’t downright horrific, you might want to give this one a shot because it’s designed specifically for people who are trying to rebuild their credit score:
1. Clark Credit Card
If you live in an area where there are Clark stations, this is perhaps the most lucrative choice for rewards – it gives a 4% rebate.
The bad news? It’s a MasterCard (vs. store-only card) and as a result, you can’t have downright awful credit.
But if your credit isn’t good enough for a prime tier card (Chase, AmEx, etc) but you still want a gas rewards card, then try applying for the Clark MasterCard. I would estimate that fairly bad credit scores in the mid-600s still might qualify. Here is the Clark gas card review.
2. Shell “Drive For Five” Card
Despite its marketing, this card is hardly rewarding…
It gives a 5 cent rebate per gallon, but only if you buy at least 45 gallons of Shell fuel per month. Buy less than that, you don’t get the rebate.
Worse yet, when prices at the pump are $4.00+ that means your rewards are the equivalent of only 1.25% cash back (or less).
That being said, if you want a credit card with no fee that’s easy to get approved for, then it’s worth checking out. Watch out though for the whopping 24.99% interest rate. A more thorough review of the Shell credit card will explain everything you need to know about it.
3. ExxonMobil Personal Card
This will be one of the easiest to get for people with bad credit. It’s no frills all the way:
- It can only be used at ExxonMobil stations
- There is no rewards program
- The interest rate is high
Why would anyone find that appealing? I can only think of a single reason… it could be a good choice if you are at the first stage of rebuilding. If you want to start with 3-4 credit cards that are low or no cost, this could be one of them. But it will become quite costly if you ever carry a balance with an ExxonMobil card, so don’t.
4. Regular Marathon Card
If you live in the Midwest, there’s a good chance Marathon stations are in your neck of the woods (there are over 5,000 of them). Out of all the gas credit cards for bad credit, this one has a couple of noteworthy benefits:
- Rewards? Yep. As you’ve seen so far, that’s a rarity for entry-level gas station accounts. The Marathon card gives a 2 cent/gallon rebate. Of course with $4+ prices, that’s hardly worth a half-percent, but it is better than nothing.
- Ohio-based customer service. On the application they make note of the fact that customer service is in Ohio. It’s not often that cards for bad/fair credit offer U.S. call centers, so this is a pleasant surprise.
- No annual fee.
You can learn more about the Marathon card here before applying.
5. Meijer credit card
This is another one I’m including for folks in the Midwest (hey, it’s where I was born). For anyone with good or great credit, this card is actually a horrible choice.
So why am I recommending it? These 3 reasons:
- It can be used for more than just gas. Their card can be used at their stores as well their gas stations. This makes it a lot more useful than your typical gas station card.
- It gives rewards, albeit dismal. Again keeping things in perspective, for this category it’s rare to have a rewards program. This card will chuck back a few pennies on fuel as well as your grocery purchases at Meijers.
- There’s no annual fee.
With its excessively high interest rate, be careful to always pay your bill in full each month. Here is my Meijer card review.
Your bad credit leaves few options…
With the exception of the Clark card (which is more for fair credit) almost any entry-level gas station credit card is going to be a lousy deal. In fact, there are bank-issued cards for people with good credit which give significantly higher fuel rebates, at all brands of stations. So ironically, you can earn higher fuel rewards by using a card that is not affiliated with a given brand.
Really it means that station-branded cards have only one purpose – using them as a stepping stone to rebuild your credit.
It’s certainly a lot cheaper to get one of them along with a couple good secured credit cards.