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With a credit score under 600, your options are limited, but the good news is, with careful use of your credit, you can raise your credit score over time. All it takes is diligence and patience – and the right credit card to help you get started repairing your credit.

It’s great that you know what your credit score is – that’s a good start. Did you take a look at your credit report when you found out your score? It’s always a good idea to really read your credit report carefully, looking for any inaccuracies, outdated information, or errors. About 80 percent of credit reports contain a mistake of some kind; if yours does, you’ll want to contact the credit bureau and the bank or company that reported the inaccurate information.

Once you’re satisfied that your credit report is correct, browse our selection of credit cards for bad credit and secured credit cards. Any of the cards in these sections could be a good match for you – you might want to consider the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Credit Card, which has a low APR of 9.99 percent APR and requires a $200 deposit.

Most credit cards for bad credit have high APRs and some have fees, but if you don’t carry a balance, the APR won’t matter. With a secured card, you’ll pay a deposit as collateral on your line of credit – sometimes this is necessary if you don’t qualify for an unsecured card. Whichever card you choose, make sure it reports to major credit bureaus so your on-time payments and responsible use of credit will be reflected in your credit history, and within six months or a year, you should start to see your credit score climb.

Remember: make small purchases that you know you can pay off completely, always pay your credit card bill on time and in full, try not to use more than 30 percent of your total credit limit, and make sure your credit report doesn’t contain any wrong information. With these steps, your credit should improve in time.