A common misconception of a lot of people is that the best credit cards in the world are unavailable to the average joe. By "best", we do not necessarily mean credit cards with almost bottomless credit limits; the best credit cards are ones that provide reasonable interest rates while allowing for adequate expenses, are accepted almost anywhere in the world in a wide variety of establishments, and provide added perks and benefits for their users.
A lot of people think that if they've experienced bad credit histories or similar problems in their past, it automatically means that they can no longer take advantage of the "better" credit cards out there, or may not even be accepted for ANY type of credit or debit card at all. This is actually a myth used in a rather heavy handed fashion by some collection companies in an effort to force payments out of people.
In reality, you can still apply for a credit card even if you have had some issues in your credit history. The first thing you should consider is if your credit history got to either of two points: The first is if a bad debt in your past has reached the point of being sent to a collection company. This DOES leave a notation on your credit history, however once you've paid off the collection company the notations are modified to say that you DID pay off the debt. Certainmore, some credit companies actually remove collection agency notations after a certain amount of time, usually a year or two, allowing you to start on a clean slate.
The second "level" of bad credit is if your debt actually required legal action in a courtroom. If this is the case, sad to say you will have a permanent bad credit mark on your credit history; however, some credit card companies still make allowances for people whose credit histories have reached this point. They can provide a sort of "probationary" credit card, and can increase your credit limits gradually depending on your credit ratings while using the "probationary" card.
The above two scenarios are extremes; often, some people are actually think that even missing one or two payments is enough to give them bad credit. This is not the case! Your overall credit rating is not marred by one or two instances of late payments, providing you DID manage to make payments. The only possible late-payment scenario that can cause problems when applying for a new credit card is a case of habitual lateness – meaning you DO pay your bills constantly, but always a month or even two months after the due date. Habitual tardiness on payments is something that credit card companies look at when considering your credit history.
So in summary, if you only missed a payment or two but kept prompt with the rest of your credit, you're in the clear. If, on the other hand, you've got a case of habitual late payments, been sent to collections, or even to court, you can STILL apply for a credit card, but you'll often be under tight restrictions at first until you can establish a new, clean record with your credit history. Even the largest major credit card providers in the world have concession plans like this for people with bad credit histories, so you should not write them off your list if you're looking for a new credit card.