Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t need credit to navigate this world? Unfortunately, credit is required for pretty much everything from getting an apartment to financing a car to getting a job.
For those among us who have bad credit or even no credit, life is a lot tougher. First, it makes it much more difficult to obtain credit, and when you can obtain credit, it comes at a much higher cost than those who have excellent credit. Whether it’s high interest rates or having to pay a fee to acquire credit, having no or poor credit is expensive.
So how do you escape that cycle when you want to do something like purchasing a home? One way is to build your credit with an unsecured credit card. Not sure how to get one when you have bad or no credit? We’ve got you covered.
Read on to learn how to get an unsecured credit card.
How to Get an Unsecured Credit Card if You Have No Credit
In many ways, having no credit is much more difficult than having bad credit (except in extreme circumstances). Lenders look at a variety of factors to determine your credit-worthiness and previous credit history is the most important.
Still, many creditors are perfectly willing to take a chance on people with no credit if they have other factors working for them. Here’s what you need to show to get an unsecured credit card with no credit.
Keep an Eye Out for Pre-Qualified Offers
Many credit card companies are eager to bring in new cardholders. As a result, they’ll often send out offers that state that you are pre-qualified for the card. You’ll still have to meet specific income and employment qualifications, but for the most part, they’re a sure thing.
That doesn’t mean you should accept every single credit card offer you receive. If you’ve received multiple pre-qualified offers, compare interest rates and fees and choose the best one or two cards.
If the pre-qualified offers aren’t pouring in, look around online to see if you can pre-qualify for a card. Every time you submit an application, it dings your credit. Pre-qualifying is a soft hit and spares you the hit that inevitably comes with a rejection.
Try a Store Credit Card
Store credit card companies are well-known for approving people with no credit. The only downside to store credit cards is that they tend to have low credit limits and higher interest rates. Keep this in mind because credit limits are part of your credit rating.
Store credit cards can only be used at the store that issues them, so make sure that it’s a store you regularly shop at.
Have a Steady Job
Stable employment is a huge factor in whether a lender or creditor will be willing to offer you credit or a loan. Creditors want to see that you’ve had a job for at least six months before they’ll issue you credit. It also works in your favor if you have a higher than normal income.
Get a Co-Signer
If you’ve tried to get an unsecured credit card but haven’t had any luck, you may have to give in and get a co-signer. A co-signer agrees to repay the credit card in the event that the primary cardholder defaults. Try a parent or a close friend who is willing to take the hit if you can’t pay it.
How to Get an Unsecured Credit Card if You Have Bad Credit
Having bad credit can feel like an endless cycle. The only way to get out of bad credit to obtain credit and make consistent, on-time payments. Getting an unsecured credit card can seem like an impossibility.
Thankfully, there are some ways to get an unsecured credit card. Here’s what you need to get an unsecured credit card with bad credit.
Minimize Your Applications
If you have bad credit, then you’re probably aware that excessive applications can majorly hurt your credit. Do some research before you go applying for every single card on the market.
Go ahead and mark all those low-interest rewards credit cards off your list. They’re not going to extend credit to you until your credit score is well above 700. Look around for credit cards that were created for people with poor credit.
They’ll often come from banks you haven’t heard of, but they’re out there and they’ll help you get your credit back on track. Not sure where to look? Bonsai Finance has some options to look into.
Be Willing to Pay High Interest and an Introductory Fee
Unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit don’t come cheap. Expect to pay very high interest rates to start. Many cards will charge you an account setup fee that is taken out of your initial credit limit.
If All Else Fails, Get a Secured Card
If you’ve tried everything you can but can’t get approved, you’re going to have to be willing to check your expectations and spring for a secured card. Sure, it will cost you a good chunk of money to start, but if your goal is to fix your credit, then it is a great way to help you reach that goal.
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Don’t let high interest rates and excessive fees follow you around forever. Having bad credit or no credit doesn’t have to hurt you for the rest of your life. Getting an unsecured credit card is an excellent first step to getting your finances back on track. Soon enough you’ll be qualifying for rewards credit cards and zero interest rates!
Want to learn more about personal finance? Try our online toolkit to help you get on track to a healthy financial future.