Category Archives: Credit

Three Ways You Could Kill Your Credit Score

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By Dr. Kavita

I am sure that you decided to read this post, not because you want to really know tips to kill your credit score, but because you realize the importance of credit score to your finances. You know that higher your credit score, higher will be your chances at securing loans, credit cards with benefits, and so many other financial conveniences.

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But the reason I elected to elaborate on ways to kill your credit score is that many people are unknowingly or unwittingly killing their credit score with their own actions. Let us take a detailed look at the issue and learn from our mistakes. Let us learn about ways to kill credit score with an intention of steering clear away from those ways ever in our lives.

Closing out credit cards

Most of us do not realize how much damage this single action could create in terms of our credit scores. But on first impression, it seems counter intuitive to even suggest that closing out your unused credit cards can damage your credit score. The fact is that when you close out, the reports related to that credit card will fall off your credit report and that is not going to prove any credit worthiness to your lenders.

Instead if you choose to keep the credit cards, despite not using them, the reports connected to them will be shown in a positive manner and will have a good impact on your overall credit score.

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Defaulting on payments

This one is pretty simple to understand. No matter how small the outstanding bill is, if you defaulted on paying them, then it will leave a blemish on your credit score. You will be labeled as a high risk customer, one who is a highly risky person to trust your money with.

Overshooting your credit limits

Limits are meant to be stop people from overshooting them. If you have a constant tendency of maxing out your credit card or overshooting your limit, your credit score is in for trouble. A safe rule of thumb is to limit your credit card usage to 10% of your actual credit limit.

Too many credit card inquiries

When people become too desperate to get a credit card, the first blunder that they commit is to put in many applications with different credit card companies, thinking that if they apply for 10, they might get approval for 2. Well, your desperation is showing and getting reported back to the credit bureaus as well. This desperation is considered by the bureaus as a lack of credit worthiness and hence reflected negatively by pulling your credit scores further below.

Stop and think for a while if you have been committing any of these blunders and if the answer is yes, you now know that you were killing your credit score with your own hands!

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Basic Steps to Fix your Credit Score

By Dr. Kavita

Your credit score could have plummeted due to several reasons that were out of your control. Maybe you were hit by the recession. Or you just went through a divorce or you lost your job.

These reasons have no way of being controlled and modified by you, but try saying that to your credit reporting bureau. Even if you were in no way responsible for what happened, you will still be held accountable for your poor credit score that has resulted from these occurrences.

Here are some basic steps that you can take to fix your poor credit score.

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Do a quick assessment

Any situation needs to be studied properly before you can apply any remedial measures to rectify the problems. So, take a quick view of your financial affairs and see what can be fixed and what needs to go. In case you find yourself to be incapable of paying your credit card bills on time, you will have to say so frankly and intimate your credit card company.

They will agree to accept a certain amount (that is lower than your current outstanding amount) and end the matter there. But they will send a report to the bureau which reads ‘not paid as agreed’. If this is the case you will be hurting your score all the more. Instead, get the company to send in another report which reads ‘now paying as agreed’. But the nature of the reports will depend hugely upon your negotiation skills.

Use the notes section

Your poor credit score can hurt your prospects of finding a new job. Employers usually run a credit check before employing anyone. You must make use of the notes section on the credit reports to inform your prospective employers about the reason that led to your poor credit score. You can even attach proof like a doctor’s note to prove that you were ill or hospitalized and that was what affected your job and score.

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Apply for secured credit cards

Secured credit cards are a boon for people like you who are struggling to build back their credit reputation after it was butchered by a poor credit score. Apply for one and use it to slowly build back your credibility. Secured cards are prepaid cards that offer only a certain percentage of credit against your deposited amount.

Try out credit unions

Credit unions do entertain people with poor credit scores. They usually have a variety of packages to help people out like free counseling, credit cards specifically designed for people with low credit scores, options for starting a rebuilder or credit builder loan etc.

Whatever you do to tackle poor credit scores must be aimed at building back your creditworthiness.

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How to Obtain a Credit Card with Bad Credit

By Dr. Kavita

Having to live with bad credit is equal to go through life branded as a person with a bad character. At least that is what the current attitudes of banks, credit card companies and almost every financial institution says.

People who are faced with bad credit are often at a huge loss when it comes to obtaining credit cards. But do not worry as there are still some loopholes for consumers like you and today’s post is all about those loopholes that anyone with bad credit can use to get credit cards.

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Secured credit cards save the day

Secured credit cars are simply awesome when it comes to getting a credit card with bad credit. The way these secured credit cards work is that you deposit some amount of money in to a bank account. The lender will then extend a credit for either the same amount that you deposited or an amount that is slightly higher than it, via a secured credit card.

So, basically you are being given the option to use your own money on credit and in case you do not pay the credit card bills, the company can always confiscate the deposit that you have placed in the bank. Remember that you are not using a secured credit card for credit benefit. You are using it merely to establish a blemish free credit report and build your credit score, so that after about six months to one year, you can apply for regular credit cards and get approved too.

Apply for a sub-prime credit card

Sub-prime credit cards are not recommended except as a last resort for the reason that they charge interest through the roof. But if you look at the situation from the point of view of the credit card company, they are taking a huge risk by lending credit to a person who has a history of not managing his/her finances properly. In other words, the chances of you not being able to pay back their dues are very high. That justifies the high interest rates that sub-prime credit cards charge consumers.

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Search for credit cards for bad credit

Certain banks and credit card companies have come out with credit cards that are specifically meant for people with a poor credit score. These credit cards may not come with any frills and advantages, but at least you can obtain a credit card for your necessities. Be warned that these cards will have a much higher rate of interest than the regular credit cards

The best thing you can do when you have a bad credit score, is to take immediate measures to improve your score. Otherwise you will be stuck for life without any chance of obtaining good credit card offers.

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Credit Scams: What You Should Know

Credit scams have been prevalent ever since credit reports became the mainstay in the decision making process. From companies promising to give you a new identity to credit repair scam artists charging hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to make the negative items on your credit report “vanish”, illegal scams have damaged the reputation, personal data, and wallets of millions of innocent consumers.

The truth is that if you devote a little time and effort toward improving your credit history, you can take care of most of the issues on your own. It will take some education, research, and hard work but you would be much safer by taking matters in your hands, at least if you go about doing it the right way. If absolutely necessary, you can seek out a credit counselor, attorney, or non-profit organization approved by your local authorities. There are plenty of free services that would be in a better position to assist you.

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No one can grant you a high score

Credit reporting agencies work with multiple variables, historical data, statistical tools, and extremely sophisticated algorithms to assign each individual a credit score. If a company promises to increase your credit score in exchange for money, you should be careful. You can’t just tweak someone’s credit score. It is not an editable number. If it were, over a third of the country wouldn’t be having credit issues today. We could all just pay someone to login to a national database and, voila, brand new credit score.

A lot of time, effort, and planning have to be expended in order to improve your credit score. Working with a counselor can help you in terms of outlining a plan, developing strategies, and accessing resources, but that in itself is by no means a guarantee. Furthermore, you can take some basic precautions yourself.

You may want to read our article about improving your credit score.

Instant repairs are a sign of credit scam

There is no quick fix when it comes to credit reports. It takes time to rebuild a damaged report. One needs to work systematically to improve various components that go into the credit report. Timely payment, ratio of balance due to total available credit, total credit available, and other similar parameters must be systematically targeted in order to achieve measurable gains on your credit report.

Credit scam originators promise to eliminate negative items

Invariably people fall for promises that claim to remove negative items magically. You can’t just remove a negative item from a credit report without going through a process. Furthermore, there must be a valid reason (such as inaccurate information) to request a review of your credit report. Money can’t make the negatives vanish. Be wary of companies that promise to just get rid of the negative items on your report.

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Like other variables, if you see an item that is incorrect, you can contact the credit reporting agency yourself. No one needs to do the work on your behalf.

We’ll give you a new identity

If that’s what your credit scammer is promising you, run! To the best of our knowledge it would be illegal to create a new identity just to start afresh. Sounds like a Hollywood movie setup or a James Bond styled secret ID swap plot. Doesn’t work in the real world. Sorry!

Let’s piggyback you on someone else’s report

Sorry, but that doesn’t sound right either. First, you are providing extremely sensitive information about yourself to an unknown person — and thereby jeopardizing your security and privacy. Second, we would need to check the regulations on that.

Let’s get a blank form signed

Unless you want to give your life away to someone, you wouldn’t sign a blank form that gives the other party unlimited authority to act on your behalf. Never sign blank paperwork. If you are unsure, speak to a licensed attorney or a non-profit organization in your local area.

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Most credit scam originators would contact you in an unsolicited manner, either via direct mail campaigns or e-mails. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it may not be. You may also want to read some credit scam tips provided by FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

Revolving Credit: How It Works

Revolving credit line is one of the most common jargons used in the world of financial products. From credit card commercials and pre-approved solicitation letters to online advertisements and personal finance literature, it is impossible to miss revolving credit or revolving credit line. Yet, in an ad hoc survey, we found that over 85% of credit card (and loan) users were not familiar with the term revolving credit, what it signifies, and how it works as far as credit cards are concerned. What’s worse, even borrowers who were using these very products did not know the difference.

In response to our questions, we received either vague, almost impromptu, definitions or strange guesses — revolving credit means credit cards that are rotated on a routine basis sorts — that were accompanied by “not sure” shrugs. No one is going to fail you an exam for not knowing the definition but being aware of the implications of different financial products can certainly help you make more informed choices and choose financial products that will save you more money as opposed to draining your wallet. An added benefit would be the avoidance of nasty surprises in the form of late fees, penalties, and other finance charges that most of us would prefer to avoid.

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So, what exactly does revolving credit mean?

Unlike installment credit (or a term loan), revolving credit does not have pre-defined, iron clad number of payments and fixed period of maturity (or an expiration date). In other words, the borrower is not required to pay fixed installments to repay the loan in full within a fixed duration of time. Although the borrower is free to make good use of her/his credit line, the total available credit fluctuates (increases, decreases, or remains the same) in response to how much the user withdraws, uses, and repays. The actual amount used (as opposed to the total available credit line) determines the monthly payment amount and total interest component.

Furthermore, the borrower is allowed to reuse the amount as many times as desired as long as the total credit line is not exceeded. This flexible nature of borrowing, repaying, and reusing is probably the prime reason where the name revolving credit line comes from.

Another significant feature of revolving credit is that the monthly payment amount is not fixed either. It varies and is pretty much controlled by the borrower (barring mandatory minimum payment requirements). It is true that a minimum payment is recommended and required, but the user can pay more (or as much) at her/his own discretion. This flexibility in payment duration and amount is not available on term loans and these variables are generally determined by iron-clad contracts.

Example: Let us assume User A has a revolving credit line of $2,000. During the month of January, he uses $600 and repays $300, such that during the following billing cycle the actual amount used over the course of the billing cycle is $300. In this case, he will be paying interest only on $300.

With credit cards, borrowers do enjoy a grace period and if a full payment is made within this grace period, interest does not accrue and most of the payment will go toward the principle as opposed to the interest component.

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What is the difference between revolving credit and installment loan (or term loan)?

The main difference between revolving credit and installment (or term) loan is that with revolving credit, the number of payments is not fixed and the borrower is free to borrow, use, pay, and re-borrow up to the total available credit line. Further, the interest rate is charged on the actual amount used, not the total available credit.

With an installment loan, however, this feature is not available and the user is required to make a fixed number of payments at pre-agreed intervals. The amount of payment is fixed as well.

Revolving loans are another product wherein the process works in a similar manner as revolving credit cards, but generally the former have a date of termination which is renewable at the discretion of the lender. Revolving loans are commonly available as revolving loans (for individuals), business loans, refinance loans, rollover loans, and the like.

Businesses prefer the flexibility inherent in revolving loans as it provided much-needed cash flow for operational purposes on an as-needed basis. As such, revolving credit is available for both corporate customers as well as individuals for personal use. A vast majority of small businesses will be using flexible credit lines to finance business activities.

So, what’s the good, bad, and ugly on revolving credit loans (or revolving credit cards)?

Well, the good is obviously that you do have a lot of flexibility in terms of how and how much you use and pay. Also, you are not tied down to a fixed term duration and the credit is available for you perpetually (at least in theory). In reality, however, an expiration date does kick in but it is often renewed automatically — unless, of course, the borrower defaults or causes one of the “red flags” to kick in.

Another benefit of revolving credit is that the user is not required to use the credit for pre-specified purposes that are agreed-upon in the contractual agreement.

The bad and the ugly, on the other hand, arise from the possibility of going overboard on the spending. Further, the interest rate on these credit cards and loans is much higher so the overall amount that will be repaid at the end of the credit period will be very high — much higher than the originally borrowed amount.

Lenders do tend to be very enthusiastic about revolving credit lines as they have more flexibility with credit lines, interest rates, finance charges, and the like. In that respect, the flexibility balance tilts in their favor as well. High interest rates are another factor that could be very lucrative for financial institutions.

As always, read the fine print carefully to ensure you don’t get caught off-guard. If you don’t understand your contract, consult an attorney. If you can’t afford one, there are plenty of non-profit organizations that will assist you with contract interpretation and negotiation.

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How Do I Get A Credit Card With No Credit?

By Rick

Securing your first card is an important step in building your credit history but can also be a bit of a challenge. The question of how do I get a credit card with no credit is a common one that has a few different answers. Finding a company that will issue you a card, even if you have a limited credit history takes a little work that will be well worth the effort.

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Student cards are a great place to start

Credit card companies will go out of their way to issue credit to students as they consider them a good credit risk. These student programs understand that most students have a very limited credit history and qualification requirements for one of these cards is typically lower than a standard card. Some of these cards will be co-branded with the school the student is attending and may even come with specific discount programs for using the card on campus. A student card is a great way to help someone asking “how do I get a credit card with no credit?”. If you do decide to apply for one of these student card offers, be sure to clearly understand the interest rate and ask about any annual fee on the card. Sometimes the credit card company will try to offset their risk of issuing the card with a higher interest rate or substantial yearly fee on the card. While you might still be OK with both of these, you’ll want to know what you’re applying for when considering a student card.

Consider store cards and gas cards

Most large retailers and gas companies offer company branded credit cards that can be used in their locations. While these types of cards don’t offer the flexibility of a normal credit card, they are a great way to build up a solid credit history that over time can help you qualify for a standard credit card. This type of card is typically much easier to quality for as well and might only require you to have a mailing address and proof of employment. Once you secure a card like this, try to use it often and strive to pay off the balance in full each month to help bolster your credit rating. Doing this for as little as 6 months can help you establish enough of a credit rating to secure a standard credit card with many companies.

Secured cards are another option

A secured card is a great option when trying to answer the question “how do I get a credit card with no credit?” These secure cards are fairly easy to obtain but will require you to maintain a balance of available cash to use the card. While they are not technically a credit card in the truest sense, they do help you to establish a credit history on your way to securing a conventional credit card. Some of these companies will even start to allow you to use the cards for purchases beyond what you have on deposit and slowly transform them into a credit card over time. This is a great way to ease into a standard credit card and allows you to develop the critical habit of managing your credit responsibly.

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How Do You Get a Credit Card?

By Rick

A credit card is a powerful financial tool that if used properly can help you manage your finances. It gives you the flexibility of purchasing goods when you need them and spreading the payments out over several months. It also allows you to avoid carrying cash with you everywhere to make your purchases. Many people new to the credit scene will ask “how do you get a credit card?” and the answer is simpler than you might have guessed.

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Maintain a good credit history

The first thing that credit card companies consider when deciding on whether to issue you a card is your past credit history. They want to know that if they extend you credit through the card that you’ll be able to make your payments on time each month. How you have managed your credit in the past is a good indication of what type of risk you present for future credit. Having a history of borrowing money for a car, home or student loan that you paid on time every month will go a long way towards helping you secure a credit card. In fact the better your score, the lower the interest rate most cards charge you on your purchases.

Choose the right card to apply for

When you finally decide to apply for a credit card, make sure you do your homework and find a card that is right for your needs. This second step goes a long way toward answering the question “how do you get a credit card?”. There is a wide universe of difference between various credit cards and you’ll need to do some detailed comparisons between them to make sure you get the best deal. You’ll want to compare things like interest rate, annual fee, credit line and bonus points program to ensure you get the best value from your new card. Take your time when shopping for a card as you’ll want to try to submit as few applications as possible to maintain your great credit history.

Other Options for Less Than Perfect Credit

People with credit challenges also ask the “how do you get a credit card?” question and there are a few ways to accomplish this. Some credit card companies will still consider people with a few blemishes on their credit history but may charge them a higher interest or grant them a lower credit limit on the card initially. If you make your payments on time, the company may be willing to lower the interest rate and raise your limit.

If your credit is still too low to qualify for a standard card, you can always apply for a secure credit card. This type of card requires you to keep a certain amount of money on deposit in an account linked to the credit card. As you make your purchases, the charge is deducted from this account to pay the bill. This is not as flexible an option as a standard card but does give you a way to improve your credit history over time by managing this card responsibly

One final option that answers the question of “how do you get a credit card” is by enlisting the help of a co-signer. This second person basically assumes any debt you incur with the card and pledges to make the payments for you. This gives the credit card company the security in knowing that at least two people are responsible for any charges on the card.

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Credit Card Applications For No Credit: Three Things You Should Look For

By Rick

Applying for your first credit card can be an intimidating experience, especially if you have not established a credit history. Even though you can find a company that will issue you a card, there are several important things you’ll want to know before completing your credit card applications for no credit that can improve your chances of being approved.

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Basic rules of engagement

Before you start filling out a number of applications hoping to find credit with one of the many companies advertising credit card applications for no credit, take a minute to compare them. It’s never a good idea to apply for a large number of cards at the same time. Each of these companies will run a credit check on you and the others will see that you are flooding the market with applications. They may consider this as a red flag and could deny you simply because of the large number of inquiries. It’s always better to do a little homework first and find a company or a few that offer a card with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a fair credit limit and apply for those first. This way if you are denied, you can work your way down the list to other less attractive card offers.

By approaching the credit card applications for no credit in a responsible way you stand a much better chance of being approved.

Check for annual fees

Some of the companies willing to issue credit to customers with a limited credit history cover their risk by charging a fee each year, just to issue the card. While this might seem like a reasonable tradeoff for receiving your first card, you are essentially paying a tax just for the privilege of having the card. Even if you are OK with paying this fee, be sure you understand this cost. Some cards will actually waive this fee for a period time and then add it to your monthly statement when it comes due. This can be a frustrating surprise to see appear on your bill a few months after you receive your new card so be sure you clearly understand the fee structure of any card you are considering.

Know your interest rate

Interest rate is another thing that you’ll need to completely understand before apply for a particular card. This should be clearly outlined in the credit card applications for no credit you’ll use to apply for the card but can be a little confusing. Some cards will charge you a standard rate on every purchase and others will charge a different rate for purchases and cash advances. Knowing this up front before applying for the card is critical in responsibly managing your credit. Another confusing point with some cards offers is the grace period they offer for new cards. During this limited time they may charge you a lower interest or even zero interest on any purchases made with the card. While this may seem like a great deal, you’ll want to be sure to pay off your balance before this grace period ends or the remaining balance will be charged against the actual interest rate of the card.

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How To Get a Credit Card With No Credit, Zero History

By Rick

Credit cards have become a way of life that you need to do the most basic of things like renting a car or reserving a hotel room. The challenge for many people without a credit history is securing their first card so they can establish themselves as credit-worthy for other cards. If you want to know how to get a credit card with no credit, there are few things you’ll need to know about the way credit cards are issued.

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No Credit = Bad Credit

The challenge for most card issuers is that the lack of a credit history is an unknown that they are not normally willing to gamble on in today’s economy. As strange as it sounds, a person with bad credit is a better risk than a blank credit slate to these banks. The first thing you’ll need to do when trying to get a card is establish any credit history you can to start building a credit file. Understanding how to get a credit card with no credit begins with applying for easy credit wherever you can find it.

Store Credit Cards Are a Great Place to Start

Most larger department and home improvement stores offer their own credit cards that can be used to buy things they sell. These credit cards are somewhat limited since they need to be used in the store that issued them but do provide a way for you to start establishing your credit history. These cards are also easier to qualify for than a traditional credit card and if you have a steady job and a mailing address you can usually qualify for a store card. The credit limits on these cards might initially be very low but you’re only applying for the card to build a credit history you can use to qualify for more traditional cards later. Once you have been issued one of these cards, use it often and be sure to pay off the credit balance each month in full if possible.

Travel Related Cards Are another Option

Most airlines and hotel chains offer their own branded cards and tend to be more liberal in their qualifications. They hope that by issuing you their card and rewarding you with bonus points with their brand for using the card they will instill a sense of loyalty with their company. When trying to figure out how to get a credit card with no credit, these cards are a great place to try. Most of these companies run promotions at certain times of the year and will qualify almost anyone during this period. Look for these promotions on their website and the next time you’re in the airport.

Apply For At Least One Secured Card

One last place to consider when searching for answers on how to get a credit card with no credit are the secured cards issued by many banks and traditional credit card companies. These cards are technically debit cards since they require you to have a balance of funds on deposit for any purchases you make but can still help to build your credit history. Obtaining one of these cards is easy since every purchase you make is backed by your own money and presents little risk to the lender of default. Using this secured card for a few months will start to expand your credit history file and eventually allow you to apply for a more traditional card. So the next time you’re wondering how to get a credit card with no credit, give any of these suggestions a try and you should be well on your way to finding the credit you need.

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Do You Need A Job To Get A Credit Card?

By Rick

People entering the credit scene for the first time often wonder “do you need a job to get a credit card?” and the simple answer is that being employed makes it easier. There are a few ways to secure a credit card without a job but the card you’ll receive may come with a few conditions. Most lenders need to know you have the ability to pay back any credit they issue you though the card and if you can’t prove that you have a steady income, it may be enough for them to deny you a card. Even still, there are a few things you can do to secure a credit card without having a job.

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Check with your bank first

Your local bank is a great place to answer the question “do you need a job to get a credit card?” If you have been banking with them regularly and have a checking or savings account, this history may be enough for them to offer you a credit card with a small limit. Banks are always looking for ways to expand their relationship with their customers and it’s an easy question to ask when you start your search for a card. Be sure to take the time to visit the local branch you use for your normal banking and sit down with a customer service representative to have the conversation. You might think a phone call is easier but taking the time and effort to actually visit the branch will improve your chances of securing a card.

Find a co-signer for the card

If you have been denied credit for not having full time employment, many lenders will issue you a card as long as you have someone else co-sign for the account. This is a big favor to ask someone since they will be jointly responsible for any debt you incur with the card. This should be someone you trust and know well since they are essentially providing a backup source of income for your card. In many cases this is how people new to the credit pool apply for a card and allows them to establish credit by using the card over time to apply to build a credit history. You can make this a temporary arrangement as well and cancel the card once you’ve established your credit history enough to qualify on your own. In fact, it’s always a good idea to come to an agreement with your co-signer about how long you’ll keep the card before actually applying. This way you both clearly understand the arrangement to avoid problems later on.

Consider a secure card

One final option for people looking for an answer to the question “do you need a job to get a credit card?” is a secured card. This type of credit card allows you to use it like a regular card but also requires you to deposit money into an account to cover any of the charges you make with the card. It operates very similar to a debit card but is accepted by merchants as if it were a credit card. Even though you technically don’t have any credit extended to you with this type of card, using it regularly will help you establish a credit history that you’ll need to have to apply for other more conventional cards in the future.

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