Credit Cards For 500 Credit Score? Here’s How You Can Do It

Posted by CreditCardGuru

500Pop Quiz: 1 out of 15 people have what?

Answer: A credit score below 500.

FICO scores run on a 300 to 850 scale and reportedly only 6.3% of the US population has a 300-499 score. So I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you have a 500 credit score you are about as low as you can go.

The good news? It is possible to start building your credit now.

1. You won’t qualify for any traditional credit cards

With this low of a score, the truth if you are not going to qualify for any regular credit card. Not even a no-frills Walmart store card will approve you with that kind of score!

So my first piece of advice is to try out this tool right now and find out in 60 seconds if you are matched for any credit card offers. IF you are matched for an offer, then go for it!

Use this tool since it matches you with offers. Don’t screw up your credit even more by randomly applying for cards from other places and hoping something sticks. Why? Because doing so might drop your score even further. Every time you apply for a card there is a credit inquiry made. Having too many can negatively impact your score. So the lesson is to only apply for a card you (a) really want, and (b) are confident you will qualify for.

2. Avoid other cards that sock you with excessive fees

scary interest ratesThere are a small handful of unsecured cards out there that will probably approve a credit score of 500. When you see the fees they charge, you will understand why.

Example: First Premier Bank MasterCard

With this lovely offer you will pay a $95 processing fee and $75 annual fee. And what do you get in return? A measly $300 credit limit. Oh yeah and a 36% interest rate to go along with it.

Does your credit suck? 500 sucks big time, but that doesn’t mean you deserve to get taken for a ride. Don’t fall prey to these fee-harvester credit cards.

3. Secured cards are your best (and probably only) choice

So with the exception of First Premier Bank, the only credit cards for a 500 credit score are going to be secured.

What does this entail? A security deposit. In exchange for ponying up a deposit, you will be able to get a card. But don’t worry, the deposit will be refundable whenever you choose to cancel your card.

Here is my favorite credit card to rebuild credit. Its fees are very reasonable (and I think you will agree with me too).

Now as far as getting a mortgage or auto loan with a 500 credit score… fat chance of that happening. Sorry.

This post was written or last updated November 9, 2013

10 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Angelica March 24, 2014 at 9:10AM

    Does anyone know of unsecured credit cards that will approve someone with a credit score of 570 I’m trying to rebuild my credit! Help

  2. Tara August 28, 2013 at 6:57AM

    I got a car loan for a 2013 brand new Ford Fiesta the interest is slightly higher but I am refinancing with my credit union in 6 months. My credit union said after 6 months of steady on time payments my 520 crdit score will be up high enough to refinance through them with a much lower interest rate.

  3. Kaycee June 13, 2013 at 7:58AM

    I have a credit score of 464 and was approved for a car loan thru Santander auto loans. I was shocked but it happened.

    • Julex September 11, 2013 at 4:50PM

      But your interest rate was through the roof I’m sure…

  4. Christina May 1, 2013 at 3:36PM

    I currently am in the 500′s credit score range. No less than 537 with experian. I am leasing a 2012 Honda Accord. Basically before I got the car my mom used my social security number for numerous of retail card applications as well as cable services and would not pay the bills on time until about 3-4 months later after they cut our services and would just stack up payment. I PERSONALLY pay my statement for my Honda 6 days before the due date every month. I now have lifelock as well to get alerts of any thing that goes under my social. I am 21 years old and I have two jobs as well as i am going to school. I have until 2015 when my lease with this car ends.

    My question is, should I wait those next 2 and a half years to see how my credit score goes up with these lease to apply for a credit card or should I apply for a credit card as you say, a secured card, to help improve my credit score as well? My goal is to reach a high credit score by the time I am 35 so that I may buy a house. All my life I have moved around and I want my future family to be secure. Is there any tips you can give me as you answer my question? Thank you!

    • Allen May 22, 2013 at 8:01PM

      Hello Christina,

      Depending on the type of your credit history, normally it would be kept for 3 or 6 years. So don’t be too worried. See more information here:

      If you don’t have any credit cards, I suggest you to apply one from CapitalOne now. They have a guaranteed approval Master Card. It may help you to build credits. You may get a limit for only $500 at the beginning, but try calling them to increase the limit to $1,500 after 6 months or a year.

      Please keep in mind to make payment payment on time, if you can’t pay it in full, pay at least the minimum payment.

      Besides paying on time, here are some useful tips:

      if your credit balance on your statment reaches…
      0 – 25% of your credit limit – your credit score will go up
      25% – 50% of your credit limit – your credit score will go up a little
      50% – 75% of your credit limit – your credit score will not go up
      75% – 100% of your credit limit – you’re on the red line
      over 100% of your credit limit – you’re damaging your credit

      Try to apply for another credit card later, because one credit card account and one auto lease account would not be well enough to show on your credit report.

      There’s NO fast track to build credits, beware of the scam websites on the internet. First, make sure all credit accounts are up to date and no collections is against you.

      I can tell you that your credit score will climb back to 650 or up after 2 years because I had the same experience 6 or 7 years ago and I now own a house with a mortgage with only 2.15% interest rate.

      One more important fact, your credit score not only affect you being approved for credits applications, it also affect the interest rate as well.

      For example, if you have a 800 credit score, you may enjoy a much lower interest than the ones who has only 650 buying the exact same product even though you both got approved.

      Keep track on all yourself. You’ll be fine.

      • Allen May 22, 2013 at 8:07PM

        About credit balance, I didn’t mean you should only use 25% of your $500 limit.
        I meant that if you used $500, then pay at least $400 before the statement date not the due date because they report to the credit bureau following the statement date.

        And you have to use the credit card, don’t let it sit idle.

      • Allen May 22, 2013 at 8:07PM

        Regarding the balance, I didn’t mean you should only use 25% of your $500 limit. I meant that if you used $500, then pay at least $400 before the statement date not the due date because they report to the credit bureau following the statement date. And you have to use the credit card, don’t let it sit idle.

    • brian May 25, 2013 at 8:16AM

      how did you secure a lease with a 537 credit score?

  5. Milando March 19, 2013 at 11:12AM

    Thanks for the tips, I’ll give this a shot. I’m trying to get my credit score back up.

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