Credit Cards For People With No Credit History

Posted by CreditCardGuru

credit historyQ: I’m an adult but have never had a need to use credit. I paid for my car in full and use cash, checks and debit to pay for everything. Someday I would like to buy a place and know I need to build up my credit score to do that. What are the best unsecured credit cards for people with no credit history such as myself?

A: There are many Americans that find themselves in the exact same situation. I would first like to say that you’re actually not in that of a bad position – having no credit history is like having a blank slate. No credit history is dramatically better than having a blemished credit record! Since you have an untarnished credit history it usually is significantly easier to establish a positive pattern of credit behavior vs. someone that is attempting to repair their credit.

Remember your choices will be limited starting out. Regardless of which bank or card issuer you choose you can expect the following:

Annual fee: Regardless of whether you get an unsecured or secured credit card, some financial institutions may charge you an annual fee. However, after you’ve managed your account responsibly for 9 to 12 months, then you will have the minimum amount of a history established for issuers to consier and you can try to apply for an unsecured card with no annual fee from a different bank. Although you might be paying an annual fee, you don’t have to stick with that card forever. As your credit score grows, more and more card options will open up to you.

Low starting credit limit: Since you are just starting out, you shouldn’t be surprised that your credit limit will be modest starting out – perhaps something between $300 and $750 if you’re approved for an unsecured card. However if you go with a secured card (that means putting up a security deposit with the issuer) you can likely get a limit that’s higher – usually a credit line that matches the amount of your security deposit.

Below are a few different ways you can get started:

Getting a card through your bank or credit union
Do you have a longstanding relationship with a bank or credit union? For example, is there a bank that you’ve had a checking and/or savings account with for a while now? If so, this can be a great place to get your first credit card since they already know you. It’s best to do this in person – walk in and meet with a personal banker there. Explain your situation and that you have no credit history and want to get your first credit card.

When going this route, many times your chances for approval of a card (albeit a basic one) will be better, because you have an existing account relationship with that bank. Another benefit is that secured cards can involve higher fees, so it’s better to get an unsecured card if possible.

Getting a card online geared towards those with no credit history
There are a number of financial institutions that specialize in credit cards for people with no credit history and those that need to repair their credit history. The best companies charge reasonable fees for these types of cards.

However, be aware… there are many banks and finance companies out there that will be more than willing to take advantage of your lack of experience and diminished options. One such example is First Premier Bank, who is famous for charging a myriad of fees (application fees, processing fees, monthly fees, etc). When combined, those might equal up to $100 or higher just during your first year. To add insult to injury, the credit limits they give can be as low as $300.

Which banks give consumers a fair shake?
Capital One® cards consistently get the best reviews from those starting out. Cap One is one of the largest credit card issuers in the nation and they have long made products available to the part of the market that needs of those with new credit or slightly impaired (fair) credit.

This post was written or last updated June 9, 2014


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

  1. Debby Quashen April 4, 2014 at 12:40PM

    I need a credit card. I pay my bills on time. I live within my means. How can I get a credit card with no credit history, no job, on disability, I do pay rent? you have to have credit in order to get credit, it becomes a catch-22. How do you convince banks, department stores that you are not a risk?

  2. rio555 November 15, 2013 at 3:41PM

    just applied for the barclay (blue card). they didnt let me get one because of no credit history. my credit score is in the low 700s.

  3. no drama October 31, 2013 at 8:20PM

    I’m trying to build my credit. And im basically looking for something that will give me at least a $500 limit ,if I could get a bigger one that would be great too. I’m disabled and I receive ssi. What would be the best card for me?

    • gab November 7, 2013 at 10:21PM

      check out Barclay us – it’s pretty easy to qualify and very good rates compared to most with limited credit. If they approve you, you will get at least $500. This one has no fee. Another one is Credit One. You will get at least 300, but maybe more (I got $500.00). There is a $75 fee, but otherwise OK.

  4. yasmine July 6, 2013 at 4:19PM

    I hope this is the card for me.

  5. Anthony m June 24, 2013 at 9:43AM

    Credit is the hardest thing to get. I’m 22 and no one wanted to accept me to start with. I had to start out with a secured credit card where I put money down (300) and that was my limit and after a year got it back. After that I got a car financed. Have other credit cards now. It’s def a royal pain. I wish you luck.

    • Steven August 20, 2013 at 9:41AM

      Which card was it? I don’t have any credit and I’m looking for one that will accept me without any credit.

  6. Chelsea May 25, 2013 at 1:30PM

    Isabel, get a bank account and direct deposit your checks into it every month. Find a secured card that accepts you with no credit or bad credit (as Joha said). Try to find one with NO or VERY LITTLE annual fee. Charge on it as if it is a bank account (which means, do not charge on it more than you can afford to pay off that month). Pay it on-time and pay it all off every month using your bank account. You really can’t pay your bills easily without a bank account. Do not hold a balance and do not just pay the minimum balance… pay it off. If you are fiscally conservative like this, you will see that your credit will start to improve again and again. Prompt payments and time improve credit.

  7. isabel hartley April 10, 2013 at 11:47AM

    Hi im trying to build my credit im looking for a simple credit of $500. i’ve applied before for cards but wasn’t accepted. i’m disabled, no bank account, i receive ssi, sdi. can any help build credit for me?

    • Joha Bengo May 9, 2013 at 6:41PM

      Hey Isabel, I am on the same boat as you. I got a break and was accepted by Walmart Store Card and Amazon Store Card. To help build credit you might have to start out with a secured card. Check it out. Be Blessed.

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