Q: If you don’t have the most stellar credit history or haven’t had a card before, which credit cards are easy to qualify for in 2017?
A: While it can be tough to get approved for that very first credit card (or that first card since ruining your credit), you have options.
Let’s take a look at cards that approve everyone (more or less), broken out by category…
For those with little or no credit history
Having no credit history is better than having a bad credit history. Even so, you may find things will be a little harder for you than for someone who has excellent credit. Card issuers want to see evidence that you can handle your credit obligations well before they approve you. So, if you have no evidence, it may be tough to get your foot in the door.
Start with a soft-pull pre-qualification tool to see which cards you might already qualify for (your options may be better than you expect).
If you’re coming up empty, consider getting a secured credit card. You’ll need to put down a deposit upon approval to secure a (small) credit line, but secured cards will report your payments to the credit bureaus and let you build your credit up to the point that you can qualify for something better.
Or, look into store credit cards. Next time your’e at the register and the cashier invites you to apply for the store card, consider saying yes. You’ll probably have a low limit and the card may be usable only at that particular store. However, the idea is to get a line of credit reporting to the credit bureaus and building the kind of score that will qualify you for better cards. See a list of the best store cards.
For college students
Issues have student versions of many of their popular cards (browse student credit cards here). These are specially designed for college students — and issuers are willing to extend credit to college students with no history because it could potentially lend them a customer for life.
After graduation, you can hang on to your student card or ask for an upgrade to a better product in the bank’s portfolio.
For those with bad credit
If you’re looking for an easy-to-get card because your credit is bad, you still have options. First look into secured cards. If you’re not having luck, look at banks specialize in cards for people with bad credit.
When looking at cards designed for bad credit, be aware that some charge fees and have less-than ideal terms, including:
- Application fees – Generally this is something that you should avoid at all costs
- Processing fees – You may be charged a “processing fee” simply for processing your application. Ideally, it’s probably best to choose a card that doesn’t charge this fee, if you have options.
- Annual or monthly fees – You can expect to pay an annual fee for most bad-credit cards, but some cards’ fees are more unreasonable than others.
- Easy account management – Online account management, text message notifications, etc. should be included free of charge.
- Reports to major credit bureaus – Card issuers actually have to pay in order to report their cardholders to the credit bureaus. For this reason, some card providers won’t report. Make sure the card you choose reports to the major credit bureaus, otherwise it won’t help your credit.
If you’re really struggling, look into catalog-card options. These cards (really they’re just lines of credit) allow you to buy only items listed in their online catalogs. While this is far from ideal, this may be the only way you can get a foothold in rebuilding your credit. Some of these cards don’t even do a credit check.
So what’s the easiest card to get approved for?
Follow these steps to find the best option for your situation:
- If you’re a student, get a student card
- If you have no/thin credit, use a soft-pull prequalification tool to see what you qualify for. If nothing, then go for a store card or secured card.
- If you have bad credit, get a card designed for bad credit. And if you have no other options, go for a catalog credit card
August 16, 2017