Looking for credit cards that are easy to get approved for? First find out where you fit in…
It isn’t as easy to get a credit card as it used to be. After the banking industry learned its lesson during the financial crash, they really tightened up their lending. In 2014, credit approval is somewhat relaxed but still strict. So here’s the game plan for you to try to get approved.
Which credit category are you in?
Do you have bad credit? A limited credit history? Are you a college student? Whatever group you fit into, there are credit card offers for you.
My first bit of advice would be to try out this card-finder tool and see which offers you are pre-selected for based on your credit.
In general, depending on your credit here’s what you can typically expect:
Do you have bad credit?
If you have a history of bad debt (charge-offs) or bankruptcy, the best way to rebuild your credit will probably be with a secured credit card. These cards are designed for those trying to rebuild their credit. Because you’re putting down a deposit as collateral for the credit line, the bank isn’t taking a big risk and may be more willing to work with you.
But be warned! Not all credit cards in this category are the same. Here’s what you will want to look for…
- Credit bureau reporting – Definitely make sure the card you choose reports to the major credit bureaus. Otherwise you won’t be able to use it to rebuild your credit.
- Ability to choose your limit – Your credit limit will often be the same as your security deposit (and that is refundable when you close your account). Some cards allow you to secure a limit that’s a bit higher than the amount you put down. Ideally, you want a card that will allow you to increase your security deposit (and therefore credit limit) when it’s convenient for you to do so.
- Low costs – Fees can be expected with secured cards but make sure they are not out of the ordinary. It’s best to pay not more than $10 to $15 per month, or $120 to $175 per year, on average. The lower the fees, the better.
Are you a student in school?
Getting a credit card as a college student is fairly easy as long as you don’t already have any negatives on your credit record (which you shouldn’t if you never used credit before). The easiest credit cards to get will be those designed specifically for students. Such cards are created for students who are 18 to 25 years old and have little to no credit history. Several major issuers offer them, often as “student” versions of their regular products.
College student credit cards will typically start you off with a lower credit limit – around $500 to $1,000 – but that’s actually not a bad thing, — the last thing you want is a big credit limit that will tempt you into massive debt.
Is your credit fair/average?
Do you have OK credit? Maybe it’s not bad, but it’s not perfect either. If so don’t worry – there are a number of offers on the market geared toward those with fair credit.
Here’s what you will want to stay away from…
- Premium reward cards – All those credit cards with travel rewards and high-yield cash-back programs you see advertised on TV typically require stellar credit scores. So these will not be easy to get credit cards with fair credit, unfortunately.
- Secured cards – The only reason to get a credit card that is secured is if you can’t qualify for a regular unsecured card (i.e. you have bad credit). If your credit is fair there should be at least some unsecured credit cards you have a good shot at qualifying for. They may not have rewards, but having no rewards is better than paying secured-card fees.
Have no credit at all?
You may be surprised to learn that getting a credit card with no credit history isn’t necessarily that hard to do. Why? Because creditors generally look upon no credit history as a blank slate and are willing to take a chance on you. It’s often easier to get a credit card with no credit history than it is to get one with a bad credit history.
If you are a student with no history, then try and apply for a student card. If you are NOT a student, then easy credit cards for no credit history will typically be the entry-level ones, such as those for fair credit.
There are plenty of easy credit cards to get approved for (even in this economy!) but the right one all depends on your circumstances. Whatever route you decide to take, just make sure you manage your credit responsibly — before you know it, you will be able to qualify for even better credit cards with more benefits and rewards.
Written or last updated August 20, 2014