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How to Get a Credit Card with No Credit History
Building a credit score is important. Establishing a credit history when you have no credit can be tricky. All lenders want to loan money to those with good credit, but how can you prove you are trustworthy if no one has given you a chance? There are several ways to get a credit card even if you haven't established any credit.
Why Do You Need Credit?
There are several situations in life when a healthy credit score will be important. Often times people don't realize just how much a credit score can mean. Here are just a few situations in which a good credit score is important.
Yes, even careers. Some companies require a credit check before they extend an offer for employment. So building a credit history, and keeping it healthy, is very important.
Factors in Lending
When you apply for any kind of financing, your credit is pulled and evaluated. There are several other things that are looked at as well. Even if you have no credit, you can still get basic financing to help you establish credit. Lenders will look at your banking history, your residential situation, employment history, and history with local utility companies. With this in mind, there are ways to get a credit card with no prior credit history.
The best place to start is with your personal bank. If you don't already have a checking account, open one up. Keep it in good standing and make sure your balances never dip too low. The bank won't report the history of your account to the credit bureaus, but in keeping an active checking account you are establishing a relationship with the bank. Once you have a positive relationship established with the bank, they are more likely to issue you a credit card.
College tends to be the time when most young adults look at building a credit score. Banks and lenders know this. If you are a college student, you will probably get lots of mail with special offers for credit cards. While these student cards tend to have higher interest rates and lower limits, it's definitely not a bad place to start. Most companies who offer student credit cards will want proof that you are a student. Often this is just an email address with a .edu extension. Some of them will want photo copies of student identification cards. Be prepared to furnish this upon request.
Department store credit cards are generally frowned upon by the lending community. They usually have very high interest rates associated with them. But if you're just starting to establish a credit history, these cards are pretty easy to obtain. Many department store cards have very lenient conditions for qualifying for credit. As long as you have a steady job and a checking account, the chances of qualifying are pretty high. Next time you're at the mall, stop in to your favorite store and see if they have a credit application.
Convenience Store and Gas Cards
While these have fallen to the wayside in recent years, there are still a few chains that offer cards specifically for use at their locations. These are similar to the department store cards, with high fees and interest rates, but they are also easy to obtain. As long as you keep your spending under control, these cards aren't a bad option for those who don't have a credit history all ready established.
When all else fails, the option for a secured card is always there. Most major banks will offer these types of cards. With a secured card you will have to set up a savings account that is only used as collateral for the card itself. The amount of credit extended will be equal to the amount in the savings account. This works as a security blanket for the card. If you fail to make a payment, the bank will simply take the money in the savings account so they won't have a charge off to deal with. Once the account has been open for a while and you've established you can maintain it, the money in the savings account will revert back to you, and the card may be transferred to an unsecured card.
Another type of secured card is the type that has high annual and account set up fees. These are mostly marketed to those who have no or poor credit. These work by offering a credit line that is low, generally $300 or under. Upon acceptance, an account set up fee, annual fee, and other various fees are charged to the card. Your initial available balance is usually under $100. Once you pay down the balance and keep the account in good standing, the balance is raised. These aren't always the best cards to start with since the fees are high and the interest rates are undesirable. But if all of your other options have failed, this may be a good way to start building your report.
Credit is something that will follow you for the rest of your life. The earlier you can start establishing a good history, the better off you will be later in life.
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