So, you’re ready to get your first credit card. Maybe you’ve just moved to the United States from another country. Maybe you just graduated from high school and you’re ready to begin building your credit. While it may seem daunting, you can in fact get a credit card even if you’ve never had one before. Read on for Low Income Relief’s advice on how to get a credit card with no credit history.
Can you get a credit card with no credit history?
If you’ve started to look into getting your first credit card, you might have noticed that most credit cards require you to have a strong credit history in order to be approved. If that’s the case for you, you are probably wondering how to get a credit card with no credit history.
While it’s certainly easier to get a credit card when you have a credit history and a high credit score, there are still some options for how to get a credit card with no credit history. This article outlines some of the most common ways to get yourself a line of credit, even if you’ve never had one before.
What’s more, if you can figure out how to get a credit card with no credit history, you can start building your credit, positioning yourself to do even bigger and better things that require credit: take out a mortgage, take out a student loan, or sign a lease that requires a credit check. The sky’s the limit and your first credit card can be the first stepping stone to a more secure financial future.
Below, we’ve included some of the best options for how to get a credit card with no credit history.
Get a secured credit card
Secured credit cards are a great option for folks trying to figure out how to get a credit card with no credit history.
Secured credit cards require the applicant to put a deposit down (usually about $200) when they receive the card. That reduces the risk to the credit card issuer because they can draw from the deposit if the borrower fails to pay on time.
If you are worried about overspending because you have access to a line of credit, a secured credit card can be a good option because the limit for spending will only be as high as the amount you deposited up front.
One thing to look out for if you take on an unsecured credit card is that their APRs (annual percentage rate, or interest rate) are often higher than those of unsecured credit cards. In other words, if you don’t pay off your balance at the end of each month, you could end up accruing a lot of interest, leaving you on the hook for an even higher bill in the end.
Although a secured credit card might not be what you think of when you think of credit cards, it can be a good option for folks with no credit history to get started with.
If you have a trusted family member, friend, or partner who is willing to apply for a credit card and add you as an authorized user, you can benefit from someone else’s good credit while you begin building your own. This is only a good option if you are certain you will be able to pay off the balance on time each month, because if you don’t, it will negatively affect someone else’s credit.
If this is an option you choose, it is also important to be sure the person whose account you are added to has very good credit and that it is likely to stay that way as long as you are a user on their account. Dips in their credit could negatively affect yours as well.
Apply for a student credit card
Credit card companies know that young people are unlikely to have a long credit history, and they don’t want to miss out on the business that college and graduate students could generate. That’s why some credit card companies, like Discover and Bank of America, have designed credit cards that are specifically for students.
While most of the credit cards marketed to students require that the applicant is enrolled in college or graduate school, some do not. In other words, even if you’re not a student, a student credit card could still help you begin building credit.
Although a student credit card can be a great option for how to get a credit card with no credit history, beware of high interest rates.
Apply for a card with a higher interest rate
While most credit cards from major issuers are designed primarily for folks with strong credit histories, some credit card issuers offer credit cards with those with no credit history in mind. These cards will typically have a low credit limit and a high interest rate, but they can still help you begin building your credit. Plus, it’s always possible to avoid accruing interest if you can pay off your credit card balance in full every month.
Apply for a retail store card
One last creative possibility for how to get a credit card with no credit history is to apply for a retail store card. It’s likely you’ve been given the option many times if you’ve ever shopped at your local mall or department store. Often, at the checkout counter, customers are offered a discount on their purchase if they just open up a store card before leaving with their purchase. Retail store credit cards typically have a lower barrier for entry than traditional credit cards, so if you’re approved, it can be a good way to begin building credit.
Like other “starter” credit cards, retail store cards can come with sky high interest rates, so if you choose this option for how to get a credit card with no credit history, just be sure to pay off your balance in full at the end of each billing cycle.
No matter which of these options you choose, just remember that once you have a credit card, you will want to begin paying attention to your credit score and work toward building a strong credit history. For more information about how to build a credit history, read Low Income Relief’s guide to building a credit history with a low income.