It’s no secret. Credit makes the US economy go around.
To that end, in a survey conducted by Gallup, it was found that just 1 out of 5 Americans of credit card application age were without a card. Of those that had cards, the average amount they owned was a whopping 3.7.
So why have credit cards become so popular?
Put simply, credit cards allow consumers unprecedented flexibility to make both everyday purchases and to pay for one-time, emergency expenses.
If you’re looking to get more flexibility in your spending through credit cards but have bad credit and consequently, have had trouble getting approved for cards in the past, you may be wondering how or if there are options out there for you.
Fortunately, there are plenty of credit cards for people with bad credit offered by reputable lenders. Keep reading to better understand what your options are.
Understanding Your Credit Score and Options
Your credit score directly affects the number of creditors who will be willing to issue you a card. Understanding what credit is and what is considered a poor, fair, good, very good, and exceptional credit score will help you solidify your knowledge of what your options are and help you limit your card applications to products that are least likely to reject you.
Know Your Score
The first step to understanding your credit score is to know what it is. If you have a feeling that you have bad credit but aren’t sure specifically what your score is, it’s a good idea to get it checked.
Credit scores can be obtained in a couple of ways. For starters, as the US Federal Trade Commission outlines here, you are entitled to request a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months.
The process of formally requesting and receiving your report can take a while, so if you’re looking for a more immediate solution, free credit checking tools like the ones provided by Intuit’s Mint, can give you instant feedback.
Where Does Your Score Fall?
Once you know your score, reference it against this scale:
- 300-579 – Poor
- 580-669 – Fair
- 670-739 – Good
- 740-799 – Very Good
- 800-850 – Exceptional
If your credit score is sitting between 300 and 579, you’re right to be looking for credit cards for people with bad credit. It’s important to note though that you’re not alone. Almost 20% of American credit card holders have poor credit and almost 40% have poor or fair credit.
Credit Cards for People With Bad Credit
Now that you know where your credit score falls and have solidified your searching for credit cards for people with bad credit, it’s time to understand where you can find these cards and what considerations you should be aware of when taking one on.
Credit cards for people with bad credit can be found at a variety of lending institutions. You can apply for one now with an online credit finding service, you can go to your local bank or even your local credit union to see what products they offer to people in your credit range.
When taking on a credit card for those with poor credit, you will want to be very aware of the terms that are attached to the card. Given your poor credit history, lenders need to build extra self-serving incentives into the card to better protect themselves against missed payments.
That means, you can be sure that these cards will ask for higher than average interest rates, will have more aggressive fees, and in some cases, may even ask for a deposit.
Be diligent in weighing competing credit card offers and make sure you find a card that carries the best terms possible for your credit range.
Avoid Applying for Cards Reserved for Good Credit and Better
While it can be frustrating to apply for credit cards for people with bad credit when you see other more favorable cards marketed, it’s important that you avoid the temptation to try your luck and apply for cards outside of your credit range. Doing this will almost certainly result in a rejection and the credit check conducted to discern your eligibility may further damage your score.
Be patient and always apply for the credit products that you have the highest likelihood of obtaining successfully.
Know That Your Options Will Improve
Credit cards for people with bad credit won’t be a constant in your life so long as you begin adopting better borrowing and spending habits.
Ensure that you only charge purchases to your credit card that you can pay back. Don’t miss payments, and don’t utilize too much of your credit limit.
All of these habits will collectively push up your score and gradually open better credit card options for you in the future!
Wrapping Up Your Guide to Credit Cards for People with Bad Credit
If you’re looking for the best credit cards for people with bad credit, it’s important that you first go through our steps above to understand your credit situation. Once you know your credit score you can then shop around for cards that are best suited for your particular credit situation like the ones we recommended above.
Know that if you need money now, credit cards are not your only option. You can also find short-term loans to help you cover the expenses you need help with today so you can make strides towards a better tomorrow.
For help finding the best loan providers online, we recommend using our tools. Bonsai Finance has an extensive network of loan providers in our database that, upon their approval, can get your money as quickly as the day you apply.
To get started searching for loans today, click here. Or, for more information on all of your biggest finance questions, read more on our blog!