[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Capital One Platinum Credit Card, Discover it for Students. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Nobody likes being turned down for a job or a date, but there is something especially painful about having a credit card application rejected. Applicants know that credit card issuers examine their income and pull their credit reports, so it can feel like their entire life is being held to account.
Thankfully, several issuers offer credit cards that are easier to qualify for. For those with poor credit, or no credit history at all, the first rung on the ladder is a secured credit card. These products require that customers first place a refundable security deposit with the card issuer before receiving a card. In many instances, the size of the deposit becomes the cardholder’s credit limit, essentially eliminating the card issuer’s risk. In fact, some secured card applications do not even require a credit check, so acceptance is virtually guaranteed once the the applicant’s identity is confirmed.
Yet in all other ways, a secured card is exactly like a regular credit card. Cardholders are billed for their purchases, and can be charged interest if their balance is not paid in full each month. Penalties are also assessed for missed payments, but on-time payments are reported to credit bureaus and will improve the cardholder’s credit score.
The next step up for applicants with fair or average credit are the several standard, unsecured cards marketed to those with some blemishes in their credit history. These cards generally tend to be basic products with less competitive terms and no rewards. Another good option is student cards that are designed for the needs of those who have a limited credit history.
Here are three credit cards that that are easy to get, along with the details applicants need to know before they apply.
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
- Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
- No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
- Quick and Complete Online Application
- Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
- Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
- Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
- Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
- Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
- 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
- Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI * See Card Terms.
Card Details +
With this secured credit card, approval is granted to applicants with any credit history or credit score, as long as their identity is confirmed and they have been discharged from any bankruptcy filings. Once approved, cardholders must submit a refundable security deposit of at least $300, and pay an annual fee of $29. Cardholders can then use this card just like any other credit card. Customers have 25 days from the statement closing date to pay their balance in full to avoid interest, or they can choose to carry a balance and pay the standard APR of 19.99%. After at least a year of making their payments on-time, most cardholders will find their credit to have improved enough to qualify for a standard, unsecured card.
Capital Once offers a variety of rewards cards for those with good and excellent credit, but even those with merely average credit may be approved for this card. Although it offers no rewards, it does feature perks such as access to a 24-hour hotline for roadside and travel assistance, an extended warranty program, and automobile rental insurance. Cardholders start off with a modest credit limit, but Capital One offers a higher limit after cardholders make their first five payments on-time. There is a $39 annual fee.
Discover it® Student Cash Back
- Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
- No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.49% - 23.49%.
Card Details +
Discover now only offers one card, the “it” card, but they do have a student version for those with a limited credit history. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on all purchases, or 5% cash back on their first $1,500 spent each quarter at select stores and categories of merchants. For example, in the second quarter of 2014 (April, May and June), the bonus categories are at all home improvement stores, furniture stores and Bed Bath & Beyond locations. Other features include 100% U.S.-based customer service, no late fee on your first late payment, and a free FICO credit score on your monthly statement. There is no annual fee for this card.
Keep in mind that just because these credit cards have lower approval thresholds than other cards on the market does not mean that every person who applies for one of these cards will be approved. Before you apply for any credit card, it’s good to know the state of your own credit. Then you’re prepared to search for a card that you’re more likely to qualify for, based on your credit-worthiness. Check your credit scores to get an idea of where you stand. There are free tools that can help you do that, like Credit.com’s Credit Report Card, which updates your scores monthly, and gives you an overview of your credit so you can see where you need to improve.
At publishing time, the First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card, Capital One Platinum MasterCard and Discover it Card for Students are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit
- Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
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