If you have poor credit but want to open up a credit card, the numbers are in your favor: For the past several years, banks have approved credit card applications from an increasing number of consumers with bad credit, according to the latest data from the American Bankers Association.
In the first quarter of this year, consumers opened up 73 million new credit card accounts, which is a 14% increase in account originations from the first quarter of 2014. That 14% jump was driven by a 28% increase in subprime credit card accounts: 20 million of the new accounts were for subprime borrowers, 24 million for prime borrowers and 29 million for superprime borrowers. The ABA breaks out score tiers like this: subprime borrowers have credit scores below 680, prime borrowers have scores between 680 and 759, and prime borrowers have scores of 760 and higher (the report does not specify the credit score scale ABA uses).
Since 2011, when new credit cards were harder for everyone to get, regardless of their credit score, lenders have shown a growing willingness to give credit cards to people with bad credit scores, though the average credit limits for subprime borrowers hasn’t grown much in that time. In fact the average credit limit for all open cards in the first quarter was down among all credit score tiers.
Now that 60 million of all open credit cards belong to people with subprime credit (up from 58 million at the start of 2014 and 57 million in 2013), it seems people with poor credit may have a better shot at having their credit card applications approved. The survey doesn’t indicate what sort of credit cards subprime borrowers are getting, and they could very well be secured credit cards, which are easy to get but require a deposit and often charge an annual fee. Regardless of what products these consumers sign up for, the figures show an increase of credit access to people with low credit scores.If you’re considering applying for a credit card, there are a few things you have to do before submitting an application.
First, you should check your credit score to get the most recent information on where your credit stands (you can get a free credit report summary that includes two credit scores, from Credit.com). Second, based on that information, research credit cards that are designed for people with credit scores like yours. Third, consider what kind of card you want, like a cash-back card or one with a low interest rate. Finally, once you’re confident you’ve found a card you think you have a good chance of getting that also offers what you need from it financially, it’s time to apply. Keep in mind a credit card application will slightly ding your credit, so apply sparingly — many card applications in a short period of time can significantly hurt your score.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit