Over 30% of Americans are affected by poor credit scores, those below 601. And the causes of bad credit aren’t always as obvious as they seem. No matter the case, a bad credit score can drastically affect your life. Including your ability to get highly useful financial tools like credit cards.
Credit cards can be one of the most useful financial tools. Beyond the points benefits, or cash back, credit cards have so many other benefits including: fraud protection, purchase protection, ability to float expenses across your pay periods, and many more.
If you have bad credit, there are now credit card options for you. Credit Cards with similar benefits of a normal credit card, low fees, and will even accelerate your credit repair.
As of this year, there are many new credit cards especially designed for those with bad credit.
Capital One Secured Mastercard
Perfect for building credit at a low cost. As a partially secured credit card with $0 annual fee and $0 forgein transactions fees it has all the best characteristics of a traditional credit card for those with bad credit. The partially secured portion means you can get up to a $200 starting credit limit for as little as a $49 deposit. If you deposit more, your limit can go up from there giving you purchasing power and financial power. After 5 months of payments on time, you can get access to a higher credit line without any additional deposits or fees. With monthly reports to the credit bureaus your score can jump up quickly. One thing to note though if your monthly income is less than your housing payment by more than $425, you may need to look elsewhere. Plus, you get to use those cool Capital One coffee shops.
Credit One Bank Platinum Visa
A Platinum card for someone with bad credit? Yup, you read that right. This card is best for those who will use it in financial emergencies. Something you can’t pay in cash at that moment but need to have done. Doctor, repairs, and what not. This is because of the steep $95 first year annual fee, but it comes with an instant $300 in credit. Plus, as an extra bonus, you get 1% cash back on purchases. However, be careful because the APR and interest rates can go high quickly with this card. So if you need immediate cash this may be your best option, but otherwise keep moving along.
Not the cheapest fees, but with no initial security deposit this card should be considered. With only a soft inquiry to your credit (won’t impact your credit score) you can see if you qualify. The best cards like Capital One Secured Mastercard, are still much better options, but Indigo should still be considered since you can obtain a credit limit without money down. The starting limit is typically $300.
OpenSky Secured Visa
A soft inquiry still to invasive for you? Check out the OpenSky Secured Visa. With no credit check, and only a minimum income standard this card is great for those with very damaged credit or those not wanting to query their credit scores. Another benefit, you don’t need a normal bank account. All payments and deposits on the card can be made by money order, wire transfer, or debit card payment. With only a $35 annual fee its a great option. Couple things to note, the interest rate on this card are relatively high. Second, unlike cards from the larger institutions the OpenSky Secured Visa does not have a path to an unsecured card with higher limits.
Discover It Secured
You may have bad credit but with this card you can get better rates than those with good credit. No annual fee $0 and an intro APR of 10.99% for the first 6 months. Plus get cash back with 2% on the first $1,000 per quarter and 1% on everything there after. After 8 months of consistent on time payments, you can upgrade to an unsecured card. Just watch out, the regular APR is 24.49%. So if you can responsibly manage your card, but have an initial balance you need to carry for 6 months this is a reasonable option.
DCU Visa Platinum
Looking for just the cheapest card possible? Then the DCU Visa Platinum may be the best card for you. With $0 annual fees, and a low interest rate of 13.75% this card really keeps the cost down. Although the previous card, Discover It Secured, has a lower rate for the first 6 months, over the long term the DCU Visa Platinum beats it. One hoop to jump through though. You have to be a member of the Digital Federal Credit Union. As with most secured cards the DCU Visa Platinum only gives you as much credit as money you deposit. Still though this is one cheap card you can build credit with.
Although there are more cards out there like the Credit Builder Secured Visa, or the Harley Davidson Visa Card (yes, the motorcycle company), the ones outlined above are considered best options for this year. The bottom line is bad credit can greatly impact your financial power. As a vicious cycle, with bad credit you often can’t utilize the tools to help make working out of bad credit easier. The cards above are designed to help you build credit and work your way to a more financially stable position. However, none of these cards will work unless you commit to managing your finances to assure prompt payment month after month. In as little as five months, through disciplined managed payments you can start to build your credit and/or get increases in your credit limit. If you are considering one of these cards, come up with a plan for payment over the next five months based on your current income levels. For example, only pay for gas on the card and then pay off promptly. These credit cards will empower you financially, and with a good plan, can have you into a traditional card in months.