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How to Get A Credit Card With No Credit

Published February 9, 2022
4 min read

Credit history plays a major factor in getting approved for a credit card. Credit card issuers want to know that you have experience making on-time payments, building credit, and using credit responsibly.

But if you haven’t used a credit card before or are looking to build your credit history1, you have other options, such as some secured credit cards and student credit cards.2 If you’re approved, with the right spending habits, you can use your card to build your credit history1 and prove your creditworthiness.

So, if you’re just starting your credit journey, here’s what you need to know about your options and how to get a credit card with no credit history.

Apply for a credit card geared toward people with no credit history

It’s common to want a credit card before you’ve used one or opened any type of credit account, such as a car loan or mortgage. That’s why certain types of credit cards are geared toward people with limited or no credit history.

These alternatives may come with specific terms, such as higher interest rates and lower credit limits. With responsible use, however, they can provide a tool for managing spending and improving your financial standing.

Types of credit cards for people with no credit history include:

Secured credit cards

Secured credit cards require a cash deposit as collateral. This upfront payment is typically equal to the credit limit, helping to minimize risk for the credit issuer.

If you’re approved for a secured credit card, you can use it to make purchases and then make monthly payments. You’ll accrue interest on purchases if you don’t pay your balance in full each month.

By using a secured credit card responsibly, you can build your credit history1 and may qualify to have your deposit returned. You may even qualify to be upgraded to an unsecured credit card from the same issuer after successfully making on-time payments for a certain period of time.3

Student credit cards

Student credit cards can help students with no credit start building their credit history. To apply, you may have to provide a Social Security number, as well as proof that you are a student and 18 years or older.

Student credit cards may have a lower credit limit than standard cards. However, they also may come with certain perks, such as low annual fees and rewards when you make purchases in certain categories.

As with secured and other unsecured credit cards, you can use student credit cards to make regular purchases and pay off the balance each month. Since these cards are for people with little or no credit history, they may come with higher APRs, or the interest rates. So it’s important to pay your balance in full each month to avoid accruing extra costs on your purchases.

By using a student card responsibly, you can start building a credit history, which you can then use to apply for a mortgage, car loan, or other form of credit. You may also be eligible to upgrade your student account to a standard credit card account upon graduation.

Build credit history as an authorized user

If you don’t qualify for a credit card account directly — or aren’t interested in using a secured or student card — a friend or family member can add you as an authorized user to their credit card account to build credit history with responsible use.4 You’ll get a card in your own name, but the account owner will be responsible for your charges if you don’t pay them.

If you do become an authorized user on someone else’s account, it’s important to check that all activity on the card is reported to the three major credit bureaus. You’ll also want to make sure the person who owns the card is responsible with their finances and payments because you will be sharing their credit history.

Get a credit card with no credit

It may seem difficult to get a credit card with no credit history, but there are options available to people who’ve never had a credit account or are still building their credit history.2 Whether you decide to apply for a secured credit card, open a student card, or become an authorized user on someone else’s account, just remember to use your card wisely. Make on-time payments, keep your balance low, and avoid accruing interest if you can. This way, you can improve your creditworthiness and become eligible for other types of credit cards in the future.

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