Applying for credit cards can be confusing and frustrating if you have a bad credit history. One of the most effective ways to build and maintain your credit is to make on-time payments each month on a credit card. Of course, it can be difficult to be accepted for a credit card with a poor credit history, creating a cycle that can discourage you from attempting to fix bad credit.

The good news is there are plenty of credit cards specifically designed for people wanting to build their credit. Here are some tips on how to select a credit card designed for consumers who want to build or rebuild their credit.

Student Credit Card

If you happen to be a student, you may want to apply for a credit card especially developed for students. Credit card issuers that offer student credit cards sometimes take into consideration that students may not have an extensive credit history when reviewing student card applications.  Some of these student credit cards even offer introductory APRs of 0% for 6 to 12 months. This can allow you to make purchases without accumulating any interest on the purchases during the introductory period. If you’re approved for a student card, be sure to make on time payments each month. The credit card issuer will likely report your on time payments to the credit bureaus, which may help you to start building or rebuilding your credit history as you responsibly use the credit card. Student credit cards may also provide rewards programs, including cash back or points.


Secured Credit Cards

If you have no poor or limited credit history, getting approved for a traditional credit card may not be possible. One of the most common strategies for building or rebuilding credit is, instead, using a secured credit card. Secured credit cards differ from traditional, unsecured cards in that they require a cash deposit that is used as collateral. Your credit limit will usually equal the amount of this deposit. Many secured credit cards report activity to the major credit bureaus, so paying your balance on time and in full each month can help you build a credit history. Some cards will even review your account after you’ve had a chance to demonstrate responsible use of the card to see if you qualify to receive your security deposit back and transition to a traditional unsecured card.

You Have Options

A bad credit history does not necessarily mean a bad credit future. Even if you’ve struggled to make payments in the past, there are plenty of options to help you get back on track. It’s never too late to start paying attention to your credit score. Remember, one of the most effective strategies for positively managing your credit is making consistent, on-time payments and keeping your balance as low as possible. Secured cards give you the flexibility and opportunity to show your renewed commitment to responsible credit management.

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