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Credit Cards for People with Limited or No Credit History

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Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
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  • Purchase APR:22.9% (V)
  • Annual Fees:$29
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Many consumers have no borrowing history to speak of but may want to begin establishing one, and one of the best ways to do that is by getting a credit card in their own name.

Of course, doing so may be difficult because many credit card offers come because of your previous borrowing history, and if you don't have one, you're unlikely to be able to obtain credit card applications for the types of accounts you will often see advertised on television. More...

 
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Capital One® QuicksilverOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® QuicksilverOne<sup>SM</sup>  Cash Rewards Credit Card

see credit card application
Intro Purchase Apr Regular Apr Ann.Fee
0% 22.9% (V) $39
Type: 0% APR, Reward, Gas Cards ...
Rank: #1 Credit Quality Fair, ...
Credit Needed:   Fair
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards
  • Redeem the cash back you earn for any amount, any time
  • No limit to the cash back you can earn
  • Your cash back doesn't expire
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until January 2015
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud Coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
 
CCA In-House Review & more info
Capital One® Classic Platinum Credit Card
Capital One® Classic Platinum Credit Card

see credit card application
Intro Purchase Apr Regular Apr Ann.Fee
0% 22.9% (V) $39
Type: Credit Quality Fair, No C ...
Rank: #2 No Credit History, #4 ...
Credit Needed:   Fair
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until January 2015
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account—even from your smartphone with our mobile app
  • Pick the monthly payment due date that works best for you
  • Pay however you want—by check, online, or at a local branch, all with no fee
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Start building for the future with features that can help you get there
 
CCA In-House Review & more info
Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

see credit card application
Intro Purchase Apr Regular Apr Ann.Fee
N/A 22.9% (V) $29
Type: Secured, Cards for Bad Cr ...
Rank: #1 Secured , #1 Cards fo ...
Credit Needed:   Bad
  • Build credit with responsible use with no processing or application fees
  • Regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Get free access to a credit score, credit report, and credit tips using Credit Tracker
  • Your security deposit can get you a line up to $3,000
  • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness
  • Build a financial foundation you can stand on with a card that gets you started
  • Use it like any MasterCard credit card, accepted at millions of locations worldwide
 
CCA In-House Review & more info
JourneySM Student Rewards from Capital One®
Journey<sup>SM</sup> Student Rewards from Capital One®

see credit card application
Intro Purchase Apr Regular Apr Ann.Fee
N/A 19.8% (V) $0
Type: Gas Cards, Cash Back, Stu ...
Rank: #2 Student , #4 No Credi ...
Credit Needed:   Average*
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every month—and pay no annual fee
  • For every month you pay on time, you receive a 25% bonus—that's a total of 1.25% cash back
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Brighten your financial future with responsible credit use—and get rewarded along the way
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards don't expire
  • Pick the monthly payment due date that works best for you
  • Get free access to a credit score, credit report, and credit tips using Credit Tracker
 
CCA In-House Review & more info
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

see credit card application
Intro Purchase Apr Regular Apr Ann.Fee
N/A N/A $9.95 monthly fee
Type: Prepaid & Debit Cards, Ca ...
Rank: #2 Cards for Bad Credit, ...
Credit Needed:   No Check
  • Get Paid up to 2 days faster with direct deposit — paychecks and government benefit checks
  • 100% Approval - No credit check needed (ID verification required).
  • No credit card debt or late fees
  • Earn cash back with NetSpend Payback Rewards
  • Real-time activity alerts sent to your mobile phone.
  • Prescription Discounts - up to 55% off!
  • Funds are FDIC insured up to the current coverage limit (ID verification required).
 
CCA In-House Review & more info
READYdebit® Visa Prepaid Card
READYdebit® Visa Prepaid Card

see credit card application
Intro Purchase Apr Regular Apr Ann.Fee
N/A N/A $9.95 monthly fee
Type: Prepaid & Debit Cards, Ca ...
Rank: #3 Cards for Bad Credit, ...
Credit Needed:   No Check
  • Instant Account Number - Great for Tax Refund Direct Deposit!
  • Free† Direct Deposit - paycheck, benefits, tax refunds
  • Easy Online Bill Payment & Mobile Account Access
  • No Purchase Transaction Fees
  • No Overdraft Fees or Balance Minimums
  • Withdraw cash at ATMs or get cash back with purchases
  • Free Credit ScoreTracker1
  • Choose Your Card Color - Blue or Pink
 
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So what can you do to start your borrowing history? Perhaps the best answer is what's called a secured credit card.

You may have heard of this type of credit card in the past without knowing: It requires you to make a small down payment - usually of a few hundred dollars - to the lender issuing the card, but does not come with a credit check. The up-front fee is used to establish your account's credit limit, so if you put down $300, the maximum you will be able to borrow on it will be $300.

How a secured card helps you build your credit

Simply put, this type of card is a great way to establish your borrowing history.

It will serve as a type of "credit training wheels" so that you can learn how to manage a credit card responsibly. This way, by making several months' worth of on-time payments and keeping your borrowing to a minimum, you will be able to show lenders that you can handle this type of financing through diligent work.

Over time, regular usage and repayment of a secured credit card offer can help you qualify for credit cards for average credit which have a wide range of benefits not available with a secured credit cars.

Drawbacks of credit cards for those with no credit history

Of course, because these accounts require no credit check, and are designed specifically for people who either have never borrowed before or those who only qualify for bad credit credit cards because of account issues, lenders need to hedge their bets somewhat.

While they will extend credit to those with troubled or no borrowing histories, they also increase their protection by charging higher interest rates and applying larger fees than you might have seen on another kind of credit card application.

Because of this, and coupled with the relatively low credit limits these cards typically carry, you will likely need to manage your account carefully, or else you could run into high costs that not only damage your standing, but also take a big chunk out of your monthly income.

If a major goal is to later qualify for better credit cards offers, you should focus on applications that report your status to the credit monitoring bureaus.

What about prepaid cards?

Oftentimes, prepaid cards are also advertised for those with no credit history, but the problem with these accounts is that they're not credit cards.

As such, a user doesn't tap credit and therefore cannot build a borrowing history. While prepaid cards can be a great way to manage your money, you should check for actual secured credit card applications online to establish your score.

When you've been using your card for a while

After you've been using your secured card wisely for a number of months - making payments on time, keeping balances low from one month to the next, and so forth - you will likely be ready to graduate to a better credit card deal.

Reviewing your borrowing habits over the last few months, as well as your overall finances, will help you determine your credit standing which in turn will help guide you to the best credit cards available to you given your newfound stronger credit rating.

If you are not sure of your credit standing.

‘Fair’ or ‘average’ credit is said to start with a credit score of 620. If you are not sure where you stand, it may be work your while to check your credit. If you think you can get approved for one, check out credit card applications for average credit which come with may perks not available on prepaid or secured credit cards. These include 0% introductory APR, credit card balance transfers, rewards programs and more.

Tips on applying for credit cards.

Supply information that is accurate and current when you complete the credit card form. Be honest. Since online credit card applications are turned around relatively quickly, there is no need to submit multiple applications simultaneously. In fact, it could result in a rejection for the credit card offer you want most.

For more on this topic, see out article: How to fill out credit card applications.



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