The economy has definitely taken its toll on Americans' credit. Foreclosures, job losses, and loan defaults have touched many families and have left many with poor credit scores. Having bad credit changes the credit card landscape, but there are many options for getting a credit card with bad credit.

Getting a card with bad credit is a bit tougher than it was a few years ago. Though you may think that it’s not possible to get one, you should still consider applying to those banks and unions that specialize in cards for those with bad credit. Even your local bank may be willing to work with you if your credit has been damaged due to unforeseen circumstances, which can happen to many people from time to time.

One strategy for getting a credit card with bad credit is to add a statement to your credit report explaining the reason for your drop in scores. Consumers are permitted to add a 100 word statement that anyone who pulls your score should take into consideration when making their decision on whether or not to lend you money. Some card companies may disregard a low score if they know that the blemishes on your credit report are not related to poor spending habits.

Another option for getting a credit card with bad credit is to apply for a secured card. A secured card requires that you put an amount, typically at least $200, on deposit with the credit card company. The company then issues you a credit card with a credit limit equal to your deposit. The card itself is identical to an unsecured card in its look and functionality. Be sure to carefully read the fine print on unsecured credit card applications as upfront and monthly fees could eat into your available credit.

A third option for getting a card with a bad score is to apply for a sub-prime credit card. These cards could be very expensive due to the very high processing fees, and extremely high interest rates. This may not be worthwhile, as high interest rates could get you into a lot of trouble in the future.  Once again it’s critical that you read the fine print carefully. Never accept a card offer when you need to pay a fee or call a "900" number before you are approved for the card.  Most of the time, these are not legitimate offers that you should consider.

And finally, you should always continue to work on improving your credit by paying down your debt, paying all bills on time, and rebuilding your credit history.  It may not happen quickly, but if you stick to your plan, you can definitely make it happen.  Furthermore, consider creating a better budget for you and your family so that you don't need to rely on loans from a bank to pay your regular bills and expenses.

Getting a credit card with bad credit is not impossible, and only requires some careful research and planning on your part.  Remember, there are a lot of options out there, and you shouldn't give up until you've had a chance to consider everything available.