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Have Bad Credit but Need a Credit Card?

By Edited May 26, 2016 0 0

It can be tough if you have bad credit but need a credit card, but it is doable. But before you apply for anything, do your research. Otherwise you'll end up with several rejections and a worse rating than you had when you started. If you have bad credit, you must accept that any sub-prime credit card that you get will charge higher fees and be more expensive than the ones that are offered to people with good scores.

The limits are also typically low. They might be just a couple of hundred dollars so that there is little risk to the issuer if you default. Even with these limitations, getting one can be beneficial, depending on what your goals are. If you use these wisely, you'll be able to repair your score and qualify for better options later on.

Consider a prepaid credit card if you want one primarily to make reservations and buy things online. Since you are prepaying on them, you aren't borrowing any money from the lender. These will be your least expensive option. If you have bad credit but need a credit card for the convenience factor, choose this one. It won't improve your score, but it won't make it worse either.

The fees that are charged vary from company to company, so be sure to shop around if you want to get the lowest fee. If you primarily want a card to improve your credit rating, you won't want to go the prepaid option. Instead, you'll either want a secured credit card or an unsecured one that is made for people with poor scores. Study the terms carefully before you sign up because they often come with strict rules and fees. If you make the wrong choices, you'll end up further in debt. Here are some of the things you must know before you apply.

First, find out which bank is the card issuer. Some banks offer multiple bad credit credit cards. Since they all tend to have similar terms, it makes your work easier if you know the bank issuer. Also think about the bank's reputation. You may need a credit card, but you don't need lousy customer service or unreasonable policies.

Next, determine if it is secured or unsecured. You don't have to deposit any money in a bank account for unsecured cards. The credit line is usually a couple of hundred dollars. Before you get a secured card, you'll need to put money in the bank which will be used as security against the credit. Secured cards are good because they usually have lower fees. You may also qualify for a higher limit, if you have that money to deposit. The only problem with secured is that many people don't have the money to deposit.

Find out the APR. This is the interest rate that you'll be charged when you buy things. Since you have bad credit, your APR may be high. If you instantly pay off every purchase you make, you'll be able to afford this. If you have a balance on the card, however, you'll want to get the lowest APR you can find. If you decide that you aren't going to carry a balance and can afford a high APR because of this, you need to make certain that you stick with that plan once you have the card in hand.

Is a grace period offered? During a grace period, you won't be charged the APR. Many cards have a grace period of 21 days, but not all subprime cards offer this feature. This means that you'll be paying interest as soon as you make a purchase. How often does the issuer report to the credit bureaus? If you want your score to improve as quickly as possible, you'll want to make sure that it reports monthly. Just be sure that you are paying on time so that your score will go up, not down.

Make a list of all the fees. Since fees are often listed separately, it can be hard to know the true cost of what you are getting. Writing them down and adding them up will let you know exactly how much this is costing you. To get an idea of what your true credit line will be, subtract the fees. Some of these, such as the annual fee and the monthly maintenance fee, are charged no matter how you use the card. Others, like late fees, will only be incurred if you are not careful.

Decide if getting a credit card at this time is worth it. You have a bad score for a reason. If you are afraid you'll fall back into old spending patterns, you will be better off without applying. If, however, you are now in a better position and are eager to improve your rating, you may decide that it is worth the cost.

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