The best credit card for emergencies is a no annual fee Visa or Mastercard with a high spending limit, so you know you’ll be able to handle a big expense if need be. Visa and Mastercard credit cards are the best because you can use them anywhere. And no annual fee (or at least a low one) is important because you probably don’t want to pay for a card you’re not going to use regularly. Just bear in mind that cards with fees tend to have much higher limits. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s $5,000+ limit comes with a $95 annual fee. The highest minimum limit you can expect on a $0 annual fee card is $500, from Citi Double Cash Card.
And if your emergency credit card offers rewards, you’ll want to make sure those rewards won’t expire due to inactivity. For example, unredeemed Citi Double Cash Card rewards expire after 12 months with no purchases on your account. Luckily, that’s not standard.
Here are the best emergency credit cards:
Citi Double Cash Card: $0 annual fee. $500 minimum credit limit. 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. Rewards expire after 12 months of inactivity. Intro APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers (3% (min $5) fee). Good credit needed.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card: $0 annual fee. No minimum credit limit disclosed. Intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases. 10,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. 2 points per $1 on $6,000 spent at supermarkets annually (1 on everything else). Rewards don’t expire as long as your account stays open. Good credit needed.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: $95 annual fee. $5,000 minimum credit limit. 100,000 miles for spending $20,000 within the first 12 months or 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. 2 miles per $1 on all purchases. Miles don’t expire as long as your account stays open. Good credit needed.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card: $0 annual fee. $200 minimum deposit/limit. 2% cash back on your first $1,000 spent on gas and dining per quarter and 1% on everything else. Discover matches your first year’s cash back on your account anniversary. You can get this card with bad credit.
If you have good credit, you should definitely opt for a card with no annual fee, so you won’t have money drained from your account each year for nothing. And if your card has rewards on top of that, all the better.
It really depends on your credit rating and you should only get a card "for emergencies" if you have at least good credit, imo. The Citi Double Cash Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are awesome options, as they'll provide high enough credit limits and have well-known banks backing them.
The best way to get a credit card fast is to apply online and then request expedited shipping once you’re approved. That way, you don’t have to wait for your application to be delivered before it’s considered. Applying online also means you could be approved instantly and perhaps even receive your card number to begin making purchases right away, though no card can guarantee either 100% of the time. Typically, it takes about … read full answer2-4 weeks from the time you apply for a card to actually receive it, depending on how long approval and shipping take. But there are certain things you can do to get your card quicker.
Here’s how to get a credit card fast:
Apply online. This is the fastest way to get your application to the issuer.
Apply for cards below your range. You’re more likely to be instantly approved for cards that’re overqualified for (e.g. apply for fair credit cards if you have good credit). You could even put a deposit on a secured credit card, which has the highest odds of approval of any card type.
Check for preapproval. Some issuers let you check online to see whether you’re preapproved for any of their cards. This means they’ll tell you whether you’re a good candidate to apply based on a harmless soft check of your credit. If you’re preapproved, you’ll have around a 90% chance of success when you actually apply for an account.
Look for instant use cards. Certain issuers provide your credit card number (or a temporary placeholder) to use right after you’re approved, instead of making you wait 7-10 business days until your card arrives in the mail. For example, if you apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi at a Costco location, they’ll give you a code to scan at checkout that acts as your card until the plastic one arrives. Some other store credit cards (e.g. Target Credit Card) also allow you to apply and use your card the same day. And if you get approved for a Capital One card, you can download their app and see the number, expiration date and security code right away.
Request expedited shipping. Most credit card issuers will give you an option for faster shipping, usually in exchange for a fee ranging from $6 to $25 (but sometimes free). This will allow you to get your hands on the card sooner than the normal 7-10 business days, shortening the time to as little as overnight in some cases.
Call the issuer. If you don’t get approved right away and your application is pending, you can try following up with the issuer. Calling them might get your application looked at a little sooner than if you just waited. It might not, but it’s worth a try.
Regardless of whether you go for an account that gives you an instant number, your card should arrive within 7-10 business days of when you apply. If it doesn’t get to you within that time frame, you should definitely give customer service a call to check its status.
The easiest credit card to get with no credit is the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card because there’s no credit check when you apply. As long as you’re 18 or older, can afford at least a $200 deposit, and can make monthly bill payments, you’ll probably get approved. With secured credit cards, your limit is usually the amount of your initial deposit. The … read full answerOpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card has a $35 annual fee.
The easiest unsecured credit card to get with limited history is the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. The major upsides to this credit card are its $0 annual fee and its possibility of a credit line increase after only 6 months. However, the regular APR is a steep one at 26.99% (V), so it’s best not to carry a balance on this card.
The bottom line is there’s a number of good starter credit cards and credit cards for people with no credit that easily can help you start building a great credit score. You just have to use the one you pick responsibly.
It depends on the type of emergency: If you need to pay something with a card real quick, Citi Double Cash Card is a good pick. If you need quick cash, anything that you can get with a higher credit limit. The cash advance is going to sting, but at least you'll be covered.
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