The best credit cards for unemployed people are secured credit cards like Discover it® Secured Credit Card or Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card. You don’t need a job to get a credit card, but credit card companies are required to make sure you have enough income to pay your monthly bills. And most people’s incomes take a big hit when unemployed. So it makes sense to go for secured cards, since they offer the easiest approval of all credit cards.
It’s important to note, though, that if you’re receiving any kind of unemployment pay, you can report that as income on your credit card application. The same goes for money that comes from other non-job sources, like gifts, trust fund distributions and scholarships/grants. If you’ve built up good credit and still have a reliable source of income without a job, you can apply for a cash back credit card like Citi Double Cash Card.
Here are the best credit cards for unemployed people:
Best for students – Discover it® Student Cash Back: 5% cash back up to $1,500 spent in different spending categories each quarter when activated, plus unlimited 1% on all other purchases. Discover matches your first year’s cash back on your account anniversary. $0 annual fee. Accessible to those with limited credit.
Best for bad credit – Discover it Secured Credit Card: 2% cash back on $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations combined each quarter, and 1% on all other purchases. Discover matches your first year’s cash back on your account anniversary. $200 minimum deposit. $0 annual fee.
Best for good credit or better – Citi Double Cash Card: 2% cash back on all purchases – half when you make purchases and the other half as you pay for those purchases. 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, with a 3% (min $5) balance transfer fee. $0 annual fee.
Just remember to play up your income as much as you can on your application. Just because you don’t have a job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not bringing in any money. If your income is slim, go for a secured card.
The annual fees on secured credit cards with no credit check range from $29 to $49 per year. All of the cards require a $200 security deposit. And they all report information to the big 3 credit bureaus each month. So any of them can help you immediately begin rebuilding your credit.
Still, it’s important to note that even a secured credit card with no credit check has some approval requirements. You have to be at least 18 years old, for one thing, and you need enough money for the refundable security deposit as well as monthly bill payments.
Why You Shouldn’t Rule Out Secured Cards With a Credit Check
Before you apply for a secured credit card with no credit check, make sure you actually need it. Even secured cards that require a credit check are pretty easy to get. They’re meant for people with bad credit, and the refundable security deposit you place reduces the risk for issuers.
Individual issuers may have specific requirements that rule some people out. For example, you can’t get most secured cards with a non-discharged bankruptcy on your credit report. But there are plenty of other cards whose main requirement is that you have enough money to fund the security deposit. And while they may do a credit check, most applicants should still get approved.
The hard inquiry that comes with a credit check shouldn’t be too big of a deal, either, if you end up opening an account. The score damage will be temporary. And you won’t be able to qualify for any worthwhile loans until you improve your score anyway. So if you don’t need the best possible score right now, taking a short-term hit to achieve long-term gains is the way to go.
Finally, if you’re nervous about getting rejected, you can check for pre-approval before applying. Pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed an account. But it is a sign that your odds of approval are extremely high. If after all that you’re not confident in your ability to get approved, you can always go for a secured credit card with no credit check.
You can get a credit card without a job. Most credit card applications have a section for employment information, but you can also put student, homemaker or unemployed. Annual income and assets are more important than employment status when applying for a credit card, though.
Income is usually from a job, but it can also come from other sources like an inheritance or investments. Your assets are anything of value that you own. For example, if you have a rental property, the property would be an asset. And the rent you charge would be part of your income.… read full answer
If you’re under 21 years old, you’ll need your own income source to qualify for a credit card. That could include a regular allowance from your parents, though. If you’re over 21, you can list household income that you have reasonable access to. For example, a stay-at-home parent could list their spouse’s income. Without a job or any income, a credit card will be much more difficult to get.
How to get a credit card without a job:
Put down non-employment income: You can list alimony, disability benefits, certain scholarships, and investment or rental income, for example.
List shared income: If you have consistent access to someone else’s income, you can list that. For example, it could be an allowance from a relative (if you’re under 21 years old) or your partner’s pay (21+).
Become an authorized user or get a joint account with someone else: An authorized user can make charges on someone else’s account. But the primary cardholder owns the account and is legally responsible for paying the bills. This option is the easiest way to get a card and start building credit. You can also get a joint credit card from U.S. Bank without a job, as long as the co-owner has enough income. But in a joint credit card arrangement, both people are liable for the debt.
Get a secured card: To get a secured card, you must put down a security deposit (usually $200+), which serves as the credit limit. Since there is no possibility of borrowing more than you can pay, secured cards are easier for people with limited income or bad credit to get.
You can get a credit card without a job as long as you have enough income or assets to pay your bills. So being out of work doesn’t mean losing out on the opportunity to improve your credit score or enjoy the convenience of plastic.
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