Major credit cards are any cards that belong to one of the big four credit card networks: Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. That’s what stores mean by “we accept all major credit cards.” A major credit card will almost always show the logo of its network on the front. In some cases it’ll be on the back. If a card doesn’t have such a logo, it’s likely a … read full answerstore card that can only be used at a specific retailer.
Some major credit cards can also be considered more “major” than others, depending on the issuer. The 15 largest credit card companies account for more than 75% of all outstanding balances. So a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card from one of those companies, like Chase or Capital One, might fit the description of a major credit card best.
There are dozens of other banks and credit unions that issue credit cards, but their products are less popular. Major credit cards from the top issuers are the product of large-scale operations, after all. And they often provide perks to match, from better rates, rewards and fees to an easy-to-use website and free mobile app.
Here’s what you need to know about major credit cards:
Major credit cards are those on the Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover networks.
You can usually see the logo of your credit card network on the front of your card. Sometimes it is on the back. If there is no logo, you likely have a store card that only works at a specific retailer.
Most U.S. merchants accept all major credit cards. But American Express lags behind the others by about 1 million locations.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted virtually everywhere in the world. Discover cards work in 185 countries and territories. American Express cards work in 160+. Discover and Amex aren’t necessarily widely accepted in all the countries that take them, either.
American Express and Discover issue credit cards, in addition to serving as card networks. Visa and Mastercard do not.
Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, Citi, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are among the other major credit card issuers.
When picking a major credit card to use, it’s easy to narrow your search down. If you don’t plan to travel much, any network will do. But if you’re going to use your card abroad a lot, Visa and Mastercard are the safest bets.
By the way, it’s worth noting that Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover aren’t the world’s only major credit card networks. There’s also the likes of India’s RuPay and China’s UnionPay, for example.
The main differences between bad credit and no credit are access and cost. It’s easier to get a credit card, loan, apartment rental, car lease and more with no credit history than it is with a bad credit score. And people with no credit tend to get more favorable terms – rates, fees, rewards, etc. – when borrowing than those with bad credit.… read full answer
Before going into more details about what it’s like to have bad credit vs. no credit, it’s first important to understand what each term means. Credit scores are divided into tiers, ranging from “bad” to “excellent.” People with credit scores from 300 to the mid-600s are generally thought to have bad credit. It’s difficult to be more specific because lenders have the final say on credit categories. People with no credit, on the other hand, are unlikely to even have a credit score. The label means you don’t have experience with your own loan or line of credit, at least not recently.
Although bad credit is more costly and difficult to deal with, neither bad credit nor no credit is a life sentence, fortunately. There are a number of ways to build or rebuild your credit, as the case may be. Still, there are plenty of differences between the two credit categories. And the table below showcases the most important ones.
*Stats in this table are subject to change over time. But the difference between having no credit and bad credit should stay fairly consistent.
Which is worse? Bad credit by a big margin. It’s usually much easier to build good credit from scratch than it is to repair bad credit. And creditors are more likely to trust someone with a blank slate than someone with a history of making mistakes.
Whether you’re building or rebuilding your credit, the best approach is to use a credit card responsibly, even if that means placing a refundable security deposit on a secured card. First and foremost, responsible use means always paying your monthly bills on time. If you don’t trust yourself to do that, or to spend within reason, just get a credit card and don’t use it. Simply having an open account will improve your credit standing.
Keep in mind that while there is a possibility of instant approval with most cards you can apply for online, it’s never guaranteed. Instant approval tends to happen when your credit and income are better than the card’s requirements. Sometimes, issuers may take longer to review a credit card application. There are a few other credit cards for bad credit with no deposit (known as unsecured cards) with instant approval, that are worth considering.
Best credit cards for bad credit with no deposit and instant approval:
Credit One Visa: 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, as well as 1% back on mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. $75 intro 1st yr, $99 after annual fee. Minimum credit limit of $300. Requires pre-qualification before applying.
Keep in mind that unsecured credit cards for bad credit tend to be more costly and less rewarding than their secured counterparts. Make sure you keep your account in good standing by paying your balance on time and preferably in full, every month. This will allow you to improve your credit score and gain access to some of the best unsecured credit cards over time.
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