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John Kiernan is Senior Writer & Editor at Evolution Finance. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Journalism, a minor in Sport Commerce & Culture, and the University Honors Citation. His previous work experience includes USA TODAY and The Washington Post.
Mr. Kiernan is a Washington, D.C. native and an avid fan of the Nats, Skins, Caps and Wizards. His favorite activities are golf and surfing.
If you have specific questions about an existing credit card account, you will have to contact the cards issuer directly. You can do so by calling the number on the back of your card. Credit card companies …
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The CARD Act is whats different now. This credit card law, which took effect in Feb. 2010, has dramatically strengthened consumer rights and made the industry more transparent. Among the highlights of …
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Many people like specific credit card companies or card networks for one reason or another. Customer service is important to some. Others prioritize the various benefits that card networks provide. But non…
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Your credit standing indicates what type of credit card you can get approved for. For example, someone with bad credit will not be able to qualify for a credit card that requires excellent credit. So checkin…
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People with bad credit generally can graduate from a secured credit card to a decent unsecured card after 12 to 18 months. But it depends on what you do in the meantime, not to mention how badly damaged your c…
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Most secured credit cards require a deposit of at least $200. And the minimum deposit required is always a good place to start. Simply opening an account is the most important thing at this point, as it will a…
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Yes, secured cards report information to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis. Theyre just like any other credit card in that regard. In fact, lenders wont be able to tell whether you have a secu…
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Finding the right credit card can be stressful, with so many offers to consider and so much jargon and fine print to decipher. But as long as you follow these simple pointers, you’ll be fine.
For more tips, check out WalletHub’s guide on finding the right type of credit card for your needs. And for your convenience, here are some benchmarks to consider as you wade your way through the credit card comparison process:
Market Snapshot: 1,000+ Credit Card Offers
You can learn more about the average terms offered by credit cards in popular categories from WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
Credit cards are not one size fits all. Not only does your credit standing dictate what offers you’ll be able to get approved for, but different people require different terms and features from their credit cards, depending on their spending and payment habits. Below, you will find some general guidelines that will help steer you toward the best credit card for your particular needs.
Unfortunately, if you’re already in financial trouble (e.g. late on payments, in collections, etc.), getting access to credit could be difficult. That’s problematic because using credit responsibly is the best way to rebound from such mistakes. So if you can’t get approved for a secured card, you might want to explore these other debt solutions to figure out what your next step should be.
We believe most people should have a credit card. It’s simply the easiest way to add positive information to your major credit reports on an ongoing basis. That, in turn, will help you build credit history and improve your credit standing. And credit improvement can save you a ton of money on loans and lines of credit as well as open doors to opportunities such as a new job or apartment.
Actually using your credit card to make purchases is another story, though. Whether that’s a good idea depends on if doing so will cause you to spend more than you would otherwise.
If it won’t lead to bad habits, you’ll be able to take advantage of a credit card’s many other benefits. They range from the ability to earn rewards on everyday spending or pay for big-ticket purchases over time to assorted travel perks and the convenience of shopping online.
And if a credit card would lead to overspending, you can still benefit from its credit-building capabilities. As long as you make sure to pay any fees that are assessed, you can simply lock your card in a drawer and watch positive information flow into your credit report on a monthly basis. After all, your credit utilization will be zero and you’ll be classified as having paid on time.
A secured credit card is exactly like any other credit card, save for one thing: You have to place a refundable security deposit, the amount of which serves as your spending limit. When it comes to why a secured credit card is a great choice, there are five main reasons:
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s secured credit card guide.
Your credit standing indicates what type of credit card you can get approved for. For example, someone with bad credit will not be able to qualify for a credit card that requires excellent credit. So checking your latest credit score before getting too deep into the credit card comparison process will save you time as well as help reduce your odds of rejection.
Your credit history also affects much more than just your credit score search. It also impacts your car insurance premiums, the security deposit you’ll have to place in renting an apartment, and even your ability to get certain types of jobs. You can learn more about how credit scores work and what they’re used for by reading WalletHub’s credit score guide.
Depending on the credit card company, you may have up to four options for submitting a credit card application:
Most people are accustomed to applying for big-bank credit cards through the mail, and online credit card applications are becoming increasingly popular. But the truth is that how you apply for a credit card is just a matter of personal preference. Making an educated decision about which card to apply for is far more important. And that’s why we recommend using WalletHub.
At WalletHub, comparing hundreds of credit cards is as simple as a few clicks of your mouse. Trying to replicate that by spreading paper credit cards applications across your kitchen table, for example, just won’t produce the same results. Plus, for those of you concerned about sharing personal financial information over the internet, every online credit card application is encrypted using SSL technology. You can read more about WalletHub’s data protection practices here.
First of all, it's good that you are expressing a desire to rebuild your credit because too often people simply decide credit card use isn't for them and try to make do with a bad credit score. Doing so obviously forces them to pay unnecessarily high costs on loans and insurance premiums, not to mention the fact that they have a harder time getting approved for a plethora of things, including home and car leases, mortgages and even jobs that require security clearances or the handling of money.
With that being said, your best bet is going to be a secured credit card, for a few different reasons. For starters, no matter how bad your credit is, you can get approved for a secured card. This is because they require that you place a refundable security deposit, which acts as your credit line, both protecting the card’s issuer in the event that you default and precluding the need for high fees.
A secured card's low fee structure not only makes it easier to pay all of your bills on time, but it also gives you the option of simply locking your card in a drawer and thereby building credit without the temptation that comes with making purchases. You see, information about a credit card account is relayed to the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), regardless of whether the cardholder makes purchases or not. As long as your account is in good standing, this information will be positive and your score will gradually rise.
While the gains won't be as pronounced as if you were making purchases and on-time payments, this is a great option for people who’ve run into trouble in the past and are nervous about repeating their mistakes. What’s more, you can also add to your security deposit over time and, in doing so, increase your available credit as well as your credit score.
You should be able to move to an unsecured card after about a year of responsible secured card use. (That means if you do make purchases, you must make them on time!)
Hopefully that helps!
People with bad credit don’t have too many options, but you do have two different types of credit cards to choose from: secured credit cards and unsecured credit cards for bad credit. And the decision comes down to whether you need an emergency loan.
If you don’t have the $200+ needed for a secured card’s deposit, you may just want to wait until you’ve saved enough. While opening an unsecured credit card for bad credit might be the quicker route, it will likely turn out to be the more expensive one as well.
Many people like specific credit card companies or card networks for one reason or another. Customer service is important to some. Others prioritize the various benefits that card networks provide. But none of that matters as much as a given card’s terms. In other words, if you get the best combination of rewards, interest rates and fees for your needs, it doesn’t really matter who issues the card or what network it’s on.
That said, there are a couple of cases in which a card’s network or issuer really is important. For starters, you should make sure to get a no foreign transaction fee credit card on either the Visa or MasterCard network if you plan to travel abroad or buy things from internationally-based merchants. Visa and MasterCard are much more widely accepted abroad than Discover and American Express. And using plastic will help you save on currency conversion.
In addition, your credit card options will be somewhat limited if you have less-than-good credit and are not a college student. Not all credit card companies offer cards to such individuals. Capital One and USAA are two of the only major issuers with cards for people across the creditworthiness spectrum.
To learn more about the reputations of major credit card companies, check out WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study.
It generally takes 7-10 business days to get a new credit card after being approved for an account. But some credit card companies offer expedited delivery for new plastic, often for free. So it’s possible to get a new credit card in as little as 1 business day, or even overnight.
To see the delivery timeframes and costs by major issuer, check out WalletHub’s guide on how long it takes to get a credit card.