Posted by William Charles on January 29, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on January 29th, 2016 | by William Charles

25

What Are The Easiest Credit Cards To Get?

The Question

One of the more common questions we get on this blog is “what’s the easiest credit card to get and why?“. Rather than answering the same question over and over again via e-mail, let’s answer it here instead.

The Answer

It’s a pretty simple question, with a pretty simple answer. It depends. Some people want to know the answer to this question because they have bad credit that they want to improve and others ask because they don’t have a credit history at all. I’m going to break the answer down into two different answers and address these two subsets of people separately to make things simple. Before we do this, a simple disclaimer:

Don’t put any charges on your credit card unless you can pay them in full. Credit card issuers charge a very high APY and it’s very easy to fall into a cycle of debt that you can’t get under from. If you need a personal loan, speak to your local credit union instead.

For Those With Bad Credit

If you have really bad credit then it can be extremely difficult to get approved for any cards as card issuers don’t want to extend you any credit due to the associated risk. It’s important to understand how big this risk is for card issuers, somebody with a FICO score of 800-850 has an average delinquency rate (late payment or no payment made at all) of 1% where somebody with a score of 600-649 has an average delinquency rate of 31%. If somebody had a 31% chance of paying you late, or not paying you at all would you loan them money? Likely not. There are still options for people with bad credit, let’s have a look at those.

Store Credit Cards

Store credit cards are a great option, there is something known as the shopping cart trick. This lets you apply for certain store credit cards (mostly cards issued by Comenity) without a hard pull being done on your credit report, because they aren’t checking your report they don’t know how bad your credit is. The downside to this solution is that these store cards typically have low credit limits and don’t offer very attractive interest rates or rewards programs. They can still be a useful way to show other card issuers that you can handle credit cards responsibly and pay those cards back on time.

Secured Credit Card

As we mentioned before, the reason card issuers don’t want to issue credit cards to those with bad credit is because they don’t want the risk associated with it. When you get a secured credit card, you’re required to put down a security deposit that is equal to the credit limit. This eliminates that risk for them (because if you don’t repay your credit card, they are holding what you owe in cash). The downside to secured credit cards is that they often have application fees, annual fees, high APY’s and no rewards program. You’d think that this wouldn’t be the case since there is little risk to the card issuer, but some seem to take advantage of the fact people with bad credit have little choice. Thankfully this isn’t the case with all secured cards, there are some good ones out there including the Discover it Secured card (no annual fee, no application fee and a good rewards program).

For Those With No Credit

The situation is a bit different if you don’t have any credit history at all, card issuers simply don’t know how likely you are to repay your debts. Most credit card issuers offer a starter credit card for people with no credit history (or thin credit files). That said, some issuers are more lenient than others. Here are some things I’ve learned from anecdotal evidence (please provide your own in the comments).

  • Chase wants you to have credit history with at least two credit cards before applying (although they should still be on your radar after you do have two active accounts due to the 5/24 rule). It might be possible to be approved if you put $10,000 in funds into a Chase checking & savings account (if you do this, make sure you use a Chase coupon to get a sign up bonus)
  • Citi will approve customers with thin files
  • Discover will approve customers with thin files

If you have any data points on other card issuers, please let me know in the comments below. If you’re just starting off on your credit adventure, I’d recommend tracking your credit (lots of places will give you a free FICO score and there are two credit monitoring sites that will monitor all three of your reports for free)

Our Verdict

There are lots of options when it comes to credit cards that are easy to get, the best option will depend on your individual circumstances. If there is interest, we’ll also add options for people with bankruptcies on file. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments below.



25 Responses to What Are The Easiest Credit Cards To Get?

  1. John says:

    I got my first credit card in 2004. Capital One.

    I had no credit history – I was trying to get a card to build credit and kept being told “you have no credit history.”

    I applied for various store cards and credit cards over the period of a few weeks, and was rejected for all. Shortly after, I received a “pre-approved” capital one letter and was approved for a card with no rewards and a $500 limit (then it was increased to the card max of $650).

    Then, about a month later, I got a “pre-approved” application for the AMEX Green card – I thought it was a mistake, but I was approved for that, too.

    Those were my only cards for about 6 years until I got into the points game, and I haven’t had any issues with any bank since.

    • JB says:

      Moved to the US in 2011 with no history whatsoever in this country and got a $500 secured card with my Wells Fargo checking account. Then 3-4 months down the road I applied for the Capital One Newcomer card with a lousy $300 limit. This is the oldest card I still have as a shiny Quicksilver with a $6,500 CL 😉
      Today my overall credit lines exceed $200,000 after only being here for 4.5 years and I never ever carried a balance on any of them. My highest single limits are with Amex, Chase, BBVA which are all on or over $20,000. Prompt payment is the key I’d say.

  2. Jd says:

    I’d be interested mostly for my girlfriend who has a foreclosure on what was previously a sterling credit report. She’s had some bad luck with some issuers

  3. Rob says:

    What are some good options for someone with a two year old bankruptcy?

    My friend was able to get a Capitol One Quicksilver. I also added him as an authorized user on two of my cards, which gave him a boost from 620 to 700 FICO.

    The thing is the Amex, Chase, etc. see the bankruptcy on the report and just deny when calling in for recon.

    • Ivy says:

      I just applied for an American Express card and was approved with a bankruptcy on my credit reports. Mine is 6 years old, so maybe how recent effects the approval?

  4. Owen says:

    What is your opinion on my girlfriends situation? She hasn’t had her own card, but she has been the authorized user on 2 sears cards a barclay card and gap visa card for several years. Would that still preclude or from Chase? Credit Karma pegged her score in the high 700’s.

    I’m thinking a Discover IT is likely the best route for her, based on my research so far.

    • Jim says:

      I got a Discover it card in December with a 650 score and a bankruptcy(thanks to now ex-wife) on my record from 2 years ago. $10,000 CL

      I was pleasantly surprised to get this and had just got a CapitalOne VentureOne card just 3 mths earlier. Also a $10,000 CL.

      Chase turned me down.

  5. Bannister says:

    I’m surprised this post didn’t mention the Creditpulls Database on creditboards.com. That has been invaluable to me in giving me an idea of what cards were within my reach.

    As a data point, my husband was able to get a Chase Sapphire Preferred card with a very thin file. He only had one credit card reporting for about 8 months when he was approved.

  6. Carlos says:

    Just something I wanted to share with everyone.
    Wife and I applied for a mortgage through BOA for $400,000 with 20% down and the home was a forclosure valued at $570,000.
    Well here is my point we hold about 50 CC accounts and BOA turned us down because of such.
    Be very careful how many cards you open and why.
    They asked us to close all of them, every single one and we would have to wait 2 months for them to report.
    Now everyone knows once we do this our 800+ credit score will fall because of closing our oldest credit line of 15 plus years.
    So we decided to go through a mortgage company instead of a dumb bank with so many rules.
    There reasoning was we can charge on the cards after the fact lmao whats to stop me from opening them again after.
    Banks to me are the biggest pieces of sh*t now.
    So yes churning is fun but im gonna refrain for a while.

    • calwatch says:

      No, you just need a better bank. I have a similar number of accounts and was approved with AIM Loans (sold to Wells Fargo), ING/Capital One 360, and Third Federal. I don’t apply for credit within a couple months of shopping for a mortgage, but on my last re-fi with Third Federal I was well over 5/24 and still got their lowest rate.

  7. Carlos says:

    Oh all our CCs have zero balances and our income is decent.
    Banks just want to make life so much harder on us now.

  8. TucsonJohn says:

    One other point – credit scores are a reflection of your credit life. If you get a new card, and pay it off regularly, but pay late or not at all on your mortgage, car loan, or school loan, you will still have a poor credit score. Work to improve all credit. It can take time, but is doable. No one with an 800+ score got there overnight.

  9. lrdx says:

    BoA issues its cashback card for people without any credit history but able to show an offer letter. This is particularly useful for those that come to US for a job – I got a credit limit of approx one month gross salary.

  10. Md says:

    I’m interested in what cards are available for college students. My daughter is 18 and a college freshman. Her job pays about 5k per year. She is authorized user on one of my Amex cards. Applied for chase freedom, was initially denied then approved after recon call. I would love her to get Hyatt or Fairmont card to help with family trip. Also, she has received 60k aa offer in mail from citi. Hasn’t done it yet though.

  11. Miles Hustler says:

    Just recently tried to help a student with a non-existent credit file. Unless your income is high enough, for students (or anyone under 21 years old, Discover will likely require a co-applicant, so if you’re willing to do that with your student and take the credit hit, then just (1) pick a discover card that you actually want (instead of a Chrome or other student card), and (2) consider factoring that in your next AOR (and Chase UR 5/24 rule).

    For Chase, having $5k-$10k (and more) definitely helps–and if you have an account, you can go to the branch to see if you’re pre-approved (which sometimes lets you get around the 5/24 rule). Good luck!

  12. Danita says:

    I filed bankruptcy 2012 which will be dismissed 2017. I tried First Premier Bank they didn’t denied me but was issued a unsecured card $400 credit limit then 1yr later I was offered $700 credit limit. So I have two unsecured cards plus a bankrutcy. Should I continue to apply for more credit or just wait until the bankruptcy is dismiss

    • 800 score lady says:

      You can get store cards with Comenity bank if you go through the shopping cart trick. Google ir or watch videos online. They really work. Boosted my score 45 points in 3 days when Victoria Secret card was added to my profile. I hope this helps. Its a soft pull and not a hard inquiry on credit report.

  13. Don says:

    Chase was actually my second credit card. I got approved on April 17, 2014. Discover was my first and it had only been opened for 7 months (opened on Aug 2, 2013) before I got approved for chase. I had no credit prior. Only had a limit of $500 on each.

  14. Beth says:

    I know 3 college students under age 21 who listed their annual income at $6000 (from summer jobs, babysitting, etc) and all got Southwest credit cards from Chase. They did not have any other credit cards or loans and were not authorized users on any accounts. the credit lines were all $2000 and raised to $4000 after 3 months of prompt payment of balances in full.

    shortly after they got those cards, they received mailers from both Citi and Chase regarding corresponding AA and United mileage credit cards but did not apply for those.

  15. James Davis says:

    I had a bankruptcy discharged in 2014 and got my fha mortgage two years after and have several credit cards with limits of about 75000, I carry balances of less than 2000 per month. I was initially approved for Barclays rewards and then two other barlcays cards and Capital one. My score after discharge was 545 and now is 698. I have found that is is good to have more cards even store cards if you pay off all each month.

  16. Michelle says:

    I purchased a home a year and half ago, just got approved for $300 limit from capital one, I want to apply for a Victoria secret card, so can you tell me how the shopping card trick works with the aft pull, trying to increase my score, which fell significantly after my home purchase, but my mortgage is paid on time every month, I get pre-qualified offers all the time, just want to improve my score.

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