Published on January 29th, 2016 | by William Charles41
What Are The Easiest Credit Cards To Get?
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.
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)
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.