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My Credit is Bad - Can I Still Apply for a Card?

Stephen Leifer - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The key to repairing credit mistakes is showing you can use credit responsibly, but how do you get a credit card if you have bad credit?

 

Despite making credit mistakes in the past, it is possible to secure credit if you have a low credit score. 

The downside to having a damaged credit history and low scores is that you will likely have low limits, annual fees, and high interest rates.  You will also probably need to choose a secured card that requires you put down collateral.  The good news is you can still improve your credit score.

 

Store credit cards are another option.  They are the cards you are aggressively marketed when you make a purchase and check out at a store.  Many retailers have relaxed requirements because they are so desperate to get people to sign up for their cards. 

 

There are a few additional things you can do to protect your score when you are applying for credit with a less-than-perfect credit history:

 

  • * Be careful about how many cards you apply for in a short period of time.  Each application can ding your credit score, so less is more.

* Do not apply for traditional cards until you are sure you will be approved.  Being denied credit is a negative mark on your score.

* Do not carry high balances.  If possible pay off your balance at the end of each month.  This is especially important if you choose a card with a high interest rate. At least make sure that you keep the usage of your cards below thirty percent of your limits from month to month.

* Never sign up for a card that features an annual fee higher than $50 or with an interest rate over 30 percent. There are better options out there.

* Monitor your credit score to ensure it really is improving over time.


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