Looking to qualify for a new credit card, even if you have poor credit history? There is a way to get credit cards for people with poor credit history. In order to qualify, you will first need to become familiar with the options available to you. By arming yourself with the right knowledge, you will increase your chances of qualifying for a credit card – even if you have a poor credit score (or FICO score).
Here are 5 tips to get a credit card even if your credit is not stellar:
1. Know your credit score:
Knowledge is power, especially if you are trying to qualify for a new credit card. You need to start by becoming familiar with your current credit score from not just one but all three of the top credit reporting agencies. There are a number of free online sites that will give you access to your credit score from at least one of the top three agencies. Because all of the big reporting agencies use the same formula for calculating your credit score, your three scores should be similar. However, they will almost certainly vary a bit from one agency to the next, and there is no way to know which reporting agency the credit card companies you apply to will check to verify your score. I strongly recommend obtaining all three of your scores.
2. Determine whether you have good, fair or poor credit:
When you check your scores, you will also be provided with some additional information that tells you how good your score is. All credit scores fall somewhere in the range from Poor to Excellent. If you believe you have poor credit, your score is likely Poor or Fair, or even possibly Good. In any event, make sure you know how your score is rated according to each credit reporting agency. It is entirely possibly that your score will fall within the Poor range for one agency but be considered Fair by another.
3. Search online for the best card deals:
A great place to start in your search for a credit card provider is online. There you can find websites that will compete for your business. The websites will usually ask you a few simple questions and then show you which companies are likely to issue you a new credit card, along with details about the terms they would offer. Read the fine print carefully, of course. While there are strict laws in place about maximum interest rates a company can charge you, even higher-end (but still legal) rates can cost you a lot in the long run.
4. Don’t accept the first deal you come across:
Hint: find the best deal you can from one website, but then move on to other sites before making a decision. Remember, you are the customer, not the other way around. Do not settle for a very high rate when another company might offer something 3-5% lower. Remember, any credit card company you speak to may be getting your credit score from one of any of the top three agencies. So, try to get pre-approval from two or three credit card companies before settling upon one offer.
5. Consider getting a short-term loan instead of applying for a credit card:
If for whatever reason you are not able to obtain a credit card at a rate that you like, consider applying for a short-term loan instead. Remember, it is not the high interest rates that are costly, but rather, it is having to pay high interest rates over a long period of time that starts to add up. Credit card companies make their money when customers run up a large balance and then fail to pay it down over many months – or longer. By applying for a short-term loan at a reasonable interest rate and then paying it back on time, you can save thousands of dollars versus charging the same amount on a credit card and trying to pay that card down over a long period of time.
If you have poor credit and are considering a credit card, do your homework. Learn your credit score, understand what it means, and then research a large number of offers before accepting one. And, remember to consider a short-term loan as an alternative to a new credit card. It could be a safer (and cheaper) bet.
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