Applying For A Credit Card While Having Bad Credit

By Janice Larsen
Updated August 27, 2014
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Applying For A Credit Card While Having Bad CreditFrom applying for a home loan to securing an apartment lease in a major city; having an acceptable credit score is extremely important and beneficial in today's modern world. However, less-than-ideal credit scores, often are the result of unfortunate circumstances, such as the current economic recession. These types of events can disrupt the process and severely limit one’s ability to own a home, car, or pay for the necessities of life.

Dealing with emergencies and coping with daily realities require the use of a credit card. But while credit cards are virtually a necessity in the contemporary world, the process of applying for a credit card can be frustrating, especially for individuals with below average or bad credit.

Especially in the midst of the current economic conditions, banks and credit unions are hesitant to offer new lines of credit to credit card applicants, especially if the applicant’s credit scores are below the mid 600's. However, even with poor credit scores and shaky credit histories, individuals can still qualify for credit cards. Hard to believe, but some banks are more willing to offer credit cards to applicants with poor credit history and even market credit cards to such individuals to capitalize on their weaknesses. Sad isn't it?

There are also alternative types of credit cards that are typically available to applicants with bad credit. In order to help build positive credit in spite of bad credit, many banks offer a secured credit card; which requires the credit card holder to place a deposit. While, in the short run, this might not seem like an adequate solution, a secured credit card can help someone dig themselves out of the depths of bad credit and gain the possibility of qualifying for a normal credit card.

While it may often seem like bankers are simple bureaucrats who are purely interested in the bottom line, it is important to remember that they are humans with emotions; however concealed, and the power to approve applications in spite of poor credit histories, unexercised. In light of this, it can be very helpful to include an explanation for previous credit blemishes while applying for a credit card. Only having a few lines of credit, or having credit for a short amount of time, can severely weaken one’s credit, though these factors would not automatically disqualify an application for a credit card.

While, on the other hand, consistent late payments can seriously damage one’s credit score. There may have been extenuating circumstances which would not cause late payments to disqualify an individual for a credit card, depending on the creditor. In other cases, hiccups in one’s credit history may have taken place years prior, while, in the meantime, their financial circumstances may have become substantially better. In any case, it may be helpful to honestly and sincerely explain the causes of one’s bad credit in the application process for the credit card.

Lastly, it is important to bear in mind that most people who apply for credit cards are not turned down automatically. Applications are typically considered very carefully, including those applicants with bad credit history. It is certainly possible to obtain credit cards in spite of one’s poor credit. If you have bad credit, speak to your bank or credit union to discuss your options for applying for a credit card.





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