How To Get A Credit Card When You Have Bad Credit

how to get a credit card

How To Get A Credit Card When You Have Bad Credit

So you have a bad credit score and wonder whether you stand a chance of getting a credit card.  Though this is not ideal, bad credit is by no means the end of the world. You can still apply and get approved for a credit card.  That said, you certainly need to do your due diligence before asking the bank for a second chance. Read on to find out how to get a credit card even when you have bad credit.

Credit cards and cash

1. Know Your Credit Score

Your credit score influences the credit card issuer’s decision with regards to your application.

Even though you know that you have bad credit, have you considered how bad it is?

Typically scores are classified as the followings:

  • 300-629: Bad credit
  • 630-689: Average credit
  • 690-719: Good credit
  • 720 and up: Excellent credit

Assume that you’re in the 300-629 range, but exactly where do you stand?

There are different credit scoring models, with FICO scores being the most commonly used by lenders when accessing applications. You can purchase your credit score directly from FICO or obtain free credit reports via Credit Karma or Quizzle.

2. Pay Off Your Debt

About one-third of your credit score relies on your repayment history or how many loans you already have.

The key is to show that you have consistently met the month repayments over a good period of time. In addition, you need to demonstrate that you’ve been making more than the minimum monthly repayment. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to convince the lenders that you can repay the debt.

There are different ways you can pay off your debt faster. Seek help from an expert if you’re not sure which repayment plan is right for you.

Calculator and bills paying off debt

3. Get A Full-Time Job

This applies to individuals who are currently unemployed, working part-time, or contractors with unreliable, unstable sources of income.

So unless your annual income meets the minimum repayments for a card’s credit limit, you won’t stand a good chance of getting a credit card. You should wait instead of going all in and damaging your credit score even further.

If you earn some money besides your full-time job, include it on your application. That said, don’t overstate your income or give false information. This will only do you harm — you might even get charged with credit card fraud.

4. Start Saving Today

Saving tells lenders a few things about your spending habit. Any instances of overdraft or direct debits that have been rejected due to insufficient funds won’t look good to credit card providers.

Try to save a small amount of money each week. This demonstrates your financial capability to repay a credit card if your application is approved.

Piggy bank on top of stack of dollars

A Final Look at How to Get A Credit Card with Bad Credit

Being rejected for poor credit is certainly not in your best interest. But there’s no need to overly complicate and worry about the situation. Make sure you do your homework and have a thorough plan before you approach a credit card provider again.

What’s your take on this? Share your insights in the comments below.

Get Control of Your Credit With Our Free Ebook

* indicates required



  1. I wish I had seen this post earlier.

    I didn’t know there were ways to get my credit score for free.

    I previously used TransUnion and had a very hard time cancelling the automatic annual renewal with them.

    I’ll definitely have a look at Credit Karma or Quizzle for future inquiries.

    Thanks for the great information!

    • Yea once you get locked into those paid services, it’s difficult to turn them off.

      The upside to having a paid service is that you get your FICO score and other bells and whistles like identity theft protection.

      Many of the free sites today only provide your Vantage score.  If you want more you have to pay up.  But at least you get some idea where you stand and if you have bad credit you are making improvements.

      Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are the well know sites, but competition for these services is heating up, offering more free options for those willing to sign up.

      Check out this recent post I wrote about the best credit score sites for more information.

    • Hey Lauren,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There are lots of people that have bad credit that can’t get a credit card.

      Following just a few time tested rules can put them back in the credit card driver seat.

      First, keep track of your credit score, payoff debt as quickly as possiblr, maintain a full time job and save some money.

      Also apply for a credit builder loan at your local bank or credit union. This will help you get to where you want to go faster and build your credit score at the same time.

      All the best.

  2. Hi Patrick,

    I love the honest no holds barred advice here, and I love the site in general.

    The steps to get enough good credit recognition you’ve highlighted really well.

    Know what you are up against with your score, make a plan and start chipping away, and maximize your work wages.

    Though saving when you don’t have a good score isn’t usually an option, because of the points mentioned…it would be great if at all possible.

    Thanks again for sharing Patrick.

    • Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Once you have bad credit it’s extremely tough to dig your way out to get approved for a credit card.  But it can be done, it just requires a little discipline.

      Of course it all starts out by reducing your spending. It also helps to know your credit score so you have a beginning point to measure your improvement. 

      Start paying your debt down and be certain to make your payments on time.

      If you have a full time job, great!  Keep it and see if you can add a side gig to earn a little extra. With the extra income try to save and invest a little.  Having a little bit of cushion helps when an emergency arises like a car repair.

      Follow these easy steps, rise and repeat and your bad credit will slowly disappear.

      All the best.

  3. Hey Patrick,

    I think this article is a great start for someone who has not so great credit.

    I encounter some clients in my profession that would find your information useful.

    I myself had a struggle with credit during the recession and I feel that credit is a double-edged sword, that if not properly handled can cause a lot of pain. Your article was very informational and helpful.

    Thanks for the information…

    • Danny,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The content seems fairly basic, but it’s amazing how many people are unaware of the steps needed to get and keep credit when they have bad credit.

      Many people struggled during the last recession especially those that had lots of credit card debt and lost their job.

      I have several friends that experienced a rough time and even lost their homes to foreclosure.

      Thankfully they have recovered from those awful times, and have learned a hard but useful lesson.  Don’t overuse credit, save more and keep your spending within your means.

      Glad you found the post helpful.

      All the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.