If you’re just starting out with credit or you’ve made some major credit missteps, you may notice how hard it is to get a good credit card. You’ve probably run across some easy approval credit cards, but a lot of them don’t look that great.
3 ways to find good easy approval credit cards
In addition to sharing some thoughts about where to find easy approval credit cards that won’t break your bank, we’ll also share some things you should watch out for along the way.
1. Visit your favorite store
These store credit cards are not only easy to get if your credit isn’t great but they also typically come with special perks and features for frequent shoppers. For example, you’ll usually get a one-time discount when you first get the card, then either ongoing rewards, discounts, or both.
There are, however, drawbacks to store credit cards:
Limited acceptance: Many store credit cards are a closed loop, which means you can only use the card at the retailer. As a result, it can be hard to build credit with the card without shopping there at least once a month. If you can, try to find a store card with a Visa or Mastercard logo, which means you can use it virtually anywhere.
High APRs: Store credit cards typically don’t charge annual fees, but they do have high interest rates. Make it a goal to pay off your bill on time and in full every month to avoid interest charges.
The temptation to overspend: Since store credit cards often offer bonus rewards or special discounts and sales to cardholders, it could tempt you to spend more money than you otherwise would. While these perks are nice, spend only what you can afford to pay off each month.
2. Check out secured credit cards
A lot of predatory easy approval credit cards are appealing because they don’t require a security deposit. But the catch is that they make up for it by charging outrageous fees.
There are plenty of secured credit cards that require deposits of $200, or even lower, to get you started. While that may still be difficult for some, it can be worth it. That said, watch out for these red flags:
Some don’t report to all three credit bureaus: Major credit card issuers like Discover, Bank of America, and Capital One all report your account activity to all three credit bureaus. But some secured cards might not. If it’s only reporting your monthly payments to one or two bureaus, it could make it harder to build your credit.
High APRs: As with store credit cards, secured cards also tend to charge high APRs, even if they’re taking on very little risk with your collateral deposit. Make sure to pay off your balance in full each month.
Low credit limits: With most secured cards, your credit limit is equal to your security deposit. And unless you’re fine with tying up thousands of dollars with a deposit, you’ll likely have a small credit limit. To avoid hurting your credit with a high credit utilization rate, keep your balance low.
3. Respond to the mailers
Credit card companies often buy information from the credit bureaus, so don’t be surprised if you start getting credit card offers to help you rebuild your credit. While you shouldn’t necessarily jump on the first offer you get, you might get a good one.
As you get these offers, search for similar credit cards online to make sure you’re getting a good deal. At the same time, watch out for red flags:
Some aren’t transparent: If a mailer doesn’t mention anything about the card’s fees or APR, there’s a good reason for it. It’s even worse if you go online and have a hard time finding the information on their website. A handful of such cards not only charge annual fees but also a processing fee when you apply and ongoing monthly fees.
Some can be manipulative: Credit card companies aren’t sending you mailers because they want to help you build credit. Rather, they want to make money off of you. If you get a mailer that makes it sound like you don’t have any other options, it’s probably not a company you want to work with.
Some don’t report to all three credit bureaus: Just like with some secured credit cards, not all credit card issuers that send out mailers report your activity to all of the credit bureaus. Do your research on each card offer to make sure it’s going to help you build your credit history.
Easy Approval Credit Cards – The bottom line
It’s not easy getting a decent credit card when your credit is less than stellar, but there are many easy approval credit cards that won’t take advantage of you. As you consider your options, make sure to compare them with other top credit cards for bad credit.
Ben Luthi is a personal finance writer and a credit cards expert who loves helping consumers and business owners make better financial decisions. His work has been featured in Time, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance, U.S. News & World Report, CNBC, Success Magazine, USA Today, The Huffington Post and many more.