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Can you get a credit card without a job?

Find out how you can apply for a credit card without a job and compare your options to find the best fit.

You can apply for a credit card with no job but you will typically need a source of income to get approved. Find out what types of credit cards you might be eligible for if you’re currently unemployed, and learn what you’ll need to qualify for a credit card with no job verification.

Can you apply for a credit card without a job?

Yes, you can definitely apply for a credit card without a job but you’ll usually need to have a source of income from somewhere else. Credit card issuers simply want to ensure you have the means to pay back any balance accrued on your card. So as long as you can prove that you have access to enough money to pay your card balance, you should be eligible to apply for cards.

What types of income do issuers consider when you apply for a credit card without a job?

You may be able to qualify for a credit card without a job if you have the following sources of income:

  • CPP or pension income
  • Alimony or child support
  • Retirement funds
  • Investment returns
  • Scholarships
  • Inheritance or trust funds
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Savings account
  • Income from a spouse or family member

How can I get a credit card without proof of income?

You can apply for a credit card without having a job or proof of income in the following ways:

CACCF 6 options for getting a credit card without a job

1. Get a secured credit card

You can get a secured card if you don’t have a job or source of income. These cards are just like regular credit cards except they require you to pay a security deposit upfront which typically serves as your credit limit. Your credit card provider will be able to use this money to pay your outstanding balance if you fail to make your payments.

2. Become an authorized user

You can apply with a spouse or family member to become an authorized user on their credit card or you can be added as an authorized user to an already-existing credit card. As an authorized user, you can spend money out of their account but you won’t be responsible for making payments. However, your credit score will still go up if the primary cardholder makes their payments on time.

3. Apply for a joint card

You can apply for a joint credit card with your spouse or a loved one. When you apply with someone else, your income and job status will be considered but it may not matter if your co-applicant is in a very good financial position. Just keep in mind that if you go this route, you and your co-applicant will both be liable for credit card payments. You can also apply for a card with a co-signer if you want your own account but you’d like to get approved without a job.

4. List household income, if appropriate

Remember that credit card companies just want to see that you’ll be able make payments on your card, even if that money comes from a spouse. As long as you have access to money to pay your balance, you can generally list your spouse’s income or combined household income on your credit card application.

5. Get a retail store credit card

A number of retailers offer credit cards to patrons to reward customer loyalty. Store credit cards usually have less stringent eligibility criteria when compared to other credit cards, which may extend to minimum income requirements. Just be careful about applying for credit cards that you can’t afford and keep an eye on the interest rates you’ll have to pay with these cards since they are usually higher than traditional credit cards.

6. Consider a student credit card

While this may not be an option for everyone, student credit cards can be a great option for young adults who may have little or no credit history or an unstable income. You may be able to list leftover scholarship income on your credit card application or get a co-signer, such as one of your parents, to apply for the card with you.

Should you get a prepaid card?

If the reason you’re looking for a credit card is simply to be able to make purchases online, consider a prepaid card. Prepaid cards are reloadable and allow you to make purchases wherever credit cards are accepted. These types of cards are similar to debit cards, where you need to have the funds in order to spend the money. Your credit score won’t be affected when you use a prepaid card.

What info is important for credit card approval?

Some card issuers won’t ask for employment details in the application form, while others will. In either case, issuers want to know how likely you are to make payments on your card. Some information that can help supply this includes:

  • Income details.
    The majority of credit cards require you to make at least $12,000 per year to qualify. You may be able to show your income using a number of non-employment sources such as unemployment insurance, scholarships and government subsidies. Otherwise, you may want to check out how to get a credit card without proof of income.
  • Employment details.
    If you are transitioning to a new job, you shouldn’t have problems providing your new employer’s details. But if the issuer requires several months of payment history, you could either wait to apply or apply for a different card from another issuer.
  • Credit history.
    You’ll usually need to have a minimum credit score to qualify for a regular credit card. If you don’t have a credit history to rely on, you can build credit by taking out a secured credit card or signing on for a credit card with a cosigner. You may also be able to take out a student credit card if you don’t have a credit history. Understanding your credit score and maintaining a good score will always help as well. If you’ve been out of a job for a while, your credit score might have taken a hit due to missed payments. If that’s the case, check out our guide to getting a credit card with a poor credit score.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Related to your income details, issuers will want to know your debt-to-income ratio. This number represents your total monthly debt versus your gross income. The lower the number, the better your chances of approval.

Bottom line

You can get a credit card without a job if you have a suitable amount of income coming in. You may also be able to get around income requirements by signing up as an authorized user, applying for a joint account, applying with someone else’s income or getting a secured, student or retail store card.

Whichever path you choose, it’s important that you compare credit cards to find the right option for your situation.

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