How low income credit cards work

Apply for a credit card, even with low or no income.

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Some cards make it easy to apply for a credit card when your income is low. There are even provisions for those who earn no income at all to get access to credit. But it’s important to remember that income is never the sole factor in your qualification for a credit card.

Our Pick for a low income credit card: Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card

Low fixed interest rates with no penalty rate.

  • Annual fee: $49
  • Purchase APR: 9.99% fixed
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Why is income important?

Credit card providers want to make sure you can pay off your debt — that’s why income is one of the main factors they take into account. Any kind of income can do, including employment, unemployment benefits, social security, pension income, alimony and child support.

Having low income doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for a credit card approval. Other factors — including your debt, your credit score and credit history —will come into play. If approved, low income will likely affect the credit line you receive.

Are there low income credit cards?

Yes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amended the Credit CARD Act to make it easier for stay-at-home spouses and partners to get credit cards. Card issuers can now consider third-party income if the applicant has access to that money — for instance, a stay-at-home spouse who has access to his or her spouse’s income. If this applies to you, you may list your spouse’s income on your application when applying for a credit card.

What should I look out for when applying for a credit card with low income?

Low income credit cards have their benefits but also their drawbacks. Keep an eye on:

  • Annual fee. Because someone with a low income is considered a higher risk by banks, they will look to get as much money from you upfront in case you default on your monthly credit card payments. Watch out for credit cards with a high annual fee.
  • High interest rate. Again, because you may be considered high risk, you can expect a higher APR, which means you’ll be paying more in interest on your purchases. Look for the lowest possible APR, but more importantly — pay your balance in full and on time.
  • No frills features. Most cards that a low income earner will qualify for don’t offer extras such as rewards, access to concierge services, travel benefits and complimentary rental car insurance coverage.
  • Low credit limit. If you earn a low income, your credit limit will also be low. By law, card issuers can only extend credit that the borrower can realistically repay. In some cases, you can request a credit limit increase.

Consider secured credit cards

If you are turned down during the application process, don’t lose hope. There are still options available to those with low income and poor credit. If you find yourself in this situation, consider applying for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards present a great opportunity to fix your credit history and build your credit score. With a low security deposit, you can start adding positive information to your credit history.

Every time you make a purchase, it will be charged against the credit limit, and you’re required to make at least the minimum payment each month. Your security deposit is held in case you default on your payments. Making your monthly payments on time and in full will begin to raise your credit score, which will allow you to qualify for a traditional credit card in the future.

Get the right secured card

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How to choose a secured credit card

Choosing the right low-income credit card is important for making sure you end up with a card that will help you rebuild your credit score. Once you’ve reviewed your options, here’s what to take into account:

  • Minimum security deposit. Look for a secured credit card with a low security deposit if you don’t have much money to put down.
  • Maximum security deposit. Perhaps you have several thousand dollars and want a secured credit card with a large credit limit. In this case, look for a secured credit card that requires a high security deposit. Many limit the security deposit to $5,000, but there are a few that allow security deposits as high as $10,000.
  • Annual fee. Annual fees are common with secured credit cards. As you compare secured credit cards, look for one with a low or no annual fee. This will lower the cost of having a secured credit card.
  • Interest rate. Ideally, you will pay your balance in full each month. This is the best way to build a good credit score and avoid getting into debt. If there’s a chance you’ll carry a balance, however, choose a secured credit card with a low interest rate. You’ll pay less in finance charges if you have a low interest rate.
  • Reporting to the major credit bureaus. The goal of having a secured credit card is to build a new credit history or to rebuild a bad credit history. Having a card that reports your account details to the major credit bureaus is a must. This way your payment history will be included in your credit report and will help improve your credit score.
  • Upfront fees. The best secured credit cards do not charge any upfront fees. You’ll only have to pay your security deposit to receive your credit card. Tread carefully with any credit card that asks you to pay additional fees to get a credit card.
  • The credit card issuer. Picking a secured credit card from a major credit card issuer is often a safe choice. Choose a secured credit card from a well-known, reputable credit card issuer to be sure you’re not falling for a scam.

Compare secured credit cards

This type of cards can be a solid option as a low income credit card. Just make sure you compare multiple cards until you find the best card for your financial needs.

Name Product Filter values Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
26.99% variable
$0
300
Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
19.14% variable
$35
300
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
9.99% fixed
$48
300
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
20.74% variable
$29
300
Build your credit with all three major credit bureaus.
13.99% fixed
$39
300
Open a personal savings deposit account to secure a credit line from $200 to $5,000.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Having a low income doesn’t have to stop you from getting a credit card. But if you keep getting declined for ones you want, consider a secured credit card to compare your other options.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    J.C.G.April 9, 2018

    A friend sent me, then started pressuring me into applying for an Uber CC.What’s not being told to me about this CC?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 10, 2018Staff

      Hi J.C.G.,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      It is wise to obtain as much information as possible regarding a card before applying for it. Thus, I understand you want to know more about Uber’s credit card.

      Though it is called Uber Visa Card, it is not just a card for Uber passengers. It also comes with other perks and rewards for people who eat out a lot and those who travel frequently.

      There are just so many things to say about this card and this reply isn’t enough to cover all of them. If you wish to know more about Uber Visa Card, I highly recommend that you visit this page.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    RajeshkumarOctober 17, 2017

    My salary is 9937 I can apply credit card?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JudithOctober 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Rajeshkumar,

      Thanks for contacting finder, a comparison website and general information service.

      In order to determine someone’s eligibility, the card issuer will weigh several factors, including income. Specifically, issuers will look at your debt-to-income ratio — your combined monthly debt payments in comparison to your monthly income. Issuers will look at this figure when determining how much you can afford to pay and will then set your credit card limit accordingly. This includes being able to make payments on a fully maxed-out credit card. Other important factors include your credit score and your credit history. You may also find this information on the page you’re viewing.

      You may want to read this page for tips in applying for a credit card.

      I hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Judith

  3. Default Gravatar
    ArmandoJune 27, 2017

    Is there such a thing as this $0 down on primor cards on advertisements as stated?

    • Default Gravatar
      LiezlJuly 2, 2017

      Hi Armando,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are referring to application or processing fee, yes, this secured credit card does not charge such fee. It worth noting though that the credit limit assigned to your account will be equal to the amount of your savings account, which can be between $200 and $5,000. For more information about primor® Secured Mastercard Gold Card, you may click the green button or the “More Info” link.

      I hope this answers your question.

      Kind regards,
      Liezl

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