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Credit card options for applicants with bad credit

Want to apply for a credit card when you have a bad credit score? Here's what you need to know.

If you have a poor credit score or have had bad debts in the past, it can negatively affect your chances of getting a credit card in the short-term. But don’t despair: there are other credit options to consider.

Use this guide to learn about them, along with steps you can take to improve your credit rating – and increase your chances of credit card approval – over time.

What is my credit score?

Your credit score is a tool that’s used by a card issuer to help them decide if you should be approved for a particular line of credit. If you have a  higher score, you’re more likely to be accepted for credit.

Your score is based on the details recorded on your credit history file. Getting a copy of your credit score can help you figure out how likely or unlikely you are to be approved when you apply for a credit card or other loan product. You can obtain a credit report from the Credit Bureau of Singapore (CBS) for a small fee of around S$6.

To give you an idea of how credit ratings works, here are details of the ratings available when you get a free credit score through CBS.

1911-2000: AAProbability of Default between <= 0.27%
1844 – 1910: BBProbability of Default between 0.27% to 0.67%
1825 – 1843: CCProbability of Default between 0.67% to 0.88%
1813 – 1824: DDProbability of Default between 0.88% to 1.03%
1782 – 1812: EEProbability of Default between 1.03% to 1.58%
1755 – 1781: FFProbability of Default between 1.58% to 2.28%
1724 – 1754: GGProbability of Default between 2.28% to 3.48%
1000 – 1723: HHProbability of Default between >= 3.48%

What financial products can I get with bad credit?

While you may be looking at a credit card for bad credit, it is difficult to get approved when you already have a low score. As bad credit rating credit cards (along with no credit check credit cards) aren’t available in Singapore, you might need to consider some of the following options:

  • Secured credit cards. If you’re unable to meet the eligibility requirements for regular (unsecured) credit cards, then secured credit cards may be an option to think about. This type of card requires collateral which is usually a fixed deposit. A card issuer essentially offsets the debt using the deposit as collateral. Read more about how secured credit cards work.
  • Prepaid credit cards. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards in the sense that you’re spending only what you have. Unlike a debit or credit card though, you load funds on the card before using it. These cards also don’t affect your credit rating and don’t charge interest, so they can be a good way to build up your budgeting skills. Most prepaid cards are either Visa or Mastercard, so you should be able to use them in the same places you’d use your credit or debit card.
  • Debit cards. A good way to avoid debt is to steer away from credit and only spend what you have. Debit cards are debt-proof and widely accepted as payment. But note that using a debit card will have zero effect on your credit report and cannot help you rebuild your credit rating.

Ultimately, a bad credit rating can have a big impact on your financial options, making it difficult to getting a credit card, car loan, home loan or other forms of credit. But instead of looking for bad credit credit cards or no credit check options, you can improve your chances of approval by rebuilding your credit rating and managing money responsibly.

Start by ordering a copy of your credit report and identifying the negative listings on your file. You can also check out our DIY credit repair guide for more help.

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