Credit Cards For Bad Credit

 

Below is a comprehensive list of credit cards for bad credit. Use our filter and select cards that fit your criteria. For example, you can choose only guaranteed approval credit cards, unsecured credit cards with no deposit and also by starting credit limit (eg $500 or $1,000). You can even filter credit cards that have rewards or provide free credit scores.

We suggest you get cards with reasonable (or no) annual fees and avoid those which charge one-time processing fees, application fee and monthly maintenance fees. Remember to keep your credit utilization rate low, pay your bills on time and preferably in full and your activity will be positively reported to the three major credit bureaus. Gook luck with your rebuilding efforts.

 

 

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Fingerhut Credit Account

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 24.9%*(V) 
24.9%*(V) 
Credit Limit: $200-$500 
$200-$500 
Credit Needed: Bad 400-600 
Bad 400-600 
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Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

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Annual Fee: $0 to $99 
$0 to $99 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 24.9%*V 
24.9%*V 
Credit Limit: $300 
$300 
Credit Needed: 540-680 
540-680 
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Milestone® Mastercard® With Free Choice Of Card Image At No Extra Charge

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Annual Fee: $35 to $99 
$35 to $99 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 24.9%*V 
24.9%*V 
Credit Limit: $300 
$300 
Credit Needed: 540-680 
540-680 
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OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Annual Fee: $35 
$35 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 19.14%*Variable 
19.14%*Variable 
Credit Limit: $200 to $3,000 
$200 to $3,000 
Credit Needed: No Credit 
No Credit 
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Credit One Bank® Visa® With Free Credit Score Tracking

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Annual Fee: $0 to $99 
$0 to $99 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 19.99% to 25.99%*(V) 
19.99% to 25.99%*(V) 
Credit Limit: $300 
$300 
Credit Needed: Bad >600 
Bad >600 
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NASCAR® Credit Card from Credit One Bank®

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Annual Fee: $0 to $99 
$0 to $99 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 19.99% to 25.99%*(V) 
19.99% to 25.99%*(V) 
Credit Limit: $300 
$300 
Credit Needed: Bad >600 
Bad >600 
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The First Latitude Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 26.74%*V 
26.74%*V 
Credit Limit: $200-$2,000 
$200-$2,000 
Credit Needed: No Credit 
No Credit 
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Horizon Gold

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $24.95 
$24.95 
APR: 0% 
0% 
Credit Limit: $500 Limit 
$500 Limit 
Credit Needed: Damaged-Fair 
Damaged-Fair 
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Freedom Gold Card

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $24.95 
$24.95 
APR: 0% 
0% 
Credit Limit: $500 Limit 
$500 Limit 
Credit Needed: Damaged-Fair 
Damaged-Fair 
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Net First Platinum

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $24.95 
$24.95 
APR: 0% 
0% 
Credit Limit: $500 Limit 
$500 Limit 
Credit Needed: Damaged-Fair 
Damaged-Fair 
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Next Millennium Card

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Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $29.95 
$29.95 
Monthly Fee: $19.95 
$19.95 
APR: 0% 
0% 
Credit Limit: $1,000 
$1,000 
Credit Needed: Bad 400-600 
Bad 400-600 
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Unique Platinum

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $19.95 
$19.95 
APR: 0% 
0% 
Credit Limit: $1,000 
$1,000 
Credit Needed: Bad 400-600 
Bad 400-600 
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Vast Platinum

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
Application Fee: $29.95 
$29.95 
Monthly Fee: $19.95 
$19.95 
APR: 0% 
0% 
Credit Limit: $1,000 
$1,000 
Credit Needed: Bad 400-600 
Bad 400-600 
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Blaze MasterCard

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Annual Fee: $19, $50 or $75 
$19, $50 or $75 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 29.99%  
29.99%  
Credit Limit: $300 to $1,500 
$300 to $1,500 
Credit Needed: Fair Credit 
Fair Credit 
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Fit MasterCard®

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Annual Fee: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
Application Fee: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
Monthly Fee: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
APR: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
Credit Limit: $500 
$500 
Credit Needed: 540-680 
540-680 
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Reflex MasterCard

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Annual Fee: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
Application Fee: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
Monthly Fee: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
APR: See Terms* 
See Terms* 
Credit Limit: $500 
$500 
Credit Needed: 540-680 
540-680 
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Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card

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Annual Fee: $75 (Y1)-->$48 
$75 (Y1)-->$48 
Application Fee: $89 
$89 
Monthly Fee: $0 (Y1)-->$6.25 
$0 (Y1)-->$6.25 
APR: 29.99%*(V) 
29.99%*(V) 
Credit Limit: $300 
$300 
Credit Needed: 540-680 
540-680 
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Lendup L Card Preferred

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Annual Fee: $0 to $60 
$0 to $60 
Application Fee: $0 
$0 
Monthly Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 20.99% to 30.99%*V 
20.99% to 30.99%*V 
Credit Limit:  
 
Credit Needed: Fair Credit 
Fair Credit 
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Top Rated Credit Cards For Poor Credit

Below are cards you could consider to help rebuild your credit. While there are lots of cards and "credit account" available, the cards and issuers we have highlighted have the least fees and generally more reasonable rates.

  1. Fingerhut Credit Account
  2. Indigo® Platinum MasterCard®
  3. Milestone®
  4. Opensky® Secured Visa® Card
  5. Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa®
  6. NASCAR® Credit Card from Credit One Bank®

 

Research Methodology: How We Chose the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

We researched every subprime credit card available today and looked at the following criteria:
 

  • Does it have annual fee? If so, how much?
  • Does it charge a one-time application or processing fee?
  • Does it charge a monthly maintenance fee?
  • Does it report to all three credit bureaus?
  • What is the APR?
  • What is the grace period?
  • Does it have track record of credit line increase?
  • Does it have tools to track your credit score?
  • Does it have reward programs?
  • Customer Service


The cards on our recommended list have many good attributes. We have sorted them by importance. So let's start with the most important attributes, which is fees.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Credit Cards

 

What is a bad credit score?

The three major credit bureaus define bad credit slightly differently. According to Equifax, borrowers consider credit scores from 580 to 669 as subprime. If your credit score is below 580, borrowers would consider your credit as really poor according to Equifax.

Experian considers credit score between 580 and 669 as fair or subprime. According to them, 20.2% of people have credit scores in this range. Those with credit scores ranging from 300-579 are considered very poor scores and about 17% of people have scores within this range.

TransUnion uses the Vantage 3 score and according to them, credit scores within the range of 300 to 600 is considered F. So this is the range where they consider your credit to be really bad.

So based on what the three major credit bureaus have said, a credit score range of 300 to 600 would be considered bad.

Can I get a credit card with a 550 score?

Yes you can. And you could probably get an unsecured credit card as well. You can consider unsecured credit cards like Fingerhut, Indigo and Credit One.
 

What credit cards are good for bad credit?

If your credit is bad, there are actually a few different types of credit cards that will approve you. Secured credit cards are a good place to start if your scores are in the low 500s or 400s (you do need to put a deposit to start a secured card). Some good suggestions include Discover and Capital One. If you are denied these, then First Latitude Mastercard and Opensky are cards that offer no credit checks.

You can also get unsecured credit cards. This normally works if your credit score is about 550 area. Beware that many unsecured credit cards targeting bad credit folks have lots of fees like annual fee, monthly fees and application or processing fees. Choose one that only charges an annual fee and avoid those that pile on the fees (read the terms and conditions carefully). Unsecured credit cards with reasonable fees include Credit One and Indigo.

There are also online store credit cards that can help you build credit. For example, Fingerhut offers credit accounts to customers with no annual fee and is another tool you can use to rebuild your credit.

Which credit cards are easiest to get?

This is a tough question and it depends on many things. Having said that, credit cards that do not not check your credit are easiest to get. For example, in the secured credit card space, both First Latitude Mastercard and Opensky do not check your credit and you will approved as long as you fill in your application correctly and actually deposit your security deposit with them.

Applicants for Fingerhut from our site also appear to have good success of approval.

Your chances of getting approved increases if you have income, and if you have been paying your bills on time for at least 6 months to a year (no recent late payments or charge offs).

How do I rebuild my credit if I have bad credit?

1) Fix your cash flow situation. You got into this situation because you cannot make your payments, missed your payments due to cash flow. Sort that out by budgeting and increasing your income.

2). Deal with you charge off accounts. Dealing with them is one of the quickest way to rebuild your credit and scores.

3). Get new credit accounts and use them responsibly. Paying your mortgage, student loan and auto loans on time helps you to rebuild your credit. For credit cards, use only 25% of your available credit and pay off your bills in full and on time every month.
 

Can you get a credit card without a bank account?

For the most parts no because you need a bank account to pay your bills. However, there are issuers like Opensky that allows you to pay with a debit card (including funding your deposit).

Do you have to have a credit card to rebuild credit?

No, if you pay your mortgage, student loans or auto loans on time, you will build or rebuild your credit. Having said that, you may not have a mortgage or you do not need a car. In that case, getting a credit card is the easiest way to obtain credit and rebuild your credit.

How long does it take to get a credit card once approved?

Usually between 7-14 days.

What does it mean to have an unsecured credit card?

Having a unsecured credit card means that you do not have to put up a deposit to "secure your limit". All prime cards are unsecured. When you apply, you may get a credit limit from $500 to $25,000 depending on your credit score and income. However, unsecured credit cards for bad credit are different from prime cards. Your starting limit is usually between $300 and $500. Such cards usually charge additional fees in addition to an annual fee.
 

Is it better to have a secured or unsecured credit cards for bad credit?

Both secured and unsecured credit cards are useful in helping you rebuild your credit. Some people have just used secured credit cards to rebuild. You could use secured credit cards until your score reaches 700 and get a prime unsecured card. Some folks do not use secured credit cards and just apply for unsecured credit cards for bad credit folks. Many people also use both secured and unsecured credit cards to successfully rebuild their credit.

The main difference is that with a secured card, you need to put up a security deposit whereas there is no need for a deposit when you get an unsecured credit card.
 

Are there guaranteed approval credit cards with $10,000 limits?

The short answer is no. Having said that, Secured credit cards allow you to deposit up to $5,000 as a collateral deposit (which becomes your credit limit). There are two secured cards which do not perform any credit checks (which means it is guaranteed approval) and they are the First Latitude and Opensky. You can deposit $5,000 with the first latitude and $3,000 with the Opensky and hence have a $8,000 limit. Having said all that, I do not believe that what you were really looking for when you asked this question.

All my cards have low limits (like $300, $500. Are there any credit cards for bad credit with $5,000 limit?

It is rare for a sub-prime credit card to give such starting limits (unless you get a secured credit card in which you deposit your limit). However, you can make sure you get cards with a record of credit line increases. For example both Credit One and Fingerhut have a track record of increasing your credit limits if you pay in full consistently.

I have been denied so many credit cards. Will these credit cards listed here approve me?

We cannot pin a reason as to why credit card issuers will decline your application. It is not just about FICO score but also what is on your report, your income etc. If you have managed to fix your cash flow situation and are ready to rebuild, then you should consider the following secured credit cards (Opensky and First Latitude because they do not perform any credit checks. Hence you will not face any hard pulls when you apply for these cards and you will be approved as long as you make your security deposit.

I got a mail from one of these issuers telling me I am pre-approved. What does it mean?

Issuers are always looking for new customers and in the screening process, they ask the credit bureaus for a list of customers that fit the profile of their potential customers. If you meet their criteria, you will be pre-approved and you might get a mail offer from them.

It does not mean that you will automatically be approved when you actually apply. When you apply, there will still be a hard pull on your credit report and you can either be approved or declined.
 

Are there any instant approval credit cards for bad credit?

It depends what you mean by instant approval. For the majority of prime credit cards, most who apply online will know immediately if they get approved. If not, they will get a 7-10 day message "pending approval".

Some unsecured credit cards for bad credit work like that. But some work differently. Some make you go through a pre-approval process. If you are pre-approved, then you can go through the actual application and if you are approved, you will either get instantly approved or your application will be pending.

Secured credit cards might work a little differently. Some might approve you instantly but will give you a timeline to fund your deposit. Some will get the pending message until your deposit clears.
 

I just emerged from bankruptcy. Can I get a credit card?

Yes, you can. In fact, many issuers prefer folks who have emerged from bankruptcy because their old debts have been wiped out and you are starting from a clean slate. You can apply for either secured or unsecured credit cards.

You just have to be aware that there are some cards that may not approve you to if you have just emerged from BK. For example, the Citi Secured Mastercard will only approve of you after 2 years out of BK whereas an unsecured issuer like Indigo would be fine with that.
 

I have no income. Can I apply for any of these cards?

The short answer is yes. For example, cards like Indigo do not check your income.

Having said that I would caution you about getting a credit card if you do not have income. One of the reasons people get into credit trouble is because they overspend on credit cards and do not have enough income to pay off at least the minimum payment. So I would caution and urge you to sort out your cash flow problems first.

However, if you spouse is working, you could apply for a joint account or get him or her to add you as an authorized user on their card (assuming they have better FICO scores than you).
 

What credit cards are best for 600 credit score?

If you have a 600 score, you stand a better chance than others with lower credit scores to get approved for credit cards designed for people with bad credit. In fact, your chances of approval are better for unsecured credit cards in this score range. Cards to consider include Indigo Credit Card and perhaps Milestone Credit Card. If you still get denied for these cards, then you should have a very good chance with a secured credit card.
 

Will applying for a new credit card affect my credit?

It will temporarily. Most folks see a 5-10 point drop after they apply for a credit card and experience a hard pull from the credit bureaus. Some folks do experience a 30 point drop. If you are approved for the card you applied for a use the card responsibly (ie use just a fraction of your limit and pay in full and on time), your scores should quickly recover and possible improve over time.

However, the problem with folks like you who have bad credit is having multiple hard pulls and not getting approved for the cards that you have applied for. You could see quite a drop in your scores if you apply for a few cards in a row and declined for all of them. If you face such a situation, you should consider cards with no credit checks and no hard pull. For example, the Opensky Secured Visa has no credit checks and as long as you fill in your correct information and fund your deposit, you will be approved.

There are also unsecured credit cards that does a pre-approval first with just a soft pull from the credit bureaus. If you are pre-approved, you can tend proceed to the actual application which will result in a hard pull. Not though pre-approval does not guarantee approval, you greatly increase your chances if you have already been pre-approved. Example of cards that require you to go through a pre-approval process include Indigo and Credit One.
 

What if I get denied for the cards here after applying?

The most logical thing to do is to apply for another card (there are more than enough choices for you). The trick is to know exactly your credit situation and understand that some cards will not accept an application from someone of your profile.

For example, Citi Secured Mastercard will only accept BK applicants if you have been discharged for 2 years. Credit One requires an income while a card like Indigo does not check your income. Some secured credit cards do not accept applicants with bad credit at all. They just want those who do not have any credit history at all.

One of the safest bets if you have been denied a subprime credit card is to apply for a no credit check card like the Opensky Visa Secured Credit Card.
 

How long does it take to rebuild your credit score?

It really depends on your credit score and report situation and the steps you are taking to improve your credit situation. Let's just say that it is possible to improve your FICO score a lot in a relatively short period of time.

There are plenty of examples of folks who have increase their scores by 100 to 150 points over the course of 8 months to a year. They are many things you have to fix your score and the more things you do correctly, the greater chances of you hitting the tipping point where you FICO goes up a lot. Here are things to consider doing.
 

  • Find any errors and dispute it with the credit bureaus
  • put your existing loans, credit cards on auto payment so you will never be late
  • get someone to add you as an authorized card holder
  • If you have collections, settle with the original creditor if you can (not the collection agencies)
  • request that credit bureaus cancel any disputes within the last two years
  • pay down any existing credit card balance - starting with those with highest utilization ratio


Can you get rewards with a subprime credit card?

It is rare but there are a few subprime credit cards that actually have reward programs. I'll list a few here. On the unsecured credit card side, Credit One, Nascar both have cash back rewards program.

Secured credit cards also have reward programs. For example, the Discover IT secured has a cash back reward program. There are also airline and hotel affinity secured cards like Best Western Secured Card and AeroMexico secured card that lets you earn hotel and airline miles.
 

Can you transfer a balance to a subprime credit card?

Yes, there are teeny few credit cards that allow you to do a balance transfer. But for the most parts, the balance transfer rates are high and they are mostly secured credit cards. So I'm not too sure if it makes sense. Let me give you a few examples.

The Best Western Secured Mastercard allows you to do a balance transfer. But the rate is 21.24% and you have a pay a balance transfer fee of either the greater of 5% of transfer or $10. Another example would be Sheetz Secured Visa Credit Card where the transfer rate is 22.99% and you also have to pay a balance transfer fee.

The only other thing to note is that if you could afford to fund a security deposit, you should be able to afford to pay off that portion of your existing balance.
 

I do not have a bank account. Can I apply for a new credit card?

Most credit card issuers (even those who target those with poor credit scores) require that you have a checking account. However, there are the rare cards that do not require a checking account. The best example is the Opensky Visa Secured Credit Card. They allow you to fund your deposit with a prepaid debit card and even Moneygram. You can also pay your bills with Moneygram. A card like this would be absolutely ideal for those of you have problems with the chex system and do not have a checking account. You should still nevertheless try to fix your problem with Chex system.
 

What are subprime credit cards?

Subprime credit cards are simply credit cards that are targeted at people with poor credit. As we have answered in an earlier question, your credit would be consider bad if your FICO score was below 600. But the real answer to this question is to understand that there are different types of subprime credit cards. Let's look briefly at the different types.
 

Secured Credit Cards

- They are most suitable for those with scores in from the 300 to 500 range. You need to put down a refundable security deposit, which is also your credit limit. They are normally the most cost effective because all the charge is an annual fee (and many these days do not).
 

Unsecured Credit Cards For Bad Credit

- Most credit cards are unsecured. But unsecured credit cards target those with poor credit have fees. In fact, they have a few fees like annual fee, one-time application or processing fee and even monthly maintenance fees. You have to watch out for these and get cards that have low annual fee.
 

Online Store Catalog Merchandise Cards

- These are online stores that extends credit to members who make online purchases from them. You can only use these cards at their stores and they normally report to just one credit bureau. They also have monthly fees. However, these cards do not perform any credit checks and those with really bad credit have been known to use them to help improve their credit scores.
 

Store and Gas Cards

- Many folks who have poor scores have also managed successfully got approved for store credit cards and gas cards. If you shop at a particular store a lot, then it might make sense to get one of these cards. The one advantage these cards have is that most of the time, there is no annual fee (though you can only use it at a particular store).
 

How to get a high limit credit card with bad credit?

The honest truth is that you cannot get a high limit credit card when you have bad credit. Most unsecured credit cards start you off with a $300 or $500 limit. Some have a track record of increasing your credit limit over time.

For example, Credit One Bank and Fingerhut has a very good track record of credit line increases if you pay your bills on time and in full.

There are some online merchandise store cards like Unique Platinum that offer $1,000 credit lines. But that is as best as you can get from an unsecured credit card in the bad credit space.

Now, secured credit cards on the other hand allows you to set your credit limit. Most secured credit cards allow you to deposit anywhere from $200 to $5,000 as a security deposit. This security deposit will then be your credit limit. So in theory, you can deposit $5,000 and "give yourself" a high limit. But that is not the credit card issuer giving your a high limit. Rather you determine your own credit.
 

How many credit cards do i need to get to rebuild my credit

The short answer is you probably just need a few to rebuild your credit. When I say a few, I mean like maybe three credit cards, which might consist of one or two secured credit cards and one or two unsecured credit cards.

Having said that, there are many folks who end up with over ten credit cards on their rebuilding journey. The main reason is mainly because when you have bad credit scores, the limits on your cards tend to be rather low. Most folks would like to achieve a certain level of overall limits from all their credit cards before they are satisfied. But many folks are also aiming for unrealistic levels because many folks post their cards and limits on their signatures at various credit forums.

For example, some people see that folks have $40,000 worth of credit lines and want to achieve the same level. In reality, aiming for a say $15,000 overall limit is more realistic and prevents you from over applying for more cards than you need.
 

When should I close my subprime credit card?

The short answer is after your credit score and improved to a good level (probably around 680 area) and you have got approved for a couple of no annual fee prime credit cards and you are happy with your overall credit limit from all the prime credit cards you have.

That is when you can start ditching your high fee cards. And I guess a word of congratulations is due.
 

How will closing my subprime credit card affect my FICO score?

Many folks are afraid of closing credit cards in general because they are afraid that they will lose a card that has history on their credit report. But even if you close your credit card, it's history stays on your report for many years. In the meantime, if your score has improved, you should have gotten better no annual fee cards with higher credit limits. This should help your credit utilization ratio. So to cut a long story short, closing your credit card should not affect your FICO score.

 

 

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