Easiest credit cards to be approved for
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Whether you’re new to the world of credit cards or are looking to rebuild your credit after hitting a financial rough patch, you’re probably on the lookout for a card that you’re most likely to be approved for. While getting denied for a credit card certainly isn’t the end of the world (most of us at TPG have been denied for at least one throughout our credit card journeys), it makes sense that you’d want to apply for something with the best odds.
But for those who may not have established credit or a high credit score, it can be hard to know which cards are right for you. So today, I’m walking through some of the easiest credit cards to be approved for.
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Beginner rewards cards
If you’re just getting started, you likely won’t be approved for an ultra-premium credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express. But that doesn’t mean you can find rewards credit cards with higher approval odds for beginners who may not have a long-established credit history.
Keep in mind that while these cards are easier to be approved for than many top-tier cards out there, you will still need a decent credit score. Many people can be approved for one of these cards straight out of the gate, but those who are trying to repair bad credit may need to start elsewhere before building up to one of these cards.
Related: What is a good credit score?
As one of Chase’s no-annual-fee cash back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is easier to get approved for than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. And you’re getting a fantastic rewards card out of the deal. This card comes with a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.
You’ll earn 5% back on Lyft and travel booked through Chase’s portal, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all non-bonus spending. The best part is that while this is an easy card to be approved for, it’s also pairable with higher-tier Chase cards such as the CSP and CSR. So you can apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited as a beginner and then combine it with a Sapphire card down the road once you’ve established credit history and a high credit score to maximize your earning and redemption options.
Another option is the no-annual-fee Discover it Cash Back card. Discover is a great card issuer for beginners — in fact, my first credit card ever was a Discover it Cash Back credit card that I applied for in college. You’ll earn 5% on the first $1,500 spent on rotating categories each quarter and 1% on everything else. Discover also matches the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, meaning you could get $600 in cash back from the rotating categories alone in your first year with the card.
You won’t be charged an annual fee, and the card doesn’t come with foreign transaction fees, either. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to log into your Discover account to activate the rotating categories each quarter in order to earn rewards.
If you don’t have the credit score to apply for Capital One’s top rewards credit cards, make sure to check out the issuer’s lineup of no-annual-fee credit cards such as the VentureOne. These cards are easier to be approved for than their annual-fee counterparts, but they still come with solid rewards rates and no foreign transaction fees.
The VentureOne specifically is great for beginner travelers who are searching for their first travel credit card. New cardholders can earn 20,000 miles after you spend $500 in the first three months. When it comes to everyday spending, you’ll earn 1.25x on all purchases.
Cards for building credit
If your credit score is less-than-stellar, you may be hard-pressed to find a lot of unsecured credit cards that are easy to be approved for. However, there are a few on the market that offer some benefits for those looking to rebuild their credit score over time.
If you have a lower credit score, the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit offers a way for you to repair your credit score over time while still offering you some of the benefits you get with a rewards credit card. While the card is unsecured (meaning you don’t need a down payment that acts as your credit limit), it does come with an annual fee — $75 for the first year, then $99 annually. The annual fee for the second and future years may be divided into 12 equal portions and one portion will be billed each month at $8.25 of the applicable year depending on your account.
You will earn 1% cash-back rewards on eligible gas and groceries as well as your monthly mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. It’s not lucrative, but it is a way to earn some rewards while rebuilding your credit.
While you won’t earn rewards with the Cap One Platinum, this credit card is marketed by Capital One as a great starting place for those who don’t have established credit yet. It’s easier to be approved for than most unsecured credit cards out there, which makes it a great option if you’re looking to boost your credit score. Capital One will automatically monitor your credit line after six months with the potential to increase it. A higher credit limit can help lower your overall credit utilization and improve your credit score.
Capital One also makes it easy to monitor your credit profile through its CreditWise tool.
If you have a bad credit score, your only option may be a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are easiest to be approved for because they are less risky for card issuers. You pay a deposit that acts as your line of credit. While secured cards rarely come with a way to earn rewards, they are a good way to rebuild your credit so that you can eventually apply for better rewards credit cards, be approved for other types of credit (such as a mortgage or car loan) and more.
If you’re looking for a card that doesn’t come with a credit check, this could be the secured card for you. You’ll pay a $35 annual fee and you’ll need a minimum of $200 for the security deposit. Subject to approval, you could potentially have a credit line of up to $3,000 if you have that kind of cash to put down for the security deposit. The card also allows you to change your payment due date once per year to help you align your bill due dates with your schedule.
Discover it Secured
The Discover it Secured is one of the only secured credit cards out there that earns rewards. After putting down a minimum $200 as a security deposit for a $200 credit limit, you’ll be able to earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter you enroll and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, just like Discover’s other rewards credit cards, you’ll have your cash back matched at the end of your first year.
Discover will waive your first late payment penalty fee, and you’ll have access to your FICO credit score for free. After you’ve had the card for eight months, Discover will review your account to see if you are eligible to move to an unsecured card (and get your security deposit back).
While you may be drawn to top travel and rewards credit cards such as the Amex Platinum or Citi Premier® Card, beginners or those who are rebuilding credit will want to focus your application efforts on cards that are easiest to be approved for. Hopefully, this guide is a good jumping-off point while you research which card is right for you as you continue in your credit journey.
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