Having bad credit won't prevent you from getting a credit card, but it will make it more difficult. Follow these steps to get a credit card despite your bad credit.
* STEP 1: Apply for credit cards at smaller retail stores. Sometimes these companies are more willing to give you a chance. If your application is accepted, make a small purchase and pay at least the minimum payment every month and on time. (If you pay more than the minimum payment, you won't pay as much in interest charges.)
* STEP 2: Go to your bank, savings institution or credit union. If they already have your business, they may be more willing to give you a credit card.
* STEP 3: Apply for a secured credit card if all else fails. You will be required to open and maintain a savings account as security for your line of credit. Your credit line will be a percentage of your deposit.
* STEP 4: Ask a friend or family member to co-sign for a credit card. Remember that their credit counts as well, so choose someone with good credit. If you can't pay back the loan, they must, and it will appear as a blemish on their credit rating.
Tips & Warnings
* While you are trying to get a credit card, keep paying all your other bills on time.
* Once you get a credit card, you'll start getting offers for other cards in the mail. Be wise: You should have no more than three credit cards - one or two with a small credit limit and one with a larger limit for emergencies.
* Don't get a credit card from a single store or chain of stores. Use Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express, as these are widely accepted.
* Do not get a credit card that has an annual fee. There are lots of credit cards available that don't charge annual fees.
* If you are denied credit, by law the issuing company has to tell you why. Request a copy of your credit report to see what is in it.
* Don't overspend. Use your credit cards to your advantage. Only buy something that you can pay for in cash. This will keep you from buying more than you can afford.
* Many credit cards carry interest rates of 18 to 21 percent. If you cannot pay off your balance every month, you are spending more than you can afford and need to stop using your credit card until you can pay off the balance.
* Credit card interest is not tax deductible.