If you accumulate credit, the best credit card is the one you can get

Trying to pick a credit card can feel like deciding who to swipe straight into a dating app, especially if you’re new to the game or have been away for a while.

With both, you could revise your list of desired qualities if the pool of possibilities is smaller than you had hoped. Unlike dating, however, the advice to “just go out and try” is not helpful with credit cards. Lots of close-up applications are bad for your credit.

But focusing on a card you can get will help you build a solid credit history and eventually qualify for the one you want.

Find out what kind of customer they want

Credit cards are designed for specific audiences – there are cards for people who recover from mistakes, cards where you earn rewards for travel, and cards that won’t charge you a fee the first time you go. pay late.

First of all, find out how creditors will see you. If you don’t know your credit score, you can check it for free on several personal finance websites or you can access the scores through a credit card issuer or bank.

If you’re not sure what credit scores are acceptable for a particular card, call the issuer and ask, says Kelley C. Long, a certified financial planner in Chicago.

Cards that allow you to earn rewards or cards offering 0% APR on transferred balances generally go to customers with good credit profiles. If the card you want is out of reach, ask for a card designed for customers similar to you instead.

How to improve your chances

A qualifying score is often just the first hurdle to getting approved for credit. Income, debt, credit age, and history can also play a role.

Still, there are ways to tip the scales in your favor, says Leslie H. Tayne, a financial attorney in the Long Island, New York area.

  • Request your free credit reports at annualcreditreport.com and check for errors. Challenge mistakes that could lower your score, such as an account that isn’t yours with credit errors.

  • Create a savings account. It won’t directly affect your score, Tayne says, but it can affect whether you’re approved and for how much.

“Money in the bank is the key to credit,” she says. “They want to see safety so you don’t have to credit yourself with it if there is a change in your situation. Money in the bank can help improve your chances.

Read also : Follow this simple plan to manage your credit score

If you are new to credit

If you don’t have enough history to qualify for credit, you can get noticed by:

  • Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. This allows you to benefit from their credit history, so get someone with a long history of on-time payments.

  • Take out a manufacturer’s loan. Unlike traditional loans, you get the money after the loan is paid off, which minimizes the risk to the lender.

  • Obtain a secure credit card by paying a deposit in cash.

You should have a VantageScore in a few months and a FICO score, the type used for most credit decisions, in about six months. Being added as an authorized user to an established account can speed up the process, says Can Arkali, senior director of scores and predictive analytics at FICO. FICO,
+1.49%

Don’t expect great credit right away, as your score is based in part on the age of your accounts. There is nothing you can do about the time it takes to build credit, so focus on the factors in your power.

See:Start building credit at age 18. here’s how

“You can control the payment of bills on time every month,” says Long. Paying on time and using a small portion of your limit are the most important factors that influence your credit score.

If you recover from mistakes

While it’s easier to start with a clean slate, it’s possible to bounce back from major slips. You can use a secured card or a credit loan to add more positive information to your credit reports. Also:

  • Keep credit accounts open unless there is a compelling reason to close them, such as high annual fees.

  • Look for cards or loans designed for people with low credit scores.

If there’s an option for prequalification, take it, says Long, who serves as a volunteer consumer finance advocate with the American Institute of CPA. While prequalifying does not guarantee that your application will be approved, the inability to prequalify yourself is a strong signal that you should not apply.

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