Credit Cards for Low-Income Earners

Credit Cards For Low Income Earners

Many people believe banks don’t issue credit cards for low-income earners, but that’s not always the case. Depending on your situation, you may still be able to add the buying power of a credit card to your wallet, despite having a low income.

And with responsible use, that credit card can help build — or rebuild — your credit history and get you on the right track toward solid financial health.

Your income doesn’t have to define who you are as a person. With one of the cards listed below, you can take control of your finances, prove yourself worthy of credit, and overcome any money-related obstacles that sit in your way.

Unsecured | Secured | FAQs

Unsecured Cards for Low-Income Earners

An unsecured card is a traditional credit card that doesn’t require a security deposit or other collateral for approval. Because a bank has no recourse other than to send the debt to collections for pennies on the dollar if a cardholder defaults on his or her debt, it often makes these cards a little harder to qualify for.

That said, several unsecured cards still consider applications from consumers with all kinds of income sources and credit backgrounds. Here are our favorites.

  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider Website Yes 9.0/10

The PREMIER Bankcard® Mastercard® Credit Card is a solid option for low-income earners. You can reuse your available credit after you make payments, and your payment history will be reported to the credit reporting bureaus — which will help build a positive credit score.

  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • You can build* or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider Website Yes 9.0/10

Just like its sibling card above, the PREMIER Bankcard® Grey Credit Card will report your account activity to the bureaus to help you build — or rebuild — credit with responsible use. You may still be approved with a very low credit score, but be sure to read the card’s terms and conditions to get information about fees, rates, and other important disclosures.

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 24.99% – 29.99% (Variable) Yes 8.5/10

The Surge Mastercard® markets itself to consumers who have poor credit or a low income. You can prequalify without incurring a hard inquiry on your credit report and, if approved, get a credit limit of $300-$1000. Cardholders also receive a free Vantage 3.0 credit score from Experian when they sign up for e-statements.

  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Online servicing available 24/7 at no additional cost
  • Unsecured credit card, no security deposit required
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 8.0/10

The Indigo® Mastercard® Credit Card starts all of its new cardholders with a $300 credit limit. Depending on your credit profile, you could qualify for an account with no annual or monthly service fees. Indigo® says it considers all credit histories and reviews show that consumers are often approved for the card despite a low income.

  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 9.0/10

Reviews for the Milestone® Mastercard® include testimonials from applicants who, despite very low income or previous bankruptcies on their credit report, were approved for the card. The card issuer provides a prequalifying form on its website that gives you an idea of your acceptance chances before you fill out an official application.

  • Checking Account Required
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • The First Access Visa Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10

The First Access Visa® Card offers new cardholders a $300 initial credit limit.  You’ll pay a program fee once you activate your card, but the card has very flexible credit requirements and often accepts applicants other credit card issuers won’t approve.

Secured Cards for Low-Income Earners

Secured credit cards require cardholders to make a refundable security as collateral. The amount of your deposit typically equals your total credit limit. You can use a secured card as you would an unsecured credit card — at any location that accepts your card’s payment network (typically Visa or Mastercard).

The card’s issuer will refund your entire deposit when you close your account — as long as the account remains in good standing with no current debt. With responsible use, a secured credit card is an affordable way to rebuild your credit history.

  • Our mobile app helps you keep track of your spending and payments for greater financial control.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • If approved, make your first six monthly minimum payments on time and we may send you an offer to apply for an unsecured credit card. Some restrictions apply. ‡
  • ‡ If you apply for the second account, which is unsecured, you will be approved if you can demonstrate the ability to pay your bills, meet our minimum income requirements, do not reside in New York or Wisconsin and are not covered under the Military Lending Act.
★★★★

4.4

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Provider Website Yes 9.0/10

The PREMIER Bankcard® Secured Credit Card offers the opportunity to apply for an unsecured credit card account after demonstrating responsible use over a period of time. Your account activity will be reported to the major credit bureaus to help you achieve your credit-building goals.

  • Earn 2% cash back on everyday purchases at Amazon, Uber, Uber Eats, Whole Foods, Netflix, Spotify, and more! And 1% cashback on everything else.
  • No credit check or U.S. credit history required. No SSN required for non-US citizens.
  • Build U.S. credit history from day 1 at major credit bureaus (get $25 when you build your credit score to a 700+ credit score within 12 months of use).
  • Get unsecured in as little as 4 months!
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no minimum security deposit.
  • Premium benefits like Cell Phone Protection (including cracked screens) and Car Rental Insurance coverage.
  • Click here for terms and conditions.
  • Click here for official site and application.
   
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 minutes 12.49% (Variable) Yes 7.0/10

The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card comes from a newer card issuer and requires no credit check for approval. That means anyone who can put a deposit down (and there’s no minimum deposit required!) will receive a card. There’s no annual fee, a low APR, and you’ll earn cash back rewards among other generous perks.

  • Initial refundable deposit of $300 becomes your credit limit
  • 1% Cash Back rewards on every purchase
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 Score from Experian (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard is accepted
  • Mastercard Zero Liability Protection (subject to Mastercard guidelines)
  • Checking Account Required
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.99% Variable Yes 8.5/10

The Surge Secured Mastercard® is another secured option that offers cash back rewards, but you’ll be charged an annual fee for the privilege. Your annual fee is deducted from your available credit limit. Note that a checking account is required to obtain this card.

Which Credit Card is Best for Low Income?

If you currently make just enough money to get by, you may not want to deal with the security deposit required for a secured credit card.

If you’re looking for the best unsecured card that won’t require a deposit, then you may want to consider the PREMIER Bankcard® Mastercard® Credit Card or the Surge Mastercard®. Both have their pros and cons, depending on your needs and wants.

The Surge Mastercard® doesn’t charge a program fee and has a lower interest rate, but it charges a bit more annually for membership and provides a $1,000 maximum credit limit. You’ll only pay an annual fee upon card activation.

The other cards will charge both the annual fee and program fee when you open your account, which quickly depletes your available balance until you make a payment. You also won’t pay as much interest each month if you carry a balance.

If your goal is to use this card to prove your creditworthiness and eventually upgrade to a better card, then you may find it useful to pay the higher annual fee with the Surge Mastercard® and spend a year working on your credit score.

How Can I Get a Credit Card with Low Income?

Your income is just one part of the equation that determines your credit card eligibility. The card’s issuer may also consider any other source of money you receive every month.

This includes, but isn’t limited to, child support, government benefits, alimony, Social Security, or pension funds. If you’re married or have a partner, an issuer may also consider his or her income as household funds.

Even if you don’t receive any of the above, you could still qualify for an entry-level credit card. These cards often feature lower initial credit limits until you prove your financial responsibility over time. You may also find yourself paying program fees, annual fees, or other charges to add the card to your wallet.

That’s because the credit card issuer takes a risk with every card that’s issued to someone who has bad credit or low income. The issuer often tacks on extra fees and charges to offset that risk.

Credit Scores and Risk

Several credit card issuers, including those listed above, specialize in working with low-income applicants to help them get the financial products they want. You can take advantage of that business model by applying for the card that best meets your needs.

You could also consider a secured credit card if you want lower-cost credit. The downside to these cards is that they require a refundable security deposit that often equals your credit limit. If you’re already struggling with a low income, chances are you may not jump at the chance to pay out a few hundred dollars for a security deposit.

The upside to these cards, though, is that they often don’t charge as many fees and can give you access to affordable credit that reports to the credit reporting bureaus each month to help you improve your credit score with on-time payments.

Can You Lie About Your Income on Credit Cards?

Not only is it illegal to provide false information on a credit card application (and the FBI takes it seriously), but many card issuers have safeguards in place to detect falsely reported income.

For the most part, an issuer will consider an income that makes sense for the applicant’s employment situation. In other words, you may raise a red flag if you claim a six-figure income in an entry-level retail job.

Thankfully, credit card issuers allow you to list a whole host of sources as part of your income. This can include child support, alimony, structured settlements, government benefits, pension, retirement, or even a spouse’s income.

Screenshot of a Credit Card application

It is illegal to lie about your income on a credit card application. You can, however, include all sources of income you have — not just from employment. Photo source: karaandnate.com

The most common lie people tell on their application refers to their income. Some also bend the truth about their rent or mortgage information. Both have huge consequences if you’re caught.

At best, the credit card issuer will flag your application and deny your request. At worst — and it happens more often than you may think — you could face up to a $1 million fine and a maximum 30 years in prison for credit card application fraud.

No credit card is worth that risk.

Instead, you should stick to being honest on your application and find a card issuer that is willing to work with you — no matter your income and credit situation. With so much competition among card issuers in today’s market, you may have less trouble than you think when looking for a card to add to your financial portfolio.

Onward to a Healthier Financial Future

A low income doesn’t make you unworthy of a credit card. While many banks and credit unions may not consider your application without a higher income, many independent credit card issuers compete every day for your business.

Use that competition to your advantage. When seeking one of the top credit cards for low-income earners, look for one that charges low fees, offers competitive interest rates, and provides flexible acceptance terms.

Once you get your new card, take advantage of the power it holds and set your course for a healthier and happier financial future. Before long, you may find yourself upgrading to a card with fewer fees and larger credit limits.

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