I don't know what my actual credit scores are (will be checking next month when my 2nd card ages to 6 months!) - but after having had NO luck getting any sort of credit card all through college (how does everyone else find it so easy to get credit cards in college??), I found myself done with college and still with absolutely no credit history.
I'm not sure why exactly I tried, but I applied for the Discover Open Road card and was approved. Since then I've also gotten a Capital One card, and I'll finally be able to check my scores next month when they both age past 6 months.
So I didn't have "bad" credit when I applied for the Discover card, but I had absolutely no credit at all, so honestly I'm not sure how I was able to get the card (before then I'd tried applying for store cards / gas cards / student cards from time to time and was always turned down). Only a $1000 limit but I'm hoping that will start me on the path to building history!
Discover usually only offers credit to those with good or great credit. If you're a full-time student however, and it asks you this on the application, Discover assumes that you have little or no credit history, as opposed to a bad credit history, and they're more willing to give you a shot. The only caveat is that they typically start you out with a very low credit limit and a high APR. Kind of reminds me of Capital One credit steps.
I think Discover's catching on to the fact that if you snag someone in college, they're likely to stick with you for a long time. I can only really support this with anecdotal evidence from friends, family and personal experience. All they do is make sure your credit limit and interest rate is commensurate with the risk involved in lending to someone with no credit history, but of course there's that relationship they develop with you because they're your "first".
Discover has tighter underwriting than most issuers, but it seems folks now with FICO scores above 680 can get approved. As for recon, don't count on it with them. Sometimes if you don't qualify for one of their prime cards, they will offer you a co-branded card.
....Sometimes if you don't qualify for one of their prime cards, they will offer you a co-branded card.
and you so don't want to go there with them, so decide ahead of time what you will do if they counter with the co-branded card.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit? FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Discover is very tough to get. I was denied twice in the past and then on the third try got one with i think 1k limit. Then never used it again. Then years later applied again got a platinum Discover with a 10k limit. Mess that one up royally. Just paid off the judgment last year. Believe me they do not play if you mess that card up.
FICO Scores 7/15/2008: EQ 600, TU 546, EX 490 9/17/08 - TU 571,12/17/08 649,3/16/09 638, 6/14 642 ScoreWatch 12/17/08 EQ 646, 1/2/ 09 664, 2/2/09 684,2/12/09 673, 2/16/09 688, 2/27 674,3/3 682,4/16 685, 6/28 679 1/2/09 EX 668 2/13/09 669 AS of NOV08 I am Credit card debit free. I AM A MYFICO.COM ADDICTED ~