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Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

blur13
New Visitor

Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

I recently graduated from college, and I am looking to start building credit.  I've never had a credit card, and I didn't have any student loans, so my credit history is essentially blank.  I tried applying for an unsecured USAA card, but was rejected due to limited history.  I tried pulling my reports from annualcreditreport.com, TransUnion and Equifax couldn't find any reports, but Experian did.  I noticed the USAA inquiry on that report, so it's likely that the report was created when I applied, they must have pulled from Experian.  Anyway, as expected, I had 0 accounts listed.

 

Am I going to be able to get an unsecured card with no history, or should I just bite the bullet and go secured?  I do have a good job with a pretty solid income for someone my age, but I don't know how much that factors into the decision criteria that card lenders are using.  My parents also have great credit, would being added as an AU onto one of their cards for a few months work to establish credit reports for me at all 3 of the bureaus and make it easier to get an unsecured card?  Googling about the effectiveness of being added as an authorized user is giving me conflicting results.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Message 1 of 8
7 REPLIES 7
Jubeyy
Frequent Contributor

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

Have you had a bank account during college?  I had no credit history whatsoever...except for a gym membership from 1999....but I did have a checking account with BofA for a few years.  The first card I applied for was a Chase...no go.  The second, Amex....no go.  The third...Imagine (no longer available subprime card)  ...got it with a $300 limit.  The fourth card I tried for was a BofA unsecured Visa...got it with a $5000 limit.  The fifth card  I tried for was Discover...once again, no go.

 

I wish I had thought of trying for theBofA card first but for some reason I didn't think I would get it.  Not only would it have saved me the Imagine Card nonsense, but it would have saved me inquiries and quite possibly Chase or the other big CC companies might have seen me as worthy after seeing I had a BofA Visa with a $5000 issued to me.

 

So...if you have had a checking account with BofA or other another big bank for a little while , try getting an unsecured  card with them first.

 

If you don't get it...go for a BofA secured card if they offer it.  Don't mess around with the subprime crap...it's just a headache.  

Message 2 of 8
l9ikjam
Established Contributor

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

I started off with a secure card and I think it's a good way to get your credit going. On the other hand my nephew started out with a Cap1 card($300) and less than an Month later he apped for a Chase preapproval($3500). I just put some money towards a secured card and I really never used it to often. Plus it's kinda nice when the card graduate and you get that deposit back. good luck

 

Give Christian Comm. CU or Patelco CU a try.

 

(edited to remove CU logos; please refrain from posting copyrighted/SM/TM material on the boards.)

 

 

 

Message Edited by Scamp on 12-28-2008 05:36 AM
Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
Message 3 of 8
haulingthescoreup
Moderator Emerita

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?


blur13 wrote:

Am I going to be able to get an unsecured card with no history, or should I just bite the bullet and go secured?  I do have a good job with a pretty solid income for someone my age, but I don't know how much that factors into the decision criteria that card lenders are using.  My parents also have great credit, would being added as an AU onto one of their cards for a few months work to establish credit reports for me at all 3 of the bureaus and make it easier to get an unsecured card?  Googling about the effectiveness of being added as an authorized user is giving me conflicting results.  Any advice would be appreciated.

 



Nothing wrong with a secured card! If you can get one from Bank of America, that would be your best bet. Otherwise, start visiting local credit unions, explain your situation, and find one you like. CU's are perfect for those with no credit history, just getting started. You might well need to go secured with them as well; just see if you can find one that will let you "graduate" to unsecured AND keep the original opening date of the secured card.

Adding on as an AU will help establish you with the credit bureaus and at least give you a record. You still won't have FICO scores until something has been on your reports for 6 months. I don't know how helpful it will be in getting a card in your own name, as lenders can tell that it's AU, and they're trying to find out how responsible you will be in handling credit, not your parents. AU's are still being counted in the FICO 08 score formula --they changed this several months ago. Even then, only a few lenders are using FICO 08, as I understand it, and only the EX version.

When going on as AU, pick a card that:

  • has been open a good long while
  • has a fairly high CL
  • is pristine --no lates, no nothing
  • reports a minimal or $0 balance. Even if your parents pay their CC bill as soon as they get the statement, it's that statement which is reported to the CRA's. If they use the card a lot and the balance is high (even if immediately paid in full!), it will make it look like they have high utilization of credit (util), which hurts scores.
* 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
Message 4 of 8
rpmmotorsprts
Valued Member

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

You dont need a secured card. To heck with that. Are you still enrolled at the university? Did you JUST graduate?

 

Citi, discover, Bank of America, cap one, and chase ALL offer STUDENT credit cards. They will call the school most likely and check to see if you are enrolled there, and if you still are listed there, they will give un secured cards with no previous credit history(citi, BofA, and chase for sure). As long as you have no baddies, no collections, no nothing.

 

Look at those cards websites and look for the student cards. If you JUST graduated, you probably can get by. Smiley Tongue

EFX 743 TU 679 EXP 659
Message 5 of 8
Chopbrocoli
Established Contributor

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

If you had good relationship with your bank, they should be able to give you a CC with a small limit. Or if you still have your student ID card, you can always tell them your a student and want a student CC. Just avoid credit cards with ridiculous junk fees (ALWAYS be sure to read the terms & conditions of the fees and interest rates). But try your bank first and I think you should be fine.
AMEX Gold Premier Rewards | SPG AMEX | Bank of America Power Rewards | Merrill Plus | United Presidential Plus | Saks World Elite
Message 6 of 8
Mark_in_Pasadena
Regular Contributor

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?


@blur13 wrote:

I recently graduated from college, and I am looking to start building credit.  I've never had a credit card, and I didn't have any student loans, so my credit history is essentially blank.  I tried applying for an unsecured USAA card, but was rejected due to limited history.  I tried pulling my reports from annualcreditreport.com, TransUnion and Equifax couldn't find any reports, but Experian did.  I noticed the USAA inquiry on that report, so it's likely that the report was created when I applied, they must have pulled from Experian.  Anyway, as expected, I had 0 accounts listed.

 

Am I going to be able to get an unsecured card with no history, or should I just bite the bullet and go secured?  I do have a good job with a pretty solid income for someone my age, but I don't know how much that factors into the decision criteria that card lenders are using.  My parents also have great credit, would being added as an AU onto one of their cards for a few months work to establish credit reports for me at all 3 of the bureaus and make it easier to get an unsecured card?  Googling about the effectiveness of being added as an authorized user is giving me conflicting results.  Any advice would be appreciated.


You must be the only college student I've ever heard of who didn't apply for a credit card while in college.  The credit card company reps are always by the Student Union or cafeteria buildings, giving out free gizmos when you fill out an application.  I remember I got a free Citibank Bike Water Bottle when I signed up for my first card in 1993, at the ripe age of 18.  That card started off with a $500 limit, which they gradually increased automatically to the $25k that it currently has (along with a beautiful 15 year age by now).

 

They don't expect you to have any credit history in college, and are yearning for you to become a successful college graduate who'll prefer their card over all others once you have a decent income. 

   

 

Right now I would suggest the BofA secured card and a subprime card like Orchard to get you started.

 

Why didn't you apply when you were in college?

Message 7 of 8
KingAdrock
Established Contributor

Re: Is it possible to get an unsecured card with no credit history?

I got my first card from Cap1. I had no history and didn't have a job at the time. I actually filled it out for laughs, as I put down $0 as my HHI. But to my surprise I was approved, CL of $200 and no annual fee. CL was automatically raised to $400 after two statements, and now it's 2k. While Cap1 isn't my favorite CCC by any means, I can recommend them as a good place to start.

 

But don't knock secured cards. If you insist on only considering unsecured, you may have to settle for subprime junk. With annual fees, monthly fees, activation fees and "we just felt like sticking it to you" fees. I'd take a secured card over that trash anyday.

Message 8 of 8
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