How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt
There are multiple ways to get a handle on your credit card debt. The right one for you will depend on your budget and goals. The debt snowball and debt avalanche methods are two commonly used ways to pay down debt. With the debt snowball method you make the minimum payment on each card. Then you put any additional money you have toward the card with the smallest balance. Instead of looking at each cards interest rate, you focus just on the outstanding balance. The theory is that by focusing on the smallest balance first, youll pay it off quickly.
The debt avalanche method the focus shifts from the smallest balance to the highest interest rate. All extra funds above the minimum payment go to the card with the highest interest rate. Once paid in full, money is then directed to the card with the next highest interest rate.
Other options to help pay down credit card debt include shifting the balance to a card with an introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer, taking out a personal loan or in more challenging circumstances, asking your issuer for help with a debt repayment plan.
How Can I Help Build My Credit With A Secured Credit Card
You can help build your credit with a secured credit card by developing these habits:
- Make payments on time: On-time payments are one of the main things that will help you build a good credit score.
- Watch your credit limit: Credit score bureaus also closely watch how close you are to using up your credit limit. Try to keep the balance on your cards at less than 30 percent of your total credit limit.
Secured credit cards are specifically designed to help students and other people with no credit history start building a good credit score. They come with bigger restrictions than regular credit cards, but with responsible use they can help you build up your credit.
Best For International Applicants
Who’s this for? The Deserve Digital First Card is good for anyone with zero or limited credit history who doesn’t have the means to put down a security deposit.
There’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Plus if you’re approved for the card, you receive instant access and can add it to Apple Pay.
Cardholders also receive up to 1.5% cash back, based on the amount of money you spend each billing period. Here are the levels:
- 1% cash back: Purchases up to $500 earn 1% back.
- 1.25% cash back: After you spend $500 in a billing cycle, you’ll earn 1.25% back on purchases until you hit $1,000 in spending.
- 1.50% cash back: After you spend $1,000 in a billing cycle, you’ll earn 1.50% back on remaining purchases that billing period.
You can redeem cash back as a statement credit to offset your bill.
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Become An Authorized User
You can ask someone to add you as an on a credit card. Your credit benefits just from being on the account; you dont have to make any charges or access the account. A few cards allow primary cardholders to set spending limits for authorized users, which could make the account holder feel more comfortable about adding you. You could also ask someone to add you without actually giving you a card or card number.
Two things to be aware of: The impact on your score may be modest, because you arent legally responsible for debts on the account. And being an authorized user can also hurt your score if the account holder doesnt pay the bill on time, so ask someone with good credit habits.
Milestone Gold Mastercard: Best For Rebuilding Credit
Why we picked it: Thanks to no required security deposit and a pre-qualification process that wont hurt your credit score, this card provides ways for cardholders to build back their credit history.
Pros: This card offers no cash advance fees in your first year as a cardholder , plus identity theft protection and a competitive foreign transaction fee of 1%.
Cons: The cards initial credit limit of $300 is a reason it comes up short for some, along with its $35-$99 annual fee, a high regular APR and the lack of additional perks.
Who should apply? This cards low entry barrier makes it an attractive option for those with a history of bankruptcy or bad credit.
Who should skip? Even among cards for people with bad credit, this cards hefty fees and high APR are off-putting. And if earning rewards are a high priority for you, look elsewhere.
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Customer Education: Amb Credit Consultants
AMB Credit Consultants focuses on empowering customers through better financial education through its financial literacy courses. According to the companys website, they hope to influence good credit decisions that last a lifetime.;
Six- to nine-month commitment
AMB Credit Consultants has been helping Americans improve their credit since 2007. The Dallas, Texas-based company focuses not only on improving credit reports but also on empowering customers through client advocacy and advisement. AMB Credit Consultants can help enable their clients to recognize and correct the negative financial habits that lead to poor credit in the first place.
AMB Credit Consultants offers two credit repair service options:
- AMB Credit Empowerment Individual: $149 enrollment fee, $99 per month
- AMB Credit Empowerment Couple: $198 enrollment fee, $198 per month
These options include the following:
- Unlimited case reviews
- Immediate responses to new collection letters
- Cease and desist letters
You are obligated to commit to at least six to nine months of service.
The company offers a money-back guarantee. If AMB Credit Consultants doesnt remove at least one negative mark from your credit reports within six months, the company will offer a refund. We were unable to reach AMB Credit Consultants team by phone during business hours to confirm where the company does business.
Read the full AMB Credit Consultants review
We Analyzed 27 Credit Cards That Are Marketed Toward Consumers With No Or Poor Credit To Determine The Best Cards For Building Or Rebuilding Your Credit
Selects editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.
If you lack a credit history or have poor credit, opening a credit card can be a smart way to build or rebuild credit as long as you practice responsible financial behavior.
While there are thousands of credit cards available, most require some sort of credit history in order to qualify. This can make it hard for people with less than stellar credit , or no credit at all, to qualify for a card.
Secured credit cards are one of your best chances at qualifying for credit. They’re similar to traditional cards but require you to make a deposit in order to access a credit limit. Whatever amount of money you deposit becomes your credit limit. If you want a higher credit limit, you’ll need to deposit more money.
Your security deposit acts as collateral if you fail to make payments. But don’t worry about losing that money; your deposit is refundable if you pay your balance in full and close your account.
Select analyzed 27 credit cards that are marketed toward consumers with no or poor credit to determine the best cards for building or rebuilding your credit. We considered a number of factors, including security deposit minimums, fees, rewards programs and APR.
Here are Select’s picks for the top credit cards for building or rebuilding your credit:
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What To Look For In A Card To Help Build Credit More Easily
When looking for a credit card to build your credit, it pays to look at the basic features of each card. Ideally, you’ll find a credit card with no annual fee and a low on purchases that earns attractive rewards and offers useful benefits, like free access to your credit score.
Good credit cards for bad credit usually have no annual fee, but it is OK to pay a fee if the card earns rewards or includes benefits that make paying the fee worthwhile. You should try to pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges, but that may not always be possible. If you have to carry a balance over to the next month, having a card with a low APR means that you’ll pay less interest than you would on other credit cards that charge a higher interest rate.
Beyond these standard features, you also want to dig deeper into the credit card’s details to avoid unfriendly terms and fees.
What to Be on the Lookout For
- Hidden fees. While some credit cards do not charge an annual fee, they may charge an application fee or monthly fees.
- Grace period. The grace period is the number of days after the statement closes that you have to pay the balance without being charged interest. Longer is better for this feature, and the best credit cards provide a grace period of up to 25 days.
- Foreign transaction fees. When you travel internationally or buy something online from another country, banks can charge up to 3% of the transaction amount as a fee. The best credit cards waive this fee completely.
Compare Our Secured Credit Card
Make the right call to build your credit history
Annual Fee: None.22.99% standard variable purchase APR. Intro Balance Transfer APR10.99%6 monthsCash APR: 24.99%$.50. Cash advance fee:$105%Balance transfer fee: 3%5%Annual Fee: None.22.99% standard variable purchase APR. Intro Balance Transfer APR10.99%6 monthsCash APR: 24.99%$.50. Cash advance fee:$105%Balance transfer fee: 3%5%Annual Fee: None.22.99% standard variable purchase APR. Intro Balance Transfer APR10.99%6 monthsCash APR: 24.99%$.50. Cash advance fee:$105%Balance transfer fee: 3%5%Annual Fee: None.22.99% standard variable purchase APR. Intro Balance Transfer APR10.99%6 monthsCash APR: 24.99%$.50. Cash advance fee:$105%Balance transfer fee: 3%5%
Cash back rewards Discover: 2% at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.;1% on all other purchases.
Chart comparisons conducted by an independent research firm and based on competitor info compiled in July 2021.
Compared card issuers may provide a FICO® Credit Score or other credit score and other credit information. See issuers’ websites for further details.
+Discover’s free alerts are based on information from your Experian® credit report.
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Best For Low Interest
Who’s this for? The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card offers one of the lowest interest rates for a no annual fee secured card at 11.50% variable.
While we don’t recommend carrying a balance month-to-month , it can be a good idea to choose a low interest secured card if you have a history of carrying balances or you’re looking for a safety net.
There is a higher-than-average $500 minimum security deposit to open the card. But it does come with some additional perks, including travel insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and extended warranty protection.
Membership to the Digital Federal Credit Union is required, but anyone can join in one of several ways: if you’re a friend or family member of a DCU member, live in select communities, work for select employers or make a one-time contribution to a participating organization.
Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard: Best For Walmart Purchases
Why we picked it: If you are loyal to Walmart, this card just keeps giving you love by way of rewards. Earn 5% cash back at Walmart stores using Walmart Pay for your first 12 months of card membership, then earn 2%. Also, earn 5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases, including pickup and delivery.
Pros: In addition to earning 2% at Walmart stores, you can get that rate on restaurant and travel purchases. Also, earn 2% cash back at Walmart stores as well as at Walmart and Murphy USA Fuel stations.
Cons: Be mindful that the 5% rewards rate with Walmart Pay in Walmart stores only applies for the first 12 months, then reverts to 2%, though the 5% back on Walmart.com purchases remains. If you prefer to do your shopping in person, you might find the card less valuable after your first year.
Who should apply? If Walmart is your go-to one-stop shop of choice, this card offers a lot of potential value. Online shoppers can take advantage of this cards high rewards rate for Walmart.com online purchases.
Who should skip? This card wont be of much use unless you do a good bit of shopping at Walmart, specifically Walmart.com which offers the highest long-term rewards rate.
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Are There Credit Cards For Fair/average Credit With Instant Approval
Yes, there are cards that offer instant approval, even if you have fair/average credit. Instant approval cards can be a great way to learn within minutes if you are conditionally accepted as a cardmember. Just keep in mind that instant approval isnt a guarantee that you will be granted the card a more thorough check of your file will be conducted if you are allowed conditional approval. Plus, whether you can get approved or denied right away is based on if the company can verify your identity. In the case that your identity cannot be easily identified, the application process could take a few days. Focusing on cards that fit within your credit range is crucial to your financial health, and using the card responsibly is the key to strengthening your credit. Check out our list of the top instant approval cards to see if any are a good option for you.
Indigo Platinum Mastercard: Best For Fraud Protection
Why we picked it: When it comes to your personal finances, peace of mind is extremely important. The Indigo Platinum Mastercard can help you breathe easier with fraud protection if your card happens to be stolen or misplaced.
Pros:;Youve got a good chance at approval, even if youve been through a credit disaster like bankruptcy. And since its an unsecured card, you wont have to put down any money up front.
Cons:;You wont earn any rewards from using the card and its annual fee could run you anywhere from $0-$99 after the first year . Plus, Indigo doesnt specify when or if you can qualify for a higher credit limit.
Who should apply? This card is a potential match for those who have bad to fair credit or a history of bankruptcy, and who want to avoid shelling out a deposit on a secured card.
Who should skip? If you have difficulty making on-time payments or carrying a balance month-to-month, this card could cost you in fees.
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How To Get A Free Copy Of Your Credit Report
If you havent yet seen a copy of your credit report and are wondering how bad things really are, you can follow these steps to get a free copy of your credit report. If you want to know what your credit score is, you’ll have to pay for that, but either Equifax or TransUnion, the two credit reporting agencies in Canada, would be happy to sell you that information . You can also use this tool to estimate your credit score for free. The added value of this tool is that you can play with the questions they ask to get an idea of how changing certain things can improve your credit score. Youre unlikely to get this kind of specific feedback from anywhere else not even from paid credit repair agencies and its available to you for free.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Get A Credit Card
You have to be at least 18 years old to get a credit card in the U.S. The law requires those who apply to have a source of income to demonstrate that they can pay back any amount they might charge to a card. But, sometimes those younger than that can be added as an authorized user on a parent or trusted adults credit card. Some issuers have a minimum age requirement to be an authorized user, others do not.
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Secured Mastercard From Capital One
Why this is the best credit card for flexible security deposits
The required security deposit ranges from $49 to $200, depending on your credit. Its one of the only secured cards that allows your initial credit limit to be higher than your security deposit . Plus, theres no annual fee and after 6 on-time monthly payments, youll automatically be considered for a higher credit line, which could boost your credit.
How Long Does It Take To Build A Credit History With A Secured Credit Card
A secured credit card reports your credit history to the major credit bureaus like other credit cards. So your continued responsible credit use can help you build a more appealing credit history over time. How long it takes to get the credit score you want depends on where you’re starting and how you use your secured credit card, as well as other credit accounts and loans. Discover will start automatic reviews of your account after eight months to see if your credit history qualifies to get your deposit back while you continue to enjoy your card.
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Free Help And Guidance From Local Non
A lot of people aren’t aware of this, but some of the most helpful experts on fixing bad credit situations and totally repairing credit ratings are non-profit Credit Counsellors in Canada who offer free, confidential appointments . If you have debts you are having trouble paying or are experiencing financial difficulty, they are the best people to go over your situation with you. Anything you discuss with them is completely confidential. Dont worry if your situation is really bad. Theyve likely seen far worse, and they are non-judgmental in how they help. Follow this link to locate a non-profit credit counselling service near you.