Once you descend into the realm of bad credit, it can be very difficult to get yourself out again. There is a lot of assistance to do this, however: everything from bankruptcy and credit counseling to simply paying everything off over time. After you eliminate the debt, you must work to improve your credit score again. One of the best ways to do this is by getting new credit lines and using them responsibly. Of course, many lenders will not give credit to those with bad credit histories. Secured credit cards are the answer.
What is a Secured Credit Card?
A secured credit card is a line of credit that is secured by an amount of money being held in savings account, usually by the card issuer. Basically, in order to get a secured credit card, you must deposit a certain amount of money in this savings account before you get the credit card. This amount can be equal or less than the credit limit you receive. Sometimes, you must deposit it directly with a check, other times it will be billed to the credit card account.
Except in some extreme circumstances, everyone is eligible to get a secured credit card. Even with a very bad credit score, you will be able to get one to start rebuilding your credit. Since there is a deposited amount of money that will cover the entire credit line, the creditor assumes little risk.
Building Good Credit
After paying off all of your old bills, getting a secured credit card is the best way to improve your overall credit score. You must use it responsibly, however, and pay off your balance every month. This will not only create a positive credit account, but will ensure that you do not fall into debt again. Building good credit is important if you ever wish to buy a house, finance a car, or anything else that requires interest payments.
Things to Look Out For
1. Annual fees
By shopping around for your secured credit card, you should be able to find one with no, or very low, annual fees.
2. Application fees
Like annual fees, application fees should be low or nonexistent. The more fees you have to pay, the less money you have.
3. Security deposit interest
Your security deposit for the credit card should earn interest for you. The credit company should disclose this in writing.
4. Interest rates
People with bad credit get higher interest rates, but you should still shop around for the lowest rate you can get. Also, after a period of paying your bill responsibly, you should call to request a lowered interest rate.
5. Periodic Review
Many secured credit card companies will review your credit line periodically to see if you now qualify for an unsecured card or a credit line increase. Both of these things can be very good for your credit score.
Getting a secured credit card can greatly help you if you have a bad credit history. By securing the credit line, the creditor has little risk, so this type of credit card is available to everyone. As long as you get one that reports to the major credit bureaus, your credit score will rise consistently when you use the card responsibly. Secured credit cards are the first step in recovery from bad credit.