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I noticed that all applications for unsecured credit cards ask for your income details as well as any recurring payments like rent or alimony etc that you pay.

This does not seem, to me, to be a very good indication regarding the risk of the person not paying their balances off.

For example, students have their parents pay them some pocket money to cover for expenses, or a person might be working sporadically on consulting gigs that do not have a fixed monthly or yearly component.

My question is - from your experience, do you think not having a job almost automatically disqualifies you from getting unsecured credit cards?

Is it possible for people to get approved for unsecured credit cards if they don't hold (or have not held for some time) a job at the time of application?

Otherwise, I guess it might be asked so that the lender can find out your debt-to-income ratio and decide, along with your credit score, what type of features to give you?

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This does not seem, to me, to be a very good indication regarding the risk of the person not paying their balances off.

If you do not have a source of income then how are you going to repay your debt. Not to mention there is recource for creditors to garnish wages. That is not possible if you have no income. The risk assessment is about the ability of the creditor to recover any moneys loaned and costs and still make a profit.

For example, students have their parents pay them some pocket money to cover for expenses, or a person might be working sporadically on consulting gigs that do not have a fixed monthly or yearly component.

Most credit card companies that are willing to issue to college students will allow you to include money from your parents in your income. Credit card companies are looking for customers that will carry a balance and incur fees but be able to pay them. These companies do not make money off of fees and interest that they do not collect. As such, sporatic work increases risk.

Is it possible for people to get approved for unsecured credit cards if they don't hold (or have not held for some time) a job at the time of application?

I was able to while I was in college. Though I did have a part time job. If you can show that you have the ability to pay you can usually get a credit card if you do not have bad credit. It will probably be high interest and have alot of fees some of them you will have to pay upfront. But what you probably mean to ask is "Is it possible to get a no cost unsecured credit card with out a reliable source of income?" The answer to that is: probably not. Even the ones that look like they are free probably have hidden fees.

  • I have put to test your "I was able to while I was in college. Though I did have a part time job. If you can show that you have the ability to pay you can usually get a credit card if you do not have bad credit" statement! Will have some updates if it still holds, in the next few weeks. – f1StudentInUS Oct 8 '11 at 2:17
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    @f1StudentInUS - Just note i said you can get "A" credit card not necessarily the one one you have applied for. "It will probably be high interest and have alot of fees some of them you will have to pay upfront." – user4127 Oct 10 '11 at 12:58
  • What you experienced still holds. Got approved for an unsecured card, at a high rate, from a credit union. They approved only after I had faxed them my year's worth of payslips, and I had only a month of credit history, but with on time payment. – f1StudentInUS Oct 20 '11 at 22:47
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Not having a job does not automatically disqualify you.

If you had capital or savings or easily liquidatable assets and previous good credit history then you would qualify. This is a catch 22 for most people that are ever applying for unsecured lines of credit, and an oximoron when seeking UNSECURED credit, but this is how it is regardless.

Hope that helps!

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I got a credit card as a student with no income, not even a part time job. They called me, I agreed to one thing and they did another and now I have an old credit history.

They don't do this anymore. But technically, student loan debt is unsecured?

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    What time frame did you get your card in? Recent rules changes made it difficult for college students to get cards. – MrChrister Sep 30 '11 at 5:19
  • This is true. Which is why I said they don't do this anymore. – jldugger Sep 30 '11 at 14:06
  • Student loan debt can never be discharged so for a lender I would argue it is better than a secured line because the fees and interest will be collectable as long as the person is alive. – Jacob Jan 1 '14 at 23:26

protected by GS - Apologise to Monica Sep 10 '15 at 7:31

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