I have no prior credit history. Does anyone know of a credit card company that doesn't require much (if any) deposit money down and has a high approval rate for first time credit card holders?

  • 4
    In which country are you seeking a credit card? Are you willing to provide any additional information such as whether you are a student or have a brand-new job, etc.? Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    @DilipSarwate US, and yes I would be willing to provide that information, conveniently I am a student with decently good grades and just recently got hired at a new store so I'm hoping those factors will benefit me somewhat. Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 20:12
  • I think the question you need to ask yourself is why you need a credit card. Building credit history is important, but unless you can be able to pay off the max balance of that card every month it doesn't make sense to get one. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


It used to be quite easy for students to get credit cards. When I was in college in the early 1980s, credit card companies set up tables in the student center and offered low-limit cards along with free t-shirts on an almost daily schedule. The Credit CARD Act of 2009 made this much more difficult for banks.

If you have a bank or credit union account, the first thing I would do is talk to them about getting a card. Some banks offer a VISA Student Card specifically for college students. My daughter was able to get one when she turned 18, just before starting college. The credit limit is very low ($200 for freshmen, increasing each year until the limit is $500 during senior year). After graduation, it converts to a regular VISA account with a limit that depends on post-graduation income and the now established 4 years of credit history. The VISA web site has a list of banks offering this type of card.

Now I will give you the same unsolicited advice I gave my daughter, and the same advice I think most others here would give you. For building credit, this kind of card is excellent, but you should still use it very sparingly, and pay off the balance every month. Make it a hard rule to never pay interest on a credit card bill. I told her to charge perhaps one or two purchases totaling no more than $25-$50 each month, and pay them off as soon as the statement arrives. This is much easier if you have a deposit account at the same bank, since you will be able to pay the bill instantly on line. Have your employer direct deposit your paychecks into that bank account, if at all possible.

  • 2
    The college's credit union may also offer accounts to students; if you don't already belong to a CU, check there.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 6:12
  • 1
    In addition, prior to 2009, credit card companies would allow students to count tuition money they got from their parents or scholarships as income! Can't do that anymore. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 23:44
  • 2
    @MHH - Really? Wow. I don't remember that from my college card. But, then again, I don't remember a lot of details from that era. It was pretty much automatic for my daughter to get the student card from USAA--we're long-time members, so she could open a bank account and get the card with a quick online application (but not until her 18th birthday, a couple of days before she left for school). Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 0:07
  • 1
    I can't be certain that it was written down anywhere, but the person who signed me up for a card at the student union back in 2004 said "remember to count your tuition as income." I called the credit card company just to be sure and they said yes you can do that. I got something insane like a 5k line of credit. It felt all sorts of wrong but luckily I was responsible enough to only make a few purchases a month and pay the card off in full. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 0:12
  • The income you declare on a credit card application is on a honor system. They don't validate the income you write is correct. You could lie and put down $1,000,000 as your income if you wanted.
    – Sun
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 17:42

Department store cards will appear on your credit report and is often much easier to get approved for. All my friends that have applied for a Macy's card have always been approved. If you are new to the country, department store cards are a great way to build history. Target and Nordstroms are two other department stores to look at. Target is my first suggestion since they carry every day items and will be easy to consistently put charges on the card to build credit history.


Store cards are incredibly generous with their approvals. I recently graduated and started working making around 100k and Bank of America only approved me for a $1000 credit limit... Macys however approved me for $2000 for everyday purchases and $5000 for large-ticket items like furniture sets. It may not sound so glamorous to have a specific store card but they all allow you to build credit, and a credit card really doesn't let you do anything a debit card can't unless you're buying things you don't currently have the money for.

Amazon is also issuing credit cards now, so with one of those there really isn't much you couldn't buy if you needed.

  • 2
    Amazon is through Chase so the approval process is not so different from any other credit card. If you have no credit history, you may be denied.
    – Sun
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 21:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .