A little background, I've never had a credit card and I'm seriously due for a credit check as I've never had one.

I've applied to numerous credit cards and I've been declined every time. I hold a full-time job that pays well, have a college degree, and even work for a financial instituation but I've still be declined (yes, even from my own employer).

The only advice I've gotten to start my credit rating is to obtain a 'secured credit card' where I essentially make a $500 deposit, hold the account within good standing for 6-12months, and then finally earn the privlege to get a normal credit card.

My question: Does anyone have either a better route to go, or a suggestion as to what cards I could apply for?


  • 3
    Get a free credit report on yourself to see why you'd be getting declined. It's quite possible that your identity was stolen. Also, having prior applications for credit denied will lower your credit score and make it more likely that other creditors will decline your subsequent applications for credit.
    – zzzzBov
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 0:27
  • 2
    Please clarify as to the reason for being declined. You will be told in a postal letter why you were specifically denied.
    – Sun
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 0:40

6 Answers 6


If you've never had a credit card before a likely reason can be due to lack of credit history. You can apply for a department store card. Nordstroms, Macy's, Target will often grant a small line of credit even with no history. Target would be my first attempt as they have a wide selection of every day items, improving your usage on the card.

If you've been denied due to too many applications, then you need to wait 18-24 months for the hard pulls to drop off your credit report before you apply again.


You have what is called in the biz a "thin file". Check with a Credit Union. They will get you a secured card or maybe a straight credit card. They usually will graduate you from a secured card to a real credit card in 12-18 months. Then you are on your way.

You should also sign up for Creditkarma to get your credit report updated every week. They make their money on referring people to credit card companies so you might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

  • I like CreditKarma esp now they've added credit score for Equifax along with the TransUnion.
    – Sun
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 16:02

You have a lack of credit history.

Lending is still tight since the recession and companies aren't as willing to take a gamble on people with no history. The secured credit card is the most direct route to building credit right now. I don't think you're going to be applicable for a department store card (pointless anyways and encourages wasteful spending) nor the gas card. Gas cards are credit cards, funded through a bank just like any ordinary credit card, only you are limited to gas purchases at a particular retailer. Although gas cards, department store cards and other limited usage types of credit cards have less requirements, in this post-financial crisis economy, credit is still stringent and a "no history" file is too risky for banks to take on. Having multiple hard inquiries won't help either. You do have a full-time job that pays well so the $500 deposit shouldn't be a problem for the secured credit card. After 6 months you'll get it back anyways. Just remember to pay off in full every month. After 6 months you'll be upgraded to a regular credit card and you will have established credit history.


Capital One's normal master card is known to approve people with limited or bad credit history.

If not that look into a secured credit card. You put down a deposit of $200 or more and you get that much in credit, sometimes more.


Consider getting yourself a gas card. Use it for a year. Make your payments on time. Then reapply for a credit card.


Just because you have no credit history doesn't mean you can't get a secured credit card. One key step is finding the right card, specifically designed for someone like you.

If you've denied a secured credit card, the card issuer or lender should have sent you written notice explaining the reasons why you don't qualify. Read the letter thoroughly and call the issuer if you have any questions.

You may consider other ways to build credit: These include:

  • Become an authorized user: This option lets you "piggyback" off of a friend or family member's good credit score by linking your credit report to theirs. You should only choose this option if both you and the primary cardholder are comfortable sharing financial responsibility, as your behaviours will have an impact on the other person's credit score.

  • Report utility and rent payments: Report your on-time bill payments for rent and services like internet, cable, cell phones and utilities.

  • Credit builder loans: These loans require that you make monthly deposits into a savings account before you can get your money. Doing so builds your credit score and establishes good habits, but you have to be careful as many charge extra fees.

After taking the above steps, try applying for a new secured credit card in six months to a year.

This should help.

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