5 Ways to Get a Credit Card Without a Job

3 minute read | 1/6/17Jan. 6, 2017

42% of Americans don't have a job.

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Seems like a lot, right? Well, it is - but, it's necessary to keep in mind that this percentage lumps together both people who are actively looking for or have a job, and those who aren't. The people who could fall into the latter category could be your grandma, your kid brother, a spouse who chooses not to work, you cousin who continues to be an "aspiring actor," and so on.

So it's probably not difficult to see that depending on their own unique situations, people who don't have jobs could still want to have a credit card issued in their name. Luckily, it's completely possible.

Here are 5 ways to get a credit card without having a job -

1. Count ALL of Your Income

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When you apply for a credit card, you are allowed to count all sorts of income, not just money from having a traditional job.

So if you get money from investments, Social Security, child support, freelance projects, or even from winning the lottery, you should include it on your next credit card application for consideration.

2. Go With a Co-signer

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If you don't have a job, but someone who will vouch for you, you can have that someone be a co-signer. That's how traditional loans without income work and it's a great way to get a credit card when you don't have a steady source of income.

Some card issuers allow this and some don't, so it's definitely worth calling your bank to ask before finding a potential co-signer. Just remember that both of you are each individually responsible for payments, so if you fail to make your payments, the co-signer will be on the hook for paying your balance.


3. Include Your Spouse's Income

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A few years back, the government made a rule as part of the CARD Act of 2009 that companies couldn't issue a credit card account if you had no income to pay them back. It seemed great at first, but then people realized this rule screwed over non-working spouses who wanted their own account. That's rough.

To fix it, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amended the rule to say that when you apply for a credit card but have no income, you can include any income that your spouse has access to. So essentially, if one of you works, and the other doesn't, both of you can still use that household income to apply for a card.

4. Piggyback on Your Parents (a.k.a. Become An Authorized User)

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I got my first credit card when I was 13 by becoming an authorized user on one of my parent's accounts. They wanted me to have it in case of emergencies, but I mostly just used it to buy pizza. #priorities

Most credit cards don't charge any extra fees for adding authorized user's to their account, so if your parents (or another primary cardholder) are okay with adding you to their account, it will be pretty easy for you to get a credit card - just remember to stay responsible with it since the primary cardholder is always responsible for the charges if you don't pay.

5. Get a Prepaid Card or Gift Card

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This last idea isn't really a credit card, but for many people, it's close enough.

Anyone can buy a generic Visa, MasterCard or American Express gift card, or sign-up for a reloadable prepaid debit card. Once activated, you can use it anywhere credit cards are accepted, and you don't have to carry cash or deal with checks.

Two of the prepaid gift cards I like to recommend are the basic MasterCard and Visa card that you can get from pretty much any grocery store and load up to $500. As for standard prepaid cards, I like Walmart's Bluebird card from American Express.

Do you use credit cards? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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