Questions to Ask When Applying for a Credit Card for Bad Credit
No matter how you look at it, a credit card application can be intimidating. For the folks who have bad credit, applying for a credit card can spring up even more anxiety, simply because many are not 100% sure that they will be approved. Fortunately, signing up for a credit card for bad credit can ease all of that tension and stress, since the approval process is much more forgiving than a traditional card.
Like anything else, however, bad credit credit cards have their fair share of things that you need to look out for. That doesnt mean all cards are bad, but just because you are nearly guaranteed approval does not mean that you should jump at the first offer you see. Youve got to do your due diligence by shopping around and asking questions questions that need answered before you sign on the dotted line.
Not sure what type of questions you should be asking? Dont worry. Instead, just take a look below to see 5 of the most common things you should ask any subprime credit card provider before you decide to make the leap!
#1 Will There Be Other Fees in Addition to the Annual Fee?
When youre credit is in the dumps, getting away from an annual fee is going to be tough to do. Thats why many of the bad credit credit cards out there come loaded with one. So while you wont be able to get away from that, make sure you check to see if there are any other fees that you might have to pay (per month or per year).
For example, some credit cards will charge you one-time administrative or program fees. Others will charge you a monthly maintenance fee, whereas others will only charge you a flat annual fee. Once you sign on the dotted line, youre essentially locked into these fees, so always make sure youre checking for the fees you are expected to pay (usually found deep within the terms and conditions of the card youre applying for).
#2 What Would Your Minimum Credit Line Be?
Most subprime credit card companies will offer a minimum and maximum line of credit, all of which is based on your current credit score. On the other hand, there are companies that will cap the opening limit to a specific amount. If youre shopping around for a number of different cards, this is something that you want to pay attention to, especially if youre looking for the largest limit possible right out of the gate.
#3 How Often Can You Request a Credit Limit Increase?
Credit limit increases are great for one good reason they expand the amount of credit you have available, which lowers your utilization ratio and raises your credit score. Because of this, its essential that the card you choose comes with the opportunity to apply for periodic credit limit increases.
As a general rule of thumb, a company that will review your credit for an increase every 6 months is ideal. Companies who dont perform any reviews and keep your limit the same for as long as you hold the card are not worth the trouble.
Remember more credit limit reviews = more opportunities to boost your credit score.
#4 If You Qualify for a Credit Limit Increase, Will You Have to Pay for it?
Sometimes, getting your credit limit increased will come at a price. Some bad credit credit card lenders will be more than happy to do a review of your credit for a potential limit increase as long as youre willing to pay for it, of course.
When faced with a situation like this, your decision will ultimately boil down to what the credit limit increase can do for you. If the amount is significant enough to lower your utilization and explode your available credit, it may be a small price to pay for a dramatic boost in your credit score.
Not every credit card out there will charge for a credit limit increase, but its good to be aware of it many lenders still actively practice it. The last thing you want to do is get an increase in your limit, only to be shocked by a fee on your next statement.
#5 Are There Any Special Perks Associated with the Card?
In the world of credit cards for bad credit, finding a card with a variety of different perks is going to be hard, but they do exist. Some cards may offer you points or cash back on various purchases, helping you earn a little something in exchange for your loyalty as a customer. Others might offer discounts on travel, dining, car rentals and more.
Its not a huge deal breaker, but a card that offers certain perks over another may be worth looking into.