Q: My husband and I are looking for a credit card in case of emergencies, and maybe to use on some dental work. Last we checked, almost two years ago when we purchased a house, our credit rating was around 660. We haven't taken out any other credit since we bought the house. We're never late on any payments. Any direction in choosing a credit card would be great. At this time, we have no credit cards.
Your 660 credit rating reflected the fact that you didn't have any credit cards, but it sounds like you're more than capable of managing a monthly balance if you needed to. Our credit card database contains a few offers that may appeal to you.
In fact, since you've been making your mortgage payment on time for the past few years, it's likely that your credit score has crept above 680. That's a kind of magic number these days -- the point at which more lenders are willing to take a risk on borrowers with thin credit files. Check out a few of these credit card deals from reputable lenders:
- Barclaycard Ring MasterCard. Barclays Bank is hardly an upstart, but its maverick U.S. operation has taken a disruptive approach to building its brand stateside. This low interest credit card accepts applications from consumers with a minimum credit score of 680, so you could just qualify. The company's experience issuing retail credit cards makes it an ideal partner for building a credit history.
- Bank of America Secured BankAmericard. Bank of America relaunched its iconic credit card brand with a variety of accounts, ranging from a high-profile cash-back rewards card to this credit-building, secured account. Most secured cards require extra hassle and paperwork to set up, but Bank of America has made their system painless, especially if you already keep a checking account at the bank.
Even though you're planning to keep this credit card on ice except for emergencies, the credit crunch taught us that an open line of credit is no replacement for a serious emergency fund. Keep six months of expenses in an online savings account where it can earn some interest, while standing by if you really need it.
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