What's the best credit card for rebuilding credit?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Question: What is the best card for rebuilding credit?

Answer: There's no one single card that's right for everyone. The best card you can get depends on how bad your credit actually is.

If you can not qualify for an unsecured credit card here are some options:

Secured credit card

If your credit score is too low to qualify for an unsecured card, you'll need to look at a secured card, which means you have to put your own money into the card before you can use it. A secured card worth checking out is the Public Savings Bank Open Sky Secured Visa Credit Card.

Prepaid card

If all else fails, you can always get a prepaid card, which you fund with your own money. But prepaid cards do nothing for your credit score. Secured credit cards report your payments to the credit bureaus, which use that information to calculate your credit score. Secured credit cards are literally tools for rebuilding credit, whereas prepaid cards are aimed at people who really aren't interested in credit cards or rebuilding their credit but want the convenience of not lugging cash around.

Look out for fees

Whatever you decide you want, and can qualify for, be careful to read all the fine print because some secured and prepaid cards have so many fees that you wonder if the company issuing it remembers that the money on the card is, after all, yours and not theirs.

I'm thinking, for instance, of the Kardashian card, the infamous prepaid MasterCard which debuted in November 2010 and was off the market within a month due to the drubbing it received in the media and the shortage of customers interested in using it.

The Kardashian prepaid card was loaded with fees; users paid $7.95 a month just for the privilege of having the card and shelled out $1.50 to talk to a live operator. Yikes.

So for rebuilding your credit, it pays to take the time to compare credit cards before you apply. The best of them can help if you use them responsibly; the worst will likely do nothing but cost you needless charges while doing nothing for your credit.




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