Credit Cards For Unemployed?

Jan 08, 2024 By Triston Martin

Consumers may experience unemployment as economic uncertainty persists, with inflation and interest rates rising. Though it's not a good idea to rack up a lot of high-interest debt during times of economic uncertainty, a credit card can provide some financial stability while you look for work.

Credit card approval is possible even if you are currently unemployed. Issuers will ask for proof of income, but you can diversify your sources of income if necessary. When you're between jobs, a credit card may not be the safest or most accessible option for building and maintaining your credit history, so it's important to keep your options open.

Credit Card Eligibility: How To Get Approved

Credit card issuers use information in your credit report and information you provide on your application, such as your name, address, and income, to determine your creditworthiness when you apply for a credit card.

Credit card companies have to weigh the benefits against the risks before issuing you a card. You will be considered creditworthy if you have a history of timely payments and account maintenance. Issuers can use your income to calculate your debt-to-income ratio, which may indicate your payment reliability. This ratio will also be used to establish your maximum credit limit if you are approved for a credit card.

How Much Does It Take To Be Considered "Income?"

The amount you bring in each month is considered when determining your creditworthiness, but this number can include sources other than your salary. A broader definition of income could include anything regularly received as cash.

If you are currently without a job but still want to apply, this means you have other sources of income you can use to your advantage. Any individual over the age of 21 is required by the 2009 Credit CARD Act to disclose all sources of income to which they will have access, including income from a spouse and unemployment benefits. Any money you make from investments may be considered a salary. You can even include it in your Social Security benefits if you get them.

Alternatives To Self-Qualification Or Credit Cards

However, there are other ways to obtain credit if you are still waiting for a credit card. If you're currently jobless and looking to build credit, consider the following options.

Enroll As A Verified User.

To improve your credit rating and gain access to another person's credit line, you may be added as an authorized user to their credit card account. If you are an authorized user of someone else's credit card, you can use that person's card. First, find out how being an authorized user will affect your credit.

Sign On As A Co-Applicant

A co-signer was once required to apply for a credit card with Bank of America, USAA, or U.S. Bank. Co-signers used to be accepted by several credit card issuers, but not any longer. You can still apply for a credit card with Bank of America as a co-applicant.

Credit Cards Requiring A Security Deposit

Secured credit cards, which require a deposit to serve as your credit limit, may be simpler to obtain than unsecured credit cards. This one may place less weight on your income and credit history than other cards. Rather, it would help if you had the means to guarantee the necessary deposit. Look for a secured card with low fees and study the rules carefully if you decide to go this route. Maintaining a decent credit score requires recording and sharing your payments with the relevant credit bureaus.

Shared Budgets

Another option is to apply for a credit card with another person, like your spouse. When applying for a joint credit card account, the credit histories of both applicants are checked. Income, however, is counted in both households.

The biggest drawback to establishing a joint account is the reduction in the flexibility it entails. Only a select few credit card issuers allow couples to open accounts together. Likewise, before applying for a joint account, learning about your responsibilities is crucial. Both parties are equally responsible for making payments and will suffer equally devastating consequences if payments are late or missed.


While unemployment can cause financial instability, it need not prevent you from obtaining a credit card and making payments on time. To tide you over until you can pay off your other debts, a new credit card may be within your reach if your debt-to-income ratio is low, your payment history is spotless, and you can demonstrate other means of financial support.

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