Why Is It So Difficult to Get a Credit Card to Build Credit?

In this article, I will guide you through why getting a credit card can be challenging for credit-builders and offer practical steps based on my years of experience to navigate these challenges successfully.

Key Takeaways

  • Eligibility Criteria: Understanding issuer’s strict criteria can prepare you better.
  • Credit History Importance: Lack of history is a major stumbling block.
  • Income and Employment: These factors significantly influence your creditworthiness.
  • Steps to Apply: Follow strategic steps to increase your chances of approval.
  • Personal Tips: Benefit from expert advice tailored to your unique situation.

Understanding the Challenges





The primary reason obtaining a credit card for building credit is so difficult lies in the risk it poses to issuers. Without a substantial credit history, lenders find it hard to assess risk. Here’s a breakdown of common obstacles:

  1. Credit History: This is the Catch-22 of credit cards. You need a credit card to build credit, yet you need credit to get a card. Lenders look for a track record of responsible credit usage before taking a chance on applicants.

  2. Income Requirements: Most credit card companies require proof of income to ensure that potential borrowers can repay their debts. For young people or those who’ve taken career breaks, this can be a significant barrier.

  3. High Interest Rates and Fees: For those who can get a credit card, the terms are often less favorable. Higher interest rates and additional fees can make these cards costly to use.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your First Credit Card

Step 1: Check Your Credit Score

  • Obtain a free credit report from one of the major credit bureaus. This will give you a clearer idea of where you stand and what you need to improve.

Step 2: Become an Authorized User

  • If a family member has good credit, ask to be added as an authorized user on their account. This can help you piggyback off their credit success.

Step 3: Apply for a Secured Credit Card

  • Secured credit cards require a deposit that typically serves as your credit limit. This reduces the risk for issuers and helps build your credit as you responsibly use the card.

Step 4: Consider Credit-Builder Loans

  • Credit-builder loans hold the money you borrow in an account while you make payments. Upon completion, you receive the total amount, having built some credit history.

Step 5: Shop Around

  • Compare various cards and choose one that best fits your financial situation and offers the best terms.

Tips from Personal Experience

  • Patience is Key: Building credit doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that requires patience and consistent effort.
  • Keep Balances Low: High credit utilization can negatively impact your score. Aim to keep your balances below 30% of your credit limits.
  • Pay On Time, Every Time: Even one missed payment can significantly hurt your credit score. Setting up automated payments can help avoid this.

Engage with Us

Have you faced challenges when applying for a credit card to build credit? What strategies have worked for you? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below—we’d love to hear from you and provide additional guidance!

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