Welcome to Your
Credit Builder
So You Need to Establish Some Positive Credit, Eh? Okay. Here's How.
As a part of your credit journey, it is CRITICAL to establish at least 3-5 new Open Revolving accounts, as well as a Mixture of account types if you don't have enough variety. This is one of the single most important steps that you can take in your credit journey, since it makes up at least 30% of your entire credit score.

Below, you will find a mixture of both secured and unsecured credit cards that we highly recommend for consumers with bad to fair credit. Please note that they are being shared with you for informational purposes only. Some credit information provided may contain affiliate links, which if approved, may earn us a small commission to help keep our service prices low. Please see the Legal & Affiliate Disclosures below for complete details.

We have listed our recommendations in the order that we suggest you apply. Please read the descriptions carefully, and only apply to the accounts that best fit your current circumstances (lower scores vs higher scores, etc). Furthermore, only apply for the number of accounts, within each category (credit cards, installments, auto, mortgage, etc) that you need.

You should have at least 3 revolving accounts (ie, credit cards/retail store accounts) - but no more than 5 (to keep it manageable). Only you know what is manageable for you. And for the record, there's no difference (from a credit reporting standpoint) between secured & unsecured credit cards. So they're both considered to be within the same category.

You should have at least 2 installment accounts reporting - but no more than 3 (to keep it manageable). Ideally, you're going to need to have at least 1 auto loan, and 1 mortgage loan. If you also have student loans or a personal loan reporting, that's fine, but auto and mortgage are more critical. This, along with your revolving credit lines, will give you a nice acceptable mixture of credit, which makes up 15% of your score.

Please note that while its important to have this installment mixture, these are accounts that you can acquire over time. Unlike the revolving credit that you need right now, you do not need to establish installment credit immediately, especially if you're just starting out on your credit building/re-building journey. Focus on the revolving accounts first, and then add-on the installments after 3 months or so.

With that being said, you will also find some installment accounts below that you may sign up for IF, and ONLY if, you need to establish a mixture of credit as well.

QUICK TIP: If you're in the market for a home loan/mortgage, do NOT finance a new auto loan until AFTER you have purchased and moved into your new home.

If you have any questions about credit establishment and building, then please feel free to give us a call. Active Clients may call or text their dedicated Credit Concierge for further assistance as needed.
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Secured Credit: Start here if your scores are less than 660
1. Merrick Bank "Double Your Line" Secured VISA

  • Put down $200, which becomes your credit line. Then, if you qualify, double your credit line to $400 without making another deposit.
  • Double your $200 credit line by making at least your minimum payment on time each month for the first 7 months your account is open.
  • Unlike a debit or pre-paid card, this helps build your credit history. Your payment history will be reported to all three major credit-reporting agencies.
  • Get 100% U.S.-based customer service & get your FICO® Credit Score for free each month.
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen. Access your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get help staying on track with available Auto Pay and account alerts.
  • Card issued by Merrick Bank, Member FDIC.

2. Assent Platinum MasterCard
(not available in NY, IA, AR, WI)

  • 0% Intro APR – No interest charged on Purchases for Six Months!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file!
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards are Accepted!
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Annual fee of $49
3. Applied Bank Secured VISA Gold
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a TRUE Visa Credit Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • Online & Mobile Banking 
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR – NO Application Fee, NO Penalty rate - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit – Maximum $1,000. Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
  • Refundable Security Deposit
  • Annual Fee $48 - Regular Apr 0.00% & (Fixed)
4. Harley-Davidson's H-D™ Visa® Secured Card
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn Rewards while building/repairing your credit
  • Reports to the Credit Bureaus
  • Exclusive Perks and Travel Benefits
  • Card Protection
  • $300 Minimum Deposit – Maximum $5,000. Can be funded from a bank account, cashier's check, or money order
  • Easy Application - Ideal for consumers with poor credit
  • 0% Intro APR (on purchases & balance transfers) for 12 months - then a Variable APR kicks in at 14.99%-23.99%
  • Card issued by US Bank, Member FDIC
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Unsecured Credit: You may start or add accounts from this section if your scores are at least 660 or better
1. First Access VISA
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured VISA® Credit Card
  • Reporting to all 3 major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Processing Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Receive your card more quickly with optional Expedited Processing (additional fee applies)
  • Decision in as little as 60 seconds
  • 24x7 Online Customer Center 
  • Issued by Mid America Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC
2. Reflex MasterCard
  • Pre-Qualify for a REAL Master Card with a credit limit of $300-$750
  • The Pre-qual App won't affect your scores
  • Fast & Easy Approval
  • Credit Limit increases after 6 months of on-time payments (subject to income & underwriting guidelines at time of review)
  • $0 Fraud Liability
  • Reports to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus
  • $75-$99 Annual Fee
  • Variable APR of 25.90%-29.99%

4. Aspire Cash Back MasterCard
  • Pre-qualify for a credit limit of up to $1,000
  • Get up to 3% cash back
  • No Credit Score Impact
  • No program fees or Initial Deposit Needed
  • Periodic credit increase reviews
  • Transaction Alerts
6. Montgomery Ward Credit
  • Buy Now, Pay Later with this online Catalog company
  • Shop Brands you already love
  • Very low monthly payments
  • Reports to major credit bureaus
  • Improve your credit score
  • Earn credit limit increases with on-time payments
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Installment Accounts: You may apply for any of the below to diversify your credit profile with personal/auto/mortgage loans

1. Credit Strong Installment Savings
  • Credit Builder Savings Account - When you open your account, our bank instantly gives you a loan and places the loan funds in a FDIC insured savings account in your name. The savings account funds are locked to secure the loan.
  • Build Credit - Make small monthly payments of principal and interest on your loan. The principal is a payment to yourself and is credited towards the lock on your savings – the interest is what we earn for providing the service.
  • Monthly Deposit Plan Options: $15, $30, $50, $48, $89, $96, $100 - Payments are reported to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No Upfront Deposit - Pay as little as $8.95 to get started today
  • Build A Nest Egg - Part of every payment grows your savings
  • No Commitment - Cancel any time at no cost
  • When your loan is repaid in full, the lock is removed from your savings account. You’ve built both credit and savings.
  • We provide a free FICO® Score monthly so you can track your progress. 90% of top lenders use FICO Scores when making lending decisions.

2. Self-Lender
  • Now called Self. ... A Credit Builder Savings Account
  • Self Lender helps you get a small loan that you save in a CD for 12 or 24 months (FDIC- insured certificate of deposit bank account)
  • Savings plans start at $25/month and includes credit monitoring
  • At the end of account term you've built credit history and your CD savings unlocks
  • Each timely monthly payment builds credit history and adds to your monthly savings
  • Access to the Self VISA Credit Card in as little as 3 months
  • Reports to all 3 credit bureaus. No hard credit pull and no credit history required
  • Available in all 50 States

4. Rock the Score Rent Reporting
  • 2 Bureau Rental Reporting (Equifax & Transunion)
  • Boost your credit profile and increase your credit score.
  • Provides a seasoned and open trade line
  • Reports the past two years of rent payments for a possible boost to your credit score
  • $8.95 Monthly (to keep the Trade Line Open)
  • $25 One time set up fee
  • Optional $99 Historic Reporting (up to 24 months of history)
  • Quick and easy
5. The Credit4Keys Home Ownership Program
  • Qualify for a home purchase despite what your current credit scores are
  • Bad Credit Scores as low as 400's are still okay
  • Instant approval with a quick Credit Analysis
  • Easy Application
  • Financing is based on temporary Seller-Financing terms
  • Typical 1-3 year terms available
  • Puts you in your home NOW, while you take a year or so to work on improving your credit, or other circumstances
  • No Bank Qualifying
  • Utilizes creative options to get you in the home now
  • Available Nationwide
  • On-time payments may be reported to the major credit bureaus at the end of your term

6. Auto Loan
  • One Application w/up to 4 loan offers in minutes
  • Apply online, 24/7 in the convenience of your home or office
  • Lowest interest rates available – average customer saves $2000 in interest charges
  • Get approved and have financing in place before going to a dealer
  • Refinance and lower your current interest rate and payments or even skip a payment
  • Also offering Private Party and Lease Buyout loans
  • Fast & free - No fees or obligations
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Minimum income of $1,800/mo or $21,600/yr
  • Available in all 48 states, except Alaska & Hawaii
  • Purchase must meet Minimum Vehicle Requirements
  • FICO scores of 500 or greater

6. Net Credit
  • Pre-Qualify for Personal Loans (up to $10,000)
  • Check your eligibility WITHOUT it affecting your credit scores
  • Fast & Flexible loans - same or next day funding
  • Easy Application
  • Loans for Various purposes (debt consolidation, moving expenses, etc)
  • Various Financing Types (including LOC's)
  • You're in control - You can Accept or Decline the offer(s) presented to you
  • Reports to the major credit bureaus
  • Rates and Terms Vary by State
  • Check availability for your State
  • All loans are serviced by NetCredit 

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Instant Credit Without An Application - Here's How?
You can also establish credit instantly WITH years of positive payment history already attached to it, AND WITHOUT actually filling out a credit application.

You may have an immediate need to establish credit in order to get approved for something else (such as a home/apartment, a car, other credit cards, etc), and you may not have the time necessary to build on your own ... so what do you do? There is a faster way.

The FASTEST way to establish credit is to piggy-back off of someone else with good credit. You can request to become an Authorized User on their credit accounts, that have years of good payment history, and low balances.

If you know of someone that might fit this bill, just ask if they'd be willing to do this for you, WITHOUT giving you physical access to the card. That way, there's no risk of you causing them any harm and at the same time, they earn more brownie points, plus a little extra love for helping out a deserving friend/family member in need.
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Limit Your Inquiries
It's very important to understand that too many inquiries at one time, can significantly weigh your credit scores down. So if you're going to build your credit up, then you must remember to follow these few general rules of thumb:

(1) Submit no more than 3 applications at one time for the same account type. For example, if you need a credit card, then only apply for credit cards - not credit cards and auto loans at one time. If you need a car, then only apply for auto loans together - not auto loans AND retail store accounts together.

     ** Multiple applications submitted, within the same account type/category, and within a 14 day period, will only impact the score once.

(2) If you need to apply for different account types at the same time, just know and expect that your score WILL drop a bit. Majority of the credit recommendations shared above, offer "soft" pulls so as not to impact the credit score. However, the soft pull is only to see if you qualify. If, in fact, you do qualify and are approved for the account, then there WILL be a hard inquiry on your report once the terms are accepted.

(3) Limit your credit inquiries to no more than 2 applications every 6 months. 3 Applications is pushing it, but you may be able to get away with it IF, and only IF, you absolutely must. Don't go beyond that.
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Legal/Trademark Disclaimer: All product and company names, images, logos, and descriptions displayed on this page are the Trademarks™ and Registered® Trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does NOT imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. Although we do our best to provide you with the most up-to-date credit information that we feel could benefit you, in your current situation, this information does NOT originate with us, and therefore, we can not guarantee its accuracy, approvals, terms, and/or fees.

Affiliate Disclosure:  We only share credit information in which we, ourselves, would utilize. Any expressed opinions herein are that of our own. When we come across good credit information and products that we feel you can benefit from, we may become an affiliate/vendor with that company (if possible), and share it on this page. Therefore, some of the links attached to the credit information provided herein may contain affiliate links which, at no additional cost to you, may earn us a small commission, and which in turn, also helps us to keep the paid services we provide at a very minimal cost. If you have any questions or concerns in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us at (803) 240-8344.