How Do I Get A Good Credit Card With A Bad History?

Advice from Stretch Your Dollar coach Mary Hunt

Q: I ruined my credit ten years ago in the usual foolish way people do with non-payment and slow payments. Even though I am much more careful and responsible now, I cannot shake the bad credit history. My bank does not offer secured cards. Do you have any suggestions to help me get a credit card?

A: Negative credit items will automatically come off your report after seven years; a bankruptcy will stop being reported to the credit bureaus after ten years. Your report should be cleaning itself if your missteps took place that long ago.

As for getting a secured card, go to IndexCreditCards.com, and look for "Secured Credit Cards" under "Bad Credit Credit-Cards."

You will get a list of cards available including each one's terms. Read them very carefully.

Secured cards are for people with bad credit that requires some sort of deposit for approval. Most cards listed report to credit reporting agencies, potentially helping you reestablish credit.

Just make sure that you are not shooting yourself in the wallet by opting for a card that has excessive fees.

Excerpted from Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill with a Credit Card? And Other Financial Questions We're Too Embarrassed to Ask! (DPL Press, Inc., 2009)

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