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We all know that next to having a job and a steady income, having access to credit is one of the most important stepping stones in our financial lives. Your credit history is a representation of who you are and where you are in your life at any given moment. Not only is having credit extremely important but having good credit that has been built and worked on for several years is even more important. Credit can seem discriminatory towards certain groups of people, mainly those who don’t already have credit or those who don’t have jobs. Gone are the days of needing a fancy well-paying job and a stellar credit history to be approved for a new credit card. Even if you don’t have a traditional job you can and should apply for a credit card, here are a few options for you to try.

A Job is Not a Prerequisite for a Credit Card

The good news is that most credit card applications typically will only ask for general information about your employment, this means you’ll have to choose from titles like student, homemaker, government worker, self-employed or unemployed. There will probably be a section that asks for your employer’s information but most will allow you to leave it blank if you do in fact have no employer. You may get lucky and your application won’t require any information about your employer at all. Keep in mind though that you are legally required to be honest and fill in the application with all the correct information.

Apply for a Joint Credit Account

A great way to get a credit card without a job is to get the help of your significant other or even your parents. You can become an authorized user on your significant other’s card or you can open a new credit account together where you’re joint account holders. If you choose to become an authorized user on an already existing card then your income and credit history will not be taken into account or considered. You will also not be legally responsible to make payments, only the original card holder has this responsibility.

If you open a new credit account with someone else you will both be equally responsible to make payments. Both of your incomes and credit histories will be taken into account. But if your significant other or parent has enough income then you’ll likely still be approved.

Apply for a Secured Credit Card

When applying for a secured credit card you’ll be asked to provide your employment and income information but even if you’re unemployed or have no income you’re still likely to be approved. The reason for this is because a secured credit card requires you to make a security deposit. If you are unable to make the required payments on your balance your security deposit will be kept by your credit card provider. This is why secured credit cards are often given to people with no income.

There is nothing wrong with being unemployed and having a credit card but before you apply for one you need to consider whether or not you’ll be able to repay the balance. Having a credit card is great but it’s also a lot of responsibility so make sure you can afford to pay for anything you charge to it or you could face some unpleasant consequences.

Consider a Card From a Retail Store

Consider applying for a retail credit card from one of the stores you frequent. These types of credit cards are typically easier to get approved for and usually have lower limits, this way you won’t be able to accumulate too much debt. If used properly and responsibly retail credit cards can be an extremely valuable tool for you to use to build your credit from the ground up. Furthermore, retail stores don’t usually ask about your employment status or income.

Prove That You Can Pay it off

If all else fails and you continue to be rejected by credit card companies you should consider contacting the credit provider and see if they’ll allow you to prove that you can in fact make payments, even though you don’t technically have a job.

What you need to do is prove that, while you don’t have a job, you do have some kind of income and that you’ll be able to pay back the money you borrow. Depending on your current personal and financial situation the proof will be different for everyone. It could be investments you’ve made, your retirement fund, alimony, unemployment benefits, disability or the income of your spouse. Credit cards companies need to know if you have the ability to pay off any and all charges you make to you card, so prove to them that you can.

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Caitlin Wood, BA avatar on Loans Canada
Caitlin Wood, BA

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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