Yes, if you have no income, you can get a secured credit card with a security deposit. If you don’t have enough for a security deposit, you can get an unsecured credit card with a cosigner. Although most credit card applications will ask you to list your current employment situation, not being employed does not automatically disqualify you for a credit card.

What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card simply means that you give the credit card company a security deposit in order to establish trust with them. Oftentimes a security deposit will be required if you have no income or if your credit score is low. Having a secured credit card is great for anyone who is trying to establish their credit.

After having a secured credit card for a while, and your credit score has gone up, your credit card company might give back the security deposit and turn your card into an unsecured card. This generally happens between 8m-1yr mark, based on whether your credit score is higher than the first time you applied.

If you are looking for a list of secured credit cards, check out our post with a list of secured credit cards that are guaranteed to approve you with a security deposit.

Do I need a cosigner if I have no income?

If you want to have a chance at getting approved, a cosigner with good credit is highly recommended. Not having a cosigner, with no income and bad credit will most certainly get you denied for an unsecured credit card.

If you have a cosigner, your best bet might be for them to open a credit card first, and then have them add you in as an authorized user. This will help you get the credit history up and your scores up, which should help you later in the long run, get a credit card without the need for a cosigner.

If you do want to go ahead and apply as the primary and have a cosigner, you will need to check which credit card companies allow you to apply with a cosigner, as most companies do not let you list a cosigner during the application process. Here’s our handpicked list of known credit card companies that will allow you to list a cosigner on the credit card application:

One small note: If you have excellent credit, you might be able to get away with applying without a cosigner, but your mileage may vary.

Can I get a credit card if I’m a student?

Yes, many credit card companies will let you get a credit card as a student, even if you have no income. However the same rules will apply to you as if you had no credit history. This means that you will get a low credit limit to start off with, until you can prove your credit worthiness.

Along with a credit card, you will need to make sure that you have a way of paying off your credit card debt once you’ve used it. This means that you might have to borrow money from either friends or your parents, in order to keep the balance of your credit card down.

I highly encourage you to not get a credit card if you have no way of paying it back. This is how a lot of college students get into debt quickly. Don’t forget that on top of this credit card debt, you will most likely also have student loans to worry about once you graduate, so don’t risk it because it’s not worth it in the long run.

Are there any alternatives to credit cards?

We all understand that in this world, you can’t buy anything online with cash, so having a credit card or debit card is important if you want to ever buy something online. If you don’t have a bank debit card, or a credit card, one great alternative is prepaid debit cards. With a prepaid debit card, you can go to the retail store where you bought it and reload it with cash anytime. This makes it a great alternative if you need an easy way of paying for purchases online without a major credit card or bank debit card.

What are some pros of having a prepaid debit card?

Being able to pay for online purchases is a plus. Also having a convenient way of sending money to friends and family. Keeping expending on track is also a breeze, because most prepaid credit cards have a web login that lets you keep track of your purchases and your balance. Biggest plus for me though was being able to pay for bills online or over the phone without having to get a money order or check. I don’t have to stand in line at the service desk of a grocery store anymore to get a money order.

Are there any cons to using a prepaid debit card?

Even if you use a prepaid debit card, they don’t report to the credit bureaus, so reloading them and showing usage will not increase your credit, nor add on to your credit history on your credit report. Also, some prepaid cards have an expensive fee for opening and maintaining a debit card with them. Having said that, a prepaid card might be more expensive than a regular bank checking account.

Most cards will also charge you a fee to reload money into the card, so you won’t be getting the full amount as if you were using a bank debit card. Also, compared to a regular checking debit card, they tend to have a lot less billing and fraud protection. This means that if someone gets a hold of your card number and uses it, you might not be able to recoup your loss and be out of pocket for the money spent.

Regardless of what you do, always ask yourself first if you will be able to pay for the credit that you use. If you have any doubts that you won’t be able to pay it back, then don’t open a card, as this can lead you down a rabbit hole that you might not be able to come back up from.