14 Best Credit Cards with No Employment Check in 2019

14 Best Credit Cards with No Employment Check in 2019

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Posted: August 20, 2019
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

Most lenders want some sort of proof that you can pay back any loan that you receive. That goes for credit cards, banks, or a cousin who floats you a few bucks until payday.

But while some UK lenders want to know how often you eat steak for dinner, U.S. lenders are more likely to quiz you on your employment and income status. It can be tricky if you’re retired, a freelancer, an independent contractor, or you don’t want to undergo employment verification.

While most credit card applications just want proof of income, some still require proof of employment. We’ve done the work for you and found credit cards with no employment check so you can avoid those applications if you so choose. Also, keep in mind that no-employment-check credit cards aren’t just for consumers with questionable credit histories. In fact, your options only increase if you have a fair, good, or excellent credit score so be sure to check out our options in these categories, as well.

Bad Credit | Student | Secured | Prepaid | FAQs

Best “No-Employment-Check” Cards for Bad Credit

If you’re near the bottom of the credit spectrum, you can still find plenty of options to fit your income and credit range. Our best choices, listed below, feature a mix of secured and unsecured cards, and some won’t even require income verification.

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

While most secured credit cards require you to place a refundable security deposit that matches your credit limit (for example, a $300 deposit yields a $300 credit limit), the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® could require a smaller deposit for qualified applicants. This card caps initial limits for new cardholders at $200. But, depending on your credit history, you will have to place a refundable deposit of either $49, $99, or $200 to be approved. Plus, Capital One could increase your credit limit — with no added deposit — after you make your first five on-time payments.

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuers Website
$0
Poor Credit

The Fingerhut Credit Account doesn’t require an employment check because it isn’t technically a credit card. Instead, you can use this revolving line of credit at Fingerhut, or at any of its digital retail partners, to purchase name-brand merchandise at discount prices. Fingerhut reports all of your payment activity to the three major credit reporting bureaus, which can help you build, or rebuild, your credit rating with responsible use.

Total Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Program Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Fair, Bad Credit

The all-new Total Visa® Card starts with a $300 credit limit, but you can increase your limit with responsible use and on-time payments. New cardholders pay a one-time program fee, and an annual fee, charged to their account upon card activation. These fees will take away from your initial available balance until you pay them off.

Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.9/5.0
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Protection from fraud if your card is stolen
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$35 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

Not only does the Milestone® Mastercard® not require an employment or income check, but the issuer’s pre-qualifying application can give you an indication of your approval chances without damaging your credit score. Since Milestone® offers five different credit cards, the application pairs qualified applicants with the card that best suits their needs and credit background.

Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.4

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pre-qualify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

The Indigo® Mastercard® doesn’t require an employment check, and, if approved, you won’t be on the hook for annual, membership, or security fees to open your account. New cardholders typically start with a $300 credit limit.

Best “No-Employment-Check” Cards for Students

Most students enter college in hopes of landing a high-paying job after graduation. But it’s hard to get through school without full-time employment or an available line of credit. Most student credit cards have strict requirements for applicants, including enrollment in a certain number of credit hours or classes.

Many issuers also require proof of income. If you’re a qualified student with no income, a co-signer could improve your chances of approval.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers rich rewards for qualified student applicants. These include 5% cash back on rotating categories up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. And Discover matches your total cash back earned on your one-year card anniversary. Keep in mind that student applicants who have no income will need a co-signer to qualify.

Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The Discover it® Student Chrome charges no annual fee, and cardholders can earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back — with Discover matching your earned cash back on your one-year anniversary. As is the case with its sister card, students with no income who are applying for a Discover it® Student Chrome card will need a co-signer to qualify.

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.2/5.0
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, to manage your account via text, receive alerts, and shop safer online
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.96% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

With the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, you can increase your cash back earnings with on-time payments. Not only does the card pay 1% cash back on each purchase made using the card, but it adds an extra 0.25% cash back for each on-time payment. Plus, you could earn a credit limit increase after you make your first five payments on time.

Best Secured “No-Employment-Check” Cards

If you’re working to rebuild your credit after making a few mistakes, you may have to turn to a secured credit card to get back on track. These cards typically require a refundable security deposit that matches your credit limit. Other than that, a secured card works exactly like its unsecured brethren.

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

Qualified Capital One® Secured Mastercard® applicants may not need to place a full deposit to match their new credit limit. That’s because all new Capital One® Secured Mastercard® cards start with a $200 limit. But, depending on your credit history, Capital One may cap your deposit at $49, $99, or $200. You might also earn a credit limit increase after making your first five payments on time — and that increase won’t require an additional deposit.

Discover it® Secured Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% for 6 months
24.99% Variable
$0
New/Rebuilding

The Discover it® Secured card is a rare secured card offering that provides cash back opportunities. Cardholders can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover also checks your account after eight months to see if you qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured card. This card requires a minimum refundable security deposit of $200, with the amount of your deposit determining your credit limit.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review

at Capital Bank'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

2.9/5.0
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.64% (variable)
$35
No credit check

Not only does the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card not require an employment check, but it’s one of the rare secured cards that doesn’t even require a credit check. OpenSky® will set your credit limit equal to your refundable deposit, with a minimum deposit of $200 and a competitive interest rate and annual fee.

Best Prepaid “No-Employment-Check” Cards

Prepaid cards operate on credit card networks, but not every card includes a line of credit. Depending on your credit history, a lender might limit you to a debit card that allows you to make direct deposits of your paycheck or other source of income.

Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
No credit check

The Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card has two cardholder plan types: monthly and pay-as-you-go. With a pay-as-you-go plan, you pay $1 for each signature transaction and $2 for each PIN transaction. The monthly plan charges a varying fee that covers all of your transactions. The card charges no fees for direct deposits.

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

3.6/5.0
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Up-to $9.95 monthly
No Credit Check

The Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card offers two different monthly plans, neither of which include fees for PIN and signature transactions. If you choose the pay-as-you-go plan, you’ll incur a $2 fee for each PIN transaction.

Brink

at Netspend'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • Brink’s gives you the peace of mind you deserve. Securing cash and valuables since 1859.
  • With Brink’s Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • Subject to card activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply. Issued by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. Click for full details.
  • See additional Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® Details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
No credit check

You won’t pay any monthly fees with a Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® pay-as-you-go plan, as long as you keep your account active. Instead, you’ll pay a flat $1 fee for each signature transaction and $2 per PIN transaction.

Can You Apply for a Credit Card if You are Unemployed?

There’s no set rule saying that you must have employment to apply for a credit card — but a job will certainly help your chances of getting approved. The only things credit card issuers truly require on an application are a legal name, address, Social Security number, phone number, and date of birth.

Almost every application will ask your employment status and total income. While lenders will heavily weigh their decision on your answers to those two questions, they aren’t the only factors taken into consideration.

Many people who don’t have traditional employment still have the credit history and positive income to warrant credit approval. Take, for example, a retiree who wants to apply for a credit card.

Students Taking a Test

Many students need access to credit during college, but they don’t always have time to work while in school.

You may also be a student, a freelancer, an independent contractor, or self-employed — which most banks don’t consider traditional employment, but can still yield an income.

As long as you can provide the personal identification questions, you can submit an application for credit. But keep in mind that multiple applications can damage your credit score.

That’s because every time you apply for credit, the lender submits an inquiry to one, or all three of the major credit reporting bureaus to view your credit history. Most credit scoring agencies allow around three inquiries on your credit report for every two-year period.

Your credit score can take a hit once you go beyond that number. Excessive applications tell a lender that you may be currently over your head with debt and need credit to stay afloat. That may make you look like a high risk and make it less likely that they’ll accept your application.

But showing active employment and gainful income goes a long way to prove to the lender that you can honor your debts and pay your bills on time.

Can you Get Approved for a Credit Card with No Income?

The answer to this question depends solely on the type of credit card you apply for — a secured or unsecured credit card.

A secured credit card often requires a refundable deposit that secures your account against default and determines your credit limit. For example, an issuer may require you to pay a $500 deposit to receive a credit card with a $500 limit.

Some secured credit cards still require income verification for approval. But since your account contains the security deposit, several card options won’t require income, employment, or even a credit check.

Unsecured credit cards, on the other hand, don’t require a deposit. But banks that extend this type of credit often want proof that you can repay your debt. That means proof of income — either from employment, a retirement account, investment, or other traceable source.

You may find exceptions to this rule if you include a co-signer on your application. A co-signer acts as a guarantor to your account should you default on your payments. Lenders typically require that your co-signer have an established credit history and proof of income.

Chart of Issuers Allowing CosignersWhile this path could net you an approval, it doesn’t come without great responsibility. If you miss a payment, or default on your loan, you and your co-signer take the credit score hit, and your co-signer could be on the hook to pay the debt for you. That can quickly ruin a relationship, a family bond, or friendship.

Another option is to become an authorized user on an existing credit card. When this happens, a friend or family member with a credit card adds your name to the account, and the lender issues a card in your name that draws from the original credit line.

When you use a credit card as an authorized user, you’re tapping into the main user’s available credit, and the main user retains responsibility for any debt you incur. Not paying the bill makes the main cardholder responsible for your charges. Like co-signing, that can have bad consequences.

Finally, if you’re married, and 21 years or older, some credit card issuers allow you to use your spouse’s income on your application. This becomes tricky if your spouse already has credit cards issued in his or her name that depend on that income.

What is the Easiest Credit Card to Get Approved For?

Credit card issuers have worked for years to make it easy to apply for credit. Most online applications take less than five minutes to complete and credit decisions often take less than a minute to receive.

But while applying may come easy, approval is a whole different ball game.

Your acceptance will likely depend on a mix of your income, credit history, and current debt. If you can meet the requirements on all three, you’ll likely find multiple issuers that will easily approve you. If you have one or more issues with those three, the options become limited.

If that’s the case, you’re best to start with a secured credit card. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card has one of the highest approval rates because the card doesn’t require an income or employment check and doesn’t even ask for a credit check.

Like most secured credit cards, you’ll still have to submit a refundable security deposit to get your card.

If a deposit is out of the question, the Fingerhut Credit Account may be for you. This credit line technically isn’t a credit card, since you can only use it at Fingerhut and its digital partners. But approval will get you access to a line of credit that you can use to purchase goods at the online retailer.

Both secured credit cards and credit accounts can still help to improve your credit score if you make your payments on time. That’s because both types of accounts report your payment history to the three main credit reporting bureaus each month.

On the flip side, missing a payment or defaulting on your debt can result in the loss of your deposit and a big hit to your credit score.

Using Credit Isn’t Advised If You Have No Income

They say that money makes the world go ‘round — but it also makes paying your bills a whole lot easier. That’s why it’s important that you never take out a loan or open a credit card account that you know you cannot pay back.

A single payment that’s 30 or more days late can cause your credit score to drop by more than 100 points, which seriously hurts your chances of getting credit approvals in the future.

Even if you can make the minimum payment, over-extending your available credit can lead to a vicious cycle that results in constant interest charges and years of unnecessary payments.

If your income isn’t what you’d like it to be, but you still want to rebuild your credit score, consider a secured credit card that can pull your credit rating out of the doldrums and have you ready for an upgraded card when your income and credit score improve.