The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, July 3, 2020

14 Best Credit Cards with No Employment Check in 2020

14 Best Credit Cards with No Employment Check in 2020

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: May 18, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

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 U.K. 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. Let’s jump right in as we explore no-employment-check cards for bad credit, student cards, secured cards, prepaid cards, and answer some commonly asked questions around the topic.

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.

1

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

This card is currently not available.

Bad Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

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

★★★★
4.3

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 like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
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
  • $300 credit limit (subject to 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.

6

Discover it® Student Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Student Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers rich cash back rewards for qualified student applicants. Keep in mind that student applicants who have no income will need a co-signer to qualify.

7

Discover it® Student chrome

This card is currently not available.

Student Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Student Chrome is another card from Discover that offers cash back for students, but this one has a simpler rewards structure that doesn’t require quarterly activation. 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.

8

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

This card is currently not available.

Student Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

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.

9

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

This card is currently not available.

Secured Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

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.

10

Discover it® Secured

This card is currently not available.

Secured Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Secured card is a rare secured card offering that provides cash back opportunities. Discover also checks your account after an introductory period to see if you qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured card. This card requires a minimum refundable security deposit to open the account, 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
17.39% (variable)
$35
Poor

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.

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.
  • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your 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).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. Click "Get My Card" for full details.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
Not applicable

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.
  • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your 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).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. Click "Get My Card " for full details.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Up-to $9.95 monthly
Not applicable

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.

14

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard

This card is currently not available.

Prepaid Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

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 for 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 a 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 another traceable source.

You may find exceptions to this rule if you include a cosigner 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 Cosigners

While 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 cosigning, 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.

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