You don't need a bank account to apply for an unsecured credit card, and finding unsecured cards is relatively easy. Another type of credit card—a secured card—requires you to maintain a savings account with a bank. Unsecured cards don't have that requirement.
Get your credit reports. Finding the unsecured cards won't require much effort, but approval will be difficult if there are lots of red flags on your credit reports. You can see what's on your reports by requesting free copies at the website Annual Credit Report. The three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax—developed the site to issue free reports. Federal law entitles you to one free report every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. Visit the website or call 877-322-8228 to get your free reports.
Study your credit reports for accounts that may be reporting your payments as past due. Also check for mistakes on your reports, such as an account showing as delinquent although you know it is current. Make the payments necessary to bring past-due accounts current, and contact the credit bureaus to dispute inaccuracies. Write to the credit bureaus at the addresses provided on the credit reports or visit their websites to file an online dispute. Bringing your accounts current and correcting any errors could lift your credit scores and increase your chances for card approval.
Ask at your bank or credit union about unsecured cards. The bankers will be happy to show you several card applications even though you don't have a bank account. You can also expect the bank to encourage you to open a savings, checking or money-market account. You can decline and focus on getting an unsecured credit card without a bank account. In addition to checking at your bank or credit union you can compare credit cards online at some financial websites as well as at bank and credit union websites.
Apply for your unsecured credit card online or by sending in an application.