Credit Cards for Unemployed People

Credit cards are difficult to get if you're unemployed.
Credit cards are difficult to get if you're unemployed. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If you have a credit card when you lose a job, do all you can to keep it. Getting a new credit card is difficult when you are unemployed. In fact, with revised credit laws in 2010, getting a card without verifiable income is even more difficult than it was in the past. While some people can get credit cards, the ideal solution is to avoid credit card debt while unemployed.

Secure Cards

Secured cards are often the only choice of credit cards for unemployed people. Secured cards allow people to build up their credit by making a deposit of cash in a bank. They then get a credit card with a credit limit equal to the amount of money they deposited in the bank. Although this may seem somewhat senseless, it is a way to build your credit rating while minimizing the risk to the bank or credit card company.


Retirees are technically unemployed, but often qualify for credit cards. This depends, of course, on their retirement income, credit rating and other considerations -- the same considerations that credit card companies consider before people retire.


For better or worse, students who are unemployed can often get credit cards. Many credit card companies do not consider student loans when they determine a student's eligibility for a credit card, since students do not have to repay their loans while in school. Some student credit cards require an employed co-signer, but many do not. Use care if you get a student credit card, since it is easy to get into financial trouble if you use it. However, if you are close to graduation and have never owned a credit card, getting one student card might be a good idea. Use it once a month to pay one small expense, such as your cell phone bill, then quickly pay off the credit card. This will help build your credit rating; getting a credit card after you graduate could be much more difficult.

Free Credit Report

Each person in the United States is allowed one free credit report each year at the website annualcreditreport. Unemployed people are also allowed an additional free credit report, if they plan to look for a job within the next 60 days. Getting a credit report can be a valuable exercise, especially if you are applying for a credit card.

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