If you’ve had any trouble with debt in the past, then perhaps you may have decided to go with a secured credit card instead. A secured credit card is one where users put down a deposit to be held as collateral.
While this is can certainly be a good type of credit card to build credit, it does come with some limitations. For starters, there’s the upfront cash deposit. On top of that, the credit limit is generally lower and the fees can be higher.
If you’ve been working diligently to rebuild your credit and your FICO Score has increased, then perhaps it’s time to move on to a regular, unsecured credit card.
To switch your credit card from secured to unsecured, your credit score will probably need to be in the “Good” range. Good credit can be when your FICO Score is between 670 to 739. Generally, when you reach this range, you might be able to qualify for most mainstream credit cards from the major lenders.
There are several ways you can find out your FICO Score for free. Depending on the issuer of your credit card, they may offer you the ability to check it through their app or online dashboard.
Another way is to sign up for a free account with Experian. Experian is one of the three major credit history reporting bureaus, and by signing up for their free credit monitoring service, they will share your FICO Score as well as tips on how to improve your score.
Finally, you can also check your VantageScore. VantageScore is a competitor of FICO and offers consumers a very similar assessment of their creditworthiness. Your VantageScore will not be the same number as your FICO Score, but it will definitely give you an idea of how well you’re doing.
A great place to start is with the current provider of your unsecured card. Sometimes because you’ve already proven yourself to this lender, you might have an easier time upgrading.
Of course, you’re always free to go out and browse other credit card offers. There are dozens of reputable credit card curation sites that list all the most up-to-date offers.
Be sure to filter them for “Good Credit” so that you’ll know which ones you’ll be most likely to have success with. You can also check the boxes for other preferences like avoiding annual fees, zero percent introductory rates, or the ability to earn rewards points.
If you do get a new credit card, then congratulations! However, don’t cancel your secured credit card just yet. You can still use your secured credit card to possibly build credit. Keeping credit lines open can be better for your score than closing them, as your credit score includes the average age of your accounts. If there are no fees associated with your old card, then give it a little time.
If you don’t get accepted, then don’t give up! Rebuilding your credit history takes time. Be patient, keep at it, and before long you’ll apply again with success.