With more and more Americans using financial apps to conduct their transactions, many are deciding not to open savings or checking accounts. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to get a credit card without a bank account. If you don’t have a bank account, how are you going to make your monthly payments?
You’ll need to do more than a little research to find credit card issuers that don’t require a checking or savings account before you find one, and you’ll need to be careful you don’t allow hard pulls of your credit score while you’re searching.
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Why They Want Bank Accounts
When you open a credit card account, you’ll need to make monthly payments if you make charges and have a balance any month. Most people link a bank account to their credit card account so the credit card issuer can draft payments.
You might be able to pay your credit card statement amounts using other means, such as with cash or using a payment app like PayPal, Zelle, CashApp or Venmo.
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Pull Your Three Credit Reports
Before you start looking for credit cards, make sure your credit history is in the best shape possible and your score is as high as it can be. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com and get copies of your three credit reports. These are created and maintained by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can get your reports free once each year. Once you fill out the online questions, you can download your reports.
Review your reports to make sure everything on them is accurate. If you find any inaccuracies, get them corrected immediately. Visit the website of the credit agency that has a mistake on your report and follow the directions for disputing or correcting information.
Read More: How Much Does It Cost to Open a Bank Account?
How to Research Credit Cards
If you don’t have a bank account, go online and start searching for credit cards. Add the words “no bank account required” to your search for credit cards to see if that pulls up any more specific results. The best credit card types, in terms of low interest rates, no fees and special offers, usually require a high credit score and a bank account.
If you find cards that you feel you might qualify for based on your credit history and score, call the company – don’t apply online. When you apply for a credit card, the card issuer will pull your credit history (with your permission). Each time someone pulls your credit report, your score can decrease.
When you call a card issuer, ask them if they issue credit cards to people who don’t have bank accounts. That might end your phone call right there. If not, continue to ask what cards they have, what rates they offer, what the fees are and if the agent knows what credit score you typically need to get a card. Be aware that cards that don’t require a bank account usually charge higher interest rates and fees and offer lower credit lines to get you started.
If you are having trouble getting a credit card because you don’t have a bank account, you can try to get a secured payment card.
Make Your Application
Once you’ve found credit card issuers that will offer a card to you without a bank account, follow the application process. You can have a live agent take your information over the phone or apply online. You’ll need to provide information such as your full name, Social Security number, date of birth and current street address.
In some cases, you’ll be notified immediately whether or not you have qualified for the card. If you are rejected, you will receive a letter within 10 business days telling you which credit reporting agency the bank used to review your credit history and score, and what the reasons were for your rejection.
You can go into a bank and talk to a customer service agent about applying for a credit card without a bank account. These agents often have more experience than phone agents and can give you more tips or let you know whether or not you’re likely to get approved. They can also help you set up a checking or savings account in a matter of minutes, usually with an initial deposit of $100 or less.
Look for Secured Cards
If you are having trouble getting a credit card because you don’t have a bank account, you can try to get a secured payment card. These aren’t actually credit cards because the issuer doesn’t lend you any credit. You will deposit a certain number of dollars into your new account and you can use your card to make purchases up to a certain amount.
These cards can help you build credit and improve your score, which might be the one issue that is keeping you from getting a credit card without a bank account.
Steve Milano has written more than 1,000 pieces of personal finance and frugal living articles for dozens of websites, including Motley Fool, Zacks, Bankrate, Quickbooks, SmartyCents, Knew Money, Don't Waste Your Money and Credit Card Ideas, as well as his own websites.