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In response to an article about free and low cost prepaid cards, a reader asked about building credit with a prepaid credit card: “Is using a Prepaid Credit Card a way to build a credit history for someone who doesn’t have one?”

This is a great question, and underscores how confusing the different types of credit and debit cards can be. The short answer is that prepaid debit cards cannot help you build your credit history. And no prepaid card helps build your FICO® score. We’ll sort through all the different types of credit, debit and prepaid cards, and how each generally can affect your credit score and credit history. But first, let’s take a look at some of the best credit cards (not prepaid) that can help you build credit.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is designed for those looking to rebuild their credit. Capital One reports your payments to each of the 3 major credit agencies. In addition, Capital One gives you free access to your credit score and tools to help you manage and track your progress.

There is a $0 annual fee to own the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

Prepaid Cards that Build Credit

Let’s start by reviewing the types of credit and debit cards:

Credit Cards: Credit cards like Chase, or Citi represent a loan each time you use your card. Because you are borrowing money, your account is reported to the major credit bureaus. As a result, using a credit card will impact your credit score.

Debit Cards: Debit cards are issued by banks and generally are tied to a checking account. While debit cards today look like credit cards, including the Visa or MasterCard brand, they are more akin to writing a check. When you use a debit card, the cost of the transaction is taken out of your checking account. As a result, debit cards do not help you build credit.

Prepaid Cards: Prepaid cards are very similar to debit cards, except that they are not linked to a bank checking account. Instead, you transfer money to the card (via direct deposit, online, at certain stores, etc.) and then can use the card anywhere that accepts Visa or MasterCard. While these cards are sometimes referred to as prepaid credit cards or prepaid debit cards, they are really just prepaid cards. Because you can only spend the money you have already added to the card, prepaid cards do not represent a loan like a credit card. As a result, prepaid cards generally do not help you build your credit.

Related: Why are Millennials Using Prepaid Credit Cards?

Are Prepaid Cards a Good Way to Build Credit

While you can monitor your credit with some prepaid cards, as noted above, you won’t be affecting your FICO credit score by using a prepaid card. Low cost prepaid cards are a safe, convenient way to manage money for those that want to avoid credit and are unable to qualify for a checking account (usually because of Chexsystems). But don’t count on an increase in your credit score from a prepaid card.

There are other alternatives. For example, you may be able to qualify for a store credit card (e.g., Sears or Home Depot). By making a few purchases each month for items you’d buy anyway and paying off the balance in full each month, you’d build your credit at no cost. Of course, the risk with credit is that you’ll spend more than you should and find yourself in debt at double-digit interest rates. But if you can manage the credit well, you can build a credit history and improve your credit score at no cost.


Apply Now
Self is a unique company that offers to help you build your credit score.  Instead of applying for a credit card which has high fees or a high interest rate, Self has created a way for you to increase your credit score through a self funded loan.

After you’ve applied for your loan and selected a payment option, you’ll be on the path to building your credit. If you already have a lot of high interest credit card debt hurting your credit score, you can lower your utilization rate by paying it off using a 0% APR balance transfer credit card. This could save you hundreds and increase your credit score, too.

Once you’ve completed your payments, the entire principal is returned to you minus the interest rate.

Related: Self Review

For example, if you take out a $525 loan on repayment terms of 2 years; the interest rate is 13.16%.  This means that over the two year period you pay your loan back, you’ll pay back a total of $609; $525 in principal and $84 in interest.

  • Initial loan activation fee of $9, $12 or $15
  • No repayment penalty.  Pay your loan off at any time.
  • Four different loan options ($525, $545, $1,000, $1,700)
  • All funds are FDIC insured.

Quick Links: Here is one of our favorite cards that can help you build credit:

Related: If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your score, sign up for Experian Boost™. This service is free and can see when you make your monthly payments like your utility bill and cell phone bill on time. When you do, your credit score will get a boost.
Learn More: Read our Experian Boost Review

If you’ve used a prepaid card to build credit, please leave a comment and let us know how it worked out for you.

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1082
Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Article comments

paul says:

have you heard of the new millennium bank secured platium prepaid credit card which reports to all three major credit bureaus.they offer free accident insurance of $150,000 and free auto rental insurance too.however the cost of this card is rather high. ongoing apr 19.50%. a setup fee of $99.95 and an annual fee of $59.00. do you think this is worth the money?

DR says:

Paul, I am familiar with the card, but I’ve never used the card. As you point out, the card is expensive, so I would first look for less expensive ways to build your credit (e.g., car loan, regular credit card, store credit card, etc.). But the New Millennium card does stated that it will report your payment history to all three major credit bureaus, so you will build credit with the card.

Kim says:

What abut the Rush Card (Russel Simmons pre-paid debit card) or the Wal-Mart pre-paid debit card? Both are low cost pre-paid debit cards and boast of being able to help you build credit. Do you know if tihs is true?

DR says:

Kim, I am familiar with both cards. Neither card, however, builds your credit. Furthermore, the Rush card is very expensive. The Wal-mart card is a good low cost option.

Melanie says:

Hi Kim and DR,

The Rush card does report to participating consumer credit reporting agencies, but unfortunately, that does not make much of a difference when applying for a credit card or a loan because, generally, lenders will only look at reports and scores from the three major credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian). The Rush card uses claims that they can help you build credit in order to get more people to sign up for the card and pay their fees. In my opinion reporting the fact that the Rush card reports to a credit bureau that no one cares about gets you no where. On top of that, there are a lot of prepaid cards with lower fees such as the one offered by the non-profit Community Financial Resources.

Dorothy Perkins says:

Need to build credit will rush card help

Rob Berger says:

No. Using Rushcard or other prepaid cards will not build credit.

Ellen Baldwin says:

I WANT TO GET A$200. ADVANCE ON MY CARD TILL Friday Oct.2 ,09. thank you Ellen

DR says:

Ellen, to get a cash advance on your card, you need to contact your credit card company. The phone number will be on the back of your credit card.

Leah says:

LOL…alrighty then!

Angel says:

What do you think of the RushCard as a good prepaid credit card to establish credit? I was looking into it because I want to begin to establish credit, I am young and want to begin this process. Rush reports to agencies like PRBC.

Rob Berger says:

Angel, unfortunately the PRBC won’t help much in building your credit. The options listed at the start of the article above, however, will build credit.

Byron Roberson says:

This is from the Rushcard website.

RushPath to Credit will not help your current credit rating, record, or history with credit agencies that currently do not accept RushCard transaction history as part of their credit rating system.

DR says:

Byron, thanks for the info. Rush Card is a popular prepaid card, but not one used for building credit.

didi says:

i am looking for a way to build my credit cos i don’t have any credit history at all and I was considering going for the rushcard. Did you say rush card cannot help me?

DR says:

didi, the RushCard is a very popular prepaid card, but it won’t help build your credit. In general, prepaid cards won’t help build your credit.

Jerrica says:

I believe the above information is incorrect. There is more than one rush card and some of them do report to all 3 credit bureaus. In addition there are alot of fees with the other prepaid credit cards that were spoken about. When looking for a prepaid credit card look for one with no transactions fees a annual fee of about 30 dollars is reasonable if it does not have any monthly fees.

Teresa says:

I use the Netspend prepaid card (Metabank). Netspend offered the Iadvance loan product which I have used several times. I started using it because it states clearly on the website (Iadvance site) that they report to the 3 credit bureaus. After 8 months of using the loans more than a few times nothing has shown up on any of my 3 reports. I called Iadvance in Dec 2009 and they told me they currently do not report to the credit bureaus. This is the whole reason I started using the Iadvance line, in order to help my credit score even in this small way. How can they say the report when they don’t?

DR says:

Teresa, I’m not familiar with Netspend, but if they represent that they report to the credit bureaus, they should do it! I’d continue to pursue it.

meghan says:

I am curious and looking around to getting a pre-paid debit card to help build my credit and also to not have to worry about nasty bank fees and overdraft charges. But I am also looking for one to where you don’t have to pay anything. Any ideas anyone?

DR says:

meghan, you can’t really build credit with a prepaid card because you aren’t borrowing money with that type of card. As for low costs, you can find a list of low cost prepaid cards here. There really aren’t cards that charge literally nothing, although you can keep the cost pretty low.

KW says:

There is so much information out there, I just had to submit a comment. I have been in the mortgage and credit industry for ten years. There are only two cards that have proven results. I have over a fifty clients to prove it. We use the Eufora Credit Builder which reports to two agencies and the Orchard Credit Builder card. After 90-120 days my clients are seeing anywhere from 60-100 points higher. After one year (with no collections hitting and good payment history) they are seeing a 100 plus raise. We don’t go backwards we look forward. We try to start educating people on balance control and maximizing their scores. You have to have a little discipline to better your scores. It takes a little patience, but the rewards are great.

mike says:

are these prepaid cards also can you put the links

ryan says:

I had applied an UltraVX Prepaid Visa Card. Is this card can build credit? Because i delinquent few years ago. My bad record still in the system….my credit level is unfair.

ryan says:

What about Centennial Secured Card. it helps me build credit?

Kris says:

Yes. I used to have it. Bad sides are: 1) 50$ pay every year to have a credit card; 2) Additional $3-4 fees to use online payment; 3) no notification (it is all up to you not to forget pay). In order to build credit fast I spent no more than 15-30% of my credit limit a month. Once I did purchase for $4!!! I forgot about it. 3-4 month later they notified me that my account will be closed because of no payment received! I paid off my $4 and fees and closed my account. For 50$ per year I expected better service of notification.

Tom says:

There is a significant misperception that is allowed to hang out there over prepaid cards and their ability to “build credit scores” through reporting of payments to any alternative bureau other than the three major bureaus. Today, there are none that do it, but they are coming. For a more comprehensive understanding of how it really works, check out the three-part “Debunking Myths of Building Credit with Debit Cards”.

rita says:

Thank you so much for all this information I was miss lead into thinking this was the way to go. So I’m grateful that you gave me the truth about the prepaid cards.

teresa says:

Update to Netspend / Iadvance / Meta Bank. Meta Bank is now reporting the Iadvance loans via Meta Bank. They showed up on my CR’s today. They did make it retro active as of 1/2009 when I began using them. However the trade lane did drop by FICO my 11 points but I assume it will go back up within a month or so. Warning…use only 7% of your available credit limit if you are waiting to use as a credit builder otherwise you will max our your utlization and your score could plumment 😉

Dawn says:

I got a pre-paid card through my bank and it reports to all three bureaus. After having it for a period of time, you can request that they transition it into a non pre-paid card. If you pay on time, and pay more than the monthly minimum due.

Essie says:

Student Loans through Sallie Mae. I took out a loan (for $2100.00)because they don’t check your credit so, it’s an immediate approval. I checked my credit report 6 months later…Voila!…Sallie Mae was reporting a current loan in good standing since the first day I was approved (because the payments are deferred) and my credit score jumped from a 645 to a 714. I got my first store credit card (Walmart) after paying off all my debt five years ago. It’s a start. Plus, you don’t have to start paying off the low interest loan until you leave school for six months. You get an education at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!! Good Luck!!

Ryan hickman says:

The reason your credit score jumped from the student loan was because the loan was in deferment with an I1 rating.

There are two types of ways things are rated. I1-9 and R1-9. I stands for installment and R stands for recurring (open). 1 is good 9 is bad or charged off. 1 represents you are doing as you agreed when you closed the loan regarding the terms.

memose says:

To help increase my credit score, I have used Applied Bank prepaid card for 2 years. I was not happy with their services at all and would not recommend them. Not only do they not report to all mayor credit agencies, they also charge a $ 50.00 annual fee (so you can use your own money!!). They are also hard to reach and no toll free number. Basically just an other greedy business taking advantage of the less fortunate.

derek says:

i have 2 card writen of as bad debt. how can i slowly rebuild my credit if i can’t get loans or a credit card?????????????????????

Ben says:

Prepaid card seem to be more like checking account debit cards without the checking account.

For building credit there are good “starter credit cards” out there that are extremely easy to qualify for.

Bailey says:

I’m only 18 and I need to start building credit as soon as possible. I don’t have any type of credit history at all. From what I’ve read prepaid cards do not help, so that is out of the question. I’ve heard of secure credit cards but I don’t think that’s the best way to go for me. I’m also not in college or going any time soon and I am scared to apply for any “starter” cards because I have heard that applying also drops your score?

Kay says:

I have terrible credit and need to try and start rebuilding it. I was told about using a pre-paid credit or debit card. Which is my best option?

DR says:

Kay, I think your best option is the Orchard bank credit card. It is ideal for those with bad credit. If that fails, I’d suggest a secured credit card. You can check out our list of the better secured credit cards here. Prepaid cards can help build credit, but the Orchard card or a secured credit card will help build a FICO score.

pennie says:

what can i do to build my credit if
1. i cannot get a “real bank accoutn” due to chex system
2. i got denied for orchard bank secured credit card
3. i currently do now own any credit cards

It seems impossible at this point to raise my credit score, ive tried numerous things, and i keep gettin rejected.

is there anything i can do to raise my fico score?

Vernelle says:

pennie, i went through the something with chex system , and been denied, but how did u made it out. please help!?

Connie says:

After 3-4 years the chex system goes away. Do a google search for the chex system and you can check to see if you are still in the database. Once you are out go to a different bank and open a account. That’s what I did!

Amber Hicks says:

I’m 20-years young and im a college student, I have no credit whatsoever. I have tried applying for many different credit cards, even store credit cards such as wal-mart, kohls, and a few others. Everytime I apply they deny me. Is there a way I can recieve a credit card to help establish credit without having to pay( I dont know what its called, but they wont a minimum payment of $200 before they give you a card) a set-up fee or deposit???? Please help! I cant even purchase a car because I dont have credit! I’m tired of being denied. What should I do??? I need a credit card to establish credit!

DR says:

Amber, the type of card you are describing is called a Secured Credit Card. These types of cards are perfect for folks with no credit or damaged credit.

Sasha says:

I’m currently in college with about $15,000 in student loans. During my freshman year of college (about 5 years ago) I acquired two credit cards, 1 with BoA and 1 with CapOne. After a few poor decisions they both went to collections. I reached settlements with both of them and will be sending my last payment in on tomorrow. There is also a phone bill that went to collections on my credit report, but this bill was created in it’s majority by someone whom I can no longer reach. Is there anything I can do to build my credit back up?Also, will sending in my satisfaction letters to the credit bureau help at all?

DR says:

Sasha, first congratulations for getting these debts paid off! Your payments should be reflected in you credit report. And when you’ve paid them off, your report should reflect a zero balance. So the first thing I’d do is grab a copy of your credit report and make sure its 100% accurate.

In terms of building credit, I’d suggest a secured credit card in your case.

Sasha says:

I actually spoke with a rep from BoA online last week and asked about a secured card. He suggested that I apply for the regular card. I informed him that I would be declined and I continued to ask about their secured card. After about 10 minutes of going back and forth about it, I was finally convinced to apply for the regular credit card. Denied. I told him what happened and he said I was in review for a secured card. I got a letter in the mail the other day about why I was denied, nothing about a secured card. Also, I applied for an Orchard Bank card and was denied.I spoke with a rep from OB and she said I had applied for the regular card, so she put my information in for the secured card and I paid the $19 processing fee by phone. I’m suppose to call back 14 days after the application date. Not really holding my breath on that one. Is there a prepaid credit card that would help get my credit score going in the right direction?

DR says:

Sasha, a secured card is the best approach, so let’s hope that works for you through Orchard Bank. Prepaid cards can report certain payments to a credit agency, but not the ones that calculator your FICO score. If a secured card doesn’t work out for you, you might try a gas or store credit card.

Sasha says:

Okay, is there a credit score requirement for a gas card? Also, I’ve tried store cards, Belk ( as I work there) and Old Navy but was denied because of past delinquencies. Do you think that this was because I haven’t sent those satisfaction letters in to the credit bureau for those collections? Will sending the letters in grant me a better chance of obtaining a department store card?

Sasha says:

I’m happy to say that I did get approved for my Orchard Bank card last week and received it in the mail on yesterday. Hopefully, this’ll help me get my credit back on track. Thanks Dough Roller.

DR says:

Sasha, that’s great news. Congrats!

Vivi says:

I would like to know how many lines of credit do i need on my credit report as active/open? I would like to rebuild credit and im currently applying for credit or loans,I currently made a purchase from a furniture store & another is from Orchard Secured Credit Card and I would like to open 1 more…i dont want to open many accounts… then that would end up hurting my credit…or would it? my purpose for this is to get past 620 credit score to purchase a house. I have 1 repo and 2 medical bills and another wireless collection acct. I have disputed and gotten deleted a total of 5 collection accounts I had…so hopefully im on the right track…any advice???

DR says:

Vivi, congrats on the progress you’ve made so far. Based on the information you’ve provided, the top priority should be taking care of the outstanding bills. Get them resolved will be the best thing you can do for your credit. As for the number of credit lines, keep a couple of things in mind. First, getting new credit can lower your credit score in the short term because of the hard inquiries. In the long run, however, it may improve your score if it eventually increases the amount of available credit. But at this point, I wouldn’t get more credit simply to improve your credit score. Using your Orchard card and paying it on time, along with cleaning up the items on your credit file, should move you in the right direction.

Eric says:

I have a Bankamericard through Bank of America. It is their pre-paid card option. I have bad credit and am trying to rebuild/fix my credit. I was able to get a car loan for a new car last summer and have made all my payments on time and pay more than the minimum amount each month. I have used my prepaid credit card every month for daily living expenses and always pay it off (refresh the money held) in full every month. When I got the card they indicated it would help me build my credit and it does appear that it shows up on my credit report each month, but I was wondering how significant this is? I’ve had it for a year now and I haven’t seen any change in my credit rating. In order to wipeout my past debt I did a lot of settlements to get them done and taken care of. I believe that these settlements, which occurred over a year ago, continue to hurt my credit, but I’m wondering how far into the future they will continue to do so? I am responsible and make all my payments these days, but I can’t even get the most basic of non-prepaid credit cards. Any suggestions?

DR says:

Eric, as the article above indicates, a prepaid card can help build credit with the PRBC. While the PRBC is a nationally recognized credit reporting agency, it will not help you build your FICO score. I recently published a more detailed description of prepaid cards and credit–Do Prepaid Cards Help You Establish Credit? – The Dough Roller–which you may want to check out. Your best bet is a card like the Orchard Bank credit card (see above) that is designed for folks with no, limited, or even poor credit. It does report to the three major credit bureaus and can help your FICO score.

Best of luck!

ted says:

Don’t listen to this DR guy about the BOA secured card not showing on ur credit. they do. When u call into the secured card department u r actually calling the credit department.
I have seen people who come from other countries who get one and pay in full each month who have over a 700 in less than a year. The prob is the settlements u did because they stay on ur report for 7 years.
Just be patient and when they do the annual review they will see if u qualify for a non-secured card (regular credit card). If that has come and gone go to this site. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp This is the only place u can really get a full credit report for free once a year. Look on there to see if there is anything else besides those settlements bringing u down.

DR says:

Ted, not sure what you are talking about. Of course secured credit cards report to the credit bureaus. That’s why I’ve listed the Orchard Bank credit card on this page. In fact, secured cards are the best way to build your credit if you have no credit or bad credit to begin with.

DH says:

Hi- just did a little checking into AccountNow- the fees are just ridiculous! It seems straightforward until you pay attention to the added costs. It really may be better to start off with a store credit card at a commonly used retailer. maintain a small balance that is within your budget and pay it off in full every month, you will be surprised how they’ll want to raise your limits etc. Just know (and be honest about) your limitations!

Kristie says:

I would avoid AccountNow at all cost! They charge 10.00 a month and 2.50 each time you make an ATM withdrawal. They blocked my account with no notice because my card had been compromised, yet they couldn’t tell me how it had been compromised. I was told that they would send me a new card at no cost in 5-7 business days – that’s nice but how am I suppose to pay my bills, buy gas, buy food for myself and my child in those 5-7 business days w/no money? I could never reach a supervisor to see if I had any other options.

joshua says:

Hey everyone! I just activated my AccountNow and Vision prepaid cards today. I have a pretty good score but unfortunately have no positive accounts other than my student loans (which are in deferment), and because of this I have recently been turned down for a small auto loan. I am hoping that these cards will provide me with positive accounts to prove to the credit union I am applying through that I am a trust worthy buyer for them. I’m also hiring (as of tomorrow), a professional credit repair firm to assist me in removing the few discrepancies I do have on my reports. Hopefully in 3 months I will be back in the game and ready to drive home my new truck.

I also wanted to point out that after speaking with reps for the Vision prepaid card, I found that unlike AccountNow which requires you use their bill pay service to build credit, all you have to do is activate it and use it (for anything, anywhere) just 1 time and they start reporting to your credit within 30 days, and you don’t have to ever use it again, so long as you make your monthly payment for having the card ($10/month).

Beau says:

Josh what credit repair company are you hiring?

Willemena says:

Does the Amex prepaid card report to the bureaus, and can it be used as a credit-repair tool?

DR says:

The Amex card is an excellent, low fee prepaid card. But it doesn’t report to the credit agencies or help you build credit.

Phuong Nguyen says:

Hello, i just want to know if The Mango MasterCard® Prepaid Card reports to the credit bureaus, and can it be used as a credit builder tool? i am a student and i am trying to start building my credit. i do have a bank account.

DR says:

Phuong, the Mango card does not report to the credit bureaus and cannot be used to build credit. It’s a great, low cost prepaid card, but it won’t help with your credit.

Ashley says:

I am trying to get my credit on the right track. I can not get approved for anything, not even i secured credit card. I have the worst credit in the world. I have outstanding payday loans, failed bank accounts. I want to start over a do the right thing, but I am having a hard time. I have no problem paying money upfront for a secured credit but no bank will give me one. I do have a bank account that slipped up and approved me and I am doing well with that one. I just want some help. I am 25 and I cant get a retail credit card.

InfernalDisaster says:

“I am 25 and I cant get a retail credit card”

If the only reason you want to rebuild your credit is to get a retail card, then you have learned nothing. That comment says a lot about your intent, you’re just looking for new ways to borrow and increase your debt.

Rebuilding your credit means working to pay off what you already owe, not just trying to find a quick way to get a credit limit.

ted says:

Wow infernal ur stupid… she was just saying she couldn’t get one if she applied 😛
I work for a credit card company and u may have a hard time getting any credit card because of the payday loans and the failed bank accounts. Once u have those taken care of u can go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp This is the only place u can get a free credit report from all 3 companies. Its a timed site so just download the dif reports so u dont get booted once ur time runs out
When i look at peoples applications and it says u have past due accounts that means u have to pay them off before they will give a credit card. Now don’t do a settlement cause those stay on ur report for 7 years. Just work on paying those off and once they r gone u can get a secured card and start over. just pay in full and in one year u will be fine.
Don’t listen to this DR guy about the BOA secured card not showing on ur credit. they do. When u call into the secured card department u r actually calling the credit department.

Kristin says:

He never said that BOA secured card doesn’t report on your credit. He said that the pre-paid cards do not report, except to that one agency which isn’t one of the 3 major anyways, so it doesn’t matter.

Keegan says:

Hi, im 20 years old and have a full time job, making about $400 a week, and i cant get approved for loan because i have no credit, and i personally choose not to have a credit card because I believe they really can mess up a lot of lives. But in this day and age its almost unpractical to not have credit, and makes your life almost impossible. I do not have direct deposit unfortunently, so im not sure what card I should work on getting. What what you recommend?

DR says:

Keegan, I have two suggestions. First, since you have no credit now and are concerned about the risks of having a credit card, consider a secured credit card. You’ll certainly qualify, and the amount of your credit will be limited to the deposit you make on the card. The Orchard credit card listed above has a secured version. Second, you could always go with one of the prepaid cards listed here. They will help build certain types of credit for you, but unlike a secured or traditional card, they won’t improve your FICO score. Best of luck!

Janet says:

Do you know if the new AMEX Prepaid card will help rebuild credit?

Jessica says:

“DR August 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm The Amex card is an excellent, low fee doesn’t report to the credit agencies”

Julianne says:

I have bad credit that stems from my college years (2007) and what I did was pay them off and close my bad accounts. I understand now that was a very bad idea. I had been living and working out of the country and have not needed credit. However, now I am now back stateside and wanting to rebuild my credit. I have tried to apply for all types of card from and secured cards and have been turned down. I have control of my finances now, but still am having problems even starting to rebuild past problems. Any suggestions on where to start?

Jakes says:

I have the worlds worst credit. I owe 2s banks money. I owe past landlords money. I prettymuch had to beg my bank to let me open a bank account checking. Much much more. Is there any hoped for me. I have been turned down time after time for a cc. Idea really likw to starts building my credit back up. Solutions?

Rob Berger says:

Jakes, yes there is hope for you! The first step is to get control of your finances. I know that’s easier said then done, but set a monthly budget and work toward spending less than you make. In terms of credit cards, the one’s I listed above are designed specifically for people in your situation. Good luck!

Craig Rockfeller says:

Can we give a chargeback in prepaid debit card ??

Rob Berger says:

Craig, if by chargeback you mean a refund when you return something you’ve purchased, the answer is yes. So long as the store accepts the return, you should see a credit to your account of the amount of the refund.

Jd says:

Hey guys!

So I am 21 and not in school. I work full time, always paid my bills ontime. Never had.issues with money. But I have tried a cc countless times but I always get declined. I make enough monrey to pay all my bills but dont have much in savings. I was approved with applied bank (the only one that allows a 200$ secured card) but am worried about them not properly reporting too all 3 credit bureau. Does anyone have any info on applied bank amd how they are?

mopedted says:

could you tell me which one. Out of the capital one cards you think is better

Rob Berger says:

mopedted, in terms of building credit, there’s not much difference. However, the secured card requires you to make a cash deposit with Capital One, why they hold as security so long as you carry the card. For this reason, I’d opt for the Capital One® Standard Platinum Credit Card if it were me.

cris says:

do you know how to get discover credit card to report authorized users to all 3 credit bureaus?

Rob Berger says:

Cris, I believe that Discover does report to all three credit bureaus. If you just got your card, however, it can take one or two statement cycles before you’ll see the activity on your credit reports.



Tania says:

Hi there, just wondering how a credit card affects your credit score if you have to have someone co-sign??? I think a home depot card would be good for me but my score is too low to get approved on my own. My partner is open to co-signing but I on’y want to do this if it will help my score…otherwise I will continue to use the Visa, that I am a secondary holder on…thanks!

Rob Berger says:

Tania, that’s a great question. I believe that balances and payments on the card should be reported to the credit bureaus, even if there is more than one person on the card. I know that the credit cards my wife and I have jointly report to both of our credit reports.

Tania says:


Jacqueline says:


I recently filed bankruptcy last year, and because of this, I am extremely leery of pre-paid cards because I’m afraid they will add to my already terrible credit score. I would stay away from them altogether if it wasn’t for the fact that I have to buy supplies for my business online a lot. Paypal isn’t always accepted and I’m really struggling with making the purchases I need to make, without a credit card. I guess my question is, could you tell me of a good prepaid card that absolutely will not effect my credit score? Does Visa offer a card that will not effect my score? Thanks for your help.

Patricia Moore says:

Is bank offers a different type of prepaid card. It requires $300.00 to start it. It’s different because yes you have to put money in but that is your credit limit. If you put in the 300 and say you buy something for 200 you will get monthly bills for the 200. It is more like a regular credit card in that manner that you get to make minimum oayments and everything. If you dont make your payments for a couple of months they will take what you owe out of your initial deposit,close the account,and send you the remainder back. They also report to the credit bureau as well.

Percy Lowe says:

Hello Everyone,

I have been looking for a prepaid credit card like the Walmart Card. So, that when my clients come to me for credit education & restoration help. They can get a card like the walmart credit card and pay there Utilities with the card and get four trade lines report that could boost their score about 50 point a month. That be good for about 300 point if at 50 points. If I could get a 10 to 15 point increase will be great with my credit work and ways I know to raise a score 50 to 100 points that be huge in my credit system.

Mitchell Bennett says:

Hey does first progress secured credit company report to all 3 beureas?



shelby says:

I am 18 and I have zero credit. My mom told me that I could get a pre paid credit card to build my credit since I hate credit cards because they are a disaster waiting to happen. I want to know how I can build up my credit without getting a real credit card. Is there a way? If itsre paid card holder then please give me all the details of it and the name. Thank you.

Rob Berger says:

Shelby, first, you can’t build credit with a prepaid card. Second, there are some ways to build credit without a credit card. You can have your mom add you as an authorized user to one of her cards. Assuming she has good credit, this is an easy way to build credit, and you don’t have to use the card. Other types of loans will also build credit, such as school and car loans. Finally, you could get a secured credit card with a low limit. Secured cards require you to make a deposit with the credit card company. Your credit limit typically is equal to the amount of your deposit. By keeping your limit low (say a few hundred dollars), you eliminate the risk of going into significant credit card debt.

carra says:

Hi, i tried to retrieve a credit score from credit karma as well as free credit report…however both say that they cannot give me one because i have ‘a slim file’ . What is the best way for me to build credit when i have a havent been approved for a chase card? Thanks

Rob Berger says:

Carra, applying for a secured credit card is a good way to start. You do have to send in a deposit and your credit limit will be based on the amount of the deposit. But you should be able to qualify for the card and they do help you build credit. Best of luck.

traci says:

Does the Rush card report ANYTHING to the credit bureaus? Im just curious….it doesnt help your credit to have one so why would they report anything?

Rob Berger says:

Traci, it does not report to any credit bureaus.

Melissa says:

I was wondering if the paypal prepaid MasterCard reports to the credit bureaus to help build your credit

Rob Berger says:

Melissa, it does not. No prepaid card reports to the credit bureaus or helps you with your credit. For that you’d want a traditional credit card. If you are having trouble qualifying, try a secured credit card.

Connie says:

Paypal has a Mastercard credit line. My husband has one himself. It has nothing to do with his regular paypal account that he puts money into from his bank account and during checkout he chooses if he wants to use money from his regular paypal or his Paypal Mastercard credit line. It has helped his credit tremendously. I was curious if it would affect his credit if he added me as a cardholder? I know my credit isn’t good and most things have been on there long enough to go away but now Im back to no credit.

Ruben says:

How accurate are the three credit report, I check my report with all 3 and two of them I was at 650 and at Equifax 500 witch prevented me to get a credit card.
could this be an error, and if it was, how can it be corrected.

Rob Berger says:

Ruben, I would definitely check your credit report at Equifax for errors. While it is normal to see some difference between each of the three scores, a 150 point difference is unusual in my experience.

Tammy says:

I’m am trying to teach my sixteen year old all I can about credit worthiness and financial responsibility, I am looking for an option that might be available to her for building a strong credit history, any advice? Thank you!

Bob Smith says:

Tammy, if you want to help her build a strong credit history, put her name on one or more of YOUR credit cards, car loans, or what have you. My parents did that for my youngest brother, his credit score is in the high 700s and he doesn’t even have a job or any of his very own credit cards or loans. He’s been on a couple of our parents credit cards since high school and is now in college. As far as him learning financial responsibility for the future, I don’t know how he’ll do, but regarding his credit history and score right now, it’s stellar because Mom and Dad added his name to some of their accounts. They probably would have done the same for me, but as my brother is 12 years younger than I, they didn’t really think about doing so when I was his age. I built my own credit, destroyed it unfortunately, and am in the process of rebuilding it now.

Rob Berger says:

Bob, great point and thanks for commenting. We just published an article on this very topic–Credit Score Piggybacking Survival Guide.

Best, Rob

R.H. says:

Is the Barclay Rewards MasterCard a secured pre paid credit card?

What is APR? The Barclay Rewards MasterCard has an APR free 15 month billing cycle promotion. Lets say for example, the APR after 15 months is 14.99%, will I be charged $15 for charging $100 to that card even if I pay the full amount due at the end of the month?

Thank you for your time.

Rob Berger says:

R.H. the card is a traditional credit card (not secured or prepaid), but it is designed for folks trying to build their credit. And if you pay the card in full each month, you won’t be charged interest.

latreciea says:

My credit score is 525 which card will i get approved for to build my credit sir?

Rob Berger says:

With a score of 525, your best bet is a secured credit card. The secured cards listed at the top of this page are viable options.

Hannah says:

Secured credit cards require a certain credit otherwise people ate denied. Why is this a suggestion if the person in question has poor credit? Please elaborate on which credit cards would approve our request….

EAG says:

Hi – due to a past injury that affected my credit history in a very bad way, I am a 47 year old with very poor credit with a foreclosure listed for the next 3 years. In the past few years I have been finally receiving the disability pay that I should have been getting all along thanks to some very good lawyers. Now I need to start working on getting my credit back. My current car I paid for in cash with a loan from my deferred comp. The only thing I can use as referrals is my townhouse rental and utilities. Any suggestions on how to start since stores and most credit card companies will not take a chance on me? Thanks for any help!

Rob Berger says:

EAG, this article may be of help to you–https://www.doughroller.net/credit/establish-credit-bankruptcy/

Best, Rob

Paulette Cogshell says:

I had filed for Chapter 7 Bk Dec 2004 and Capital One was one of the creditors.I have apply for Credit One Visa, JcPenney. Capital One Secured MasterCard May 2014, but I have receive a denial letter in the mail. Capital One said in the letter the reasons for our decision ware based on your credit report from one or more agencies on the back of this letter, income is insufficient for requested credit. Your Equifax Credit Score 570. How am I suppose to build my credit when everytime I apply for a secured credit card I’m denied. I apply for a Fingerhut and was approved last year in 2013.

Andrew says:

Hello, I have a Walmart prepaid debit card. I’ve read that it won’t help build your credit. But there is always an option to run it through credit instead of debit. The transaction goes thru the same as if I had played with debit. Is this helping build my credit? Thank you for your time.

Rob Berger says:

Andrew, it does NOT build your credit, even if you process it as a “credit” transaction.

Jamie says:

Hi Rob just wondering I have to pay $2000 on my mom’s credit card but I want to build my credit? What card would be best to put the money on and pay my mom’s card that I can make payments on and will report to all 3 major credit bureaus ?? If you could help that would be awesome! Thanks:-)

beverly says:

i have 0 credit at 58 years old everything i have is paid for worked long and hard to achieve this but can’t do anything with a 0 credit rating what should i do

Rob Berger says:

Beverly, what is that you’re trying to do that a like of a credit score is keeping you from?

Glen says:

I would suggest Capital One Secured Card. They do report to all three major reporting agencies.
I used the card for gas only and paid it off every month. I started with a $300.00 deposit. After six months they increased my limit to $476.00 without additional deposits. I also was able to get Capital One Silver card after one year with a $500.00 limit and also a Barkclay Card with 1300.00 limit. (unsecured). The key is pay off your balances and do not go overboard. Keep them for emergencies only. Only spend an amount that you can easily pay off at the end of the month.

Terry Brian says:

I want to buy a home. My Trans-union score is 720. I applied for an AMX card to increase my score and was rejected because my FICO score with experian was only 569. I took out a high interest loan on a new car and made triple payments and paid it off in one year the same as I did on my last four cars over the last ten years. My experian FICO score dropped to 565. What am I doing wrong? Why am I being penalized?

Martin says:

I relocated to the US from Germany and have no credit history at all here. The lack of history leads to credit card applications being denied. I have sufficient funds available for all major purchases, purchased a home and a car (paid cash) and I am earning in six figures. Nevertheless, no bank wants to give me a credit card.

What is a way for me to build credit?


Tamara says:

I am writing this for whoever might find it useful. I highly recommend self lender. I have seen many comments from people that have said their score jumped up to 170 points. Mine went up 48 points within a month or two. And that’s about where it stayed but it helped alot. If you are getting denied credit cards, but have a bunch of money, I would say open up several accounts with self lender if you can. It will help your score dramatically. Then after the year you get most of your money back. Depends on what loan you do. Hope this helps someone.

Kai smith says:

My name is Kai Smith and I am in the process of buying a home. My loan officer told me that I am short 9 points in my credit to be able to qualify. My current credit score is 651 and I need a minimum of 660. What credit card will be best for me to build credit points within the next few months? Thank u for your time and help!

Stephanie Colestock says:

Hi Kai,

There isn’t necessarily any particular card that will bump your score on its own in a short period of time. Your score, of course, is a combination of things — the FICO is made up of 15% credit history length (an average which would go down in age if you open a new card now), 35% payment history (which would improve negligibly in the coming few months), 30% amounts owed, 10% credit mix, and 10% new credit. The hard inquiry required to even apply for most new cards would initially lower your score, in fact.

You might be better off running your score yourself and seeing why it’s 651, and if there’s anything you can do to improve it as it stands. (Credit Sesame offers this for free.) Do you have any high balances that you could pay down, to lower your balance owed? Check to see that there aren’t any errors being reported — late payments that were actually on time, invalid collections, etc. If you’ve made any late payments in the past that are impacting your score, you could even try writing goodwill letters to see if they could be amended. (This page can help.)

Improving credit takes time; if you need to bump your score ASAP, looking into these approaches would be the better option.

Best of luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

Dan says:

Would either the Green Dot Platinum VISA or Discover it Secured Credit Card be a good or best starting credit card for an upcoming college senior?

Ben says:


If you are able to go with the Discover card. I have a Green Dot Platinum and it is only because I got turned down for all the better Secured card accounts (cap 1, discover, Citi, US Bank). The Green Dot card, and pretty much all other secured cards that are almost universal acceptance should be considered only after the best ones, which will automatically upgrade to unsecured after X amount of time and good habits, have proven to be unobtainable. Also as a student you’re privy to the nice things Discover does for students, which they detail on their website.

Joshua says:

Would you recommend NetSpend to increase my credit score if not what would you recommend.

Rob Berger says:

I wouldn’t recommend a prepaid card. A secured credit card is your best bet.

Joshua says:

I tried that I get declined every time and it’s making my credit worse give me some good advice and not something that’s common sense

Bonnie Harrell says:

I’m having the exact same problem you are I paid off some past that’s to increase my score and started applying for credit cards and as soon as I did it made my score go right back down I got declined every time

Zak Grove says:

Check out Zoro Card, it’s a debit card that builds your credit score.

Stacey B Roberson says:

Opensky is simple to get. I was having the same problem. Give them a try it worked for me

dan phillips says:

hi rob. will a prepaid credit card function like a regular credit card when i want to rent a car or got to a hotel? thx

Rob Berger says:

You can do both with a prepaid card, typically, but they may place a hold on the card for a certain dollar amount. You’ll need to ask the hotel or rental car company for their specific policy.

Natasha says:

My credit Equifax is 714 Tran union 685

Adam says:

A. Who cares
B. Not that great
C. What is your Experian score as all Lenders take the middle of the 3..da dumm

Los says:

This is amazing. Awesome!!!

Tony says:

Would you endorse a pre-paid card that reports to the credit bureaus and can help someone’s credit rating? There actually is a pre-paid card that reports payments to the credit bureaus.

Arlene says:

Okay so who is it?

Hans Müller says:

What are your thoughts on zoro card? Ive seen a few ads floating around but im not really sure how it works. Looks like its offering a debit card that builds your credit score. but im not sure if its to good to be true.

Lou says:

While you can monitor your credit with some prepaid cards, as noted above, you won’t be affecting your FICO credit score by using a prepaid card. Low cost prepaid cards are a safe, convenient way to manage money for those that want to avoid credit and are unable to qualify for a checking account (usually because of Chexsystems). But don’t count on an increase in your credit score from a prepaid card.

Josh says:

Are you serious ? Why do they say it builds your credit then ?

Naomi says:

Hi, I have read that the Chime banking prepaid card some how helps with your credit? How does it affect your credit and does it increase your score. Any and all info is greatly appreciated?