So you're receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and want to find a credit card that works for you. We understand, traditional cards aren't always tailored to people in your situation. Don't worry, there are good options out there and we've done the research to find the best credit cards for people on SSI. These cards offer benefits like no annual fees, low interest, and even cashback and rewards - things you might not expect given your limited income.
While your options are more limited, having a credit card is still important to build your credit and gain financial freedom. The cards on this list are designed specifically with the needs of SSI recipients in mind. So skip the mainstream offers that will only frustrate you, and check out these best credit cards for people on SSI.
Understanding SSI and Eligibility for Credit Cards
To qualify for most credit cards, you need to have a steady income and pretty good credit. If you're receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you could face some challenges, but there are options.
SSI provides monthly payments to people with limited income and resources ages 65 or older or disabled. Since SSI recipients typically have almost no taxable income, you could have difficulty qualifying for most traditional credit cards. However, some popular issuers do offer secured cards for those with bad or no credit scores.
Secured Credit Cards for People on SSI?
When you're on SSI, finding a credit card that actually benefits you is tricky. Good news is there are secured cards designed specifically for people in your situation. A secured card requires a cash deposit, which acts as your spending limit. Some options:
Capital One Secured Mastercard
The Capital One Secured Mastercard has no annual fee and reports to many major credit bureaus, which can help you build credit over time. You can deposit $49-$200 to start, and get access to a higher limit once you make on-time payments.
Discover it® Secured Card
The Discover it® Secured Card is another great option with cash back rewards and no annual fee. You provide a deposit of $200-$2,500 to get started, and Discover matches the cash back you earn the first year. So if you earn $50 cash back, they match it for another $50. Not bad!
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
For those with bad or no credit history, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card can be a life saver. They don't check your credit to approve you and the card reports to the credit bureaus. You do have to pay a $35 annual fee, but if you make your payments on time it can really help establish a good payment history.
It doesn't truly matter which secured credit card you chose -- If it's used responsibly, it could help set you up for credit success despite being on SSI. Make payments and check your credit score regularly. In about a year or so of good habits, you could be in a great position to qualify for an unsecured card. Stay determined!
Best Credit Cards That Accept SSI Income
If you receive Supplemental Security Income benefits due to disability or low income, getting a traditional credit card is difficult. However, there are some good options available that accept SSI as income and don’t require a high credit score. Here are some of the top credit cards to consider:
Many know credit unions, such as PenFed Credit Union offer credit builder loans. You borrow a small amount like $500 to make fixed payments over 12-24 months. Your payments are reported to the credit bureaus, helping you establish a good history. The APRs on these loans are usually very reasonable.
Credit Cards For Fair/Average Credit
Once you’ve built up your credit with a secured card or credit builder loan, you may qualify for an unsecured card for those with fair to average scores. Such as:
Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card - No fees, earns up to 1.5% cash back and reports to the credit bureaus to help build your credit.
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® - No annual fee, optional credit lines available, and reports monthly to the three credit bureaus.
With time and responsible credit behavior, your score will improve and open you up to even more credit card options. The important thing is using any credit you obtain wisely by keeping low balances and always paying on time. If you do that, you could be in a great position to qualify for the best credit cards, regardless of income source.
Tips for Managing Credit Cards on a Fixed Income
Here're some tips to help you spend within your budget and avoid debt:
Step 1 is creating a budget that accounts for your income as well as expenses. Know exactly how much you can afford to spend on credit cards each month. Track your spending to ensure you stay in budget.
Pay at least the minimum amount due on time each month. Late or missed payments damage your credit score and could lead to penalty APRs. Set up automatic payments if possible.
Go for credit cards aimed at people with fair credit. Look for low APRs, no fees, and rewards or cash back. Too many hard inquiries on your credit report from new applications lower your score.
Pay More Than The Minimum
If possible, pay more than the minimum due each month to avoid interest charges. Even paying $10 or $15 above the minimum can help. Focus extra payments on high-interest debts first.
Only use credit cards when necessary and avoid impulse buys. Don't spend more than 30% of your credit limit, as this hurts your score and could also lead to penalty APRs.
Many cards offer benefits for people on fixed incomes like waived annual fees, lower APRs, payment grace periods or debt management tools. Contact your credit card issuers to ask about available benefits and assistance programs.
With persistence, you could maintain good credit and avoid revolving debt while living on a fixed income. Make a realistic budget, pay bills on time, choose the right cards and spend responsibly. Don't hesitate to ask your card issuers about ways they can help make payments more affordable. Good luck on your credit score!
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