Best Credit Cards for Low-Income or Low-Salaried People -

Best Credit Cards for Low-Income or Low-Salaried People

Looking for a practical Best Credit Card for Low Income Earners? Welcome to the realm of Credit Cards for Low Income Earners. In today’s dynamic economic landscape, access to credit can empower individuals with limited incomes to manage expenses and build credit history responsibly.

With easy registration steps, acquiring a credit card becomes accessible, offering a gateway to numerous benefits and financial flexibility. From cashback rewards to emergency funds, these cards provide invaluable assistance in navigating daily expenses. However, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons judiciously.

While they offer convenience and the opportunity to establish credit, misuse can lead to debt accumulation and financial strain. Understanding the essentials of credit card management is vital for maximizing benefits while mitigating risks.

Let’s explore the nuances and key features of Credit Cards for Low Income Earners, unlocking financial opportunities while ensuring prudent financial management.

Best Credit Cards for Low-Income Earners

Best for Bad Credit:Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Best for Cash Back:Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Best for Building Credit:Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card
Best for No Annual Fee:Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Best for Students:Discover it® Student Cash Back
Best for 0%-APR:Citi Simplicity® Card

Best for Bad Credit:

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Rewards:

  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Welcome bonus:

  • Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Annual fee:

  • $0

Intro APR:

  • N/A on purchases

Regular APR:

  • 28.24% Variable

Balance transfer fee:

  • 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

Foreign transaction fee:

  • None

Credit needed:

  • New / Rebuilding

Pros:

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Starting at seven months from account opening, Discover will automatically review your credit card account to see if you can transition to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit

Cons:

  • Cash-back program limits earnings: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%
  • Low credit line prevents cardholders from charging high-cost items or many expenses

Best for Cash Back:

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Perks

  • Get 2% cash back on all purchases, no limit
  • Enjoy a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months
  • No annual fee to worry about
  • Pay no interest for the first 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • After that, variable APR rates between 20.24% and 29.99%
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% for the first 120 days, then up to 5%
  • Foreign transactions cost 3%
  • Need a good to excellent credit score

Advantages

  • Earn cash rewards with no cap
  • Score a $200 cash bonus early on
  • Avoid annual fees altogether
  • Pay no interest for 15 months at the start
  • Access to Visa Signature® Concierge service
  • Get up to $600 in cell phone protection (with a $25 deductible)

Drawbacks

  • Foreign transactions come with a 3% fee.

Best for Building Credit:

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

Rewards:

  • Get 1% cash back on certain purchases right away, and up to 1.5% cash back on those purchases after you make 12 monthly payments on time. Plus, earn 2% to 10% cash back at certain stores.

Welcome Bonus:

  • There isn’t a welcome bonus.

Annual Fee:

  • You won’t have to pay any annual fee.

Introductory APR:

  • There’s no introductory APR offer.

Regular APR:

  • The interest rate varies from 18.24% to 32.24% and can change over time.

Balance Transfer Fee:

  • There’s no fee for transferring balances.

Foreign Transaction Fee:

  • You won’t be charged any fee for transactions made outside of the United States.

Credit Requirements:

  • You can apply for this card with fair, good, or no credit history.

Pros:

  • No need for a credit history, but having one might help. No fees at all. You can earn cash back on purchases, starting at 1% and potentially going up to 1.5% after making 12 on-time payments. Plus, you can get cash back ranging from 2% to 10% at specific stores. Credit limits go from $300 to $10,000.

Cons:

  • This card isn’t specifically designed for rebuilding credit, but it can help you build credit. There are no special financing offers or welcome bonuses.

Estimated Rewards:

  • You could earn around $249 in rewards after one year and $1,577 after five years.

Best for No Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Benefits:

  • Get 4.5% cash back when you buy at drugstores or dine out, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 6.5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Receive 3% cash back on all other purchases, up to $20,000 in the first year.
  • After the first year or $20,000 spent, get 5% cash back on Chase travel, 3% on drugstore and dining purchases, and 1.5% on everything else.
  • Introductory offer: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases, up to $300 cash back in the first year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Credit needed: Excellent/Good.

Fees:

  • Balance transfer fee: Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the transfer amount within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of each transfer amount.
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Pros:

  • No annual fee.
  • Earned rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card.
  • Generous welcome bonus.

Cons:

  • 3% fee for foreign transactions.

Best for Students:

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Rewards:

You get 5% cash back on everyday shopping like groceries, dining out, and gas, but it changes every three months. Also, you earn 1% cash back on everything else without needing to do anything.

Welcome bonus: In your first year, they’ll match all the cash back you earn.

Annual fee: None.

Intro APR: You won’t pay interest on purchases for the first 6 months.

Regular APR: After the intro period, the interest rate can be between 18.24% to 27.24%.

Balance transfer fee: There’s a fee if you transfer balances, starting at 3% and going up to 5% later on.

Foreign transaction fee: No extra fees for using the card outside the US.

Credit needed: They’re okay if you’re new to credit or have fair credit.

Pros: You get cash back on purchases and a good bonus for new members.

Cons: You have to activate the 5% cash back categories every quarter, and there’s a limit to how much you can earn with that rate. Also, you need to be a US citizen and a college student to apply.

Best for 0%-APR:

Citi Simplicity® Card

Perks:

  • No rewards offered
  • No welcome bonus
  • No annual fee

Introductory Rates:

  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 21 months from the first transfer
  • 0% interest on purchases for 12 months from account opening

Regular Rates:

  • Variable APR between 19.24% and 29.99%

Fees:

  • Introductory balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) within the first 4 months
  • Afterward, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies
  • 3% fee on foreign transactions

Credit Requirement:

  • Excellent/Good credit needed

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • Can transfer balances within 4 months of opening
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers

Cons:

  • 3% fee for foreign transactions
  • No rewards program

Learn About the Top Credit Cards for People with Lower Incomes

Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is great for students who want to earn rewards and build credit. Here’s what you get:

Rewards:

  • Get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in certain categories each quarter (you just need to activate it), and 1% back on everything else.
  • Plus, Discover will double all the cash back you earn in your first year.

Fees:

  • No annual fee, and no extra charges for using it abroad.

Other perks:

  • Enjoy a 0% interest rate on new purchases for the first six months, which is handy for buying things like books or a laptop. After that, the interest rate varies from 18.24% to 27.24%, so make sure to pay it off before then.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers a great deal for people who don’t spend a lot. You don’t need to spend a certain amount to get the benefits. Here’s what you can get:

Rewards:

  • In the first year, you’ll get:
    • 6.5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and eating out at restaurants (even for takeout or delivery)
    • 3% cash back on everything else
  • After the first year or $20,000 spent:
    • 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (until March 2025)
    • 3% cash back at drugstores
    • 3% cash back on dining out (including takeout and delivery)
    • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus:

  • You can earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all your purchases in the first year, up to $300 cash back!

Annual fee:

  • There’s no annual fee.

Other good stuff:

  • You’ll have a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (with a fee). After that, the APR will be between 20.49% and 29.24%.
  • You get benefits like purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and more.
  • You’ll also get three free months of DoorDash DashPass, which means no delivery fees and reduced service fees. After that, you’ll get a 50% discount for nine months.
  • If you like having groceries delivered, you’ll get three free months of Instacart+ and up to $10 in credit each quarter until July 31, 2024.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is super simple and rewarding. You don’t pay any yearly fee, and you earn a flat 2% cash back on everything you buy.

Here’s what you get:

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Special perks:
    • You get an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 120 days. After that, the APR varies between 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99%.
    • There’s also cell phone protection. If you pay your monthly cell phone bill with this card, you can get reimbursed up to $600 per claim (with a $25 deductible), and you can make up to two claims every 12 months.

Citi Simplicity® Card

The Citi Simplicity® Card is great if you want to pay off your credit card debt faster. It gives you a special offer where you won’t have to pay interest for a while, and the fee for transferring balances is lower at the beginning.

You don’t get any rewards or a welcome bonus with this card, but the good news is there’s no annual fee to worry about.

One cool thing about being a Citi cardholder is that you can access exclusive events and experiences through Citi Entertainment.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is great for people with bad credit (scores of 580 or lower). It helps you earn rewards and offers a clear path to upgrading to a regular credit card. You’ll need to deposit at least $200 to open the card, but you can get a higher credit limit if you deposit more money.

Here’s what you get:

  • Rewards: You get 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants for up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Discover matches all the cash back you earn in your first year.
  • Annual fee: There’s no annual fee to worry about.
  • Other benefits: You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees, and after seven months, Discover will review your account to see if you can switch to a regular credit card and get your deposit back.

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

The Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card, issued by WebBank, is different from other credit cards because it looks at more than just your credit history when you apply. It’s also special because it doesn’t charge a lot of fees like other cards do.

Here’s what you get with this card:

  • You get 1% cash back on certain purchases right away. After you’ve made 12 monthly payments on time, this can go up to 1.5% cash back.
  • You can get between 2% to 10% cash back when you shop at certain stores.
  • There’s no welcome bonus with this card.
  • You won’t have to pay an annual fee.
  • There are no extra fees like foreign transaction fees, late payment fees, or returned payment fees.
  • You also don’t need to put down a security deposit like you might with other cards designed to help you build credit.

Conclusion

There are plenty of credit cards out there for people with lower incomes. If your credit score is good, you can still get cards that give you cash back or let you pay zero interest for a while when you first get them.

Just make sure the card isn’t too expensive for you and that you can spend enough to get any bonus they offer without owing money on your card.

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