recep-bg/getty images

Can you get a credit card without a job?

You can definitely get a credit card without a job, but should you?


Since applicants who are 21 and older can list household income on their credit card applications, getting a credit card without a job is a real possibility.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

If you’re unemployed, you may be wondering if you can still get a credit card. Generally speaking, you can get one without a job or your own income, but only if you have some income that you can legally report on your application.

Fortunately, the rules regarding which income you can and cannot include on your application are pretty loose. That said, you’ll want to make sure any new credit card you get won’t put you in a precarious situation when it comes to your finances.

Income on a credit card application

The Credit Card Act of 2009 was amended in 2013 so that more people who don’t work in traditional jobs can qualify for their own credit cards. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the new amendment allowed consumers who are 21 and older to “rely on accessible income for credit card applications.”

This means applicants who are at least 21 can list third-party income on their credit card applications as long as they have a reasonable expectation they can access that money. This can include things such as household income they’re able to spend each month or money a partner or spouse earns. You can also list other sources of income on your application, such as retirement income or unemployment benefits.

Due to this amendment, individuals without jobs who have access to other income can easily apply for and get approved for a credit card if they meet other criteria.

How to get a credit card with no job

To get a credit card without a job, you just apply like you would normally. However, you’ll list your household income on your application, or any income you have “reasonable expectation of access to.”  In addition to household income, credit card applications ask for and consider other details like a person’s credit score and their debt-to-income ratio.

You can start your journey by comparing the best credit cards available and choose the one with the perks and rewards you want the most. You also should look for cards you’re likely to qualify for based on your credit score, which might be ones for excellent credit, good credit, fair credit or bad credit.

Remember that issuers will consider other factors when you apply, and that you could be denied for the card you want if your credit score is low or you have too much other debt. In that case, you might consider becoming an authorized user on another person’s account or applying for a card that allows joint applications.

If your credit is truly poor or you have no credit history, you can also consider secured credit cards, which require you to secure your own line of credit with a cash deposit. While putting collateral down for a credit card may not seem ideal, these cards enable you to build your credit score with responsible use. You can also get your security deposit back when you upgrade or close your card (provided it’s in good standing).

Is getting a credit card without a job a good idea?

Getting a credit card without a job can be great or disastrous for your finances. The outcome will depend largely on how you use the card.

If you’re a stay-at-home spouse who wants the chance to build your own credit or earn rewards on your spending, getting a credit card if you don’t have a job could easily pay off. However, this is the case only if you use your card to steadily improve your credit without racking up considerable debt or making mistakes that actually hurt your credit score.

If you’re getting a card without a job because you want to buy things you may not be able to pay off, you may live to regret your decision. At the end of the day, getting a credit card when you don’t have a job is definitely a risk, and it’s one that could leave you in financial trouble if you don’t take the responsibility seriously.

Bottom line

Getting a credit card without a job is definitely possible, and it can be advantageous if you want to earn rewards, build your own credit score or both. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to use credit responsibly and wisely if you want the experience to be a good one. For the most part, this means only using credit for purchases you can afford and paying your credit card bill in full and on time each month.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more