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Can a Felon Get a Credit Card?

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In addition to the challenges of finding a job, felons’ credit rating probably took a major hit.

This blog post will address the issue of whether a felon can get a credit card.

As those who have been convicted of a felony realize, life as they knew it prior to the conviction is over.

That doesn’t mean that life is over, just that nothing will ever be the same again.

  • Managing Their Debt
  • Credit Report
  • Finding a Credit Card Company
  • Supporting a Felon in Getting a Credit Card


Managing Their Debt

Felons may have had difficulty in the past with managing their finances, resulting in major debt from credit cards.

One of the traps they may have fallen into is having multiple credit cards and running them to their limit with no concern about paying them off as part of their dishonest lifestyle.

Since leaving prison, they may have vowed to live an honest life and never to get another credit card again.

While this is a commendable thought, there are important reasons for having a credit card.

Having a credit card:

  • Can build their credit rating. Having a card that they make timely payments on will allow felons to make a larger purchase, a car or house.
  • For convenience.  It is not always possible or even wise to carry a lot of cash.  A credit card can make this easier.
  • Will allow for emergency purchases. One never knows when a critical situation will come up, requiring an immediate purchase.  A credit card will take care of this.
  • Can make safer purchases. With a credit card, the money is not deducted from their account until the bill is paid.  If their credit card is stolen, the bank will not take the balance of the money, usually just $50.
  • Bonuses can be earned with many credit cards for purchases made. This allows for gaining valuable rewards.

In applying for a credit card, most credit card companies do not inquire if an applicant has a criminal record.  Their primary interest is in their credit rating.

This is determined by obtaining a credit report.

Credit Report

The typical credit report contains several categories of information:

  • Identifying information – This includes Social Security Number, birthdate, and employment status.
  • Trade Lines – These are the credit accounts, including type of account, date account opened, credit limit, account balance, and payment history
  • Credit Inquiries – This is a list of everyone who has accessed this credit report in the past two years.
  • Public Record and Collections – This is public record information from state and county courts and information on bankruptcies foreclosures, liens, and judgments.

The credit area is one that many felons have difficulty with and typically is the main reason to be denied such things as homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance coverage.

Having been in prison, unemployed, and unable to find a job puts most felons in a precarious situation.  Their financial history may include a bankruptcy because of the inability to meet their obligations, especially during incarceration.

There are resources for helping get rid of debt.

Finding a Credit Card Company

Felons must remember that it is essential that they are honest about their criminal record when applying for a credit card.  If not, they can easily put themselves in the position of being denied a credit card and for being charged with fraud for lying on their application.

This can carry a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, made worse by already having a previous felony conviction.

So, they should give themselves the best chance from the start.

It is important not to give up.  Getting that job with a felony is not easy. The Free Guide to Getting Employment has success stories.

Persistence will pay off.  Just stick to it and keep trying.

Among the things to avoid when applying for a credit card, is a pending bankruptcy.  This can result in being denied a credit card.

Felons will want to find a card that has a reasonable annual fee and competitive interest rates.

A secured credit card may be recommended.  This requires a deposit with a bank with the credit limit set at or slightly above the deposit.  On-time payments can result in the limit being raised over time, building credit.

Once they get a credit card, felons will want to maintain their credit score and work to raise it over time.

Then, it is important not to apply for multiple credit cards as each application for a card will show up on their credit report and actually lower their score.

Also, felons will want to not max out the credit card as this places them in the high-risk category.  It is important to make on-time payments.

Supporting a Felon in Getting a Credit Card

For families of felons wanting to get a credit card, stand by them.  All of you have been through extremely difficult times already.  Don’t let your loved one give up.

Be square with them and let them know the importance of not lying on a credit card application.  After all, not being honest put them in the situation they are in now.

Remind them of how proud they will be to live an honest life, find a credit card, and re-establish their credit.  That will provide them the opportunity to establish more responsibility again.

After all, that new life with honesty and financial responsibility in providing for their family are important.

So what do you think about this blog post about getting a credit card with a felony?  Have you or someone you know gotten a credit card after a felony conviction?  What was that experience like, and how were they successful?   Please tell us in the comments below.

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