Best Tradelines For Bad Credit

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Table of Contents

First off let me be clear about something, the contents of posts like “Best Tradelines For Bad Credit” are not sponsored and not “my pick” because I have an affiliation with the creditors. If you look around at your typical “credit site” like Nerd Wallet or Bankrate, they all do the same thing, which is only feature (predominately) cards and tradelines they make money off of so the top lists that they make you already know aren’t pure or created with your best interest at heart.

This bothers me and is at the very core of making a site like this, when we make the credit game seem hard, normal people stop caring to learn and shut off to how they can improve. This piece will be one of many where I discuss what to do when you have bad credit.

You see I can talk about this inside out and outside in because a few short years ago I used to have a 470 credit score and had 0 clue what I was doing. What matters most when you have bad credit isn’t just how to remove negative information on your record but its also things like the following…

  • What tradelines/credit cards will thicken my file?
  • What secured credit cards will graduate into unsecured cards later?
  • What credit score do I need to get approved for re-building credit cards like Capital one cards?

This is information you usually only get after combing the forums for hours and its not found in your typical top list! In fact they don’t even mention Capital One cards in their top lists for bad credit because they think you need a 630 in order to get one- not true!

I will write an article on best Credit Cards for bad credit, but for now lets talk about tradelines. Now what I mean when I mention tradelines here is credit accounts that can be used online only! These aren’t supposed to be premiere memberships/cards to the best or cheapest stuff, in fact most of it is over priced junk- this is for those with thin credit profiles (often called thin files) and those with bad credit.

This helps thicken up a file naturally by reporting a new $2k-$5k revolving credit line on your credit file.

This helps those with bad credit by thickening up their profile and thinning out their utilization (they have more available credit being reported on their file), which both help bump your credit score. I literally did this when I had under a 500 score, a BK (bankruptcy) and collection accounts and my account jumped up to mid 550s just from one of the accounts I am about to share with you.

Best Tradeline Picks

When you have bad credit there aren’t a lot of choices and a lot of the tradelines and credit card companies know this and they prey on you, putting you into APRs and tradelines they know you won’t be able to get out of. Here are the best I have found that are still around.

  1. My Jewelers (BEST)
    • $5,000 Credit Limit 
    • Online only 
    • Guaranteed Approval 
    • Annual Membership fee of $99 
    • Min order of $100 
    • Reports on the 1st business day of each month
    • Pulls hard inquiry on Experian

Like I said before, you aren’t going to find super nice stuff at a great price, it will mostly be over priced junk, the point of these accounts is simply to build/re-build your credit, that is it! Personally I bought a watch that I gave away later for $150 bucks! I had no other open accounts at this point, this was the first thing I did.

  1. (SoSo)
    • $5,000 Credit Limit
    • Online only
    • Guaranteed Approval
    • Annual Membership fee of $95
    • Min order of $100
    • Reports to TRANSUNION, and EQUIFAX (no longer reporting on Experian)
    • Reports monthly
    • Pulls hard inquiry on Transunion (this is new)

I bought an over priced speaker thing, did this after I already had My Jeweler Club (Major Finance) for about 6 months and a $300 Capital One QS 1.

Tradeline Similar To My Jeweler Club

I want to insert an option here that is also guaranteed approval, no credit hard pull and it shows up as an installment loan which is great for thin files/rebuilding files to show diverse loan types.

  1. SelfSELF
    • You pick amount (similar to CD)
    • Start as low as $25 per month
    • Guaranteed Approval
    • $9 Setup fee
    • 14.70% interest rate
    • Can close down/stop at any time
    • Reports monthly as ATLANTIC CAP on report

The rest I am listing out are talked about all the time in older “credit youtubers” videos but are in fact pure and utter junk! They are more setup to take advantage of you vs actually benefit you.

Worst Tradelines For Bad Credit

  1. HuttonChase —
    • $1500 Credit Limit
    • Online only
    • Guaranteed Approval
    • Min order of $180 ($30 due today)
    • 0% interest
    • Reports to EQUIFAX ONLY (Transunion recently removed because they are crap)
  2. OX Publishing —  
    • $2,500 Credit Limit 
    • Online store only 
    • Guaranteed Approval 
    • $150 min order to activate account 
    • Reports to EQUIFAX ONLY 
    • 60 days until the first reporting
    • $20 per month to report
  3. Horizon Gold Card — 
    • $500 Credit Limit 
    • Online store purchases only 
    • Guaranteed Approval 
    • Reports to TRANSUNION ONLY 
    • $25 monthly fee to report 
    • Limit increase every 90 days up to $2,000
  4. Deluxe Signature Card — 
    • $1,000 Credit Line 
    • Online Store 
    • No application denied 
    • $180 min order to activate account 
    • 60 days until 1st reporting 
    • $25 per month to report 
  5. TronixCountry —
    • $500 to $3,500 Credit Limit 
    • Online store purchases only 
    • Guaranteed Approval 
    • Reports to EQUIFAX & TRANSUNION ONLY  
    • 20% down for guaranteed approval  
    • Combined household income of $1,000 p/m
  6. Finger Hut-–
    • 29% APR 
    • Online store purchases only 
    • Pulls credit report through Webank which is same as Gettington
    • Increases credit limit over time with usage

Credit Score Basics

I think before you even go down the road of “building credit” you need to decide if you’re going to play in this game or not. If not, then don’t bother doing any of this, invest in things like Gold and hold cash- done! If you decide to play the game, then you must realize this is a long term part-time job to keep up with your score, removing old inquiries/items and of course protecting your identity. Honestly with the direction of the global tide, it is becoming harder and harder to stay out of the credit game as its now so closely tied into things like Identity protection.

When you turn 18 and your credit profile technically starts being built, there isn’t anything on it, so its considered a “thin file”, this is technically considered bad credit to lenders regardless of credit score at that time. There are very few banks who wouldn’t take that into consideration.

Anything below a 630 credit score is considered a bad credit score, and the lower your score the lower your likely hood of approval and if approved, it usually comes with you paying a higher APR. This isn’t true with the above mentioned tradelines as those are usually flat APR, no change!

HOT TIP: Right now you can keep up on your credit score for all 3 bureaus weekly for free until April 2021 due to Coronavirus.

Credit Scores

Score range Credit type
300-629 Bad
630-689 Fair/Average
690-719 Good
720-850 Excellent

What Causes Bad Credit?

Bad credit is usually the cause of neglect on some level, whether its late payments, collections, closed accounts (from the creditor) or public records IE: bankruptcy (BK) and lastly high utilization (just because you have a $5k card doesn’t mean they want you to use all of that, the rule of thumb is 30% utilization or less on your whole profile but in reality they want to see 9%).

There are five factors that make up your credit score, we wrote a guide outlining how to boost your credit score in 30 days or less, where we break down the credit profile factors but here is a quick look.

  1. Payment History- This is the single biggest factor on your credit profile, within the FICO model it currently accounts for 35% of your credit score, even just one late payment can have a huge impact on your credit score. If you’re missing a payment by a day or two, most won’t report that as late as long as its being paid before the statement date (even that is risky, and why bother doing that?), anything after that is a late mark on your report. The credit bureaus want to see consistent payments on time from you.
  2. Amounts Owed- This is also called credit utilization or the amount you have spent compared to the credit line you’re approved for on revolving credit lines and mortgages/car loans/etc even though those are ranked a little differently. This accounts for 30% of your FICO score. As I mentioned the standard is 30% max utilization on your whole profile (so every card combined should leave you at 30% or less) but the unspoken rule of thumb is 9% across the boards.
  3. Length of Credit History- The length of time you have had your revolving and installment loans open accounts for 15% of your score on the FICO model, the older you have accounts the better. Again the credit bureaus want to see consistency.
  4. Types of Accounts- The credit mix accounts for 10% of your FICO score and this is the blend of revolving accounts (credit cards/charge cards) and installment loans (mortgage/loan).
  5. New Credit- When you get new credit cards or tradelines expect to lose a few points from the hard pull (HP) but after the new tradeline starts to report (and report with a low utilization) then your score will jump up more than the initial point drop, this accounts for 10% of your FICO.

December 2020 Corona Update!

Wow a lot has changed here this year for our everyday lives, I hope you and your family is safe and healthy. On the credit front everything has tightened up which makes everything we discussed above even more important. I know that in challenging times its way more challenging to pick up these lower tier cards thinking something is better than nothing but I guarantee you they are 100% not worth it! Please don’t!

If you have any sort of payment arrangements or forbearance currently going on your mortgage or credit cards, first off those items might negatively report to your profile even though they shouldn’t, you will need to contact the debtor directly and get them to remove those items. If you have been late or arranged new terms on your credit cards or installment loans, those things will also probably negatively affect your score.

Most credit card companies have tightened up even for the most attractive credit profiles on both a new trade line front and on CLIs, now we must wait it out till the economy turns around and banks loosen up to lending again.