You are here: Home Finances Credit: Score, ... How To Get More ... Summary
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


If you have credit, it is likely that you can get more from your current credit card company(ies) or by completing new applications. You may also be able to get short term credit as a bank overdraft.

Even if you don't have credit, or if you have a poor credit history, you can likely still get credit through a card with a small limit, a secured card, a local store or even with a co-signer. If you pay your new credit on a timely basis, it sets you up for obtaining more credit. For information about these alternatives, see the other sections of this article.

To find a credit card when your credit is impaired, see such web sites as offsite link

As a general matter, the more credit debt you pay on a timely basis, the more you can get.

For more information, see:




  • To learn how to evaluate credit card offers, click here.
  • If credit cards are too much of a temptation for you, you can opt out of unsolicited credit card offers. Go to offsite link. You can opt out of credit card offers for 5 years, or even request a permanent opt-out registration.

If You Have Credit

  • Contact the credit card company and ask if your credit limit can be increased. If your credit limit cannot be increased now, ask under what circumstances the limit can be increased, and when you can apply for the increase.
  • Review the applications you receive in the mail.
    • Don't believe that "pre-approved" actually means pre-approved. Your creditworthiness will likely be reviewed when you actually apply for the credit.
    • While there are many fee-free cards, it may be worthwhile to pay the fee to obtain credit if you can't get it for free. (It can't hurt to ask the credit card company which offers a card with a fee to waive the fee. If the company won't do the waiver permanently, it may waive the fee for the first year).
  • Search the internet to see if there are new accounts for which you qualify. For example, see: offsite link
  • When you open a new account, do not close the old account(s) even though they may have a high rate of interest or other negative feature. The only time to close an old account is when it prevents you from obtaining a new account with a similar or greater credit limit and lower fees.
  • Do not apply for several cards in a short period of time. Each time you apply for a new credit card, the issuing company will contact the national credit bureaus. Too many inquiries on your report in a short period of time may result in your being denied additional credit regardless of you qualifications.
  • If it appears that you will not qualify for a particular line of credit, do not apply for it.

If You Have A Checking Account

Overdraft protection provides short term credit.

With overdraft protection, if you overdraw your account, the bank pays the overdraft. The difference between the amount of the check and what’s in your account is considered to be a loan.

You can get the overdraft feature for free from your bank.

NOTE: If you do not add an overdraft feature, your bank is likely to either bounce a check (and charge for an "NSF" check - not sufficient funds) or pay the check and charge you an overdraft fee.  Overdraft fees can quickly add up.

If You Don't Have Credit Or Have Bad Credit

If you do not have any credit, or if you have bad credit, you can still get a credit card. Getting, and using a credit card, can start you on the path to having good credit provided you pay at least the minimum monthly amount on time. Consider which of the following alternatives best fits your situation:

Credit Cards With A Low Limit

With no credit history, or a bad credit history, you may be able to obtain a credit card or cards with low credit limits, such as $200 - $400. It's not great, but if you start making charges, and timely monthly payments, you will quickly build a history that permits greater credit.

Consider asking the company when you can apply to raise the limit if you pay on a timely basis.

Check on the internet for cards that may work for you. A good place to start is: offsite link. Click on "credit cards for bad credit"

Secured Credit Cards

A secured credit card is an answer for obtaining credit for people who do not have credit because of a poor credit history or who don't have credit at all.

With a secured credit card, you are required to open and maintain a savings account as security for your line of credit. The amount of credit is a percentage of your deposit, typically 50% to 100%, but sometimes even more. For example, if you deposit $1,000 in a bank account, you can charge $1,000 on the secured credit card.

Each time you make a timely payment on the card, you create a credit record that helps you to obtain regular credit. You may even be able to obtain credit insurance on this account.

Look for a card that:

  • Pays interest on the amount of money you deposit.
  • That does not have an annual fee.
  • Has a low rate of interest on the amount you are allowed to borrow, if any.
  • Has a credit limit at least as high as your deposit, and preferably higher.

Use the secured card frequently and pay off the balance on time every month for 12 to 14 months. This will build a healthy credit profile which you can rely on to help obtain an unsecured card in the future.

Only use a bank for this type of card. There are plenty of disreputable operations that prey on those desperate for credit who would like to issue you a card with a secured line of credit - and then disappear with your money.

Once you obtain an unsecured card, close your secured account or negotiate with the bank to convert the card to an unsecured line of credit. Once you have an unsecured card, there is no reason to have your money locked into a low interest or no interest account.

Check on the internet for cards that may work for you. A good place to start is: offsite link. Click on "credit cards for bad credit"

Local Stores or Lending Institutions, Retail Gas Companies

If you don't have credit, consider applying for a charge card or a small loan at a local store or lending institution, or from a national retail gas company. It is often easier to obtain one of these accounts than a national account.

Ask if the creditor reports transactions to a credit bureau. If there is reporting - and if you pay back your debts regularly - you will build a good credit history.


If you cannot obtain credit alone, you may be able to obtain it if someone who has a good credit history co-signs a loan for you (which also means the co-signer is obligated to pay if you do not).

Where Can I Find Credit Card Offers?

Aside from whatever applications you receive in the mail, the easiest place to find credit card offers is online.  Look at such reputable sites as:

According to the Better Business Bureau: "Look before you click!" Before you click the "send" button, be aware that each time you apply for a credit card, online or off line, the credit card company will send an inquiry to one of the credit reporting bureaus. Notations that you applied for a batch of cards could indicate that you are in financial difficulty and could affect your credit score. (For information about credit scores, click here.)

To Learn More