If you’re looking to purchase a home in Hollywood, Fla., now’s the time to get serious about your credit. Home prices in the city increased 15.9 percent over the last year, according to Trulia.com; and, with talk of possibly higher mortgage rates in 2014 and 2015, jumping into the Hollywood housing market sooner rather than later is key to saving on a purchase.
Unfortunately, several factors can hinder a home purchase — the biggest of which is a bad credit score. Nowadays, many banks require a minimum credit score of 680 (or higher). It’s possible to qualify for a home loan with a lower score, but this often results in a higher interest rate, and ultimately a higher monthly payment. There is, however, good news if you need to fix your credit score.
Rebuilding or establishing a credit history might be easier than you think. Several banks throughout Hollywood offer credit cards designed specifically for people with a low score. These cards have minimal requirements, and if you can demonstrate creditworthiness with timely payments, you’ll add points to your credit score.
Here are five of the best credit cards for rebuilding credit in Hollywood.
1. BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
Apply for the BankAmericard secured credit card and receive a line of credit with no application or activation fee. This credit card does require a security deposit, at which time the bank will issue you a card with a comparable credit limit.
Credit lines range from $300 to $4,900, based on your ability to repay. And because Bank of America reports your credit activity to the three credit bureaus, on-time payments will gradually increase your credit score, helping you qualify for other lines of credit.
The BankAmericard secured credit card features a standard 20.24% APR and a $39 annual fee. You might be eligible for an unsecured credit card after 12 months of timely payments.
2. Wells Fargo Secured Card
This credit card requires a security deposit of between $300 and $10,000. The bank holds this deposit in a special collateral account, and then issues a card with a credit line equal to this amount.
The Wells Fargo secured credit card is an excellent choice for rebuilding your credit history because the bank reports to the three major credit bureaus on a regular basis — which is essential to adding positive credit activity to your credit report. There is a $25 annual fee and the annual percentage rate is 18.99%.
3. BrightStar Credit Union Secured MasterCard
A secured MasterCard offered by BrightStar Credit Union is another choice for residents in Broward or Palm Beach counties. With this credit card, your BrightStar savings account secures the credit line.
Card features include no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, travel accident insurance, auto rental discount and luggage insurance. The interest rate on a BrightStar Credit Union secured MasterCard is based on creditworthiness. There is a low introductory rate of 3.99% for the first six billing cycles, at which point the rate switches to the market prime rate.
4. Space Coast Credit Union Savings-Secured Visa
The savings-secured credit card offered by Space Coast Credit Union is also an excellent tool for rebuilding your credit history or establishing credit. Your collateral is the amount on deposit in your share savings account.
Apply today for a shared-secured credit card and enjoy a minimum credit limit of $300. After a year of satisfactory payments, you’re eligible to apply for an unsecured credit card offered by the credit union. The card’s interest rate is 5.99% for the first six billing cycles, followed by 10.00% to 17.99%, depending on credit history.
5. Capital One Secured MasterCard
This credit card features no processing or application fees. Depending on your deposit, you can receive a credit limit up to $3,000. Capital One reports to the three major credit bureaus.
And, if you use the credit card responsibly, you might be eligible for credit limit increases without an additional deposit. Additionally, opening an account gives you free membership to CreditInform, a tool that lets you monitor and understand credit better. There is a $29 annual fee and a standard APR of 22.9%.
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee