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Many people have had problems with keeping up with their payments each month following the recession. So many lost their jobs and still others were not able to meet with their loan payments, mortgage and other expenses. In any case all of them ended up with a lot of debt on hand and little money to pay for it.
Whether it is shortage of cash or lack of employment that messed up your credit score, once it has dropped bringing it back up is a long process. You might find that you are not able to apply for a credit card immediately because of all these reasons. You may want to enquire and see if you can receive cards still, as there are numerous companies that offer credit cards to people with low credit scores.
Why have credit cards, when you are already trying to pay off all your creditors? Well yes, you are, and that is a good thing, but a credit card is a necessity on many occasions. It would have made transactions easier, and if you choose to have a low interest card with no annual fee or a secured one chances are you will be able to manage those emergency payments with no worry.
The first concern though is to apply for it only from a bank where you have your salary account after you have a steady job. Else juggling all the money you owe on other fronts with your credit card payments will throw things off completely. In addition to these things is you have held a steady job with a steady income for the last few years, then a credit card company will be more willing to consider you for a low interest card.
In case of a secured credit card, you will find it easier to get it because you are assuring the bank of payment before charging to your credit card. Seeing as you are already paying off many of what you owe to creditor take care to use it only in case of emergency and to not incur a lot of money top be paid off on it thinking of it as additional spending power. It is not your emergency fund either, but in case you have to buy something and don't have ready cash on hand to pay, using your credit card would be fine. A secured credit card is a wise option for people who are trying to improve their credit history.