The Indigo® Mastercard® is a credit card aimed at people with bad or limited credit histories. With flexible credit limits and no security deposit, it can be easier to get approved for than many other cards. However, approval is not guaranteed. Here is what you need to know about getting approved for an Indigo credit card in 2024.
What is the Indigo Credit Card?
The Indigo Mastercard is issued by Celtic Bank. It is marketed as a credit card for people with less-than-perfect credit. There are multiple versions of the card, with different fees, interest rates, and credit limits based on your creditworthiness.
The basic features of the Indigo Mastercard are:
- Credit limits range from $300 – $2,000
- No rewards program
- High APR – currently 24.9%
- Annual fees range from $0 – $99, depending on card version
- No security deposit required
- Reports to major credit bureaus
The Indigo card allows people with bad credit access to a credit card that can help them start rebuilding their credit score. Making on-time payments is reported to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
However, the high fees and interest rates make this card expensive to use long-term. It should not be viewed as a permanent credit solution.
Indigo Credit Card Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for the Indigo Mastercard, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Have a regular source of income
You do not need:
- Good credit
- A security deposit
- A minimum income
The card is designed for people with limited credit histories or credit scores below 600. However, approval is not guaranteed.
Celtic Bank will review your credit report and evaluate additional factors before making a decision. You will be more likely to qualify if you have a positive credit history, even if your overall score is low.
How to Check If You Pre-Qualify for the Indigo Card
Before submitting a full application, you can check if you pre-qualify for the Indigo card using the pre-qualification tool on their website. This soft credit check will not affect your credit score.
To pre-qualify, you will need to provide personal information, including:
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
After entering your details, you will get an instant decision on whether you pre-qualify. This can help you determine if applying for the Indigo card is worthwhile before you complete the full application.
Pre-qualification does not guarantee approval. But it is a good indication that you may qualify based on initial eligibility criteria.
How to Apply for the Indigo Credit Card
If you decide to apply after pre-qualifying, you can complete the Indigo credit card application online or by phone. You will need to provide:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Home address
- Estimated annual income
- Employment information
Double check all application details for accuracy. Any errors could cause delays or lead to a denial.
As part of the application process, Celtic Bank will check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They will evaluate factors like your payment history, amounts owed, credit history length, new credit inquiries, and credit mix.
Based on their review, you will either be approved or denied for one of the 35 different versions of the Indigo card. Each version has varying fees, credit limits, and terms based on your creditworthiness.
If approved, you should receive your new Indigo credit card by mail within 7-10 business days.
Tips for Getting Approved for the Indigo Credit Card
Although the Indigo card is designed for poor credit, approval is never guaranteed. Here are some tips that could help your application get accepted:
Check your credit reports – Review your credit reports for errors before applying. Dispute any inaccurate information that could be hurting your scores.
Lower credit utilization – Keep balances low on all credit cards and loans. High amounts owed negatively impact your credit utilization ratio.
Avoid new credit inquiries – Limit new credit applications in the months preceding your Indigo application. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time can raise red flags.
Pay down balances – Try to pay down balances on all open revolving credit accounts. Owing less money can offset other negative factors.
Build credit history – Open a secured credit card or become an authorized user on someone else’s card. Establishing a positive payment history can boost thin credit files.
Increase income – Provide proof of higher income from a recent raise or new job if possible. A higher income makes lenders more confident in your ability to manage credit.
Following these tips maximizes your chances of getting approved. But having patience is also key. Building credit takes time. If your Indigo application is denied, continue working to improve your credit and consider reapplying down the road.
What to Do If You Are Denied for the Indigo Credit Card
If your application is denied, the letter you receive should explain the reasons why. Common reasons for denial include:
- Limited credit history
- Short time since previous bankruptcy or collections
- Too many recent credit inquiries
- High balances owed on credit cards and loans
Being denied can be discouraging, but here are some steps to take:
- Review credit reports – Mistakes in your reports could have influenced the decision. Dispute any errors with the credit bureaus.
- Wait and reapply – Continue building your credit with secured cards or as an authorized user. Try reapplying for the Indigo card again in 6-12 months.
- Consider other bad credit cards – Research cards like the Surge Mastercard or First Access Visa. These may have lower approval requirements than the Indigo card.
- Add a co-signer – Ask a friend or relative with good credit to co-sign. This can improve the chances of approval substantially.
- Get a secured card – Secured cards require a refundable deposit that becomes your credit limit. This option helps build credit for people who cannot qualify for unsecured cards.
With time and continued responsible credit usage, your credit situation can improve. Do not get discouraged if your first attempt at the Indigo card does not succeed.
How to Use an Indigo Card Responsibly
If approved for the Indigo card, using it properly is key. This card should be a stepping stone, not a long-term credit solution, due to the high costs. To use it responsibly:
- Pay the balance off each month to avoid interest charges.
- Avoid maxing out the credit limit. Keep utilization below 30%.
- Set up autopay through your online account portal to prevent missed payments.
- Only use the card for planned purchases that you can afford to pay off. Avoid unnecessary spending.
- After 6-12 months of on-time payments, request a credit limit increase for greater flexibility.
- Create a budget to manage your income and expenses wisely while rebuilding credit.
- As your score improves over time, research and upgrade to better credit cards with lower rates and fees.
The Indigo card will report your payment history to all three major credit bureaus each month. So make payments on time and keep balances low. This will help gradually improve your credit score so you can qualify for Prime credit cards.
Be cautious of predatory lending practices. Read all fees and disclosures carefully. And have an exit strategy for upgrading to less expensive cards when your credit situation allows it.
Alternatives to the Indigo Credit Card
The Indigo Mastercard is just one option for people with poor credit. Here are a few potential alternatives to consider:
Secured Credit Cards
Secured cards require an upfront security deposit that typically becomes your credit limit. This format helps people with bad credit get approved while limiting the lender’s risk. Discover’s Secured Card and Capital One’s Secured Mastercard are both good options.
Credit Builder Loans
Become an Authorized User
You can piggyback off someone else’s credit by becoming an authorized user on their credit card. This can help strengthen your credit, especially if the primary cardholder has a long history of responsible use. However, not all lenders report authorized user activity, so check first.
Credit-Builder Credit Cards
Cards like the Surge Mastercard do not require a credit check for approval. They provide a way to build credit by making on-time payments, even if you have bad credit or no credit history.
Low Credit Limit Cards
Issuers like First Access offer credit cards with limits as low as $200-$500. Qualifying is easier for these cards intended for credit rebuilding. Just graduate to a better card once your credit profile improves.
Pros of the Indigo Credit Card
While not the ideal long-term option, the Indigo card does have some potential benefits:
- Easy approval for bad credit
- No security deposit required
- Small starting credit limit
- Reporting to all three major credit bureaus
- Online account access
- Unsecured revolving credit line to start rebuilding credit
For people who cannot initially qualify for anything else, the Indigo card provides an opportunity to build credit history and prove you can use credit responsibly.
Cons of the Indigo Credit Card
The Indigo Mastercard also has some distinct drawbacks:
- Very high APR of 24.9%
- Multiple annual fees ranging from $0-$99
- Low maximum credit limit of $300-$2,000
- No rewards program
- Limited 1% cash back on some purchases for select card versions
- High fees including late payment fee up to $41
- Pre-qualification only through their website
- Must graduate to a lower cost card as credit profile improves
The high costs and fees make this a very expensive form of credit. It should only be used short-term with an exit strategy to graduate to more affordable credit options.
The Bottom Line
The Indigo Mastercard can provide a credit-building lifeline for people unable to qualify for other unsecured cards. It offers a way to access credit and establish positive payment history.
However, this card is also saddled with problematic fees and costs. It will be a roadblock rather than a launchpad if used improperly long-term.
Get educated on credit card fundamentals and your own credit reports before applying. Have a plan to use the card responsibly as a temporary stepping stone. And be diligent about upgrading to less expensive accounts as your creditworthiness improves.
With prudent use on a short-term basis, the Indigo card can be a gateway to prime credit. But tread carefully, as high interest and fees could bury consumers who are not cautious.
Frequently Asked Questions
What credit score is needed for approval on the Indigo card?
There is no specific minimum credit score. The Indigo card is designed for people with poor credit, often below 600. You typically need some active credit history to qualify. Pre-qualification or consulting a credit expert can help assess if you may meet approval criteria.
Can the Indigo card help build my credit?
Yes, responsible use of the Indigo card can help build your credit. The card issuer reports your monthly payment activity to all three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Making consistent on-time payments will gradually improve your credit score over time.
What steps can I take to improve my chances of approval?
Paying down balances, disputing credit report errors, lowering credit utilization, avoiding new inquiries, and establishing diverse credit history with secured cards or loans can all help improve your approval odds. Building credit takes time, so begin strengthening your profile well in advance of applying.
What should I do if my Indigo card application is denied?
First, review your credit reports for accuracy. Then continue practicing good credit habits, allowing some time to pass before reapplying, as quick subsequent applications can hurt your approval chances. Consider alternatives like secured cards, credit builder loans, or authorized user status in the meantime.
Is the Indigo Mastercard a prepaid card or debit card?
No, the Indigo Mastercard is an unsecured credit card, not prepaid or debit. It provides a revolving line of credit that can help build credit history when used properly. There is no bank account required. As with any credit card, balances must be paid in full each month to avoid interest charges.
Can the Indigo card help establish credit for someone with no credit history?
Potentially yes, but approval may be very difficult without any current credit profile. Opening a secured card and making regular small purchases is likely the quickest path to establish initial credit for someone with no history. After 6-12 months of responsible use, an Indigo card application would have better odds for approval.
How long does it take to get the Indigo credit card after approval?
You should receive your Indigo credit card by standard mail within 7-10 business days after approval. Once received, follow the instructions to activate the card before use. You can track the status of your card delivery through your online account portal.
Can I choose my credit limit with the Indigo card?
No, Celtic Bank determines the exact credit limit and version of the Indigo card you are approved for based on your credit profile. The pre-qualification tool only provides estimates. Available limits range from $300-$2,000 depending on creditworthiness.
In another related article, Is the Destiny Credit Card Right for You? A Complete Review