The five best credit cards for young adults offer benefits designed to meet your current needs. There is a card available for you whether you are a student, a budding entrepreneur, a professional or are just starting to build or repair your credit.
Table of contents
- The Best 5
- Discover it® Student Cash Back – Best Student Rewards Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Great Sign-Up Bonus
- Capital One Platinum Credit Card – Build Credit Quickly
- Chase Ink Business Cash® – Great for Small Business Owners
- Discover it® Secured Credit Card – No Annual Fee
- The Bottom Line
- Quick Questions
The Best 5
- Discover it® Student Cash Back: No annual fee
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for young professionals
- Capital One Platinum Credit Card: Best starter card
- Chase Ink Business Cash®: Best for entrepreneurs
- Discover it® Secured: Best for repairing bad credit
Discover it® Student Cash Back – Best Student Rewards Card
Pay no annual fee and score a 1% cashback reward on all your purchases. Sign up each quarter to earn 5% cashback on purchases made at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores or Amazon.
Get rewarded for your good grades with a $20 statement credit every year you maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. New cardmembers get a special bonus of a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash you earn in your first year.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Great Sign-Up Bonus
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is the best credit card for young adults who have finished school and launched their careers. This no-annual-fee card lets you rack up extra cash quickly with 3% back on restaurant and drugstore purchases and 5% on travel plans booked with Chase. You also get a 1.5% cash return on all other purchases.
In your first year of card membership, you will enjoy 15 months of 0% APR on your purchases. Spend $500 in your first three months to receive an extra $200 cash bonus.
Capital One Platinum Credit Card – Build Credit Quickly
This no-frills card is the perfect choice for your first credit card as it charges no annual fee and reports your credit history monthly to the three bureaus. Unlike some starter cards, no security deposit is required with your application.
It is a wise idea to pay off your balance each month due to the high 26.99% APR. You won’t get any bonuses or rewards, but you will achieve your goal of building your credit history.
Use this card responsibly for six months, and Capital One may offer you a higher line of credit.
Chase Ink Business Cash® – Great for Small Business Owners
One of the best credit cards for young adult entrepreneurs is the Chase Ink Business Cash® card. It offers loads of perks to help get your business off the ground and 0% APR on purchases made in your first year and no annual fee.
Spend up to $25,000 on internet, office supplies, and phone service and earn 5% cashback. Plus, get 2% in cash rewards on up to $25,000 of your restaurant and gas purchases every year. All other expenses charged to your card earn you 1%.
Spend $7,500 in your first three months of card membership to earn a generous welcome bonus of $750. There’s no cost to order extra cards for your employees either.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card – No Annual Fee
There’s still a great no-annual-fee card option for you if you already have a few dings on your credit report. This is one of the only secured cards that offer rewards and a low $200 minimum security deposit with your application. The high 22.99% APR gives you added incentive to pay off your balance every month.
Earn 1% cash rewards on all your purchases and 2% back each quarter on up to $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations. Monthly credit reports to the three bureaus will help get your credit history back on track quickly.
Discover also offers a bonus of matching all your earned cash rewards on your first anniversary.
The Bottom Line
One of these best credit cards for young adults will meet your current need for a credit card. Each offers no annual fee and includes either rewards or the opportunity to build or repair your credit history.
You can apply for a student card at the age of 18 if you are enrolled in college. Some secured credit cards will approve you at 18 if you have a steady job and can afford the security deposit and monthly payments.
Apply for a credit card that reports your credit history monthly to the credit bureaus, and commit yourself to manage it responsibly.
Look for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, offers a low APR on your purchases and offers rewards you will use.
If you’re a student don’t forget to check out our guide to the best credit cards for students.