If you have no credit history, you can start to build it by getting a credit card in your name and paying at least the minimum balance on time every month. We recommend selecting one that gives you a good chance at being approved and has low fees. Here are the five best first credit cards we have found available today.
Table of contents
- Our 5 Best First Credit Card Recommendations
- Best First Credit Card: Our Top Picks
- The Bottom Line
- Quick Questions
Our 5 Best First Credit Card Recommendations
- U.S. Bank Secured Visa®: Choose your payment due date
- Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Earn cash rewards
- Discover it® Secured: Cash bonus match in your first year
- Citi® Secured Mastercard®: No annual fee
- Capital One® Platinum Credit Card: Contactless card
Best First Credit Card: Our Top Picks
U.S. Bank Secured Visa® — Select Your Payment Date
The U.S. Bank Secured Visa® card is designed to build your credit with a low 18.99% APR and no annual fee. As a secured card, you deposit between $300 to $5,000 into a U.S. Bank savings account as assurance you can pay for your future card purchases. You are then responsible for paying the minimum payment or more by the due date. One nice feature of this card is your ability to choose the payment due date that works best for you.
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card — Earn Cash Rewards
There is a $39 annual fee for the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards card and a higher than most APR of 26.99%. However, if you use your card responsibly, you may qualify for a better deal in six months. You also will earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all your purchases with no expiration date to use them. Your rewards may be used for merchandise on Amazon.com and are transferable to PayPal.
Discover it® Secured — Cash Bonus Match in Year One
The Discover it® Secured card has no annual fee, a 22.99% APR and a low refundable security deposit of $200. After eight months of responsible use, your account will be reviewed to determine if your deposit can be returned. You earn a 1% to 2% cash bonus on your purchases, and Discover® will match the cash you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Citi® Secured Mastercard® — No Annual Fee
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® has a variable APR of 22.49% and no annual fee. When you apply for the card, you make a security deposit of at least $200 up to a maximum of $2,500, which is held for 18 months in a holding account. This card offers free access to your FICO score once you set up your online account.
Capital One® Platinum Credit Card — Contactless Card
The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is a good choice for those focused on building their credit in six months. Although it charges a high 26.99% interest rate, there is no annual fee for this card and no security deposit required to apply. It does not include any rewards or bonuses. This is a contactless card that you hover over the card reader when you make a purchase until you see a confirmation. Capital One® sends a monthly report to the top three credit bureaus to build your credit history sooner. If you make your payments on time, you will be considered for a better credit line in as little as six months.
The Bottom Line
Each of our best first credit card choices helps you build a positive credit history, provided you pay at least the minimum amount required by the due date each month. For best results, we recommend you pay off your balance monthly. All the cards offer credit monitoring, online account access and the ability to set up automatic payments to help you easily pay on time each month.
Fees will vary based on the credit card. Typically, you will want to look for annual fees, annual interest and other transactional fees. Ultimately, read over the agreement before accepting a credit card offer.
Getting a credit card without existing credit is challenging, but you can get one. You can apply for a secured card, student card or become an authorized user on your parents.
The best option is an unsecured card, but not everyone will qualify for that. A secured card is an excellent option for establishing credit and learning how to spend responsibly.
Do you need help selecting the right product for you? We will help you sort through your choices and find the best card for your needs.