But if you're no stranger to credit and you've already built up at least good credit, you can start setting your sights on more lucrative rewards cards such as Chase Freedom Unlimited® (5% cash back on grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12,000 spent), 5% cash back on travel through Chase, 3% cash back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all other purchases) or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (2 miles per $1 on all purchases).
For students: Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students $200 for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. 3% cash back in a category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 spent on these categories combined per quarter), and 1% on all other purchases. $0 annual fee. Can get this card with limited credit.
For cash back: Capital One QuicksilverOne Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. $39 annual fee. Accepts applicants with limited credit.
For frequent travelers/young professionals: Capital One Venture 60,000 miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. 2 miles per $1 on all purchases. $95 annual fee. Requires good credit or better.
For good credit:Chase Freedom Unlimited $200 for spending $500 in the first 3 months. 5% cash back on grocery store purchases for the first year (up to $12,000 spent), 5% cash back on travel through Chase, 3% cash back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all other purchases. Introductory purchase APR of 0% for 15 months (14.99% - 23.74% (V), based on creditworthiness, thereafter). $0 annual fee.
Most of these cards will be aimed at those at the beginning of their credit journey. If you have bad credit, though, it’s definitely worth checking out the best secured credit cards. On the other hand, those with good credit or better will have access to the best credit cards on the market. Students are a special category, as the best credit cards for students tend to offer better deals than credit cards aimed at other consumers with similar credit scores.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good card. You earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a $150 bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months from account opening, and it has a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months.
The best credit card for 18-year-olds is the Petal® 2 Visa® Credit Card because it has a $0 annual fee and is intended for beginners with little-to-no credit history. The Petal 2 Card also rewards cardholders with up to 1.5% cash back on purchases. There’s no security deposit required to open the account, either.… read full answer
As you can see, the best card depends a lot on your financial situation and spending habits. For example, the best credit cards for 18-year-old students are the Discover it® Student chrome and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students cards. They both offer $0 annual fees and solid cash back rewards on all purchases. A student’s age and earning potential are an attractive prospect for credit card issuers, so they’re willing to extend offers not readily available to non-students.
In addition, some of the other best credit cards for 18-year-olds are secured credit cards, which offer the easiest approval. They require a security deposit, typically around $200. The security deposit sets the credit limit and serves as collateral for the lender. It’s fully refundable after closing the account in good standing. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card and Secured Mastercard® from Capital One are two of the best secured credit cards for 18-year-olds.
Best Ways for 18-Year-Olds to Access Credit
Keep in mind that the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 places limits on credit cards for 18-year-olds. Under the law, consumers younger than 21 years old must have either a co-signer or proof of a steady income to be a credit card’s primary accountholder. If you can meet one of these two requirements, you’ll have a pool of cards to choose from that will help you establish credit.
Another option is to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. You can become an authorized user on any type of credit card, and you’ll enjoy any benefits the card offers while you establish your credit. The primary cardholder is financially responsible for the account, and his or her card activity will also be reflected on your credit report. However, any negative information such as late or missed payments will cause a drop in both of your credit scores.
The fastest ways to improve your credit score are to pay down your balances, dispute incorrect information on your credit report, make more frequent payments, and reduce credit utilization. Credit utilization (how much of your credit limits you use each month) contributes to a portion of your credit score that accounts for 20% - 30% of your overall score. So, an adjustment there can result in a big credit boost pretty quickly. Similarly, you can dispute incorrect information with a quick online request or phone call. You won’t always get an immediate credit score increase, but correcting errors on your credit report is a great place to start.… read full answer
There are a few other ways to increase your credit score quickly, from becoming an authorized user to increasing your credit limit. They may not all be equally effective for everyone, as it can take years to build a consistently good or excellent credit score. In fact, some strategies could send your credit score in the wrong direction before leading to an increase. For example, requesting a credit limit increase can result in a hard inquiry that damages your credit a bit in the short-term, but having more credit available could produce long-term gains if used responsibly.
Here’s how to improve your credit score fast:
Pay down your balances. If you aren’t eligible for a credit limit increase, focus on paying down existing debt. Paying down a large chunk of debt at once will help your credit utilization ratio and bump up your score. If you can’t make a large payment all at once, try to pay more than just the minimum monthly amount. If you have multiple debts, start by making payments on the debt that has the highest interest rate so you can limit interest charges.
Dispute incorrect information on your credit report. You should file a dispute for any incorrect negative info on your report. Once the dispute goes through, incorrect items will drop off your file, and your score should improve. You may have to wait 30 days for the credit bureau to review your dispute before you see any changes.
Make more frequent payments. Credit utilization is calculated based on the statement balance on each of your credit cards. You can reduce these balances, thus decreasing your credit utilization and increasing your credit score, by making payments before the end of each billing period. Then, pay off the remaining balance by the due date to avoid interest charges and credit-score damage.
Become an authorized user. If you’re just starting out, or your credit report has a string of negative marks, a good move would be to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card and build your credit over time. Just make sure the primary holder is responsible and pays their bills on time.
Add new payments to your credit file. There are new services that can add positive information, like on-time utility payments, rent payments, and positive bank balances to your credit report. Not all of these programs apply to all credit bureaus, and some cost money to utilize, but they could boost your credit score over a few months.
Increase your credit limit. A higher credit limit can reduce your credit utilization ratio, assuming your spending does not increase. The only potential problem is that asking for a credit limit increase usually results in a hard credit inquiry, which would temporarily hurt your credit score a bit. But if you get a credit limit increase without asking, or you have a few months before you need the highest credit score possible, a higher limit could definitely help.
Everyone’s credit situation is different, so not every option will be relevant or available to you. The best way to find out exactly what you can do to quickly improve your score is to check out the personalized advice in the Credit Analysis section of your WalletHub dashboard.
When you choose a credit card for the first time, you should weigh several factors. Ask yourself if you really need a credit card. If so, decide what will you use the credit card for. You should also weigh your current financial situation, and assess whether you can make monthly payments on time, and for the full amount. If you’re planning on carrying a balance, make sure you understand things such as minimum payments and interest.… read full answer
Above all, be realistic in your expectations. Your first credit card will likely have a low credit limit, a high interest rates, and an annual fee. If your most viable option is a secured card, make sure you know the difference between secured and unsecured credit cards.
Here is how you choose a credit card for the first time:
Decide if you need a credit card. If you’re starting out in the “real world,” you will need to establish credit. If used responsibly, a credit card is a valuable asset in starting the process. Good credit can set you up for future car loans or mortgages, and land you favorable interest rates. Nearly every other start-up expense such as apartment rentals, cell phones, and insurance premiums also require to have an established, and good credit profile.
Determine how the card will be used. Whether it’s for everyday expenses such as gas and groceries, or furnishing your first apartment, understand that whatever you purchase on the card, you will have to pay back. Make sure you’re aware of your card’s credit limit, and what happens if you use up a large chunk of that credit limit.
Take a look at your finances. Is your current salary enough to handle a credit card payment and any student loans debt on top of all the everyday expenses? Make sure you have enough funds at the end of the month to pay the credit card bill, preferably for the full amount. It’s easy to fall into the trap of setting aside just enough to cover the minimum payment, but that will end up cost you more in the long run.
Review Terms and Conditions carefully. Compare against several cards. Research a card’s interest rate, or Annual Percentage Rate, and how that rate is calculated. Familiarize yourself with the card’s grace period, and how can avoid all those interest charges. Know your minimum payment and when it’s due. If a card has any fees such as annual fees, know that those charges will impact your credit limit.
Consider a secured credit card. A secured card may be the better option for establishing credit. You’ll have to put up a security deposit, which will also be your credit limit. How much spending power you have depends on the size of your deposit. You’ll get a better rate, and fewer fees than with an unsecured card. Plus, if you’re responsible with a secured card for several months, you’ll be eligible for a credit limit increase, or you’ll be able to transition to an unsecured card with much better terms.
Don’t feel like you have to accept the first credit card that’s offered to you. Or every offer. A credit card can be a valuable financial tool to help build your credit. Too many credit cards too soon may be an invitation to overspend and overextend all of your available credit. That will quickly damage the very credit history you’re trying to establish.
If you're just starting out, it'll be a secured card. Discover it secured is a good choice.
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