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 (5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 2 miles per $1 on all other 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. 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 2 miles per $1 on all other 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 APRs of 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (14.99% - 24.74% (V), based on creditworthiness, thereafter). Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days (5%, min $5 after). $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 eligible 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 easy 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 Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card 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.
To choose a credit card for the first time, first ask yourself if you really need a credit card. If so, decide what will you use the credit card for. You should also check your credit score and weigh your current financial situation to 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 … read full answerminimum payments and interest.
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 used responsibly, a credit card is a good way to start building credit. Good credit can set you up for future car loans or mortgages, and land you favorable interest rates.
Check your credit score and take a look at your finances. If you don't have a credit score, focus on cards for limited or no credit. Otherwise, narrow your search to cards that accept your level of credit. And make sure you have enough income to pay the credit card bill, preferably for the full amount. Covering just the minimum payment will end up costing you more in the long run, due to interest.
Consider a secured credit card. A secured card is also an option for establishing credit. They tend to be some of the easiest cards to get as you’ll have to put up a security deposit, which will also be your credit limit. You’ll get a better rate, and fewer fees than with an unsecured card for bad credit. Plus, with responsible use, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase, or a transition to an unsecured card with much better terms.
Consider a student credit card, if eligible. Student credit cardsare generally open to students with limited or no credit and often have better terms than their general consumer counterparts.
Compare Cards and review Terms and Conditions carefully. Compare against several cards. Research a card’s interest rate, or APR. 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.
Don’t feel like you have to accept the first credit card that’s offered to you. Or every offer. And don't apply for more than one card at the same time. Too many credit card applications can damage your credit score. Also, having 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. Make sure you use your credit card responsibly while avoiding mistakes, and you'll build the credit you need for the best credit cards on the market.
If you're just starting out, it'll be a secured card. Discover it secured is a good choice.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub.
Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.