The best introductory credit cards are meant for beginners, offering high approval odds to people with limited or no credit history. They also have low annual fees and report account information to the major credit bureaus each month, allowing responsible cardholders to build credit over time.
The best introductory credit cards can provide low fees, rewards, and a clear path to a higher credit score. But they’re far from the best credit card offers on the market. If you use an introductory credit card responsibly, making sure to always pay your monthly bill by the due date, you can build the credit standing needed to qualify for the market’s best overall credit cards before too long.
The best introductory credit card is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card because it offers 1 - 2% cash back rewards on purchases, very high approval odds and a $0 annual fee. Plus, cardholders set their own credit limit. Since it’s a secured card, it requires a refundable security deposit. The card’s credit limit is equal to that deposit. You can place a deposit of $200 - $2,500.
For people not keen on placing a deposit but who still want a $0 annual fee card, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is ideal. It’s available to people with limited. While it doesn’t offer rewards, it does provide a way to build credit for free.
Starter credit cards are necessary because consumers need a way to prove that they’re responsible enough to handle more robust financial products, such as a substantial home loan or a high line of credit.
Starter credit cards offer the kind of low-risk environment in which unproven consumers can show what they’ve got without the potential losses being too high for banks. They tend to have modest credit limits, modest rewards, modest fees, and modest interest rates, but they do report usage information to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis and therefore provide an exceptionally cost-effective means by which to build credit.… read full answer
To get a credit card for the first time, you must be at least 18 years old and have enough income to afford monthly credit card payments, in addition to your other expenses. The minimum payments on a starter credit card usually are around $15 per month. The two basic steps involved in getting a credit card for the first time are to: 1) compare credit card offers designed specifically for people with limited or no credit history; and 2) apply for one with no annual fee, if available – rewards and APRs can be the tiebreaker.… read full answer
If you’re at least 21 years old, you can list household income and assets that you have reasonable access to on your credit card application. Younger applicants can only list independent income and assets. But even having a part-time job should provide enough income to get a credit card for the first time. Only people who are at least 18 years old can get their own credit card account. But there is no minimum age for being an authorized user on a credit card, in most cases.
High approval odds are one of the most important things to look for in your first credit card. The sooner you get approved, the sooner you can begin building your credit standing. Getting rejected for a credit card sets you back, both in terms of time and possible damage to your limited credit.
Low fees are another key feature to seek out when getting a credit card for the first time. Starter credit cards generally don’t offer rewards or interest rates worth paying high annual or monthly fees for. So it’s best to make your first credit card one with a $0 annual fee and always pay your monthly bill in full to avoid interest charges.
There are plenty of other things about the process of picking, applying for and getting your first credit that are also important to learn. We’ll walk you through them below, step by step.
How to Get a Credit Card for the First Time:
See if you have a credit report and score. You could have more credit history than you think, perhaps from being an authorized user on a family member’s credit card. This will help you determine how good of a credit card you should shoot for. Check your latest credit score and credit report for free on WalletHub.
Determine whether student credit cards are an option. College students can usually get better first credit cards than other people with no credit. Their youth and above-average expected income make them attractive to banks and credit unions. If you’re enrolled in school, check out the best student credit cards.
Compare secured and unsecured starter cards.Secured credit cards have the highest approval odds, but they require you to place a refundable security deposit. The amount of that deposit becomes your spending limit. Unsecured cards are harder to get but have no deposit.
Limit your search to cards with the lowest fees. Focus on weeding out cards with expensive non-refundable fees. A no annual fee credit card with no security deposit is best. But a low-fee secured card isn’t bad, either. You can get back your deposit when you close your account.
Choose the best remaining offer for your needs. If several credit cards are tied for the lowest fees and highest approval odds, consider the terms that are next most important to you. If you plan to pay your bill in full every month, that will probably be rewards. If not, you may want to focus on interest rates.
Submit your credit card application. Apply online for the fastest decision. You may even be approved instantly if you clearly meet the issuer’s criteria. You should receive your card within 7-10 business days of being approved.
Learning how to get a credit card for the first time is a rite of passage for young adults after turning 18 years old. And it’s a lot easier than you might think. The key is to choose wisely, by focusing on offers for people with limited credit and secured credit cards, which provide nearly guaranteed approval.
It’s also really important to remember that learning how to get a credit card for the first time and getting approved are only the beginning. You also need to use that card responsibly, which means spending within your means, paying your bill on time every month, and keeping your credit utilization below 30%.
If you can avoid racking up costly credit card debt and hurting your credit score with missed payments, your first credit card will be a huge asset. It will add positive information to your major credit reports each month. That will gradually improve your credit standing. And better credit will make it easier to rent an apartment, buy or lease a car, find a job, get approved for good loans and lines of credit and save on car insurance premiums, among other things.
You can track your progress for free on WalletHub, the only site with free credit scores and reports that are updated daily. We’ll even tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your credit score at a given time, plus provide personalized credit card recommendations. You can use them to find your first credit card and then graduate from it when the time is right.
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