The kind of credit card that is good for beginners is either an unsecured or a secured card with annual fees as low as $0 and high approval odds. It’s worth noting that some of the best credit cards for beginners even offer rewards.
You can also take a look at our editors’ latest picks for the best starter credit cards on the market to see which one suits your needs better.
Ultimately, please note that as long as you remember to pay your bill on time and in full every month, you will be able to gradually build credit. And within a few years, you could qualify for one of the market’s best overall credit cards.
To choose a credit card for the first time, you should first decide what will you use it for. You should also check your credit score and weigh your current financial situation. This is to assess whether you can make monthly payments on time and in full. If you’re planning on carrying a balance, make sure you understand things such as … read full answerminimum payments and interest rates.
Above all, be realistic in your expectations. Your first credit card will likely have a low credit limit, a high interest rate, 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 to 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 serve as 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. You could also transition to an unsecured card with much better terms in time.
Consider a student credit card, if eligible. Student credit cards are generally open to students with limited or no credit history and often have better terms than their general consumer counterparts.
Compare cards and review their 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 you 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.
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. This way, you'll build the credit you need for the best credit cards on the market.
To get a credit card for the first time, you should first check if you have any credit history, then compare cards and pick the best offer before applying. In order to be eligible to apply for your first credit card, you must be at least 18 years old and have enough income to afford monthly credit card payments. Below, you can learn more about the process of picking, applying for and getting your first credit card, step by step.… read full answer
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. You can check your latest credit score and credit report for free on WalletHub to see. This will help you determine how good of a credit card you should shoot for.
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 typically 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.
Confirm you have enough income
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. Applicants who are 18-20 years old 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.
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.
Key Things to Know About Choosing Your First Credit Card
High approval odds are among 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.
Tips for Using Your First Credit Card
It’s 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.
To get a credit card with no credit, apply online for a starter credit card, student credit card or other type of credit card for people with limited credit history. By choosing a card designed for people with no credit, newcomers who are at least 18 years old with enough income to afford monthly bill payments will have good approval odds. You don’t need credit history to get credit. But you do need to demonstrate the ability to repay future balances.… read full answer
It’s actually easier than you might think to get a credit card with no credit. You just need to follow a few simple steps. We’ll tee them up below and then explain each in more detail.
How to Get a Credit Card with No Credit
Check for a credit report/score to confirm you really have no credit
See if your school email still works, as student credit cards are the best available to beginners
Compare starter credit cards to find the lowest fees and highest approval odds
Apply online and get a decision within days, if not instantly
Activate your starter credit card
So, if you want to get a credit card without credit history, start by making sure you really have no credit, then compare credit card offers, select the best one for your needs and submit an application. You could have a new card in your hands within 7-10 business days of applying.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s go through the steps involved in getting a credit card for the first time with no credit history in greater detail.
Step 1: Confirm you have no credit. You might have credit history without even realizing it. This could have come from being an authorized user on a parent’s credit card account. Or, it could be some sort of a mistake. And it could either put you in line for a better starter credit card or make it harder to get approved. You can check your credit report and score for free on WalletHub.
Step 2: See if your school email still works. College students typically get much better credit cards than other people with no credit. So if you have an active “.edu” email address, it will be an asset in your credit card search.
Step 3: Compare starter credit cards. You have to comparison shop if you want to find the best credit card deal. Your top priority should be getting a card with no annual fee whose other terms complement your spending and payment habits nicely.
Step 4: Submit your application. Actually applying for a credit card is the simplest part of the process. Just click “Apply Now” when you find your favorite offer, and we’ll redirect you to the issuer’s secure online application page. Applying online is the fastest application method. You could even be approved instantly.
Step 5: Activate your new credit card (or place a deposit on a secured card). If you don’t get approved the first time you apply for a starter credit card, place a refundable deposit on a secured credit card. Secured cards have the highest approval odds because your deposit usually matches your spending limit.
It’s simple to get a credit card with no credit. But once you open a credit card account, make sure to use it responsibly. Above all else, that means paying your bill on time every month and keeping your credit utilization as low as possible. That will ensure your credit score starts strong and stays headed in the right direction. You can track your progress for free on WalletHub, the first and only site with free daily credit score updates.
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