You should get your first credit card from an issuer that offers secured cards. For a credit card first-timer, they’re easier to get than an unsecured card for people with limited or no credit. And they’ll likely have fewer fees and a slightly lower interest rate.
You will have to make a deposit before you can open a secured card account. The deposit serves as the collateral for the issuer. If you default on your payments, the issuer keeps the deposit. If you maintain your account in good standing, you’ll get your deposit back after several months of timely payments, or when you close your account. The deposit also sets your credit limit. You can set your own credit limit, but you’ll likely have to put up a minimum $200 deposit.
If you’re a student, consider a first credit card designed specifically for students looking to build credit. They’re unsecured cards, which means there’s no security deposit required. You’ll likely start out with a low credit limit, but most student cards don’t come with the annual fees that traditional unsecured cards tend to charge.
Here’s where to get your first credit card:
Credit Card Comparison Website: Our Compare Credit Cards landing page makes it easy to apply for your first credit card. Just filter your search based on the type of card and features you want. A side by-side comparison increases the odds of you landing your ideal credit card.
Banks: Major banks offer starter credit cards for people with limited or no credit. You can apply online or at a local branch.
Credit Unions: You can often find starter credit cards with excellent terms. Credit Unions do have specific membership requirements to be eligible to apply, so check on line or at a local branch for details.
Stores: Major retailers offer their own credit cards. You can apply online or in-store. You’ll typically need fair credit in order to be approved.
Once you get your first credit card, use it responsibly. Secured and student cards both, or should, report your activity to the credit reporting bureaus. You will start out with a low credit score, but you’ll notice an increase over time as you keep up timely payments and keep your debt-to-credit limit low.
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