Finding the best individual offer is a bit trickier. But don’t worry; we did the legwork for you. WalletHub’s editors compared more than 1,000 credit card offers, and here are their picks for the best starter credit cards:
2016’s Best Starter Credit Cards
|Best For…||Card Name||Annual Fee||Editors’ Rating|
|College Students||Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®||$0||5 Stars|
|Light Spenders||Capital One® Platinum Credit Card||$0||5 Stars|
|Heavy Spenders||Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card||$39||4.4 Stars|
|High Approval Odds||Open Sky℠ Secured Visa® Credit Card||$35||4 Stars|
If you’d rather do the search yourself, here are some helpful tips:
- Start with a student credit card if you have an active university email address. Banks offer college students more attractive terms because they prize their above-average earning potential and the potential that exists for them to become lifelong customers. Students can expect to garner a card that does not charge an annual fee yet offers at least a 1% rewards earning rate or 0% for the first few months.
- Non-students should consider unsecured credit cards for limited credit, store credit cards and secured credit cards. A secured card represents your best bet for approval, as you are essentially guaranteed to get one if you can place a security deposit of at least $200 – which will serve as your credit line and thereby prevent overspending.
Store credit cards can only be used at the particular retail chain they are affiliated with. For example, the Target REDcard can only be used to make purchases at Target. The appeal of store cards is that they tend to have fairly lenient approval standards (because the stores want more people spending more money at their locations) as well as some pretty lucrative rewards.
Unsecured credit cards for limited credit, on the other hand, will offer you more spending power but may end up charging the highest fees.
- When in doubt, get the cheapest secured card. That way you can begin to build credit as soon as possible in a relatively low-risk environment where you can practice responsible habits without the temptation to overspend.
- Get a boost from a store card. If you want to boost your credit building and rewards earning capabilities, you may also want to get a store card associated with one of your favorite retailers, as they are typically free to use.