Best Credit Cards for Beginners: Build Your Credit With These Starter Cards
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Are you new to the world of credit cards? Are you looking for the best options to help you build your credit history?
In this guide, we’ll explore the best credit cards for beginners, providing you with all the information you need to choose the best card. Cardless is our top pick because of the company’s generous welcome bonuses, wide acceptance rate, and competitive APR.
However, every card on our list offers unique perks, from secured cards to cashback rewards. On our list, you’ll find good credit cards for beginners that fit your specific needs.
Best Credit Cards for Beginners
- The Simon® American Express® Credit Card by Cardless – Best credit card for beginners overall
- First Latitude Secured MasterCard® Credit Card – Best with repayment rewards
- Total Visa Card – Best for those with bad credit
- Revvi Card – Best card with convenient app
- First Access – Best for quick access
- Extra credit building debit card – Best to build credit
If you’re new to credit cards, finding the right one can be overwhelming. To help you in your search, we’ve carefully evaluated and selected the best credit cards for beginners. These cards cater to different needs and offer various benefits. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
1. The Simon® American Express® Credit Card by Cardless – Best Credit Card for Beginners Overall
- No annual fee
- Competitive APR
- Generous cash back rewards
- Wide acceptance
- Requires a good credit score
Annual Fee: No annual fee.
Regular APR: 21.24% to 31.24% based on your credit score when opening an account. APR will then vary depending on the market.
Credit Score: Requires a good credit score.
Cardless is a modern and innovative credit card company that caters specifically to beginners in the world of credit cards. They offer a range of credit cards that simplify the application process and provide credit-building tools.
With no annual fees and competitive interest rates, The Simon® American Express® Credit Card by Cardless prioritizes affordability, while offering a generous cash back rewards program. The card offers 5% cash back on purchases at Simon Malls, outlets, and other participating locations, 10% back on select branded gift cards purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Why we chose The Simon® American Express® Credit Card:
Cardless’s Simon® American Express® Credit Card is our top pick for the best credit cards for beginners because the company goes beyond the basics by providing a rewards program, digital wallet integration, and flexible credit limits.
Overall, Simon® American Express® Credit Card is an excellent choice for beginners seeking a credit card that combines simplicity, convenience, and educational resources. You can easily manage your card account, redeem rewards, and access benefits through their user-friendly digital platform.
The Simon® American Express® Credit Card by Cardless is one of the best credit cards for beginners looking for an option that combines simplicity, convenience, and educational resources. With its user-friendly interface, credit-building tools, and attractive benefits, The Simon® American Express® Credit Card stands out as one of the outstanding credit card providers for first-timers embarking on their credit card journey.
2. First Latitude Secured MasterCard® Credit Card – Best With Repayment Rewards
- Cashback rewards on timely payments
- No minimum credit score requirement
- Low initial deposit
- Charges annual fees
- Has a one-time program fee of $19.95
Welcome Bonus: Enjoy cashback rewards on all payments made on time.
- $25 for the first year
- $35 every year after
Regular APR: 24.49%
Credit Score: No minimum credit score requirement.
The First Latitude credit card is one of the best credit cards for beginners, especially for those looking to build credit and earn rewards. The application process is simple, and the company allows people with bad credit or no credit to sign up for the card while offering 1% cash back on payments.
First, Latitude requires a security deposit in order to open lines of credit. You can put down anywhere between $100 to $2,000 to have a matched line of credit. This is especially useful for anyone with bad credit and trouble getting a credit card.
The deposit is fully refundable, and you’ll get the money back when you close your account and pay off your credit card in full.
Why we chose First Latitude:
The repayment rewards program sets First Latitude apart from other cards, making it an excellent choice for beginners looking to build credit while earning rewards. The rewards work great for first-time credit card holders, who can earn bonus points from paying off their monthly debt.
First Latitude is the best credit card for beginners who want to be rewarded for responsible repayment habits, offering cashback rewards and flexibility. With round-the-clock customer support and educational resources, First Latitude is an excellent choice for beginners seeking simplicity, convenience, and growth opportunities.
3. Total Visa Card – Best for Those With Bad Credit
- Designed for anyone with bad credit
- Opportunity to rebuild credit history
- Wide acceptance
- $95 one-time fee
- High regular APR
Welcome Bonus: No welcome bonus offered.
- $75 for the first year
- $48 annually every year after the first
- $8.25 monthly fee after the first year ($99 total)
Regular APR: 34.99%
Credit Score: Unsecured cards fall in the credit score range of 550 to 620.
The Total Visa credit card is a suitable choice for beginners who are looking to establish or rebuild their credit history. With a straightforward application process, this card offers an opportunity for anyone with less-than-perfect credit to obtain a credit card. The Total Visa card is accepted by millions of merchants nationwide and can also be used for online purchases.
While it does come with an annual fee and high-interest rates, it provides access to credit and the potential to improve credit scores when used responsibly.
Why we chose Total Visa Card:
Total Visa Card caters to those with bad credit, providing them with a chance to rebuild their credit history. Unlike other credit cards with strict approval requirements, the Total Visa card considers an applicant’s overall financial situation rather than solely relying on credit scores.
The company limits the risks of giving credit cards to people with bad credit by charging larger fees than many of the competitors. Though these fees are high, this service is a valuable tool for beginners looking to improve their creditworthiness in the long run.
The Total Visa credit card offers a credit limit of up to $300, providing users with the opportunity to start building their credit by making small purchases and paying them off on time. It reports to all three major credit bureaus, which means responsible card usage can positively impact credit scores.
4. Revvi Card – Best Card with Convenient App
- Works for those with bad credit
- 1% cashback rewards
- Convenient repayment options
- User-friendly mobile app
- Must have a checking account
- $95 sign-up fee
Welcome Bonus: No welcome bonus offered.
- First-year fee of $75
- $48 annually every year after
- $8.25 monthly fee after the first year ($99 total)
Regular APR: 35.99%
Credit Score: Generally, these cards are designed for a credit score between 550 to 620 or lower.
Revvi Card stands out as the best choice for beginners who want a credit card with a convenient companion app. With no credit check and the opportunity to earn cashback rewards, it is among the best credit cards for beginners.
Why we chose Revvi Card:
Revvi credit card offers a range of features that make it an appealing choice for beginners. It provides access to a credit line that is directly tied to the initial security deposit made by the cardholder.
This deposit acts as collateral and determines the available credit limit. Revvi card reports to all three major credit bureaus, helping users establish a positive credit history.
Furthermore, Revvi card offers an intuitive mobile app that allows users to conveniently manage their accounts, make payments, and track their credit scores. This feature is particularly helpful for beginners who are just starting to navigate the world of credit cards.
Overall, the Revvi credit card is one of the best credit cards for beginners looking to build credit responsibly. Its user-friendly mobile app, credit-tracking, and cash back rewards make it a standout choice in the market.
5. First Access – Best for Quick Approval
- Easy application process
- Quick access to credit card
- Works for people with limited credit history
- Credit decision in minutes after application
- Low credit line of $300
Welcome Bonus: 1% cashback reward
- One-time $95 fee
- $75 for the first year
- $48 after the first year, plus $8.25 monthly service fee.
Regular APR: 35.99%
Credit Score: Works for people credit scores between 550 and 620 or lower.
First Access offers a quick and straightforward approval process, giving beginners access to credit without a lengthy application process. With easy online application and approval within minutes, the First Access Visa card provides users with a convenient and accessible way to start building their credit.
Why we chose First Access:
First Access is one of the best credit cards for beginners who want quick access to credit. Its streamlined approval process makes it a convenient option for those starting their credit journey.
Additionally, the company provides its users with access to an online account management platform, allowing them to monitor their transactions, pay bills, and track their credit progress. This feature is particularly useful for beginners who are still learning how to navigate the credit card landscape and want to stay on top of their financial activities.
With its low annual fee, manageable credit limit, and online account management platform, this card provides users with the tools they need to responsibly build their credit history. First Access is the best credit card for beginners who want quick and easy access to credit, providing a straightforward approval process.
6. Extra Credit Building Debit Card – Best To Build Credit
- Helps to build credit history
- No credit check required
- No deposit necessary
- Earn reward points
- Limited acceptance
- $199 yearly fee
Welcome Bonus: No welcome bonus offered.
Annual Fee: $199
Regular APR: N/A (debit card).
Credit Score: No credit check required.
The Extra Credit debit card is a top choice for beginners looking to build their credit. This innovative card offers a unique approach to credit building by combining the benefits of a debit card with the ability to establish a credit history. With its user-friendly mobile app and transparent fee structure, Extra Credit provides a hassle-free experience for cardholders.
Why we chose Extra Credit Building Debit Card:
We chose the Extra Credit debit card as one of the best credit cards for beginners due to its groundbreaking features and benefits. Unlike traditional credit cards, Extra Credit takes a different approach by focusing on credit-building through responsible debit card usage.
By reporting your monthly payments to credit bureaus, this card helps you establish a credit history without accumulating debt. The user-friendly mobile app provides real-time updates on your credit score, transaction history, and payment reminders, empowering users to stay on top of their finances.
Plus, the transparent fee structure ensures that you won’t be surprised by hidden charges. Overall, the Extra Credit debit card offers a safe and effective way for beginners to start building credit.
The Extra Credit debit card is a game-changer for beginners seeking to build credit. With its innovative approach and user-friendly features, this card makes the credit-building process hassle-free and transparent.
Credit Cards for Beginners: Should I Get a Credit Card?
Before diving into the world of credit cards, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons and determine if it’s the right time for you to get a credit card.
Pros and Cons of Credit Cards
Good credit cards for beginners offer several advantages, such as convenience, security, and rewards. However, they also have potential drawbacks, including high interest rates and the temptation to overspend. Consider the following pros and cons before making a decision:
- Convenience: Credit cards offer a convenient way to make purchases without carrying cash.
- Security: Credit cards provide protection against fraudulent transactions and unauthorized charges.
- Rewards: Many credit cards for first-timers offer rewards programs, allowing you to earn cashback, travel points, or other incentives.
- Building Credit: Responsible credit card usage can help you build a positive credit history, which is crucial for future financial endeavors.
- High-Interest rates: First-timer credit cards often come with high-interest rates, especially if you carry a balance.
- Temptation to overspend: Credit availability can lead to impulsive purchases and debt accumulation.
- Fees: Some credit cards for first-timers come with annual fees, late payment fees, and other charges.
Ultimately, getting a credit card should be based on your financial readiness and ability to manage credit responsibly.
When Should I Get a Credit Card?
The ideal time to begin applying for good credit cards for beginners is when you’re financially responsible and ready to manage your credit. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in most cases.
- Financial Stability: Ensure that you have a stable source of income to make timely payments and cover any credit card expenses.
- Budgeting Skills: Develop good budgeting habits to ensure you can manage credit responsibly and avoid overspending.
- Credit Knowledge: Familiarize yourself with credit terms, interest rates, and the impact of credit on your overall financial health.
Considering these factors will help you determine if you’re ready to get your first credit card.
Credit Cards for Beginners: How To Choose Your First Credit Card
Choosing among the best credit cards for beginners is crucial for building a solid credit history. Consider the following factors when selecting your card:
- Credit Score: Check your credit score to understand your creditworthiness and the types of cards you’re eligible for. If you have a limited credit history or bad credit, look for good credit cards for beginners or for those with poor credit.
- Rewards: Decide if you want a rewards credit card or a non-rewards card. Rewards cards offer cashback, travel points, or other incentives based on your spending habits. Non-rewards cards are simpler to use and don’t tempt you to spend for the sake of earning rewards.
- Spending Limit: Set a monthly spending limit that you can comfortably pay off each month. Avoid exceeding this limit to prevent accumulating debt.
- Secured vs. Unsecured Cards: Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit, while unsecured cards don’t. If you’re unable to qualify for an unsecured card, a secured card can be a good option for building credit.
By considering these factors, you can choose a credit card that aligns with your financial goals and helps you build credit responsibly.
Credit Cards for Beginners: How to Apply for Your First Credit Card
Once you’ve decided on the best credit card for you, it’s time to apply. Follow these steps to apply for credit cards for first-timers:
- Research: Gather all the necessary information about the credit card you want to apply for, including the required documents and eligibility criteria.
- Fill out the Application: Visit the card issuer’s website or click on a card promotion to access the online application. Provide accurate personal and financial information as requested.
- Submit the Application: Review your application for any errors or omissions, then submit it. Some credit card issuers may provide an instant decision, while others may take a few business days to review your application.
- Await Approval: If your application is approved, you’ll receive your new credit card in the mail within a specified timeframe. If your application is declined, the issuer will provide a letter explaining the decision.
Remember to apply for only one credit card at a time to avoid multiple hard inquiries on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your credit score.
Credit Cards for Beginners: Requirements
To apply for credit cards for first-timers, you’ll typically need to provide the following information:
- Basic contact information, including your name, address, and phone number.
- Date of birth and Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Employment status, annual income, and monthly housing costs (rent or mortgage).
Additionally, the card issuer may check your credit history to assess your creditworthiness. Some issuers may also offer pre-qualification checks that won’t impact your credit score.
What To Look For in Credit-Building Credit Cards
When selecting from the credit cards for first-timers to build your credit, consider the following factors:
- Credit Reporting: Ensure that the card issuer reports your payment history to all three major credit bureaus. This is crucial for building a positive credit history.
- Fees: Read the fine print to understand the card’s annual fees, late payment fees, and any other charges. Look for cards with reasonable fees or options for fee waivers.
- Interest Rates: Pay attention to the card’s regular APR. While it’s best to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges, a lower APR can be beneficial if you need to carry a balance occasionally.
- Credit Limit: Consider the credit limit offered by the card. A higher credit limit can provide more flexibility, but avoid exceeding your budgeted spending.
By evaluating these factors, you can find a credit-building credit card that suits your needs and helps you establish a positive credit history.
How To Get a Credit Card With No Credit
Building credit without a credit history is possible. Consider the following options:
- Become an Authorized User: Ask a family member or close friend with good credit to add you as an authorized user on their credit card. Their positive payment history can help you build credit.
- Secured Credit Cards: These best credit cards for beginners require a refundable security deposit, which becomes your credit limit. They are accessible to people with no credit history or poor credit.
- Credit Builder Loans: Some financial institutions offer credit builder loans specifically designed to establish credit. These loans require an initial deposit, and as you make on-time payments, your payment history is reported to credit bureaus.
- Retail Store Cards: Retail store credit cards for beginners are often more lenient in their approval process and can be a good starting point for building credit.
You can begin building credit even without a credit history by exploring these options.
Alternatives to the Best Credit Cards for Beginners
Credit cards for first-timers are not the only option for building credit. Consider these alternatives:
Debit Card vs. Credit Card
Debit cards and credit cards may look similar, but they function differently. With a debit card, you can only spend the money you have in your bank account. Besides the exceptions like Extra Credit Building debit cards, these don’t help you build credit since it’s not a credit instrument. However, it offers convenience and security for everyday transactions.
On the other hand, the best credit cards for beginners or those with bad credit allow you to make purchases on credit, which, when managed responsibly, can help you build credit history. They offer additional benefits such as rewards and protection against fraudulent transactions.
Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards
Charge cards differ from credit cards for first-timers in that they require you to pay your balance in full each month. They don’t have a preset spending limit, but issuers monitor your spending patterns and may set limits based on your payment history and creditworthiness.
Charge cards can be a good option for beginners who want to avoid accumulating debt and prefer to pay their balance in full each month.
Personal Loan vs. Credit Cards
Personal loans can also help build credit when managed responsibly. Unlike credit cards, personal loans provide a lump sum of money that you repay in fixed installments over a set period. Making on-time payments on a personal loan can positively impact your credit history.
Our team of experts carefully evaluated a range of the best credit cards for beginners, considering factors such as rewards, fees, and credit requirements. We compared various options and selected the best credit cards based on their overall value and benefits.
The Best Credit Cards for Beginners: FAQ
Here are answers to some common questions about credit cards for first-timers:
Can I Apply for a Credit Card With No Income?
Having a steady income is typically a requirement for credit card applications. However, some issuers may offer options for people with limited income, such as student credit cards or secured credit cards for first-timers.
What Is a Good Credit Score?
A good credit score generally falls within the range of 670 to 739. However, credit score requirements may vary depending on the card issuer and the specific credit card.
Good credit cards for beginners will help you build up your credit score as long as you pay off your monthly debt on time.
Which Credit Card Is Best for Me as a Beginner?
The best credit card for beginners depends on your needs and financial situation. Consider factors such as your credit score, spending habits, and desired rewards to find the card that aligns with your goals.
What Credit Card Is Best for Building Credit Fast?
Secured credit cards and credit cards specifically designed for people with limited credit history or poor credit can help build credit quickly. Look for cards that report your payment history to credit bureaus, like the Total Visa Card and Revvi Card, and cards that offer opportunities for credit limit increases.
What Credit Cards Do I Qualify for With No Credit?
As a beginner with no credit history, you may qualify for secured credit cards or good credit cards for beginners, which are made for people with limited credit history. These cards typically have lower credit requirements and can help you establish credit.
What Credit Card Is Easiest To Get With No Credit?
Secured credit cards are often the easiest to obtain with no credit history. Since they require a refundable security deposit, they are less risky for issuers and more accessible, making them good credit cards for beginners.
How Do I Check My Credit Report and Score?
You can check your credit report for free once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at AnnualCreditReport.com. To obtain your credit score, you may need to use a credit monitoring service or check with your bank or credit card issuer if they provide access to your score.
What Do You Need to Apply for Your First Credit Card?
To apply for good credit cards for beginners, you’ll typically need basic personal information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number. You may also need to provide financial information, including your income and monthly housing costs.
How Do I Start To Build Credit for the First Time?
To start building credit for the first time, consider options such as becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, applying for good credit cards for beginners, or taking out a credit builder loan. Make timely payments and keep your credit utilization low to establish a positive credit history.
Can I Get a Credit Card With No Credit?
Yes, you can get a credit card with no credit history. Secured credit cards and good credit cards for beginners designed for anyone with a limited credit history are accessible options.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Credit Card?
The time it takes to get a credit card varies depending on the issuer and the approval process. Some issuers, like First Access, provide instant approval decisions, while others may take a few business days to review your application. Once approved, you can expect to receive your credit card in the mail within a specified timeframe.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Get a Credit Card?
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card. These best credit cards for young adults are easy to handle, providing rewards and helping them build their credit simultaneously. However, if you’re under 21, you may need a cosigner or proof of independent income to qualify.
What Is a Secured Credit Card?
A secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit to open an account. The deposit works as collateral and determines your credit limit. Secured credit cards are a good option for beginners or people with poor credit who want to build or rebuild their credit history.
The Best Credit Cards for Beginners: Conclusion
Choosing the best credit cards for beginners may be difficult, but it is essential for building a solid credit history. When selecting a card, consider your financial situation, credit score, and desired rewards.
Cardless offers good credit cards for beginners, with a generous sign-up bonus, competitive APR, and no yearly fee. However, each option on our list provides unique perks that may better suit your needs.
Whether you opt for a secured card, a rewards card, or a non-rewards card, making timely payments and establishing good credit habits will help build a strong credit score.