2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING CREDIT CARDS FOR BEGINNERS


Finding the Best Credit Cards for Beginners

Securing your first credit card is a big step into the personal finance world. For many students that are entering college, getting the best first credit card to build credit is just another step into adult life. However, it is important to note that you take on a big responsibility when your spending is not limited by the amount in your bank account at a certain point in time.

You will be able to charge things on your first credit card, knowing that you will pay them off in a month’s time. That means that a shopping trip to the mall will not end when your debit card is declined at the fourth store you visit. When you seize the best credit card for starters, you gain a lot of responsibility as well.

Award Emblem: Top 6 Starter, First, Beginner Credit Cards for Beginners

While having the best starting credit card is important to build up your credit, finding your first credit card is not always an easy task. A good first credit card will allow you to build up credit, but not all banks and lenders offer the best starter credit card.


Are There Starter Credit Cards for People with No Credit or Bad Credit?

With more than 20.5 million students attending college in the United States in the fall of 2016, there are many students with little to no financial or credit history. These students need good starter credit cards, but are there any out there?

Fortunately, even if you have no credit or bad credit, there are still options available for you to secure the best first credit card to build credit. Securing a good first credit card can be a bit of a catch-22 though, because credit card companies want to know that you are a reliable borrower before they offer you a credit card.

However, you can rest assured that there are some starter credit cards for people with no credit. The best credit cards for beginners can help you build up your credit history and allow you to enjoy some of the benefits of having a credit card.

If you have no credit or bad credit, you need to find the best first credit card to build credit. However, it is important to note that not all beginner credit cards make for a good first credit card. Some beginner credit cards are better than other starter credit cards. That is why we put together a list of the best credit card for beginners with no credit.

See Also: Top Credit Cards for College Students| Ranking | Best College Student Credit Cards



AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Starter Credit Card

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the credit card names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that credit card):


Top 6 Best Credit Card to Start Building Credit | Brief Comparison

Credit Card Names

Annual Percentage Rate
(APR)

Regular Cash
Back

Type of Credit
Card

Type of
Credit
Needed

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

13.24–23.24%

Yes

Student

No Credit, Poor, Bad, Average

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

20.24%

Yes

Student

Average

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

24.99%

No

Prepaid Secured Credit Card

No Credit, Poor, Bad, Average

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

22.24%

No

Prepaid Secured Credit Card

No Credit, Poor, Bad, Average

Discover it® for Students Card

13.24
–22.24%

Yes

Student

No Credit, Poor, Bad, Average

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

23.24%

Yes

Prepaid Secured Credit Card

No Credit, Poor, Bad, Average

Table: Top 6 Best Starting Credit Card | Above list is sorted alphabetically



Detailed Overview of Starter Credit Cards for People with No Credit

When looking for the best credit card to start building credit, there are a few things that you need to know when applying. Chances are that if you are hunting for the best credit card for starters, that you might not know much about credit cards. That is why we’ll do a quick credit cards 101 in this section to cover the basic terminology and concepts:

  • Annual Percentage Rate: This is the amount of interest that you will pay annually on the credit you borrow. The best starter credit card will have a lower APR.
  • Annual Fee: You will pay this fee every year for the privilege of using the credit card, as well as the benefits that come with using the best credit cards for beginners.
  • Secured vs. Unsecured Credit: An unsecured credit card does not require collateral or a security deposit. A secured credit card will mandate that you pay some collateral up front, and is generally for people with no or bad credit.
  • Cash Back Rewards & Bonus Offers: Many credit cards offer cash back as an incentive to use them, or a bonus offer to incentivize you to apply for the credit card. Cash back is generally a percentage (1–5%) of your purchases that the credit card company offers to you as a reward. The best starting credit card for you should have some bonus offerings or features.

Detailed Overview of What to Look for in Starter Credit Cards

If you have no credit or bad credit, it is important to find the best credit card to start building credit. As important as this is, it is hard to determine what makes a credit card the best starter credit card. Does a low APR make a credit card the best credit card for beginners with no credit? Alternatively, is it having no annual fee?

Image Source: Good First Credit Cards

Here is a breakdown of what to look for in the best credit cards for beginners:

  • No annual fee
  • Lower interest rates
  • Small late payment fees
  • Bonus Offers
  • Continual Cash Back Rewards

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Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.


Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Credit Card for Beginners with No Credit

Below, please find the detailed review of each card on our list of best credit card for starters. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these starter credit cards to score so high in our selection ranking.



BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students Review


The Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students is a good first credit card for students. With a low APR, up-front bonus offer, and regular cash back, this is one of the best credit cards for beginners that students can find.

best-credit-cards-for-beginners-min

Source: BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

Fees

The Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students is the best credit card for beginners with no credit when it comes to fees and interest rates. It offers a low intro APR of 0% for the first 12 months, followed by APRs ranging between 13.24% and 23.24%. Balance transfers also see an intro APR of 0% for 12 months, which you won’t find on any other starter credit cards. You also won’t ever be charged an annual fee. There is a late payment fee of $37, but that falls in line with the other best credit cards to start building credit on our list.

Bonus Offers

The Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students is also the only card on our list of best credit cards for beginners that has a bonus offer. If you spend $500 in the first month, you’ll get a $100 cash back bonus. After that, you will continue to earn rewards on every dollar you spend.



Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Review


The Capital One Journey Student Credit Card is a best starting credit card on our list for a few reasons. With no annual fee and regular cash back, this best starter credit card is a great way to build up your credit history.

Fees

The fees for this best credit card to start building credit falls in the middle of the pack. With a 20.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers, you won’t find many better options. The Capital One Journey Student Credit Card is also considered for our best starting credit card list because there is no annual fee.

Bonus Offers

While there is no initial bonus offer, you will earn 1% cash back on all of your purchases. If you make your payment on time that month, it jumps to 1.25% cash back. There’s also no limit to cash back that you can earn, and your rewards won’t expire. Another bonus of this best starter credit card is that you won’t have foreign transaction fees if you use it out of the country. You also get your credit score on your statements, which is why this makes the list for best credit card to start building credit.

Related: Top Credit Cards for Low Credit Scores | Reviews | Best, Fastest Ways to Build Credit



Capital One® Secured MasterCard® Review


If you want the best starting credit card, consider the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®. This prepaid secured credit card can be obtained with no or bad credit, so it easily makes our list of the best credit card for beginners with no credit.

best-starting-credit-card-min

Source: Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

Fees

This is a good option for the best credit card to start building credit or to improve your credit because it has a flexible security deposit. However, unlike the other best starting credit cards that you might come across, your credit limit is not set to your deposit. Depending on your credit score, you might be offered a lower deposit for the starting credit line of $200. Deposits will be either $49, $99, or $200. You can also pay your security deposit in installments if you are not able to pay it up front. That is why the Capital One Secured MasterCard makes our list of the best credit cards for beginners. This card also comes with no annual fee and a 24.99% variable APR.

Bonus Offers

Unlike some of the other best credit cards for beginners on our list, this one does not offer rewards. However, it does come with a free credit score and 24/7 roadside assistance as a bonus, which makes it more appealing.



Citi® Secured MasterCard® Review


As far as unsecured credit cards go, this makes our list for one of the best starter credit cards. There’s nothing flashy about the Citi® Secured MasterCard®, but it could be the best credit card to start building credit for you.

Fees

Like every other card on our list of the best credit cards for beginners, this one has no annual fee. At 22.24%, it also has the lowest APR for purchases and balance transfers on the list for secured credit cards.

Bonus Offers

There are no initial bonus offers or cash back rewards for this best starter credit card, but it does offer rental car insurance, purchase protection, travel accident insurance and a credit-reporting bonus. Also, if you have an unsecured credit card, it is likely that you are trying to build up your credit score. The Citi Secured MasterCard® is the best starter credit card that is secured because unlike other secured cards, they report activity to all three of the credit bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—so they will all see your good credit behavior.

Popular Article: Top Interest-Free Credit Cards | Ranking | Best Zero Interest Credit Cards (Reviews)



Discover it® for Students Card Review


The Discover it® for Students Card is considered by many to be the best starter credit card, but it is in a tight race with the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ for the title of best credit card for beginners with no credit.

Fees

The Discover it® for Students Card has an intro APR of 0% for 6 months, which is slightly less generous than the 0% that you will get for 12 months with the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students. However, the Discover it® for Students Card gains points for the best credit card for beginners with no credit, with a slightly lower max APR of 22.24%. You also will never pay an annual fee with Discover, and the first late payment fee of $37 is waived.

Bonus Offers

Besides the initial low APR bonus offer, Discover also offers regular cash back and provides you with your FICO credit score on each statement. This card also allows co-signers, so it is accessible to students with no credit. You also won’t experience foreign transaction fees with this best credit card for beginners with no credit. The Discover it® for Students Card will also offer you 1% cash back on all of your purchases, with 5% cash back on qualifying purchases that rotate every few months. If you want the best starting credit card, look no further than the Discover it® for Students Card.


Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review


If you are looking for a best credit card for beginners with no credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a great option.

Fees

With no annual fee, this is a good option for your first credit card. Your APR will be a bit higher than some of the other cards at 23.24%, but Discover offers 10.99% APR for the first 6 months on balance transfers. It will take at least a $200 security deposit to establish a credit line. This is determined by them, but Discover conducts monthly reviews to see if you qualify for an account with no security deposit. That is one reason that this credit card earned a spot on our list of the best credit cards for beginners.

Bonus Offers

There is no up-front bonus offer on this best starter credit card, but you will get a free FICO score report on your monthly statements, and you can earn cash back regularly. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers 1% cash back on all of your purchases, with 2% cash back for restaurants and gas stations. They will also match the cash back that you earn in the first year.

Read More: Best First Credit Card for Young Adults, Teenagers, First-Timers & Beginners | Ranking and Comparison


Conclusion—Top 6 Best Credit Cards for Beginners

With the average credit score for millennials aged 19 to 29 at 628, it is important to know where to find the best credit card to start building credit. 53% of students know that it is very important to start building credit, but how is that possible when you have no credit history? That is why we put together a list of the top 6 best credit cards for beginners.

As you search for the best starting credit card, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Look for a good first credit card with no annual fee.
  • The best credit card for beginners with no credit will have a low APR.
  • The best starter credit card should have some rewards, special features, or bonus offers.
  • If you can’t decide between two starter credit cards, select the one with better cash back rewards.

No matter what credit card from the list you determine is the best starter credit card, it is important that you take the responsibility of having your first credit card seriously. It takes a lot less time to damage your credit score than it does to build it back up.



AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

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