The Best First Credit Cards You Should Apply For

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So you’ve decided to apply for your first credit card. But without a credit history, it can be hard to figure out which cards you can get. You won’t qualify for just any card, never mind figuring out the best card to fit your needs.

Best Credit Cards for No/Limited Credit

INTRO APR on Purchases
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INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
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Regular APR
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Annual Fee
Varies
Bonuses & Rewards
  • The best credit cards for No/Limited credit: July 2018
  • View all of the current card offers on Credit-Land.com by clicking Apply Now
  • Start building your credit with a card designed for your situation
  • Offers available for Bad and No/Limited credit
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There’s no reason to be intimidated just because you’re a beginner. You might have a lot of questions, and you may not even know where to begin. Don’t worry; I can help with that. Our experts have even come up with a list of the best cards for you to get. Let’s get started.

The Best First Credit Cards for Students

As a student, I’ll bet you didn’t think you could qualify for a credit card that also earns cashback rewards. Discover offers a variety of cashback cards and some of the best first-time credit card choices for students, including the Discover it for Students and the Discover it Chrome for Students.

Discover it® for Students

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
INTRO APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 6 months from date of account opening
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
10.99% intro APR for 6 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by August 10, 2018
Regular APR
14.49% to 23.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • % 5% in rotating categories each quarter like Gas, Dining, Amazon.com, Wholesale Clubs and more
  • % 1% on Travel
  • % 1% on Groceries
  • % 1% on All Other Purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back offer
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Discover it® Chrome for Students

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank
INTRO APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 6 months from date of account opening
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
10.99% intro APR for 6 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by August 10, 2018
Regular APR
14.49% to 23.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • % 2% on Gas and Dining
  • % 1% on Travel
  • % 1% on Groceries
  • % 1% on All Other Purchases
  • Up to 2% cash back offer
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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These aren’t bare bones cards. They earn cash back and have some other nice perks.

Both of these Discover student cards comes with the issuer’s popular cashback match bonus. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all of  the cash back you’ve earned in the previous 12 months.

These starter credit cards also offer Good Grades Rewards for students carrying a 3.0 grade point average or better. Plus, neither card charges an annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

The Discover it for Students credit card offers up to 5 percent cash back on your purchases. You’ll be earning every day with 1 percent cash back on all purchases and 5 percent on quarterly bonus categories.

With your cash back total matched at the end of the first year, that adds up to 10 percent cash back for bonus category purchases.

The Discover It Chrome for Students offers up to 2 percent cash back. You’ll enjoy 1 percent cash back on all of your purchases, while restaurant and gas purchases earn 2 percent back on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter.

With the cashback match, you’ll be effectively getting at least 2 percent cash back on all of your purchases and 4 percent at restaurants and gas stations.

Pre-Qualify Before You Apply

Did you know you can find out if you pre-qualify for a Discover credit card without affecting your credit score? Check out the tips in this helpful guide compiled by our experts. It’ll show you how.  

Although a social security number is normally needed to apply for a credit card, International Students without a Social Security number may still qualify. Our guide on how to secure a credit card without a social security number gives you all the information you’ll need to apply.  

The Best Starter Credit Card for First-Timers to Build Credit

If you’re a young adult or anyone else trying to establish credit, the Platinum credit card from Capital One is a good first credit card. The fact that it has no annual fee and gives you access to a higher credit limit after you make your first five on-time payments makes it a worthy choice. It also comes with online and mobile banking, 24-hour access to your account and fraud coverage.

Platinum Credit Card from Capital One®

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • + Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • + Pay no annual fee
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Another good option for building credit is to opt for a secured credit card. The difference between a secured card and an unsecured card is that you must come up with a deposit for a secured credit card.

The deposit is kept as collateral by the issuing credit card institution while you prove you can manage your credit. An unsecured credit card requires no such deposit as credit is extended to you in advance.

Best Starter Card for No Credit or Bad Credit

A secured credit card may be your best first credit card option if you have no credit history or even bad credit. By coming up with a refundable deposit, usually less than a few hundred dollars, you could get approved for a credit limit amount equal to your deposit.

Just make your payments on time and avoid carrying a balance to build a positive credit history with the issuing bank.  You could then be upgraded to an unsecured credit card.

The Discover it Secured credit card is a good example of a great first credit card, particularly if you can’t get approved for a standard credit card. The Discover secured card does not have an annual fee, and you will even earn cash back.

Like the Discover Chrome card, you’ll get 2 percent back on all of your restaurant and gas purchases and 1 percent back for everything else.

Believe or not, this secured card even comes with Discover’s cashback match. So all of your cashback earnings will be matched after the first twelve months. Those are unprecedented benefits for a secured card.

One downside of the card is that you’ll have to come up with a refundable deposit of at least $200 for approval. Establishing a positive credit card history with Discover, a leader in issuing cashback cards, would be worth this initial investment.

What to Look for in Your First Credit Card

While the ability to earn rewards is a bonus, building a solid credit history should be your primary goal when getting your first credit card. Also, picking a card that has no annual fee is important so you can avoid any added expenses.

Selecting a credit card issuer that offers a large variety of cards is important when you’re building a credit history. It will make it easier to qualify for more rewarding credit cards later on. Your needs will change, and your credit cards should, too.

Of course, the best first credit card is the one you’re approved for. For tips on applying successfully for your first card, head on over and access our expert guide to credit card approval.

Getting Your First Credit Card is Important

We’ve all been tempted by store-branded credit cards offered to us while we’re checking out at our favorite retailer. One of the biggest selling points of those cards is the special financing they offer. Let’s face it, it’s easy to think of a credit card as a way to put off paying for something.

It’s better, though, to think of a credit card as an important tool for managing and building future credit. The decision to get a credit card for the first time should be more than just a purchasing decision. It is a decision that affects your financial future.

A solid credit history can serve as leverage for acquiring the things you may want in life, such as a mortgage for your first home or financing for your first car. Securing a credit card also starts the clock that tracks the length of your credit history, a factor that contributes to your credit score.

For all of these reasons, you’ll want to select a starter card that you’re likely to hold onto for a long time.

Your Credit History Is an Asset

You’ll want to manage your credit wisely. It’s important to make timely payments, avoid carrying a balance and learn about your card’s features and benefits. You’ll also want to learn how credit card interest works and how much debt can really cost you.

Getting your first credit card is a serious responsibility. Your financial future is affected by how you manage the credit that you have.

So get out there and apply for your first credit card. And remember, you can earn cashback with starter cards, too.