Getting your first credit card can feel like the first step to adulthood. If you've never had a credit card before, you may not know where to get started, or even what to look for. Finding the right balance of fees, rewards and other perks is key to not regretting your first credit card choice. Picking a card that can grow with you as your spending habits change can be even more tricky.
We've picked some of the top credit cards for those that are new to credit to help you find the card that meets your needs.
Start building your credit without being weighed down by hidden fees. There is a Petal card for those with damaged credit, or a version with better rewards earnings for those that are new to credit or have established credit. See which version you are prequalified for today.
Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a very competitive flat earning rate for a secured credit card. The card also offers solid additional perks, like extended warranties on eligible purchases.
Depending on your credit profile, you may be able to secure a $200 line of credit with as little as $49 down as a security deposit. You may also be considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months.
Apply without a hard credit pull. This helps safeguard your credit profile against declined applications.
Earning 1.5% back on all purchases is a best-in-class rate for student cards.
|Petal 1 Visa Card
5 / 5
|Best Unsecured Card for Building Credit
|Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
4.9 / 5
|Best-in-class Secured Card Rewards
|Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
4.8 / 5
|Best Security Deposit
|OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
4.9 / 5
|Best Secured Card with No Hard Credit Check
|Quicksilver Rewards for Students
5 / 5
|Best Student Card for Flat-Rate Rewards
If you're trying to decide what card is the best for your first credit card, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
Are You a Student?
If you're a student, you have access to some cards that look very similar to their established credit counterparts. This means similar rewards earnings, no security deposit and maybe even a new customre bonus. If you're a student, we'd recommend the Quicksilver Student card.
Do You Have a Security Deposit?
A secured card is a good option for a first credit card for a couple of reasons. First, it limits the risk of racking up more charges than you have the ability to pay. This is because the bank is holding a security deposit equal to the amount of your credit line. If you find yourself underwater, you can close the account and use your security deposit to offset your balance.
Do You Have Damaged Credit?
If you have damaged credit, consider looking at a product that doesn't require a credit check. There are a couple of credit builder accounts available that may be a good option. If this sounds like you, check out our best credit cards for bad credit.
Do You Have Some Credit?
If you already have some credit (maybe from student loans or a car payment), you may be able to get an unsecured card that earns top-tier rewards. If this is you, you may want to check out a prequalification tool through a bank like Capital One to see what options you might receive.
When searching for the best first credit cards, we looked at the following features:
We partner with financial institutions, lenders, and other advertisers to better provide you with the most up-to-date product information that can help you make the important decisions in your life, but our content is not financial advice. Your personal situation is unique to you. We never allow our advertisers to influence our opinions, analysis or influence our star rankings.
Your trust in our process is essential, and we strive to maintain transparency when it comes to our advertiser partners. You can find a list of our current partners in our advertiser disclosure.