Starter Credit Cards: Find a Good First Credit Card

Intro – What Do You Need to Qualify for a Starter Credit Card?

Choosing your first credit card can be a daunting task. Especially if you are a student or if you do not have a stellar credit history, it is difficult to qualify for a good card. Nonetheless, while it is difficult, this does not mean that it is impossible.

To qualify for a starter credit card, you can ask someone to co-sign in your application or ask a family member to add you as an extension of his or her credit card. Applying for a credit-builder loan can also work. You will also benefit from building your credit before application, such as by making sure that you pay bills on time.

Are you looking for a good first credit card? Read on and we’ll help you pick the right card that will suit your needs.

What is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a credit card backed by a security deposit. In most cases, the deposit also determines your credit limit.

The minimum deposit is often $200 and can get as high as $2,000 depending on the bank. If you do not pay your bill on time, the bank will take the deposit.

Applying for a secured credit card is also a good way to build and rebuild your credit history. If you are applying for a credit card for the first time, this is a good starting point.

One of the main differences with a traditional credit card is that with the latter, you don’t need to make a security deposit. Other than this, the two credit cards work in almost the same way.

What are Student Credit Cards?

A student credit card is a credit card aimed at young users, especially students and first-time credit card owners. It is a great way of building credit.Compared to a traditional credit card, a student credit card has more limitations. The credit limit is low. The rewards are not as attractive. Perks like cashbacks are also often not present in student credit cards.

It is easier to get approved for a student credit card against a traditional card. You have to meet minimum requirements, which may differ from one bank to another.

How Does a Credit Card Affect my Credit?

The most compelling reason to apply for a credit card is that it positively impacts your credit score provided that you use it responsibly. It will help you to build a good credit history.

Having a credit card will affect your mix of credit, as long as you have other credit accounts, such as loans. The mix of credit constitutes 10% of your credit score.

Opening a new credit card will increase your total credit limit, and in turn, this will result in a lower credit utilization rate, which is the second most important factor in computing your FICO score. It increases the amount of credit available to you, and this will bring your credit score up.

To add, the longer you use your credit card and the more responsible you are in making sure that you pay your dues in time, the higher is the likelihood that it positively affects your credit score.

What to Look for in a Starter Credit Card?

When choosing a good starter credit card you might be overwhelmed. To help you narrow down the possibilities, below are the most important considerations:

  • Reporting to Credit Bureaus: It is important to pick a starter credit card that reports to the major credit bureaus. Otherwise, using your credit card will not have an impact on building your credit history.
  • Fees: Avoid credit cards that charge unnecessarily high fees, such as for annual fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, and over-limit fees, among others.
  • Rewards: Only a few starter credit cards will offer attractive rewards. Nonetheless, it is a bonus if the card has good rewards, such as cashback.

List of Best Starter Credit Cards

To make it easier for you to search for a first time credit card, below are the top options that should be on your radar. We’ll talk about some of the things that you can expect from each card, such as the APR or annual percentage rate. This is the price that you will pay for borrowing money.  It is the interest rate stated as a yearly rate. Aside from the APR, we’ll also look at some fees associated with the card. We will also talk about the recommended credit scores. Take note that these scores are not from the banks. These are based on our research and recommendations.

Apple Card

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: None

Regular APR: 12.49% to 23.49 %

Balance Transfer Fee: n/a

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 600

What We Like

You can save a lot of money with the use of this credit card since there are no fees, including annual, late payment, and foreign transaction fees.

What We Do Not Like

Using this credit card requires having an iPhone. Also, while there are rewards, they are low unless you are using Apple Pay in your transactions.Who Is It For

This is a good credit card for Apple loyalists, such as for owners of iPhone and Mac. It is also a great choice for customers who regularly purchase using their mobile device.

Other Details

  • Get 3% Daily Cash on everything you buy from Apple, 2% Daily Cash when you buy using Apple Card with Apple Pay, and 1% Daily Cash on other purchases.
  • Buy the latest iPhone with interest-free and low monthly payments.
  • Integrate with Apple Pay or receive a laser-etched titanium card

Discover it® Secured

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 10.99%

Regular APR: 22.99%

Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 350

What We Like

This secured credit card is great even for people who have a low credit standing. They also waive your first late payment fee.

What We Do Not Like

The mediocre credit limit can be an issue for some people. You might also not like the cap on the rewards.Who Is It For

It is for people who would like to earn a cashback on their purchases. It is also for those who would like to start with a secured credit card and eventually move into an unsecured credit line.

Other Details

  • Earn 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants capped at $1,000 in purchases every quarter and earn 1% cashback in all other purchases.
  • All cashbacks earned are automatically matched at the end of the year
  • Requires a minimum security deposit of $200, which is also equal to your credit line.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 0%

Regular APR: 12.99% to 21.99%

Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 580

What We Like

This credit card has attractive bonuses and rewards, including a cashback match at the end of the year.

What We Do Not Like

There is a limit imposed in the cashback you can be eligible for.Who Is It For

It is an ideal choice for college students who would like to earn a cashback on their spending.

Other Details

  • Earn 5% cashback in rotating categories, which will change every quarter. All other purchases can earn unlimited 1% cashback.
  • Students can get a $20 statement credit each school year when the GPA is 3.0.
  • Easily switch on and off your account

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 0%

Regular APR: 13.99% to 23.99%

Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%

Credit Score Needed: 670

What We Like

Considering that this is a starter credit card, you will love the flexible reward scheme. There is also 0% APR on the first 15 billing cycles. Plus, you can gain free FICO score access.

What We Do Not Like

Like most of the cards mentioned, the bonus rewards are also capped, except for those that generate a reward of 1%. The 3% and 2% cashbacks are limited to your first $2,500 spend.Who Is It For

This is a great card for students with no or limited credit history and who would like to earn cashbacks from their purchases.

Other Details

  • 3% cashback on your category of choice, including gas, travel, and online shopping. 2% cashback on grocery stores and wholesale clubs. 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • Purchase $1,000 in the first 90 days of using this card and you will get a $200 online reward

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 0%

Regular APR: 14.49% to 24.49%

Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 700

What We Like

This card is packed with attractive bonuses and rewards.

What We Do Not Like

Compared to the other credit cards in our list, the credit score requirement is quite higher.Who Is It For

A great starter card for those who love to travel.

Other Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles for every dollar on all purchases
  • Spend $1,000 on the first three months of using this credit card and you will receive 20,000 bonus miles
  • Use your miles in over 15 travel loyalty programs this card has partnered with.

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: n/a

Regular APR: 18.74%

Balance Transfer Fee: n/a

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 630

What We Like

We like how this card offers complimentary membership to Amazon Student Prime valued at $59.  It also comes with cellphone insurance up to $600.

What We Do Not Like

As a student card, this credit card has limited features. It does not offer balance transfers and cash advances.Who Is It For

This is a good basic credit card for students. It is also great for those who have no social security number since you won’t be required to provide such.

Other Details

  • Earn 1% unlimited cashback on all your credit card purchases
  • Achieve a credit limit of up to $5,000
  • Enjoy Mastercard Platinum Benefits

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 0%

Regular APR: 15.49% to 25.49%

Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 700

What We Like

It has attractive rewards and bonuses. You will get extended warranty on eligible items purchased using this credit card. It also comes with complimentary travel accident insurance.

What We Do Not Like

One thing that we do not like is how there are no rewards that are redeemable for merchandise and even for travel.Who Is It For

This is a good starter credit card for those who spend a lot on food since most of the cashbacks are in food-related items.

Other Details

  • Earn unlimited 3% cashback on dining and entertainment expenses, 2% in grocery stores, and 1% in all other purchases.
  • New members will get a bonus of $150 after spending $500 in the first three months.

Petal® Visa® Credit Card

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: n/a

Regular APR: 14.49% to 25.49%

Balance Transfer Fee: n/a

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 630

What We Like

The minimalist design of this card will surely be well-loved by many. Aside from cashbacks, you can also enjoy up to 10% off on select merchants Petal has partnered with.

What We Do Not Like

You might not like this card if you are looking for one that accepts balance transfers.Who Is It For

This is a good choice for anyone wanting to build a credit history while earning cashbacks at the same time.

Other Details

  • Earn 1% cashback on all your credit card purchases. After making 12 on-time payments, your cashback will increase to 1.5%.
  • Get $500 to $10,000 credit limit
  • Control and manage your expenses through a convenient mobile application

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 0%

Regular APR: 11.15% to 21.15%

Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the total amount

Foreign Transaction Fee: $3

Credit Score Needed: 620

What We Like

This credit card offers excellent introductory rewards, as well as a 0% introductory APR. You also get to enjoy travel and emergency assistance services.

What We Do Not Like

There is a 3% foreign transaction fee unlike most of the options for the best starter credit card mentioned in this guide.Who Is It For

This is an ideal credit card for college students who would like to build credit while they are still in school.

Other Details

  • Earn 3% cash rewards on up to $2,500 spend on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases. 1% cash reward in every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem cash rewards in increments of $25, which is automatically directed to your Wells Fargo account

How Do you Start Building Credit?

To start building credit, a good thing to do is to apply for the best starter credit card, including our recommendations above. You can also get a credit-builder loan and pay your loans diligently.

Final Verdict

Now that you are done reading, we hope that you already know what is a good first credit card. It is best to start with secured and student credit cards. Starter cards typically have lower credit limits and have no attractive rewards compared to traditional credit cards. Nonetheless, they are still good to have because they are crucial in building your credit history.

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