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First Credit Card

First Credit Card

Getting your first credit card can be a daunting task given the sheer number of options that exist. When considering your choices, remember that the best first credit card not only has the lowest fees and interest rates possible but also the highest likelihood of approval. Being declined can hurt your credit score and make getting a first credit card even harder. In order to help you apply for your first credit card, we compiled a list of credit cards tailored specifically to people with no credit history. Some of the cards below are labeled as secured credit cards. All this means is that you must place a refundable security deposit to open one. While you may think this is a bad thing, it actually makes your approval guaranteed. No matter how good a first credit card you end up with, better options will become available to you if you use your first credit card responsibly. So pay your bill on time and in full each month, and you will be able to leave your first credit card behind in no time.

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    Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

    capital one quicksilverone cash rewards credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES until June 2015
    • 0% TRANSFERS Not Offered
    • REGULAR RATE 22.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $39
    REWARDS Cash Back
    BONUS None
    BASE EARN 1.5%
    MAX EARN 1.5%
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
    • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards.
    • Redeem the cash back you earn for any amount, any time.
    • Cash back doesn't expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn

     
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    Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

    capital one secured credit card
    • SECURED CREDIT CARD Min Deposit of $49, $99, or $200
    • ANNUAL FEE $29
    • MONTHLY FEE None
    • ONE-TIME FEES None
    • REGULAR RATE 22.9% (V)
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    First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

    Secured Credit Card Application from First Progress
    • SECURED CREDIT CARD Min Deposit of $300
    • ANNUAL FEE $39
    • MONTHLY FEE None
    • ONE-TIME FEES None
    • REGULAR RATE 14.99% (V)
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    3.5

    Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

    capital one standard platinum
    • 0% PURCHASES Not Offered
    • 0% TRANSFERS Not Offered
    • REGULAR RATE 24.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $0 for 1st yr, $19 after
    REWARDS None
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    Capital One® Classic Platinum Credit Card

    capital one classic platinum credit card
    • 0% PURCHASES Not Offered
    • 0% TRANSFERS Not Offered
    • REGULAR RATE 20.9% (V)
    ANNUAL FEE $39
    REWARDS None
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    3.5

    First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

    Platinum Secured Credit Card from First Progress
    • SECURED CREDIT CARD Min Deposit of $300
    • ANNUAL FEE $29
    • MONTHLY FEE None
    • ONE-TIME FEES None
    • REGULAR RATE 19.99% (V)
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    First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

    MasterCard Secured Card from FirstProgress
    • SECURED CREDIT CARD Min Deposit of $300
    • ANNUAL FEE $44
    • MONTHLY FEE None
    • ONE-TIME FEES None
    • REGULAR RATE 11.99% (V)
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    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

    Help others find the best credit card by sharing what your deciding factor was when choosing your card (customer service, interest rate, fees, convenience, rewards, etc.)

     
    September 21, 2014
    Photo of Marino J.
    By: Marino Johns
    I would recommend the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One for those who are just starting out with a credit card. You get 1% cash back and there is no annual fee. It’s ideal for those who don’t much credit history.
    August 29, 2014
    Photo of Sean B.
    By: Sean Billings
    I applied for my first credit card at a local bank where I had had a checking account for about a year. It was a very basic card with low interest. It had a $30 monthly payment. I tried to only use it for things like groceries and home goods, and I only purchased when I knew I had the cash to back it up. My goal was to improve my credit. I also used it in a few emergencies when I badly needed gas or diapers but my paycheck hadn't made it yet.
    July 23, 2014
    Photo of Jenny G.
    By: Jenny Gordon
    My first credit card was a Discover account geared specifically towards college students. It had a reasonable credit limit, and the interest rate was low. I thought this card was particularly good because they didn't change the terms once I graduated from college. When I eventually needed help from customer service, however, I found them to be not very helpful. It's why I do not continue to have a Discover Card today.
    June 26, 2014
    Photo of Deight G.
    By: Deight Girll
    I started building credit by opening up a student visa card when I turned 18. I would use it on purchases, and then pay off the monthly balance each month, and never paid interest. It was a great way to build credit, and today I have an excellent credit score.
    June 10, 2014
    Photo of Tim S.
    By: Tim Shaw
    My first card was the Discover Student Card (Now I believe it is the Discover It Card). I got a 6 month no interest introductory rate and you get 1% cash back on everything and 5% back on select categories that change each quarter. Also, if you shop through their online mall you can get even more cash back. The rewards really add up if you pay off the card each month. It's a good way to build your credit, and it's a great first credit card for those you do not have enough credit built up to get other cards.
    June 3, 2014
    Photo of Chad K.
    By: Chad Kiah
    For someone just starting out, I would recommend a card like the Chase Freedom card. I would say that it's safe to say that someone just starting to build their credit would be younger and perhaps still in college. This card offers cash back for everything purchased and is a good starter card. When I was in college, I started with a gas card, but a credit card is just as good. Keep the limit low and be sure to pay off the balance.
    May 27, 2014
    Photo of Cyrus K.
    By: Cyrus Krapf-Altomare
    The Capital One Platinum credit card is what I'm using to build my credit. The Capital One app works very well for me to check out both my credit card info, but also my Capital One 360 bank account. I fully recommend it.
    May 21, 2014
    Photo of Jay S.
    By: Jay See
    For someone just starting to build their credit, I would recommend the Capital One Classic Platinum Credit Card. A starter card for building credit should be easy to use and offer great security. With Capital One, it's easy to track your account information online, along with great fraud protection, and good customer service so nothing goes wrong.
    May 7, 2014
    Photo of Bridgett G.
    By: Bridgett Grigg
    If you can get the Capital One Classic or Platinum card it is better than the secured and better than a lot of the other cards out there. Capital One is one of the very that seem to give those with poor or no credit a chance at an unsecured card. There is no fee for the first year on the platinum and it's only $19 a year after that. The interest is higher on all of Capital One's cards, but these should really only be used to build credit and then paid off on time anyway. I wouldn't suggest it to someone who is going to be using it a lot, but it is a way to build credit.
    April 15, 2014
    Photo of Jerry F.
    By: Jerry Fuchs
    My first credit card was a Visa through Suntrust Bank. It was a very basic credit card, and it had a limit of $300 starting out, which wasn’t ideal but I could make do with it given my expenses. I generally paid cash for most items but I used my card for around $150 per month just to start getting my credit rating in the right direction. After a year my limit increased to $1000 which was more than enough for anything I ever needed. Despite the boosted credit limit I don’t think I ever exceeded the $300 limit, either out of habit or paranoia.
    April 1, 2014
    Photo of Howl C.
    By: Howl Carnage
    My very first credit card was a BOA secured CC. I paid $300 and that was my limit for it for the first 12 months I had it. Around December, it was unsecured and my CL was boosted to about $2.5k! Although it isn't feature rich, it's a great step in learning how to responsibly manage your credit.
    March 29, 2014
    Photo of Tiffany S.
    By: Tiffany Schintzius
    I got my first credit card at 18. It was a Washington Mutual Student card with a pretty high allowance of $1000. There was a period of 0% interest, I think 6 months. I did not have much experience with credit cards at the time, but the online tools that were offered were very helpful and I got my monthly statements in my email so I could easily keep track of them. I did not know much about what to look for since it was my first, but the letter in the mail that said I was pre-approved and the 0% interest was what got me to choose the card. I later learned there were also rewards for buying from certain places and took advantage of that. I would definitely get a card from them again if they were still a company, but I cannot speak knowledge if Chase still treats customers the same way.
    March 21, 2014
    Photo of Audrey M.
    By: Audrey Mozdzen
    I got my first credit card when I was 19 years old and it was a store-specific one, from J.C. Penney. I didn't know much about building up credit since my parents had always used cash or checks so I was flying blind and seduced by one of those "sign up for a card immediately" stands inside the store. It was not a good idea; I hadn't done any research (pre-internet days) so even though it had a small limit of $300, the fees and rates made it hard to keep up with payments. Now I wish that I had done some research and gotten a secured credit card like one of those on the list. I would have had a much better experience and not learned to fear phone calls about overdue payments. For a first card, I suggest doing your homework and know exactly what all the fees and rates mean. Definitely don't succumb to the instant gratification of a quick sign-up kiosk in a store, like I did! You'll be repenting in leisure.
    March 3, 2014
    Photo of Lucy S.
    By: Lucy Snict
    Recently after getting married and having kids my husband and I realized that we needed that extra push to pay the bills on time and get the things for the house and our family that we needed. Never having credit before we had no clue where to start. Thankfully there was the Capital One Platinum Credit card! We actually didn't owe a fee for the first year which was really nice for us! We also received a lot of protection from them for free, so we never had to worry about any of that which was wonderful with worrying about everything else in life! We highly recommend the Capital One Platinum card for everyone looking for their first card to help them out and help build them some great credit along the way!
    February 19, 2014
    Photo of Keith M.
    By: Keith Mouras
    My journey along the path of good credit began with a credit card which gave me a credit limit of $300.00. Sure it does not sound like much today but, many years ago when I got the card, it was more than enough to be of help in establishing a good credit rating. My father always told me to spend what I could afford and no more. That is what I did as I generally charged between $50.00 and $100.00 per month on my card and then made sure I paid the balance in full each month. Over the course of a few years my credit rating rose, my credit card limit rose and I found myself with the added security of having a credit card that could be used for an emergency if needed. After many years of using credit responsibly, I have two credit cards that have spending limits above $26,000 each. Dad would be very proud of me if he was here to see how successful I have been in using his smart advice.
    March 20, 2014
    Photo of David Rabenberg
    David Rabenberg
    This really is the best way to build credit. Charge a small amount to the card, and pay it off in full each and every month. Before long...your credit score goes up, and you've got more credit to use!
    February 14, 2014
    Photo of Debra S.
    By: Debra Sepe
    My very first credit card was, oh I hate to say this but, 30 years ago. Now I really feel old. I remember it was right after my 20th birthday. At that time you had to have some sort of good credit rating which was ridiculous if you could not get credit in the first place. It was a MasterCard with a credit limit of $200 which then seemed like a whole lot more than now. I treated that card as if it was my child, always making sure I paid it off every month, which later I learned was not the best idea at that time. The companies wanted to gain money from the interest that would carry over when you did not pay all of your debts right off, but only made the minimum monthly payments. I remember feeling as if I had now gotten into a higher class standing among my peers. I took a few of my friends out for dinner. When the bill came, I immediately picked it up and stated, "I've got this", I felt so good for a whole month, until the bill arrived. Long story short, I learned very quickly how easy it was to get in debt and feel as if you are once again, shall we say, not wealthy. That's alright, the experience in the restaurant I will never forget. Thanks MasterCard!
    January 28, 2014
    Photo of Shaz R.
    By: Shaz Ron
    When you first start out to try and own your first credit card, you basically have little or no credit rating which will make it hard for most, if any, of your credit card applications to be approved. Thus, the best way to go about building your credit history would be to get a secured credit card, which you will most likely be approved for since you have to put up a security deposit to use the credit card. Most secured credit cards offered by the banks are around the same; I basically shopped around for a secured credit card that had the least annual fee and for me at that time, it was Wells Fargo, whose secured credit card comes with a $25 annual fee. I basically used the card whenever I could and after a year, I was able to build up enough of a good credit rating and was successful in my application for a non-secured credit card that came with no annual fee. It was then that I cancelled my secured credit card since I no longer wanted to pay the annual fee and could use my new non-secured credit card to continue to build a good credit rating.
    January 19, 2014
    Photo of Robert J.
    By: Robert James
    If you are just starting to build your credit, then a Discover card is a perfect choice. The interest rates are low and the credit limit starts off very low also. They are more willing to take a chance on people who do not have a credit history or much of one. I have been using it since I began high school and have not switched cards because I've been so satisfied with them.
    January 19, 2014
    Photo of Robert J.
    By: Robert James
    I applied for a Discover card when I had no job and was in high school. The interest rates are low and the credit limit starts off very low also, which helps you build good spending habits. As time goes on you will be allowed to incrementally increase the limit, and they will ask you for updated information on your graduation and other things to see if you are eligible for a higher limit.
    January 13, 2014
    Photo of Sarah M.
    By: Sarah Marshall-Switcher
    If you're just starting to build your credit, one of the best ways to do that is with a secured credit card. These cards are tied to a bank balance and won't allow you to over spend, which is great if you aren't accustomed to using a credit card. They generally allow you to have little to no existing credit, and as you use your secured card you build up credit which can be used to get a non-secured card. My personal favorite is the Capital One Secured Mastercard. It has a low annual fee for use and you can get one with a small opening balance. Very good card if you're just starting out and need to build a bit of credit before getting a new card.
    January 10, 2014
    Photo of Derek H.
    By: Derek Hicks
    It took me quite a while building up credit through loans and utility payments before I even got my first credit card. I had tried to apply for credit cards when I first began college back in the late 90s. All of them were rejected (I think it was harder to get a card back then.) I did not begin building my own credit until 2001 when I bought my first car. As a result of my lack of credit, the interest rate on that loan was ridiculous, something around 12 percent, but I never missed a payment. When I got my first apartment I continued to build up my credit through always punctual utility and rent payments. It wasn't until quite sometime later, after being on my own for so long, that I finally applied for a credit card for the first time in several years. I was approved, and was stunned to see how high a credit limit I was given. Apparently, building credit first through loans and other types of payments is a wise way to build excellent credit.
    January 8, 2014
    Photo of Doug M.
    By: Doug MyVegas
    My very first credit card was a Chase Platinum Mastercard. This was a card that was called Platinum, but really was their entry level card for those people with little or no credit. I think my limit on the card was $750. The interest rate was not that good but I didn’t expect much since it was my very first card. It proved to be a card I would keep for a long time since they upped my limit when I needed it.
    March 3, 2014
    Photo of Napster Henry
    Napster Henry
    Hey, my first card too! I was so proud, haha. And you're right, I didn't need anything else for a while. Actually, my husband's engagement ring was the thing that caused me to pursue an upgrade.
    January 7, 2014
    Photo of Elias J.
    By: Elias Johnson
    For someone looking to build their credit history, I would recommend the Capital One Platinum Credit Card out of the above choices. This card has the lowest yearly fee. As a new credit user you do not want to have a fee on your credit card. the interest rate is not the lowest, but if you only use the card for a small amount each month and repay the balance it will over time build up your creditworthiness.
    January 2, 2014
    Photo of James L.
    By: James LeGrand
    I was first approached by my bank, Regions, and asked if I was interested in building my credit. They said that I had a few options. At the Time I did not need a full fledged credit card. They offered me a student card that was designed for building credit. I would give them $200 for a deposit and then I was issued credit up to that amount which I would pay back to increase my credit. After about a year of using that I started getting into drop shipping online. I upgraded to a Visa with my bank Regions and now use it for all of my inventory purchases. It has made life ten times easier and this option was incredibly useful to me.
    December 26, 2013
    Photo of Chip S.
    By: Chip Song
    I find one of the best ways to build credit is to find a card with low credit limit and low interest and APR. For me, I began by getting a Chase Slate card with a very low limit. I never used past 30% of my actual credit limit and I ALWAYS paid the full amount at the end of the month. I continued doing this for about 5+ years and I figured by doing so, my credit score was getting better. Overtime, I increased my credit limit and made small purchases to maintain a credit. Eventually, when I checked my credit score, I noticed it was way above average. I was eventually able to open up 2 other credits cards a couple years down the line. Now I'm managing 3-4 credits cards to maintain my credit and my score has stayed consistent. I rotate my cards, maintain a small balance, and always pay in full. With this method, I have gotten an amazing credit score.
    December 19, 2013
    Photo of Doug M.
    By: Doug Miller
    When I turned 18, my grandfather went with me to the credit union to open a checking/savings account and open a VISA Credit Card. He wanted me to learn the responsible way to use credit cards. In his opinion, credit cards were important, but also very dangerous. He made sure the statement went to him every month and monitored it for the first 2 years. He coached me and also questioned things I bought as to if I really needed the item or just merely wanted it. The result many years later, is that I question my purchases and end up spending less than I otherwise would.
    December 9, 2013
    Photo of David R.
    By: David Rabenberg
    My very first credit-building venture was when I got my first credit card. When I first went off to college, I got a credit card with a low limit so that I could start successfully building my credit. I used it sparingly, and paid off my balance in full every month. Since then, I have gotten many more credit accounts and loans, and always kept up on my payments, and I have a great score to prove it!
    February 25, 2014
    Photo of Tex Falsehope
    Tex Falsehope
    It's also very important to remember to shop around before applying for your first credit card to get the lowest possible interest rate and one that has little if any fees. I did not do this and the first card I obtained has tons of fees, penalties and an interest rate that bordered on loan sharking. Young people may get a credit card with no intention of using it often, but as life happens they may discover that the $100 they spent when they were broke will cost them several hundred dollars when making only the minimum payment. It's also critical to understand all of the terms and to read the statement every month with a keen eye for discrepancies....