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Choosing and getting approved for your first credit card isn’t easy. Not only is it tough to know how to pick the best credit card the first time around, it’s also tough to get approved when you’ve never had a credit card before. That’s why we put together a list of the best first-time best credit cards, so you can get started out on the right foot. You’ll find a variety of options from rewards credit cards to zero percent interest credit cards and even a credit card that doesn’t require a credit check. Be sure to pay attention to the rewards, the interest rate and the fees: These are the most important features for picking the best first credit card. Keep reading to see which first-time cards you should apply for today.
Best for Overall: Discover it
The Discover it is arguably the best credit card for a first timer. You’ll have the opportunity to earn five percent cash back rewards on purchases in rotating categories. Plus, you’ll enjoy zero percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months. Of course, you won’t have any balances to transfer, with this being your first credit card. The long introductory period gives you time to get used to having a credit card without having to pay interest.
Discover it’s reward program allows you to earn five percent on up to $1,500 on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter. You’ll have to be sure to register prior to each quarter to receive the five percent cashback bonus. All your other purchases will earn one percent cash back. As a bonus, at the end of your first year, Discover automatically matched all the cashback you earned since your account opening.
You’ll enjoy a few other perks. Freeze it on/off switch helps prevent unauthorized purchases on your credit card by allowing you to temporarily freeze your credit card. Each of your monthly statements will include your FICO score – a great benefit for you to see how you’re building a good credit score with your first credit card.
Important Pricing: A zero percent introductory APR on applies to purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months. After that, the regular APR is 13.99 to 24.99 percent, based on your credit history. There’s no annual fee.
Best Sign-Up Bonus: Chase Freedom
With the Chase Freedom, you’ll earn a $150 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. Chase only pays the signup bonus to cardholders who haven’t earned a bonus in the previous 24 months – a restriction you won’t have to worry about with your first credit card.
Ongoing, you’ll have the ability to earn five percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases categories that rotate each quarter. Similar to the Discover it, you’ll have to activate to earn the five percent rewards. You’ll earn one percent cash back on all your other purchases.
Enjoy zero percent introductory APR on purchases (and balance transfers) for the first 15 months.
Important Pricing: Zero percent introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the regular APR is 17.24 to 25.99 percent. There’s no annual fee.
Best for Flat-Rate Rewards: Capital One QuicksilverOne
The Capital One QuickSilverOne credit cards pays a flat 1.5 percent cash back on all your purchases. This is great if you don’t want to keep up with rotating categories and you think you might forget to register or activate for the bonus rewards. Your cash back rewards never expire and you can redeem your rewards at any time.
Being responsible with your first credit card is important for building your credit. Capital One will reward you for paying on time by automatically considering you for a credit limit increase if you make your first five monthly payments on time.
Important Pricing: The Purchase APR is 22.97 to 26.97 percent and the annual fee is $39.
Best for Fair Credit: Capital One Secured
Getting approved for the first credit card can be tough, especially if you have a negative item in your credit history. A previous late loan payment or debt collection account can make it harder to get approved. If this applies to you, consider a secured credit card, one that allows you to pay a deposit to secure the credit limit for your account.
With the Capital One Secured MasterCard, you may be able to make a minimum security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 for a $200 credit limit. If you’d like, you can make an additional security deposit for a higher credit limit before your account opens.
Just like the Capital One QuicksilverOne, Capital One will consider you for an automatic credit limit increase after you make your first five monthly payments on time.
Important Pricing: The APR is 26.99 percent and there’s no annual fee.
Best Rewards for Fair Credit: Discover it Secured
The Discover it secured credit card allows you to secure your credit limit with a security deposit but also pays rewards on your purchases.
You’ll earn two percent cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. All other purchases will earn one percent cash back. You’ll want to keep your credit card open for at least a year because Discover matches the cash back you earn at the end of the first year, dollar for dollar.
You can redeem your rewards at any time for any amount. You can even use your rewards automatically at Amazon.com to discount a purchase or pay for the full purchase.
Important Pricing: The regular APR is 24.99 percent APR and there’s no annual fee.
Best for No Credit Check: OpenSky Secured Visa Card
The OpenSky Secured Visa doesn’t require a credit check at all, which means you’re virtually guaranteed to be approved, granted you can make a minimum $200 security deposit. You can deposit up to $3,000 to secure your credit limit for the credit card.
Unlike most other secured credit cards, you don’t have the option of converting to an unsecured credit card by making timely payments. But it does report your account history to the credit bureaus. That means your responsible use will help you build your credit history and qualify for an unsecured credit card.
You’ll receive a refund of your security deposit within four to six weeks after closing your account.