The 9 Best First Credit Cards to Build Credit

First-time credit card applicants can find it difficult to get credit cards because they lack credit history. However, there is still their share. If you have just started your financial life, maybe after completing your schooling or just entering your college, it’s obvious that you do not have any credit history. It is thus advisable to look for the best first credit card to build credit if at all you are planning to do so.

A good credit history opens up opportunities to successfully apply and get loans and high limit lines of credits. This happens after repeated payment of loans and lines of credits in good time and as agreed with your financial institutions. It is possible to attain the highest credit score within a few years if you are disciplined enough. Remember that financial institutions report your payment history every month to credit bureaus.

If you are wondering how to apply for a credit card for the first time, then there is no need to worry since the application is simple and straightforward. First, you need a checking account with your favorite financial institution. A checking account will link your credit card so that any transaction you make with the card automatically reflects in your bank account.

What are the requirements for opening a checking account to get a credit card?

first credit cards to build credit

First, it is important to understand what a checking account is. A checking account is a type of bank account that enables you to deposit and withdraw money anytime without restrictions. However, if you are using a checking account with a credit card, you will have to spend below the limits.

When opening a checking account, you need;

  • Social Security card or individual taxpayer identification number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (TIN)
  • Government ID
  • Physical address
  • Prove of employment/reliable source of income

Special consideration can be made for students whereby they have to have proof of enrollment to their institutions. A student ID may also be required in the process. In addition, when opening a joint account, all the people involved must be present with the above-mentioned documents.

How does a credit card increase my credit scores?

A credit card can increase your credit score with a large margin so long as you use it in the right manner. There are various ways how a credit card increases your credit scores. These include;

i) Timely payment of debts

There is always a specific day when you are required to pay your debt. You should ensure that you always pay on or before the date. Delayed payments have negative impacts on your credit score.

ii) Spending below the credit limit

No matter how much your credit limit is, never be tempted to spend too much. Do not spend more than 30% of your available credit limit even if you got any of the credit cards for bad credit with no deposit.

Such cards have low credit limits and you may be tempted to use all the available credit. Some people tend to spend up to the limit and wonder why their scores are not growing yet they make timely payments!

iii) Keeping your account active

Dormant credit cards will show how irresponsible you are. You cannot get a credit card and leave it lying idle. Ensure that you use your credit card frequently even if it means spending very little.

iv) Making frequent payments

It is not a must that you wait until the repayments day to pay your debt. You can do early repayments of the amount you have already spent. This way, your credit card issuer sees that you are concerned about your debt repayment. You may even get a credit limit increment very fast.

Can I apply for a credit card for a small business?

Yes, you can. There are still first-time credit cards for people starting small businesses. Even if you had a credit card before and fell into a bad credit category, there are small business credit cards for bad credit available at various financial institutions.

Which are the 9 best first credit cards to build credit?

I have researched the best credit cards for beginners from various financial institutions and came up with the following cards.

1) Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

The card has no annual fees and thus will be a good one to have as it is economical to use. Also, in case your card is lost or stolen, you will not be liable for any unauthorized usage of the card since it has fraud coverage. Also, if you use the card well, you will automatically be considered for a higher credit limit even as early as six months!

With the card, you can check out quickly and securely with the contactless card. No need to hand over the card to the cashier or touch the terminal. The process involves hovering your card over a contactless reader and waiting for a confirmation to show whether the transaction was successful or not.

Furthermore, you can pay by check online with no fee. Interestingly, you can pick the most appropriate repayment day for your debt. See more.

2) Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you want a card that will always earn you rewards when you use it, then consider this credit card. You will be able to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make every day. Also, there is no need for signing up for rotating categories to earn rewards. Furthermore, there is no limit on the amount of cashback you can earn. Also, the cashback does not expire.

Interestingly, you will be considered for a higher credit limit for as little as 6 months. So if you need any of the credit cards for fair credit with high limits after a short time, you may consider a Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Also, you will be able to monitor your progress with the CreditWise® app. Again, enjoy a $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen. The card’s annual fee is $39.

3) Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards

Upon getting the card, you will receive benefits such as 1% cashback on all purchases. The card has no annual fee and has a competitive APR. Also, use the Credit One Bank mobile app to manage your account online using your smartphone. Furthermore, the card works with Apple Pay® and thus you can use your iPhone to pay for goods and services securely.

Also, do not worry if you lose the card since it is safeguarded by fraud protection so that you do not incur any cost when the card is used unlawfully. If you lose the card, report immediately to your card issuer by phone call. With this card, you will have free access to the Experian credit bureau so that you can closely monitor your scores. See more.

4) Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

As I indicated earlier, students can also get credit cards as long as they produce the necessary documents. If you are a student, get this card and earn 1% cash back on any purchase you make with the card. If you pay on time, you can boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month. Very interesting! You may also earn $5 per month for 12 months on Select Streaming Subscriptions when you make timely payments.

In addition, the card has no annual fee nor foreign transaction fees. It is thus an economical card to own since it has few charges. Also, you have the freedom to choose the monthly repayment date that works for you. Furthermore, you can get a credit increase after six months of card usage. See more.

5) Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

A secured credit card is a good option to start building your credit scores. Also, if you have a bad credit history and need a credit card, unsecured credit cards are guaranteed approval credit cards for bad credit, and so do Capital One® Secured Mastercard®. Improve your credit scores each month since the issuer reports to the credit bureaus every month. The card is accepted worldwide and thus you will not have troubles when you travel abroad.

You can get a credit limit of $200 when you deposit the minimum required amount. Also, you get a  higher credit line if you deposit more money before your account opens. Note that the card has no annual fees and thus a good option to consider.  If you use your card well, you will be considered for a credit limit increment after six months. See more.

6) OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Since the credit card is secured, there is no credit check done. You only need to deposit a refundable $200 or more in your account. You will be able to build your credit score quickly since the company reports to the three credit bureaus every month. Also, just like many cards for starters, you may qualify for a credit limit increment after six months of proper card utilization.

In addition, to be always in the know, you can search “OpenSky Card” on Facebook and like the page so that you can get tips about card usage as well as sharing your experiences. It is also a fast avenue to get help in case of anything. The annual fee is $35 while the regular APR is 17.39% (variable).

7) Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

Get this card and earn 25,000 bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account. This is equivalent to $250. Also, you will be able to earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases in any place. The points will never expire and you can keep them for as long as possible to use them when the need arises.

The card has no annual fees nor foreign transaction fees. You will also get a 0% introductory APR on new purchases for 12 billing cycles. This is a good starter card since there is no credit needed. See more

8) Discover it® Cash Back

You will also enjoy a 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and thereafter, a standard 14.99% – 23.74% variable APR will apply. Also, the card has a 5% cash back on purchases you make every day at different places each quarter like grocery stores,, restaurants, gas stations, and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum upon activating the card.

Interestingly, the card has a zero annual fee. Also, you will earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases you make with the card. The rewards never expire and thus you can redeem when the need arises. Furthermore, the card is accepted countrywide and thus very convenient. Also, use it to transfer money using the routing number and account number to other bank accounts of different banks. See more.

9) Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Get this card and receive one year of Amazon Prime Student after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles with your EDU card. Also, you will earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your credit card. Again, the card has cell phone protection of up to $600.

The card has no deposit required nor will you pay annual fees. Once you travel, you will not pay foreign transaction fees when using the card.

The card does not require international students to have Social security numbers. It is easy to manage using your smartphone and an app developed by the card issuer, the Celtic Bank. Also, incase of illegal usage of the card once it gets lost, you will not be liable to pay the used money. See more.

Bottom line

First-time credit cards are good to help build your credit scores. The credit cards may be secured or unsecured. If you use your card well, you may qualify for a credit limit increment in the first six months of your credit card usage. Consider credit cards with zero annual fees as well as zero foreign transaction fees. Also, a credit card with rewards adds value to your money.