If you’re a young adult looking to get your first credit card, there are a few things to look out for. First up is a low annual fee… or better still, no annual fee whatsoever. After all, regardless of the perks the card comes with, the last thing you want is to be saddled with high, ongoing running costs. Second up is a card issuer that reports to all three major lending bureaus- if you want to start building your credit rating and improve your chances of securing a premium credit card, loan or mortgage in the future, the only way to do it is with a demonstrated history of responsible borrowing (and a good credit score, of course). Lastly, look for a card that provides some useful perks, but make sure these perks are actually useful to you- there’s no point choosing a card on the strength of its travel rewards if you rarely leave the country. To help you sort through the offers, take a look at our pick of the 10 best credit cards for young adults.
1. Capital One Platinum Credit Card
With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and the option to increase your credit limit after 5 months of regular, on-time payments, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is well worth considering. Additional benefits include the chance to build your credit history (the issuer reports to all three major credit bureaus) and excellent approval odds. On the flip side, there are no real perks to speak of, and the variable APR rate of 26.99% is, while certainly not the highest out there, not the lowest either. Those two points aside, the card still makes a good choice for young people looking to establish their credit rating.
2. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you’re looking for a card that rewards you for your spending, look no further than the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It may charge an annual fee of $39, but with its offer of 1.5% cashback on all purchases, you’ll be able to break even providing you spend a minimum of $217 per month. The APR rate is not the lowest at 26.99%, but with no foreign transaction fees, the chance to increase your credit limit if you make your first 5 monthly payments on time, and a range of consumer benefits, it’s still well worth considering.
3. Discover It Student Chrome
Some of the chief perks of the Discover It Student Chrome is the 2% cashback on every $1000 spent on restaurants and gas stations each quarter, the 1% cashback on all other purchases, a points bonus scheme that will double your cashback in the first year, a reasonable variable APR of 15.24%-24.24%, and providing you get good grades, a $20 statement credit bonus every year for up to five years.
4. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
If you’re a frequent traveler, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might be the one for you. Providing you spend $1000 within the first three months after account opening, Capital One will reward you with 20,000 miles. You’ll also get 10 miles for every $1 spent on hotels.com/venture, and 1.25 miles on all other purchases. APR is reasonable at 14.24% – 24.24%, with an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months.
5. American Express Cash Magnet Card
If you like a card with benefits, the American Express Cash Magnet Card has them aplenty, starting with a $150 cash bonus when you spend $1000 within three months of opening your account. Other ongoing perks include a 1.5% cashback and an introductory APR of 0% for the first 15 months.
6. Discover it Secured
Discover it Secured has some seriously good perks for those looking for a credit card that gives back. In addition to the 2% cashback on every $1000 you spend at restaurants and gas stations per quarter, you’ll also benefit from an anniversary bonus payment equal to all the cashback you accrue over the course of the year. Other perks include no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee- just bear in mind this is a secured credit card and will require you to put a down a deposit of at least $200.
7. Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit
While there may be cards with lower APRs out there (this one clocks in at 20.24% – 26.24%), the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit makes a good option for those looking for a basic credit card that will allow them to build their credit rating. It comes with a $300 initial credit limit, no annual fee, and no additional or hidden costs.
8. OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card
With no credit check to worry about (you just need to be 18+ years old, have a mailing address, an SSN, and enough funds to cover the $200 minimum security deposit), the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card makes a great option for young people with a limited history of credit. The amount you put down in security will essentially become your credit limit, guaranteeing you never spend more than you can afford while at the same time offering you the chance to establish your credit rating.
9. Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
If you’ll be spending a part of your studies abroad, or are just a frequent traveler, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is a great option to consider. In addition to the 25,000 points you’ll receive just by signing up and spending $1000 in the first 90 days from account opening, you also stand to earn 3 points per $1 purchase on the BofA Travel Center, and 1 point per $1 purchase on everything else.
10. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Spend $3000 within the first three months of opening your Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, and you’ll receive a very generous $300 onetime cash reward. Continue using the card as your main source of purchasing power, and you’ll earn a 4% cashback on dining and entertainment, 2% cashback on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases.