If you’re new to the credit card game, your requirements are going to be slightly different to someone whose wallet is already bristling with plastic. Ideally, you’re going to want a card with next to no credit requirements and which offers access to a free credit score. If you can get one that’s light on fees, big on rewards, and with a low APR, so much the better. To help you make the right choice, we’ve rounded up the 10 best first credit cards for 2021. Here they are.
10. Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students
While there are better options for students with a good credit history, credit card newbies will find the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students a solid option. There’s no annual fee, no foreign transactions fees, and, in particularly good news for international students, there’s no requirement for a social security number to apply. Key benefits include cell phone protection when you use the card to pay your monthly phone bills, 1% cash back on all purchases, and one year of Amazon Prime membership when you spend $500 in the first three billing cycles.
9. Apple Card
Voted the best first credit card for avoiding fees and learning about credit by thebalance.com, the Apple Card comes with a slew of benefits. For a start, the application is incredibly easy – within just a few minutes of acceptance, you can start using the card straight away from your smartphone. Then there’s the fact that there are absolutely no fees of any kind to worry about – that means no annual fee, no late payment fee, and none of those sneaky fees banks like to charge without telling us. Each time you pay with your iPhone or Apple Watch, you’ll get a 2% cash back on your purchase. As an added advantage, the card also offers tools to help you understand how your usage affects your credit history.
8. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
If you’re looking for a card with flexibility, take the advice of The Points Guy and consider the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. There’s no annual fee to worry about, and no complicated rewards scheme to figure out – you’ll earn a simple 1.25x miles on all your purchases. The miles can then be used against travel purchases at a 1 cent value, or transferred to one of Capital One’s loyalty partners.
7. Discover it Secured
A secured card like Discover it Secured is often one of the best options for first-time credit card users. Once you’re approved, you’ll get a line of credit in line with your initial deposit. From there, you can start building your credit history with all three major credit bureaus. There’s no annual fee and after 8 months of on-time payments, you can apply for an unsecured line of credit.
6. Petal 2 Visa Credit Card
If you have no credit history but a good checking account history, the Petal 2 Credit Card is an excellent choice. Applications are evaluated using a ‘soft pull’ process that leaves no shadow on your credit score. There’s no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no late fee, and no over-limit fee. No security deposit is required, and you’ll be eligible for up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time payments. If you’re looking for a card that’s light on fees and that’ll help you build your credit rating, it’s a very sound option.
5. Discover it Miles
The Discover it Miles credit card offers numerous benefits, including a straightforward rewards program that lets you earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. The miles can be redeemed as cash back or used against travel purchases. In the first year of card membership, Discover will automatically match all the miles you’ve earned. As an extra incentive, the card comes with no annual fee.
4. Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
If you’re planning on studying abroad for a semester or two, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is a sound option. There are no foreign transaction fees (nor annual fee, for that matter) and you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, regardless of where they’re made. The points can then be redeemed against travel purchases, with no cut-off point on when you need to redeem them. Providing you spend at least $1000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening, you’ll be rewarded with 25000 bonus points which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit.
3. Chase Freedom Student Credit Card
If you’re looking for a card with a low APR, Chase Freedom Student Credit Card is a safe choice. Its 14.99% variable APR is considerably below the average for student cards, and while there’s no 0% APR intro offer for new cardholders, there very rarely is for student cards anyway. There’s no annual fee and you’ll earn a straight 1% cash back on all purchases, meaning there are no tricky bonus reward categories to worry about. Although the opening credit line is quite low, you’ll qualify for an increase after making five monthly payments on time within the first 10 months after account opening.
2. Discover it Chrome for Students
If you’re a student looking for a card that offers plenty of bang for your buck, you might want to consider the Discover it Chrome for Students. With an excellent welcome bonus, a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher, no upfront deposits, 2% cash back on gas station and restaurants purchases, 1% percent cash back on all other purchases, and a cash back match at the end of your first year, it’s an excellent first credit card.
1. Chase Freedom Flex
Chase Freedom Flex is light on fees and big on benefits. Key perks include a very generous cash back scheme that will get you 5% cash back on all travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases, and 1% cash back on all other purchases; a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers; and a whopping $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.