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The 7 best starter credit cards of June 2021

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The best starter credit cards in 2021:

Category

Starter credit card

Best student credit card:

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best secured credit card:

Discover it® Secured

Best for cash back:

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for travel rewards:

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Best basic starter card:

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Best for intro APR:

Discover it® Student chrome

Best for building credit:

Petal Visa

If your credit score isn’t great or you barely have any credit history, you’ll need to ease into the world of credit cards. Fortunately, there are cards specifically made for credit newcomers, many of which let you get approved with fair credit, bad credit, or no credit at all.

You can check your credit score online for free. From there, you can figure out which credit card can help you build credit that lasts.

Best student credit card: Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover Discover it® Student Cash Back

Students should consider the Discover it® Student Cash Back, which is typically available to consumers who don’t have an extensive credit history.

Once you’re approved, you can enroll to earn 5% cash back up to a quarterly maximum limit spent on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter, plus 1% back on everything else Discover It Cashback rotation. Like other cash-back credit cards from Discover, this card will also match all the rewards you earn at the end of the first account year, and you can get a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher.

This card also lets you see your credit score for free each month, and you’ll get Social Security Number monitoring, zero fraud liability, and no late fee on your first late payment. Consider signing up if you want to earn rewards and build credit at the same time without an annual fee.

Best secured credit card: Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured

If you have poor credit or no credit history at all, you may need to get started with a secured credit card. Unlike unsecured credit cards that extend a line of credit without collateral, secured cards require a small cash deposit upfront in order to secure an equally small line of credit.

Read more: Discover it Secured Credit Card review

The Discover it® Secured is widely considered to be the top secured credit card since, unlike other cards in this niche, it doesn’t charge an annual fee or any hidden fees. You’ll also Discover it® Secured, as well as 1% back on all other purchases. Discover will also match all the rewards you earn at the end of your first account year.

Other top benefits include a free look at your FICO score each month, zero liability for fraudulent purchases, and no late fee on your first late payment. With this card, automatic reviews start at 8 months to see if Discover can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.

Best for cash back: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is available to consumers with “average” credit according to Capital One, which brings it into reach for individuals with limited credit or anyone who has made credit mistakes in the past. This card does charge a $39 annual fee, but you’ll be able to earn a flat 1.5% back for each dollar you spend. That’s not bad for a rewards credit card, and it’s especially good for cards available to consumers with average credit.

Read more: The best cash-back credit cards in 2021

Capital One also promises to reconsider your credit limit and potentially boost it after you’ve made five on-time payments on your credit card. This card also comes with no foreign transaction fees, extended warranties on eligible purchases, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, and 24-hour travel assistance, which is a lot more than many credit cards for average credit offer.

Best for travel rewards: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is typically only available to consumers with “good” credit or better, but it’s important to note that a good FICO score typically starts in the 670+ range. If you are able to qualify, this card can serve as a starter travel credit card that can help you get accustomed to earning this type of rewards.

Read more: Capital One Venture vs VentureOne – which travel rewards credit card is right for you?

Once you sign up, you’ll earn a flat 1.25 miles for each dollar you spend. You can also earn Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. On the redemption side of the equation, you can cash in your Capital One miles for any type of travel at a rate of 1 cent per point, or for transfers to 19 airline and hotel partners. This card also comes with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Best basic starter card: Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Card

If you have average credit and want to learn good credit habits without worrying about rewards, consider the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card. This card will likely start you out with a low credit limit, but Capital One says it will consider boosting your limit after you make five on-time payments on your card. This card also comes with no annual fee.

Another benefit of this card is the fact you can get prequalified online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. Other cardholder perks include travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, 24-hour travel assistance, and no foreign transaction fees.

Best for intro APR: Discover it® Student chrome

Discover it® Student chrome

If you want to save money with low interest for a limited time, look into the Discover it® Student chrome. This card starts you off with no interest on purchases for six months.

Read more: The best low interest and 0% APR credit cards of 2021

You’ll also Discover it® Student chrome, plus 1% back on everything else you buy. Discover will also match all the rewards you earn after the first year, and you can secure a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher up to 5 years.

Best for building credit: Petal Visa

Petal Visa

Finally, the Petal Visa Card is a newcomer on the scene, yet it could be ideal for anyone who wants to build good credit that lasts. This card comes with a minimum credit limit of $500, although there’s no annual fee and no fees on late payments. You’ll earn a flat 1% back on all your purchases for the first year, but you have the opportunity to graduate to 1.5% back after you’ve made 12 on-time payments on your credit card.

Read more: Most people probably haven’t heard of Petal, the new credit card that helps people build credit from scratch

This card also reports to all three credit bureaus like the other cards on our list, so it can help you build credit as your purchases and payments are reported. You’ll also get access to the powerful Petal Visa Card app, which can help you manage your money better, track your spending, and stay on top of all your bills.

Other credit card guides to read

If you already have a decent credit score and are looking for a new credit card to maximize your spending, check out the following guides:

Frequently asked questions – starter credit cards

When you’re ready to start building credit for the first time, it’s smart to have a basic understanding of how credit cards can help. The following questions and answers provide some basic guidelines to follow.

How do I choose the right starter card?

It really depends on your credit score and where you’re at in your credit journey. If you’ve never had a credit card before, it’s likely you’ll have to get started with a secured credit card that requires a cash deposit in order to shore up a small line of credit. If your FICO credit score is at least “fair,” or above 580, on the other hand, you may qualify for a card geared to consumers with average credit.

What are the easiest cards to get approved for?

When you’re first starting out, secured credit cards are the easiest to get approved for. This type of credit card requires an initial cash deposit to secure a line of credit that is typically for the same amount. For example, you may put down a cash deposit of $500 in order to secure a $500 line of credit.

Read more: The best credit cards for bad credit in 2021

With the requirement for collateral in place, almost anyone can get approved for a secured credit card regardless of their credit score. Also note that, once you use your secured credit card to establish a reasonable amount of credit history, you can cancel or upgrade your card provided your account is in good standing. At that point, your initial security deposit would be refunded to you.

How do I build credit with a credit card?

Building credit with a credit card isn’t overly difficult, but you may have a better initial experience if you start the process off slowly. Use your credit card for regular purchases you can afford to pay off each month. When your bill comes due, make sure to pay at least the minimum payment and hopefully your entire credit card balance.

As you make payments each month, those payments will be reported to the three credit bureaus. Over time, you’ll build a history of responsible credit use that can help boost your credit score.

How many credit cards should I have?

You can have one credit card or several. It’s totally up to you.

When you’re first building credit, however, it makes sense to limit yourself to a single card. This way, you can spend time building responsible credit habits before you add more cards and complicate your finances.

How quickly can I raise my credit score?

How quickly you’ll raise your credit score depends on a whole host of factors including whether you have any credit history at all, whether you have negative marks on your credit report, and the way you handle credit in the short term.

Read more: I raised my credit score by 134 points in less than a year thanks to 7 steps

Your best bet is signing up for a credit card that can aid you in building credit, then using it for regular purchases that you pay in full each month. This will help you build a history of on-time payments while keeping your credit utilization low.

What card should I get when I have excellent credit?

If you have excellent credit, or any FICO score above 740, it’s likely you can qualify for the best rewards and travel credit cards. Make sure to compare the top credit card offers of 2021 in terms of their rewards and cardholder perks. See our best rewards credit cards guide for more info.

Holly Johnson is a credit card expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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