Without SSN
Apply now
On Capital One‘s site

Best Credit Cards for 18 Year Olds to Build Credit of November 2022

While there’s no shortage of credit cards aimed at 18-year-olds, given the sheer number of options available, picking the right one can seem overwhelming. This is no one-size-fits-all situation, meaning the credit card that works for your best friend may not suit you. It all depends on one’s needs and situation. In this article, we’ll give you the details on the top credit cards for 18-year-olds, so that you can make an informed decision.

By Hanna Volkava
Updated November 29, 2022

Best Credit Cards for 18 year old in November 2022

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Capital One Platinum Credit Card best for Without SSN

Platinum Mastercard Capital One
Annual fee:
$0
Regular APR:
28.49% Variable
Our Rating:
2.91
scorer
Credit score
Fair (580-669)
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    28.49% Variable
  • Issuer name:
    Capital One
  • Details:

    Get the credit you need with Platinum Mastercard® from Capital One.

    Enjoy unlimited access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor your credit profile with CreditWise from Capital One.

    You're also covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen.

  • Pros:
    • Chance to get a higher credit limit
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Platinum Mastercard benefits
    • No Penalty APR for late payments
    • Get approval with a fair credit score
  • Cons:
    • High Regular APR
    • No rewards
    • No sign-up bonus
    • You don’t get to enjoy a reduced introductory rate
  • Benefits:
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees;
    • $0 Fraud Liability;
    • ATM Location Services;
    • Emergency Card Replacement;
    • Autopay;
    • 24/7 Customer Service.
View all Platinum Mastercard details
Apply now
On Capital One‘s site
Card detail

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card best for Fair credit

QuicksilverOne Capital One
Annual fee:
$39 annually
Regular APR:
28.49% Variable
Our Rating:
3.64
scorer
Credit score
Fair to Good (580-739)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    28.49% Variable
  • Issuer name:
    Capital One
  • Details:

    The QuicksilverOne Credit Card from Capital One gives you 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase. The Card has an annual fee of $39.

    The QuicksilverOne Card has an APR of 28.49% Variable.

  • Pros:
    • Unlimited high rewards rate
    • Average credit score required
    • Automatically considered for a higher credit line after 6 months
    • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cons:
    • Annual fee
    • High APR
    • No bonus rewards categories
  • Benefits:
    • 1.5% Cash Back;
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees;
    • Autopay;
    • $0 Fraud Liability;
    • Card Lock;
    • ATM Location Services.
View all QuicksilverOne details
Apply now
On Capital One‘s site
Card detail

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One best for Without SSN

Capital One Journey Student
Annual fee:
$0
Regular APR:
28.49% Variable
Our Rating:
3.79
scorer
Credit score
Fair (580-669)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 1% Cash Back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your Cash Back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    28.49% Variable
  • Issuer name:
    Capital One
  • Details:

    Build credit history with Journey Student Credit Card. Earn 1% Cash Back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your Cash Back to a total of 1.25% for that month.

    The Journey Student Card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. The Card's APR: 28.49% Variable.

  • Pros:
    • Rewards program with bonus points
    • No annual fee
    • Automatic credit limit increase reviews
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Reports to three major credit bureaus
  • Cons:
    • High APR
    • No bonus categories
  • Benefits:
    • 1% Cash Back on every purchase;
    • 1.25% extra Cash Back;
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees;
    • ATM Location Services;
    • Emergency Card Replacement;
    • Travel rewards cards;
    • Fraud Coverage.
View all Journey Student Credit Card details
Apply now
On Capital One‘s site
Card detail

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card best for Single mom, Without SSN

Secured Mastercard® Capital One
Annual fee:
$0
Regular APR:
28.49% Variable
Our Rating:
2.44
scorer
Credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    28.49% Variable
  • Issuer name:
    Capital One
  • Details:

    The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is for people who want to improve their credit scores. The Card has no annual fee. It requires a security deposit when you’re approved.

    The card's APR is 28.49% (Variable).

    You’ll get access to CreditWise® from Capital One, which will automatically alert you to changes on your TransUnion or Experian credit reports.

    The Secured Mastercard from Capital One comes with a surprising number of travel perks, including no foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services and secondary auto rental coverage.

    Cardholders will also receive extended warranty coverage for items purchased that already come with a manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Pros:
    • Low initial deposit amount of $49, $99, or $200
    • You can increase the credit line up to $1000
    • No annual fee
    • Automatic credit line reviews
    • Credit building
  • Cons:
    • High APR
    • Low credit limit
    • No rewards program
  • Benefits:
    • $0 Fraud Liability;
    • Refundable Deposit;
    • Capital One CreditWise;
    • Eno®, your Capital One assistant;
    • Virtual Card Numbers from Eno;
    • Emergency Card Replacement;
    • ATM Location Services;
    • MasterRental Coverage;
    • 24/7 Customer Service.
View all Platinum Secured Mastercard® details
Apply now
On Capital One‘s site
Card detail

WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® best for Beginner, No history

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® WebBank
Annual fee:
$0
Regular APR:
15.99% - 29.99% Variable
Our Rating:
3.8
scorer
Credit score
No Credit History to Excellent (0-799)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 1% - 1.5%:
    • Cash Back after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
    • 2% - 10%:
    • Cash Back from select merchants.
  • Issuer name:
    WebBank
  • Details:

    The Petal 2 Card has no fees of any kind and is designed to help you build credit.

    The credit limit is from $500 - $10,000.

    Grow your credit score with responsible spending and on-time payments.

    Get 1% cash back right away. Earn up to 1.5% when you pay on time. Plus 2% - 10% bonus cash back at select merchants.

    Freeze your card at any time to protect your account. And rest easy knowing your data is safe and encrypted.

    Read full review

  • Pros:
    • No annual fee
    • No returned payment fee
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • You can apply even if you have no credit history
    • No late fees
  • Cons:
    • No signup bonus
    • Cash advances are not permitted
    • Those who filed for bankruptcy may be rejected
    • Balance transfers are not allowed
    • No intro APR offer
  • Benefits:
    • No foreign transaction fee;
    • Petal 2 reports to all 3 major credit bureaus;
    • Qualify with average credit.
View all Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® details
Apply now
On WebBank‘s site
Card detail
Synovus Bank The First Latitude Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
Annual fee:
$25 for the first year;
after that $35.00 annually
Regular APR:
22.99% Variable
Our Rating:
1.16
scorer
Credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
    • Issuer name:
      Synovus Bank
    • Details:

      The Synovus Bank First Latitude Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is a full-feature Platinum Mastercard® with a credit line based on a security deposit rather than on a credit score.

      The First Latitude Platinum Mastercard® Secured charges an annual fee of $25 for the first year; after that $35 annually. The APR for Purchases is 22.99% (27.99% for cash advances). These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

      Read full review

    • Pros:
      • Available to people with limited credit history
    • Cons:
      • Foreign Transaction Fee
      • Balance transfers are not available
    • Benefits:
      • Choose a Credit Line Secured by Your Fully Refundable Deposit - from $100 to $2,000;
      • Reports Monthly to All 3 Consumer Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History;
      • Quick and Easy Online Application.
    View all First Latitude Platinum Mastercard® Secured details
    Apply now
    On Synovus Bank‘s site
    Card detail

    Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card best for 18 year old

    Gold Preferred® Secured Visa® Applied Bank
    Annual fee:
    $48 annually
    Regular APR:
    9.99% Fixed
    Our Rating:
    4.23
    scorer
    Credit score
    No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
      • Issuer name:
        Applied Bank®
      • Details:

        The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® features a fixed-rate 9.99% APR on purchases.

        The Applied Bank® Gold Preferred® Secured Visa® Card charges several fees in addition to the $48 annual fee. Fees include an up to $38 late payment fee, an up to $38 returned payment fee, a $30 stop payment fee, a $12.95 fee for each optional payment, a $30 fee for additional or replacement cards a $50 reinstatement fee, and a 3% foreign transaction fee.

        Read full review

      • Pros:
        • Extremely low regular APR
        • No penalty rate
        • Guaranteed approval
        • Increase your credit limit
      • Cons:
        • No rewards system
        • A lot of fees
        • Can’t upgrade to an unsecured credit card
        • No grace period
      • Benefits:
        • Reports to All Three National Credit Bureaus;
        • Zero Fraud Liability;
        • Refundable Security Deposit;
        • Global acceptance;
        • Emergency card replacement and cash disbursement.
      View all Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card details
      Apply now
      On Applied Bank®‘s site
      Card detail
      Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Mastercard®
      Annual fee:
      $36 the first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter
      Regular APR:
      20.45% Variable
      Our Rating:
      3.98
      scorer
      Credit score
      No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
        • Issuer name:
          Merrick Bank
        • Details:

          The Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Mastercard® is a good card for people looking to build or rebuild credit.

          The card has an annual fee of $36 for the first year (billed $3 per month thereafter).

          The APR for purchases is 20.45% (Variable).

          Double your $200 credit line by making at least your minimum payment on time each month for the first 7 months your account is open.

          Read full review

        • Pros:
          • Double your credit limit
          • Free monthly FICO Score access
        • Cons:
          • Annual Fee
          • Foreign Transaction
        • Benefits:
          • $0 Fraud Liability;
          • Double Your Line®;
          • Reports to 3 Major Credit Bureaus.
        View all Double Your Line® Secured Mastercard® details
        Apply now
        On Merrick Bank‘s site
        Card detail
        First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Synovus Bank
        Annual fee:
        $49 annually
        Regular APR:
        13.74% Variable
        Our Rating:
        3.8
        scorer
        Credit score
        No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
          • Issuer name:
            Synovus Bank
          • Details:

            The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is a secured credit card for people with a limited credit history.

            The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® doesn’t earn a welcome bonus.

            The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® comes with an annual fee of $49. The card's APR: 13.74% (Variable for purchases), 22.74% (Variable for cash advances).

            First Progress reports to all three major credit agencies, so even if you have bad credit, you’ll be able to improve on your credit standing provided you use your card responsibly.

            Read full review

          • Pros:
            • Low APR for Purchases
            • No Minimum Credit Score Required
            • Reports to Three Major Credit Bureaus
            • Suitable Range of Credit Limit
          • Cons:
            • High Annual Fee
            • High Transaction Fees on Cash Advance
            • High Penalty Fees
            • No Bonuses or Rewards
            • Foreign Transaction Fees
            • Unavailability of Card for Certain Geographies in the US
          • Benefits:
            • Accepted Nationwide;
            • No Minimum Credit Score;
            • No Credit History Required.
          View all First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured details
          Apply now
          On First Progress’s site
          Card detail

          Celtic Bank Deserve EDU best for Cash Back, Without SSN, Student

          Deserve EDU Celtic Bank
          Annual fee:
          $0
          Regular APR:
          22.49% Variable
          Our Rating:
          3.5
          scorer
          Credit score
          No Credit History to Excellent (0-799)
          • Rewards Rate:
            • 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you'll automatically start earning Cash Back on all purchases.
          • Issuer name:
            Celtic Bank
          • Details:

            The Deserve EDU Card makes it easy for students to start building credit.

            The Card's APR is 22.49% (Variable APR). The late payment is up to $25, while the returned payment is up to $37. Balance transfers and cash advances are not available.

            Students who make purchases totaling $500 within the first three statement cycles of card membership qualify to have their Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursed (a $59 value).

            Students spend a significant amount on school supplies, textbooks and gear each year, and the Deserve EDU Mastercard can earn Cash Back on all of these purchases.

            Read full review

          • Pros:
            • No prior credit history required
            • No SSN Required
            • No Annual Fee
            • No
            • Transactions Fees
            • No Co-Signer/ Deposit Required
          • Cons:
            • Relatively High APR
            • Fairly Low Rewards
            • Only for Students
          • Benefits:
            • Cellphone Protection;
            • Collision Damage Waiver;
            • Concierge Service;
            • No International Transaction Fees;
            • Priority Pass™ Membership;
            • Mastercard Benefits;
            • No Social Security Number required for international students to apply.
          View all Deserve EDU details
          Apply now
          On Celtic Bank‘s site
          Card detail

          WebBank Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® best for For bad credit

          Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® WebBank
          Annual fee:
          $0
          Regular APR:
          22.99% - 32.49% Variable
          Our Rating:
          4.34
          scorer
          Credit score
          No Credit History to Good (0-739)
          • Rewards Rate:
            • 2% - 10%:
            • Cash Back at select merchants.
          • Issuer name:
            WebBank
          • Details:

            The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Card earns 2% - 10% Cash Back from select merchants.

            The Petal® 1 Card has no annual fee. The card's APR for purchases: 22.99% to 32.49% (Variable).

            The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Card does not charge an annual fee or fee for foreign transactions.

            Read full review

          • Pros:
            • No Annual Fee
            • No Foreign Transaction Fee
          • Cons:
            • No welcome bonus
            • No intro APR period
          • Benefits:
            • 2 - 10% Cash Back;
            • Zero liability fraud protection;
            • $300 - $5,000 credit limits.
          View all Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® details
          Apply now
          On WebBank‘s site
          Card detail
          Surge® Platinum Secured Mastercard® Celtic Bank
          Annual fee:
          $69 annually
          Regular APR:
          19.99% Variable
          Our Rating:
          3.3
          scorer
          Credit score
          No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
          • Rewards Rate:
            • 1% Cash Back rewards for each $1 spent using your Surge Mastercard.
          • Issuer name:
            Celtic Bank
          • Details:

            The Surge® Platinum Secured Mastercard® is a credit card designed for people with poor credit or none at all. The card earns 1% Cash Back rewards.

            The card's APR: 19.99% (Variable).

            The Surge® Platinum Secured Mastercard® has an annual fee of $69. There’s also an additional one-time card fee of $30 (if applicable). Plus, the card has a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

            Read full review

          • Pros:
            • Cash Back rewards
            • Free automatic account reviews for credit limit increases
          • Cons:
            • Annual Fee
            • Foreign Transaction Fee
            • No welcome bonus
            • No Intro APR offer
          • Benefits:
            • 1% Cash Back Rewards;
            • Potential Credit Limit Increase;
            • Report to All 3 Major Credit Bureaus.
          View all Surge® Platinum Secured Mastercard® details
          Apply now
          On Celtic Bank‘s site
          Card detail
          Secured Mastercard® Merrick Bank
          Annual fee:
          $36 for first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter
          Regular APR:
          20.45% Variable
          Our Rating:
          3.2
          scorer
          Credit score
          No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
            • Issuer name:
              Merrick Bank
            • Details:

              The Merrick Bank Secured Mastercard® credit card is a card designed for building or rebuilding credit. The cardholder’s initial credit line will be equal to the amount of their security deposit, which can be between $200 and $3,000.

              The Annual Fee is $36 the first year. Billed $3 dollars per month thereafter.

              The Card's APR: 20.45% Variable for purchases.

              The Secured Mastercard® credit card reports to all three major credit bureaus.

              Read full review

            • Pros:
              • Up to $3000 credit limit
              • Reports to three major credit bureaus
              • You don’t need a bank account to apply
              • Access to FICO score
              • Low APR
            • Cons:
              • No rewards or intro offers
              • $200 minimum deposit
              • Extra fees
              • $36 annual fee
            • Benefits:
              • Monthly Reporting to the 3 Major Credit Bureaus;
              • $0 Fraud Liability;
              • Low interest;
              • FICO® Score for Free Each Month.
            View all Secured Mastercard® details
            Apply now
            On Merrick Bank‘s site
            Card detail
            First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Synovus Bank
            Annual fee:
            $39 annually
            Regular APR:
            17.74% Variable
            Our Rating:
            3.5
            scorer
            Credit score
            No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
              • Issuer name:
                Synovus Bank
              • Details:

                The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured is designed to help cardholders build credit with no credit check or minimum credit score required to apply.

                The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured doesn’t come with any welcome offers, sign-up bonuses or reward rates.

                The card's APR: 17.74% (Variable for Purchases), 23.74% (Variable for Cash Advances).

                The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® has an annual fee of $39. Plus, the card has a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

                Read full review

              • Pros:
                • No credit history required
                • No Minimum Credit Score needed
                • Low Annual Percentage Rates
              • Cons:
                • Annual Fee
                • Foreign Transaction Fee
              • Benefits:
                • Accepted Nationwide;
                • No Minimum Credit Score;
                • No Credit History Required.
              View all First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured details
              Apply now
              On First Progress’s site
              Card detail

              Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa® best for 18 year old

              Secured Visa® OpenSky®
              Annual fee:
              $35 annually
              Regular APR:
              17.39% Variable
              Our Rating:
              3.82
              scorer
              Credit score
              No Credit History to Good (0-739)
                • Issuer name:
                  Capital Bank
                • Details:

                  With Secured Visa® Credit Card your credit limit is defined by your refundable deposit, as low as $200 and up to $3000*. You’re the one who decides what’s best for you.

                  Use your card to make purchases like gas or groceries, or for recurring bills like your phone, without changing your total monthly budget. Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion® get reports every month — that's important to help you quickly improve your credit score.

                  Read full review

                • Pros:
                  • No credit check required
                  • Does not require a bank account
                  • Reports to three major credit bureaus
                  • Low minimum cash deposit
                • Cons:
                  • High annual fee
                  • High Foreign Transaction Fee
                  • No Rewards
                  • No Signup Bonus
                • Benefits:
                  • No credit check necessary to apply;
                  • Reports to three major credit bureaus;
                  • Build credit quickly;
                  • Doesn't require a bank account.
                Card detail

                Short Review of Best Credit Cards For 18 Year Old Applicants

                NameBest forRewards RateAPRApply
                Capital One Platinum Credit Card
                2.91
                Without SSN
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 28.49% VariableApply now
                On Capital One‘s site
                Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
                3.64
                Fair credit
              • 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.
              • 28.49% VariableApply now
                On Capital One‘s site
                Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
                3.79
                Without SSN
              • 1% Cash Back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your Cash Back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
              • 28.49% VariableApply now
                On Capital One‘s site
                Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
                2.44
                Single mom, Without SSN
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 28.49% VariableApply now
                On Capital One‘s site
                WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®
                3.8
                Beginner, No history
              • 1% - 1.5%:
              • Cash Back after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
              • 2% - 10%:
              • Cash Back from select merchants.
              • 15.99% - 29.99% VariableApply now
                On WebBank‘s site
                First Latitude Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                1.16
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 22.99% VariableApply now
                On Synovus Bank‘s site
                Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
                4.23
                18 year old
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 9.99% FixedApply now
                On Applied Bank®‘s site
                Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card
                3.98
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 20.45% VariableApply now
                On Merrick Bank‘s site
                First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                3.8
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 13.74% VariableApply now
                On First Progress’s site
                Celtic Bank Deserve EDU
                3.5
                Cash Back, Without SSN, Student
              • 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you'll automatically start earning Cash Back on all purchases.
              • 22.49% VariableApply now
                On Celtic Bank‘s site
                WebBank Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa®
                4.34
                For bad credit
              • 2% - 10%:
              • Cash Back at select merchants.
              • 22.99% - 32.49% VariableApply now
                On WebBank‘s site
                Celtic Bank Surge® Platinum Secured Mastercard®
                3.3
              • 1% Cash Back rewards for each $1 spent using your Surge Mastercard.
              • 19.99% VariableApply now
                On Celtic Bank‘s site
                Merrick Bank Secured Credit Card
                3.2
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 20.45% VariableApply now
                On Merrick Bank‘s site
                First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                3.5
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 17.74% VariableApply now
                On First Progress’s site
                Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa®
                3.82
                18 year old
              • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
              • 17.39% VariableLearn more

                Card's description:

                Capital One Platinum Credit Card

                The Capital One Platinum Mastercard has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, gives you an opportunity to increase your credit limit in as little as six months with responsible behavior, and reports account information to all three major credit bureaus each month. Although it lacks some standard benefits, like cash back and a sign-up bonus, it has everything you need to build credit inexpensively or raise your credit limit quickly.

                Read more about Capital One Platinum Credit Card

                Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

                If you’re a young adult looking to build credit and earn cash back rewards in the process, it doesn’t get simpler than the Capital One QuicksilverOne credit card, despite its $39 annual fee. It offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back reward on all purchases all year long and a chance to qualify for a higher credit limit after six months of account opening. Your rewards do not expire for the life of the account. There’s no cap on the cash back amount you can earn and no minimum redemption amount. Plus, you get plenty of redemption options to pick from.

                Read more about Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

                Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

                With no annual fee, a bonus for paying on time, and a chance to increase your credit limit in as little as six months, Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One is an attractive option for students. You earn 1% cash back on all purchases, plus another 0.25% for any month when you pay the credit card bill on time. New cardholders also get to earn $5 a month for a year on select steaming subscriptions every time they pay on time. Throw into the mix monthly credit-bureau reporting and unlimited access to your credit score, and you get all the ingredients needed to improve your credit score.

                Read more about Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

                Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

                Thanks to its small security deposit amount, reasonable fees, and promise to automatically review your credit limit after six months, the Platinum Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is a good option for all those looking to build credit. Unlike with most other secured credit cards, you may qualify for a credit limit that’s more than your deposit. And unlike a prepaid card, this card reports to all three major credit bureaus, allowing you to build credit with responsible behavior.

                Read more about Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

                WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®

                Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® is an ideal option for all those who want to avoid fees as they build credit with responsible behavior. It charges no fees whatsoever — no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no late fee, and no fee of any other kind. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases right off the bat — which will increase to a healthy 1.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments. Although it lacks some standard benefits like a sign-up bonus or a 0% intro APR offer, its no-fees-of-any-kind promise and 1 - 1.5% cash back on all purchases make up for it to a large extent.

                Read more about WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®

                Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

                The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card credit card is designed for people with no credit history or bad credit. The bank doesn’t run a credit check, nor do they have any minimum credit score required for approval. Applied Bank won’t hike your APR if you miss a payment, though you’ll have to pay a late payment fee. You must also pay an annual fee of $48, which is rather steep compared to similar secured cards. Unlike most other credit cards, this one doesn’t offer a grace period, so you’ll be paying interest on your purchases from the day you make them.

                Read more about Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

                Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa®

                The OpenSky® Secured Visa® credit card reports to all three credit bureaus, which is the key to improving your credit history, along with responsible credit behavior. The highlights of this secured card include no credit check requirement for approval and the maximum credit limit of $3,000. For these reasons, the card is worth it for those who don’t want a hard credit inquiry and would like to improve credit via an increased credit limit. On the downside, you’ll pay a $35 annual fee and a 3% foreign transaction fee.

                Read more about Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa®

                Should I Get a Credit Card at 18?

                When you are 18, building your credit score may not seem a priority. Yet, it can have a significant impact on your financial life. Your credit score determines whether you get approved for loans and the interest rates you pay. But that’s not all. Employers often run a credit check to get insight into a potential hire, and landlords use this three-digit number to decide who to rent to.

                In short, the better your credit score, the easier life becomes.

                A credit score, however, can’t be built in a day; it requires patience and discipline. So there’s an advantage in starting as early as possible — that is, at 18, the minimum age to be a primary cardholder for nearly all card issuers.

                How to choose the best cards for 18-year-olds?

                The process of selecting the right card is highly individual. A good starting point, however, is to consider your spending habits and look for cards with features matching them. Here’s a set of guidelines on things to consider when shopping for a credit card.

                Annual Fee

                This is the cost you pay to keep your account open. The last thing you may want while working on your credit is to take on extra costs. Some credit cards for young adults have no annual fee, and you may be better off with such a card. But if you settle for a card with an annual fee, make sure it allows you to earn enough rewards to justify it.

                Sign-up Bonus Offer

                Many cards offer a welcome bonus. That means new cardholders earn extra rewards, like cash back or points when they use it.

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                For example, the Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card automatically matches the cash back you earn at the end of the first year, dollar-for-dollar. Since this card offers a 5% cash back on up to $1500 total purchases in rotating bonus categories every quarter, maxing out this purchase limit every quarter alone will bring you home $600 in the first membership year! And that’s without the standard 1% reward you earn on all other purchases.

                Rewards

                As a young adult with little or no credit history, you’re likely to be ineligible for cards with lucrative reward offers. But something is better than nothing, and you can maximize your savings by looking for a card that perfectly matches your spending habits.

                For example, students who plan to study abroad and travel during breaks or summer holidays may want to take a closer look at the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students. This no-annual-fee and no-foreign-transaction-fee card lets you earn an unlimited 1.5 points for every dollar you spend.

                0% Intro APR

                Credit cards with 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers can prove useful for someone with a big purchase coming up or a high credit card balance. The 0% intro offer, however, doesn’t last forever. Once it ends, the regular APR will apply, so aim to pay off the balance in full by then.

                If you’re wondering how to pick a credit with a 0% APR, consider the length of the intro APR period. With some cards, it lasts only six months; with some others, it can last for more than a year.

                For example, BankAmericard for Students offers a 0% introductory offer on both balance transfers and new purchases for the first 18 billing cycles to help you pay off purchases without interest and save money on credit card debt.

                Automatic credit line review

                As an 18-year-old, you may not qualify for a high-limit credit card. However, with responsible credit behavior you can, slowly but surely, increase your credit limit. In fact, some student credit cards automatically review your credit line in as little as six months.

                Paying your first five card payments on time may help you get a credit line increase. Doing so can help you improve your credit utilization ratio — the percentage of total available credit that you are utilizing.

                The credit utilization ratio is a key credit scoring factor, and keeping it under 30% of the available credit limit can help boost your score.

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                You can easily calculate it with the help of our simple credit card utilization calculator.

                Reports to all three major credit bureaus

                When your aim is to build credit, one question you should be asking yourself before signing up is — will this credit card help me build my credit? Opt for a card that reports your credit usage to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Not all secured credit cards do this.

                How to Get a Credit Card for the First Time?

                As an 18-year-old, you can get your first credit card in any of the following three ways:

                1. Open a Credit Card in Your Name

                If you earn enough to afford monthly bill payments or can get someone to co-sign your application, consider getting a credit card in your name. The best type of starter credit card for young adults is a student credit card, assuming you are studying in college. Student credit cards usually have lower fees and rates and better rewards than other starter credit cards for first-time applicants.

                But if you don’t qualify for a student credit card, that’s okay. Any credit card will do, as long as its annual fee is low and you use it responsibly.

                2. Become an Authorized User on someone else’s card

                If you have a thin credit file, becoming an authorized user on a friend’s or parent’s credit card can help you build credit. This strategy works best when the primary user has a long record of paying credit card bills on time because then you can benefit from the age of their account.

                Keep in mind that not all credit card issuers report authorized users to the credit bureau. Picking a card that doesn’t will defeat the whole purpose because your credit score gets generated from the information present in your credit reports. So ensure the issuer reports authorized users to all three major credit bureaus before becoming one.

                3. Get a Secured Credit Card

                If you neither qualify for an unsecured card — a card that doesn’t require a deposit for approval — nor have a co-signer, consider getting a secured credit card. As the name suggests, such cards require a deposit, which becomes your line of credit.

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                Generally, the minimum deposit for most secured cards is $200 and the maximum $3,000.

                You may want to put as much money on a secured card as possible since the more you deposit, the higher your line of credit. A higher credit limit, in turn, makes it relatively easier to maintain a good credit utilization rate — 30% or lower. Before you apply, double-check that the credit card company reports to at least one credit bureau, if not all three.

                How to build credit being 18 years old?

                The secret to building credit at 18 is pretty simple. Get a credit card in your name and use it responsibly.

                Here are some tips to help you use your credit card wisely:

                • Payment history: When it comes to paying credit card bills, timing is everything. Payment history is the most important factor in your credit score, and even one missed payment can bring your score down.
                • Credit Utilization Rate: Also known as credit utilization ratio, it is the percentage of total available credit that you are currently using. Aim for a credit utilization ratio of 30% or lower. If you’re just starting out and have a low credit limit, use your card for small purchases, like an Uber ride, to keep credit utilization in check and pay the full statement balance on the due date.

                The credit age and history, credit mix and account types, and credit inquiries all impact your credit score, but not as much as maintaining a good credit card utilization ratio and paying your card balance in full every month.

                FAQ

                Can you get a credit card at 18 if unemployed?

                You don’t need a job to get approval, but you do require an income. The list could include allowances, personal income, scholarships, and grants. If you don’t have a job but receive income from one or more of these sources, mention the same on your credit card application.

                How old do you have to be to open a credit card?

                You have to be at least 18 years old to get a credit card in your name, but you can get yourself added as an authorized user to another person’s account earlier. You will likely need proof of income or a co-signer to open an account in your name.

                Does credit build before 18?

                As a minor, you can be added as an authorized user to someone else’s credit card. There’s no legal minimum age for adding a minor as an authorized user as such, but each issuer may have different guidelines.
                Hanna VolkavaHanna Volkava

                Financial and product expert

                hv@myfin.us