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Best Credit Cards for First Time Applicants 2024

The credit card has become an essential part of everyday life. A good credit score can make your life easier, so it’s important to start building it as early as you can and choose your first credit card wisely. You will likely end up getting a starter credit card, as your credit score will be low or non-existent. But a starter credit card doesn’t mean a bad credit card, as there are many good options for first-time users. In this article, we will navigate through the best starter credit cards. Also, we will explain how to choose the best credit card just for you and how to make the most of it.

By Hanna Volkava
Updated May 23, 2024

Best Credit Cards for First time applicants in May 2024

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Capital One Platinum Credit Card best for Without SSN

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Platinum Mastercard Capital One
Annual fee:
$0
Regular APR:
29.99% Variable
Our Rating:
2.86
scorer
Credit score
Fair (580-669)
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    29.99% 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.
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Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card best for Fair credit

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QuicksilverOne Capital One
Annual fee:
$39 annually
Regular APR:
29.99% Variable
Our Rating:
3.6
scorer
Credit score
Fair to Good (580-739)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
    • 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    29.99% Variable
  • Issuer name:
    Capital One
  • Details:

    The QuicksilverOne Credit Card from Capital One earns 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars (booked through Capital One Travel), and 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase. The Card has an annual fee of $39.

    The QuicksilverOne Card has an APR of 29.99% Variable. Balance Transfer Fee: 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.

  • 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:
    • 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel;
    • 1.5% Cash Back;
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees;
    • Autopay;
    • $0 Fraud Liability;
    • Card Lock;
    • ATM Location Services.
View all QuicksilverOne details
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Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card best for Single mom, Without SSN

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Secured Mastercard® Capital One
Annual fee:
$0
Regular APR:
29.99% Variable
Our Rating:
2.39
scorer
Credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    29.99% 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 29.99% (Variable). Balance transfer fee: 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.

    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
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FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® best for Unsecured

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FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® The Bank of Missouri
Annual fee:
$99 annually
$125 annually
Regular APR:
29.99% Variable
Our Rating:
3.9
scorer
Credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
    • Issuer name:
      The Bank of Missouri
    • Details:

      The FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card helps to rebuild or build your credit.

      The FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card's annual fee is $99 annually ($125 from the second year). The monthly maintenance fee for the second year will be $150 per year ($12.50 per month). The Processing Fee is $95 (one-time fee).

      The FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card has an initial credit limit of $400. Use your FIT card at locations everywhere Mastercard is accepted.

      Continental Finance will report your payments to the three major credit bureaus - TransUnion, Experian, Equifax.

      Read full review

    • Pros:
      • Credit may increase with time
      • Low eligibility requirements
      • Reasonable credit limit
      • No Security deposit
      • Credit Score Access
    • Cons:
      • High extra fees
      • High APR
      • Foreign Transaction Fee
      • No reward program
      • No Sign up Bonus
    • Benefits:
      • $0 Fraud Liability;
      • Initial Credit Limit of $400;
      • Potential Credit Limit Increase After Just 6 Months;
      • Free Monthly Credit Score;
      • Reports to All Three Major Credit Bureaus.
    View all FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® details
    Apply now
    On Continental Finance site
    Card detail

    Celtic Bank Surge® Platinum Mastercard® best for Walmart purchases

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    Celtic Bank Surge® Platinum Mastercard®
    Annual fee:
    $75 - $99 annually
    $99 annually
    Regular APR:
    24.99% - 29.99% Variable
    Our Rating:
    3.2
    scorer
    Credit score
    No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
      • Issuer name:
        Celtic Bank
      • Details:

        The Surge® Platinum Mastercard® credit card's APR range from 24.99% to 29.99%, based on creditworthiness.

        The monthly maintenance fee (from the 2nd year) is $150 per year ($12.50 per month).

        This unsecured credit card can be used as an effective tool to build credit as the issuer reports your monthly payments to the three major credit bureaus — TransUnion, Experian, Equifax.

        Read full review

      • Pros:
        • Monthly Credit Reporting
        • Free Monthly Credit Score
        • Potential Credit Limit Increase After 6 Months
        • Prequalification Without a Hard Check
      • Cons:
        • High Annual Fee
        • Relatively Low Credit Limit
        • Foreign Transaction Fee
        • Monthly Maintenance Fee After the 1st year
        • High APR
      • Benefits:
        • $0 Fraud Liability;
        • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus;
        • Possible credit limit increase after just six months;
        • Free Monthly Credit Score.
      View all Surge® Platinum Mastercard® details
      Apply now
      On Celtic Bank‘s site
      Card detail
      Apply now
      Revvi Card MRV Banks
      Annual fee:
      $75 for the first year
      $48 after *
      Regular APR:
      35.99% *
      Our Rating:
      4.1
      scorer
      Credit score
      Rebuilding Credit to Fair (0-669)
      • Rewards Rate:
        • 1% Cash Back rewards^^ on payments made to your Revvi Credit Card.
      • Issuer name:
        MRV Banks
      • Details:

        The Revvi Card is designed for people with poor credit or no credit.

        The Revvi Card earns 1% Cash Back rewards^^ on payments made to your Revvi Credit Card.

        The card has an annual fee of $75 (for the first year), $48 (for the second year). The regular purchase APR is 35.99%.

        Read full review

      • Pros:
        • Cash Back
      • Cons:
        • Annual Fee
        • Extra Fees
      • Benefits:
        • 1% Cash Back rewards^^ on payments made to your Revvi Credit Card;
        • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus;
        • Fast and easy application.
      View all Revvi details
      Apply now
      On the Revvi secure website
      Card detail

      First Access Visa® Card best for Low income

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      First Access Visa® The Bank of Missouri
      Annual fee:
      $75.00 for the 1st year, $48.00 after
      Regular APR:
      35.99%
      Our Rating:
      4.2
      scorer
      Credit score
      No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
      • Rewards Rate:
        • 1% Earn 1% cash back rewards on payments made to your First Access Credit Card.
      • Issuer name:
        The Bank of Missouri
      • Details:

        The First Access Visa® Card is a true VISA® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.

        The First Access Visa® Card's APR: 35.99%.

        The First Access Visa® Card is not a secured credit card, meaning applicants don’t have to have the amount of their credit limit as a deposit.

        Read full review

      • Pros:
        • Available to those with bad credit
        • Reports to three major credit bureaus
        • Easy application
        • No security deposit
      • Cons:
        • High APR
        • Several fees
        • Low credit limit
      • Benefits:
        • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments made to your First Access Credit Card;
        • First Access Visa credit card accepted nationwide;
        • Rebuild your credit;
        • Easy and Secure Online Application.
      View all First Access Visa® details
      Apply now
      On the First Access Visa® Card secure website
      Card detail

      Celtic Bank Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® best for Unsecured

      Apply now
      Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®​ Celtic Bank
      Annual fee:
      $75 - $99 for the first year
      $99 after the first year
      Regular APR:
      29.99% Variable
      Our Rating:
      3.8
      scorer
      Credit score
      No Credit History to Good (0-739)
        • Issuer name:
          Celtic Bank
        • Details:

          The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® can be used as an effective tool to build credit. The card has an APR of 29.99% (Variable).

          With $0 Fraud Liability you will not be held responsible for unauthorized charges on your Reflex credit card. With zero fraud liability you are only responsible for purchases that you make, so you can shop with confidence and know that your card activity is fully protected.

          The monthly maintenance fee (from the 2nd year) is $150 per year ($12.50 per month). Monthly Maintenance Fee not billed for the first 12 months your account is opened.

          Read full review

        • Pros:
          • Chance to get a higher credit limit
          • All credit scores are welcome to apply
          • Reports to three bureaus
          • Check if you prequalify without affecting your credit score
          • No deposit required
        • Cons:
          • No rewards
          • High Regular APR
          • High annual fee
          • Monthly maintenance fee
          • Additional card fee
          • Foreign transaction fee
        • Benefits:
          • $0 Fraud Liability;
          • Potential Credit Limit Increase After Just 6 Months;
          • Free Monthly Credit Score;
          • Monthly Reporting to All Three Major Credit Bureaus;
          • Credit Protection program.
        View all Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® details
        Apply now
        On Celtic Bank‘s site
        Card detail
        Apply now
        Total Visa® Card The Bank of Missouri
        Annual fee:
        $75.00 for the 1st year, $48.00 after
        Regular APR:
        35.99% *
        Our Rating:
        3.32
        scorer
        Credit score
        Rebuilding Credit to Fair (0-669)
        • Rewards Rate:
          • 1% Cash Back on all purchases.
        • Issuer name:
          The Bank of Missouri
        • Details:

          The Total Visa® Card is a credit card for people with bad credit score or limited credit. It does not require a credit check to apply.

          The Total Visa® Card's Regular APR is 35.99%.

          The Total Visa® Card allows you to choose your own card design.

          Read full review

        • Pros:
          • Low Requirements
        • Cons:
          • Annual Fee
          • High Regular APR
          • No Intro APR period
          • Extra Fees
        • Benefits:
          • $0 fraud liability;
          • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus;
          • Manageable monthly payments;
          • Select your favorite card design for free.
        View all Total Visa® Card details
        Apply now
        On the Total Visa® Card secure website
        Card detail
        Apply now
        Synovus Bank First Latitude Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
        Annual fee:
        $39 annually
        Regular APR:
        19.24% Variable
        Our Rating:
        1.75
        scorer
        Credit score
        No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
        • Rewards Rate:
          • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments made to your First Latitude Secured credit card account.
        • Issuer name:
          Synovus Bank
        • Details:

          First Latitude Select 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 Card earns 1% Cash Back rewards on payments made to your credit card account.

          The First Latitude Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card charges an annual fee of $39 annually. The APR for Purchases is 19.24% (25.24% 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:
          • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments made to your First Latitude Secured credit card account;
          • Minimum refundable deposit of $200.00 up to $2,000.00*;
          • Reports Monthly to All 3 Consumer Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History;
          • Quick and Easy Online Application.
        View all First Latitude Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card details
        Apply now
        On Synovus Bank‘s site
        Card detail

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

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        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
          Apply now
          First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Synovus Bank
          Annual fee:
          $49 annually
          Regular APR:
          15.24% Variable
          Our Rating:
          3.8
          scorer
          Credit score
          No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
          • Rewards Rate:
            • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments.
          • 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 Card earns 1% Cash Back rewards on payments.

            The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® comes with an annual fee of $49. The card's APR: 15.24% (Variable for purchases), 24.24% (Variable for cash advances).

            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
            • Foreign Transaction Fees
          • Benefits:
            • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments;
            • 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
          Apply now
          First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card Synovus Bank
          Annual fee:
          $29 annually
          Regular APR:
          25.24% Variable
          Our Rating:
          3.3
          scorer
          Credit score
          No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
            • Issuer name:
              Synovus Bank
            • Details:

              The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is designed to help cardholders build credit with no credit check or minimum credit score required to apply.

              As a secured credit card, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card doesn’t come with any welcome offers, sign-up bonuses or reward rates.

              As a Mastercard®-branded credit option, this First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is accepted nationwide.

              The initial Credit Limit for your Account will be equal to the amount of the Deposit that you make with us, which must be at least $200 (see “Security Interest” above). However, if you choose to deposit more than $200 your initial deposit and corresponding Credit Limit must be at least $300 and may not exceed $2,000.

              Read full review

            • Pros:
              • No credit history required
              • No Minimum Credit Score needed
              • Low Annual Percentage Rates
              • It builds your Credit Score
            • Cons:
              • No option to graduate to an unsecured credit card
              • Credit limit is equal to your deposit amount
              • There is no Rewards program
            • Benefits:
              • No Minimum Credit Score;
              • No Credit History Required;
              • Accepted Nationwide.
            View all First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured details
            Apply now
            On First Progress’s site
            Card detail
            Apply now
            Unique Platinum
            Annual fee:
            See website for details*
            Regular APR:
            0.00% Regular
            Our Rating:
            3.1
            scorer
            Credit score
            No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
            • Rewards Rate:
              • $25 With the Unique Platinum Card you’ll also get $25 in Reward Dollars every month that you can use to save in your choice of over 500,000 ways.
            • Details:

              The Unique Platinum Card is a good option for people with bad credit or no credit.

              With the Unique Platinum Card you’ll also get $25 in Reward Dollars every month.

              The card is valid only at My Unique Outlet.

              Read full review

            • Pros:
              • Unsecured credit line
              • Instant approval
            • Cons:
              • Valid only at My Unique Outlet
              • Minimum monthly payment
            • Benefits:
              • $1000 Credit Line;
              • $25 in Reward Dollars.
            View all Unique Platinum details
            Apply now
            On Uniquecardservices‘s website
            Card detail
            Apply now
            Secured Mastercard® Merrick Bank
            Annual fee:
            $36 for first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter
            Regular APR:
            22.70% 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: 22.70% 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
              Apply now
              First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Synovus Bank
              Annual fee:
              $39 annually
              Regular APR:
              19.24% Variable
              Our Rating:
              3.5
              scorer
              Credit score
              No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
              • Rewards Rate:
                • 1% Cash Back on payments made to your First Progress Secured credit card account.
              • 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 Credit Card earns 1% Cash Back on payments made to your First Progress Secured credit card account.

                The card's APR: 19.24% (Variable for Purchases), 25.24% (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:
                • 1% Cash Back on payments made to your First Progress Secured credit card account;
                • 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

              First Electronic Bank Destiny® Mastercard® best for Unsecured

              Apply now
              Destiny® Mastercard® First Electronic Bank
              Annual fee:
              *see terms*
              Regular APR:
              35.90%
              Our Rating:
              1.47
              scorer
              Credit score
              No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
                • Issuer name:
                  First Electronic Bank
                • Details:

                  The Destiny® Mastercard® is a good credit card for people with poor or no credit.

                  The Destiny® Mastercard® charges a high Regular APR of 35.90% and does not provide any intro APR offer.

                  The card charges an annual fee of $75 for the first year ($99 thereafter).

                • Pros:
                  • No monthly fees
                  • Prior bankruptcies are acceptable
                  • Liability protection
                  • No security deposit required
                • Cons:
                  • No reward
                  • High-interest rates
                  • No mobile app
                  • Credit limit
                • Benefits:
                  • Mastercard® benefits;
                  • Fraud protection;
                  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus.
                View all Destiny® Mastercard® details
                Apply now
                On First Electronic Bank‘s site
                Card detail

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

                Deserve EDU Celtic Bank
                Annual fee:
                $0
                Regular APR:
                22.99% 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 22.99% (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.
                Card detail

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

                Secured Visa® OpenSky®
                Annual fee:
                $35 annually
                Regular APR:
                25.64% 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

                  Citi Secured Mastercard® best for First time applicants

                  Secured Mastercard® Citi
                  Annual fee:
                  $0
                  Regular APR:
                  27.74% Variable
                  Our Rating:
                  2.74
                  scorer
                  Credit score
                  No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
                  • Balance Transfer APR:
                    27.74% Variable
                  • Issuer name:
                    Citi
                  • Details:

                    A good starter card for those who are new to credit, the Citi Secured Mastercard® allows cardholders to jumpstart their credit history without committing to a high annual fee.

                    The card’s variable APR is 27.74%.

                  • Pros:
                    • No annual fee
                    • ID theft protection
                    • Reports to three major credit bureaus
                  • Cons:
                    • High Penalty APR
                    • Bankruptcy restriction
                    • Foreign transaction fee
                    • No rewards system
                  • Benefits:
                    • $0 Liability;
                    • Digital Wallets.
                  Card detail

                  Credit One® Bank Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit best for Retired person

                  Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit Credit One Bank
                  Annual fee:
                  $75 for the first year
                  $99 annually
                  Regular APR:
                  29.24% Variable
                  Our Rating:
                  1.46
                  scorer
                  Credit score
                  No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
                  • Rewards Rate:
                    • 1% Cash Back rewards on gas and groceries as well as your monthly mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services.
                  • Issuer name:
                    Credit One® Bank
                  • Details:

                    Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit is Perfect For Everyday Purchases. Get 1% cash back rewards on gas and groceries as well as your monthly mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services.

                    Minimum Credit Line: $300 and Future credit line increases may be granted based on your overall credit performance.

                  • Pros:
                    • Cash Back Rewards
                    • Chance to get a higher credit limit
                    • Reports to three major credit bureaus
                    • Check if you prequalify online without affecting your credit score
                    • No security deposit
                  • Cons:
                    • No guaranteed grace period
                    • Potentially high annual fee
                    • Foreign transaction fee
                    • Low credit limit
                    • Balance transfers are not available
                  • Benefits:
                    • 1% Cash Back Rewards;
                    • Zero Fraud Liability;
                    • Free online access to your Experian credit score;
                    • Choose Your Payment Due Date.
                  Card detail

                  Short Review of Best Credit Cards For First Time Applicants

                  NameBest forRewards RateAPRApply
                  Capital One Platinum Credit Card
                  2.86
                  Without SSN
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 29.99% VariableLearn more
                  on our partner’s site
                  Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
                  3.6
                  Fair credit
                • 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
                • 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.
                • 29.99% VariableLearn more
                  on our partner’s site
                  Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
                  2.39
                  Single mom, Without SSN
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 29.99% VariableLearn more
                  on our partner’s site
                  FIT™ Platinum Mastercard®
                  3.9
                  Unsecured
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 29.99% VariableApply now
                  On Continental Finance site
                  Celtic Bank Surge® Platinum Mastercard®
                  3.2
                  Walmart purchases
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 24.99% - 29.99% VariableApply now
                  On Celtic Bank‘s site
                  Revvi Card
                  4.1
                • 1% Cash Back rewards^^ on payments made to your Revvi Credit Card.
                • 35.99% *Apply now
                  On the Revvi secure website
                  First Access Visa® Card
                  4.2
                  Low income
                • 1% Earn 1% cash back rewards on payments made to your First Access Credit Card.
                • 35.99%Apply now
                  On the First Access Visa® Card secure website
                  Celtic Bank Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®
                  3.8
                  Unsecured
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 29.99% VariableApply now
                  On Celtic Bank‘s site
                  Total Visa® Card
                  3.32
                • 1% Cash Back on all purchases.
                • 35.99% *Apply now
                  On the Total Visa® Card secure website
                  First Latitude Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                  1.75
                • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments made to your First Latitude Secured credit card account.
                • 19.24% 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
                  First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                  3.8
                • 1% Cash Back rewards on payments.
                • 15.24% VariableApply now
                  On First Progress’s site
                  First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                  3.3
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 25.24% VariableApply now
                  On First Progress’s site
                  Unique Platinum
                  3.1
                • $25 With the Unique Platinum Card you’ll also get $25 in Reward Dollars every month that you can use to save in your choice of over 500,000 ways.
                • 0.00% RegularApply now
                  On Uniquecardservices‘s website
                  Merrick Bank Secured Credit Card
                  3.2
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 22.70% VariableApply now
                  On Merrick Bank‘s site
                  First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
                  3.5
                • 1% Cash Back on payments made to your First Progress Secured credit card account.
                • 19.24% VariableApply now
                  On First Progress’s site
                  First Electronic Bank Destiny® Mastercard®
                  1.47
                  Unsecured
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 35.90%Apply now
                  On First Electronic Bank‘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.
                • 22.99% VariableLearn more
                  Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa®
                  3.82
                  18 year old
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 25.64% VariableLearn more
                  Citi Secured Mastercard®
                  2.74
                  First time applicants
                • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
                • 27.74% VariableLearn more
                  Credit One® Bank Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit
                  1.46
                  Retired person
                • 1% Cash Back rewards on gas and groceries as well as your monthly mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services.
                • 29.24% VariableLearn more

                  Card's description:

                  Capital One Platinum Credit Card

                  The Capital One Platinum Mastercard comes with several useful benefits that help you build your credit. The card offers free credit monitoring with CreditWise. Additionally, this credit card does not have annual or foreign transaction fees and doesn’t charge a penalty APR. Despite having a high APR for purchases and balance transfers (29.99%), the Capital One Platinum Mastercard credit card is still an option to consider. The card doesn't require a security deposit and provides the opportunity for its cardholders for a credit limit increase.

                  Read more about Capital One Platinum Credit Card

                  Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

                  The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards is the best credit card to consider for first-time applicants. It offers a 1.5% unlimited cash back on every purchase. Once you spend only $2,600, you’ll justify an annual fee of $39 on this credit card. In a period as short as 6 months, you can be automatically considered for a better credit card from Capital One.

                  Read more about Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

                  Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

                  While the Platinum Platinum Secured Mastercard® issued by Capital One does not offer cash back or other types of rewards, the appeal lies in its simplicity. This credit card has no annual fee and allows the cardholders to choose their monthly due date. The Platinum Secured Mastercard® requires at least a $49 refundable security deposit. However, after 6 months, you can be considered for a better credit card with no additional deposit required.

                  Read more about Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

                  First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

                  The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured credit card is another secured credit card from the First Progress. The credit line limit is determined by a fully refundable security deposit of $200 — $2000, submitted with the application. You can qualify for this credit card with no or bad credit score. Compared to the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured credit card, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured credit card has a lower APR for purchases (15.24%) and a higher annual fee ($49). Also, the card doesn’t offer any rewards, and it can’t be upgraded to another credit card.

                  Read more about First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

                  First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

                  Like all the other secured credit cards, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured requires a refundable deposit to open the credit card. The deposit may vary from $200 to $2000 and will serve as the credit limit. The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured credit card has an APR for purchases of 25.24%. You should also keep in mind that it doesn’t provide rewards, has an annual fee ($29), and doesn’t offer an opportunity to upgrade it to a better credit card.

                  Read more about First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

                  Celtic Bank Deserve EDU

                  If you are a student, you should definitely consider getting the Deserve EDU for Students. This card does not have a Social Security number and credit history requirements, making it easier for international and first-year students to be approved. Deserve EDU for Students doesn’t have an annual fee and offers 1% cash back on all purchases. Additionally, it offers a statement credit for a 12-month Amazon Prime Student subscription after you spend $500 in the first three billing cycles.

                  Read more about Celtic Bank Deserve EDU

                  Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa®

                  The OpenSky® Secured Visa® credit card, issued by Capital Bank, is a decent option for people seeking to build their credit. It can be opened with a minimum $200 refundable security deposit, which will serve as your credit line limit. This card, unfortunately, doesn’t provide an opportunity to be upgraded for a better credit card after some time.

                  Read more about Capital Bank OpenSky® Secured Visa®

                  Citi Secured Mastercard®

                  The Citi Secured Mastercard® credit card is also a great option for people with no credit history, and when used properly, it may help you establish credit. The card doesn’t have an annual fee but requires a $200 minimum security deposit. As for other terms, this credit card doesn’t provide rewards and has quite a high APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers (27.74%). Overall, the Citi Secured Mastercard® is a sound credit card for building a credit score.

                  Read more about Citi Secured Mastercard®

                  Credit One® Bank Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit

                  If you are looking for a card to build your credit with an unsecured credit card, we suggest you pay attention to the Credit One® Bank Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit. Credit One® Bank manages a regular review of your account for a possible credit line increase. Also, this credit card offers online access to your Experian credit score. With the Credit One® Bank Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit, you can earn 1% cash back rewards on categories like gas, grocery, Internet, and cable.

                  Read more about Credit One® Bank Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit

                  Should I get a starter credit card?

                  A starter credit card is a card for applicants with a limited or no credit history. Such credit cards are designed to help people build their credit so that they would be able to apply for a credit card with better terms.

                  There are two main types of starter credit cards — secured and unsecured credit cards.

                  Secured credit cards require applicants to make a security deposit to get approved. Generally, this deposit is equal to the desired credit limit. You will receive your deposit back either when you close your account or by getting it refunded by upgrading to the unsecured card. Some secured credit cards do not have an annual fee, which can be a nice bonus. The best secured cards options are the Citi Secured Mastercard® and the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card.

                  Unsecured credit cards differ from secured cards by not requesting you to put up a security deposit. This type of credit card tends to have higher interest rates, but they can offer cash back rewards. If you're looking for an unsecured credit card, consider the Capital One Platinum Mastercard Credit Card and the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

                  Student credit cards, part of an unsecured credit card group, are sometimes identified as separate starter credit cards. They also do not require a security deposit to get approved, and these credit cards tend not to charge an annual fee. It’s obvious that these credit cards are available to students only. The best options for student credit cards are Discover it® Student Cash Back, Discover it® Student chrome and Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One.

                  If you’re considering getting a starter credit card to build or improve your credit score, you should go for it. Starter credit cards do not offer a wide range of perks and bonuses and generally have higher fees. However, after some time, you can get a better credit card with better conditions.

                  Why is building credit important?

                  Your credit score plays an essential role in your life. It’s one of the ways companies measure your financial trustworthiness. The higher the credit score you have, the better credit card you can get. A good credit card comes with various benefits and rewards.

                  Credit score directly affects the terms of all the loans you take, including car loans and mortgages. Lenders take into account your credit score to decide on whether to give you a loan in general, as well as to finalize the terms of the loan. A bad credit score results in higher rates on your loan.

                  Most utility services providers, including cable, telephone, water, and cell phone service, also perform credit checks to determine whether you’ll be able to pay for their services on time.

                  And in some cases, employers may do a soft credit check (an inquiry into your credit report) as a part of the hiring process. It can influence the final decision on whether you get the job.

                  How to get started with my first credit card?

                  If you are new to credit cards in general, you undoubtedly have a few concerns about using them properly and which credit cards are best for beginners. Take into account these steps while choosing and applying for your first credit card.

                  First thing first, pay attention to the credit score requirements of a particular credit card. Starter credit cards do not require applicants to have a high credit score, while other types of credit cards may require you to have at least a Fair credit score (starting from 580 points). You should always check your credit score, as even several points may be significant for credit card issuers while reviewing your application.

                  After you’ve decided on the credit card, you’ll be required to present the following information to the credit card issuer:

                  • Legal name
                  • Date of birth
                  • Address
                  • Social Security number (some cards do not require SSN)
                  • Annual income

                  You also may be asked to provide information on your employment and bank account. It's important to apply only for cards that you're likely to be accepted. Remember that once you apply, your credit score may lose a few points.

                  How to choose a credit card for the first time?

                  An ideal first credit card is unique to everybody. While carefully choosing it, you should consider your circumstances before deciding on it. Here are the main points to keep in mind when you choose the best beginner credit card.

                  Checking your credit score before applying for a credit card might be the first step. You may have no credit history at all. In this case, you'll most likely need to start with a secured credit card. On the other hand, you may have a credit history without previously obtaining a credit card.

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                  For example, you could have been an authorized user on somebody’s credit card. It allows you to build at least some credit, and thus to have better starting options.

                  You may also find it necessary to look through APRs. Most starter credit cards have high APRs, while some provide promotional rates on purchases or balance transfers. Make sure you're aware of the variable APR you'll be charged on your purchases, and remember that paying your balance in full and avoiding carrying a balance can save you money. Nevertheless, due to the higher risk for issuers, you’ll likely have higher interest rates on your starter cards.

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                  Don’t forget to look through the fees of the card. Credit card issuers may impose relatively high fees for card maintenance (annual fee), using the card abroad (foreign transactions fee), or paying up late (late fees). However, you can find a starter credit card with little or no fees, making them more plausible options.

                  Finally, make sure to look through the rewards and bonuses of the credit card. Many unsecured and secured credit cards allow their holders to receive rewards on their spendings. Nice bonuses to consider are those offering a free credit score on your monthly statement, purchase protection, extended warranties, and travel insurance. By comparing the amount of cash back and other types of rewards and benefits, you may find the card that will be ideal for you.

                  Making the most of my starter credit card?

                  It’s important to use your starter credit card wisely. After all, it builds your credit history. The more responsibly you use your starter credit card, the better credit cards you could get in the future. Here are a few tips on how to make most of your starter credit card.

                  1. Set your budget. You can avoid falling into debt by having a realistic estimate of how much you can spend and pay off at the end of the month.
                  2. Track your spendings. After the budget is set, you need to keep track of your spendings throughout a period, like a week or a month. Once you reach your budget limit, avoid using the card again until your balance is paid off. If it happens often, reevaluate your budget or spendings.
                  3. Use the minimum of your credit limit. It can be too inviting to max out your credit card limit. Still, you shouldn't do it at any cost. The amount of credit you use is the second most important factor in your credit score, and having a large credit card balance can harm it.
                  4. Check your statements regularly. Your credit card issuer will send you a statement every month that includes a summary of your transactions from the previous payment cycle. Even if you've planned your monthly payment, it's still vital to review your billing statement to make sure there are no mistakes or illegal transactions. If you notice one of these, contact your credit card company right away to get them resolved.

                  Additionally, you should monitor your credit score and obtain your free annual credit report that will include a detailed record of your past use of credit. All of these will allow you to get the most of your starter card by improving your credit significantly.

                  Beginner credit card tips

                  After you are approved for the first credit card, you need to use it wisely. After all, while a beginner credit card might help you increase your credit score, making incorrect decisions can result in you having worse credit than when you started.

                  • Consider keeping your account open. The age of your oldest account has a significant impact on your FICO Score. With that in mind, you should understand that canceling accounts might influence your credit. To avoid the temptation of closing your account, consider getting a beginner credit card with no annual fee.
                  • Do not rush. You need to be patient about building your credit score. The more on-time credit card payments you make, the more details your future credit reports gain. It will take time to build your credit score, but the work will be worthwhile.
                  • Make larger payments. If you carry debt on your credit card and only pay the minimum payment required, interest charges will quickly mount. It will increase your balance month after month until you're buried in debt. And it will hurt your credit score.
                  • Be punctual with your payments. The most critical component in credit score is payment history, and even one late payment can have a significant impact. Set up notifications to remind yourself when your bill is due, or set up an automated credit card payment with your bank to avoid late payments.

                  How to apply for a credit card

                  Once you’ve come up with your choice of an ideal credit card, apply for it. The process is not difficult, however, it’s better to be prepared.

                  As a first step, you need to decide on how you will apply for a credit card. You can do it online, in person, or via mail. If you choose to apply online, you have to make sure that you are using the correct website of the credit card issuer. Scammers may steal your data through mirrored websites.

                  A second step requires you to fill in all the information asked by the credit card issuer. Look carefully through everything you have to provide, as the lack of information may cause an instant rejection. We also advise you to provide truthful information on your credit card application. Providing falsified information even on the starter credit cards is not worth it, as it may lead to negative consequences.

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                  If you are worried about your odds, you can try a pre-approval option. In a pre-approval process, the issuer can assess whether you meet the initial requirements for the credit card. As a result, you will be informed whether you pass the minimum criteria for a card. Pre-approval doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the credit card should you apply for it.

                  Finally, the third step is waiting for your result. Sometimes you may receive the answer in a few minutes, but for some credit cards, you need to wait for a week or even two. Generally, you’ll be notified of the final decision via email, but you also may need to check the website you applied through. Some credit card issuers have extensive representation across the U.S., and you can visit their office or contact them by phone at any time.

                  FAQ

                  What are other credit cards to consider?

                  Surge® Platinum Mastercard® from Celtic Bank is a decent option for starters. While this credit card doesn’t offer cash back rewards and charges an annual fee, its advantages are monthly credit reporting to major bureaus and the possibility to increase the credit limit. Another good credit card for newcomers to the US is the Deserve Pro credit card. It’s a no-annual-fee card with cash back rewards on travel, entertainment, and dining.

                  How to apply for a credit card for the first time?

                  You can apply for a credit card online or in person at a credit card issuer's office. The application conditions are the same for everyone, even if it's your first time applying for a credit card. When applying for a credit card, you can be asked to provide your income, Social Security number, employment details, phone number, and address. Be sure to review all the required information in advance.

                  How to find a good credit card?

                  Check your credit score to understand which credit cards you can apply and be approved for. Look for benefits and rewards that will be useful for you. Don’t forget to check the fees and APRs of the potential credit card, as they will influence your credit card-related expenses, like annual fee and interest rate. You can find all the necessary information about credit cards on the website of the credit card issuers.

                  Where to get my first credit card?

                  You can apply for a credit card online, in person, or via mail with a bank, credit union, or store that offers its credit card.

                  When to get my first credit card?

                  You can legally get your first credit card at the age from the age of 18. If you are between 18 and 21, you need a parent or guardian to cosign your credit card application. Alternatively, you can choose to become an authorized user on someone’s credit card to build your credit score at a younger age.
                  Hanna VolkavaHanna Volkava

                  Financial and product expert

                  hv@myfin.us