6 Best First Credit Cards for 2018
When you're applying for your first credit card, it's easy to get lost in the vast amount of choices available to you. The best credit card option all depends on where you are in life and your goals for using the credit card. This list of best first credit cards includes options for students, those with no credit, young adults eager to establish credit, and more.
Best for Students
Discover it for Students is the best credit card for students getting a credit card for the first time. This credit card pays 5 percent cash back rewards on different categories that rotate each quarter and 1 percent back on everything else. At the end of the first year, Discover will match all the cashback you have earned—dollar for dollar.
In addition to the rewards, you can earn an extra $20 cash back if you maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher each year for up to 5 years. An incentive that parents find appealing as well.
Best for Young Adults
Your purchases on the Capital One QuicksilverOne Rewards earn 1.5 percent cash back and no signup required to earn rewards.
For young adults, cash back rewards are one of the most versatile types of rewards and because the Capital One QuicksilverOne doesn't require excellent credit, first-timers have a good chance of getting approved for this card. Also, your cash back rewards never expire and you can redeem your rewards at any time you like.
Because it's your first credit card, your initial credit limit may not be very high—but that's to be expected. Capital One will automatically consider you for a credit limit increase if you make your first five monthly payments on time.
Important Pricing: The Purchase APR is 24.99 percent and the annual fee is $39.
Best for Recent Graduates
New Chase Freedom customers earn a $150 signup bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months once the account is opened. Then, you'll earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories that rotate each quarter. And, you'll earn 1 percent cash back on all your other purchases.
The spending bonus plus the long (15 month) 0 percent APR introductory period makes this a great credit card for recent graduates who are getting accustomed to life outside of college and paying student loans for the first time.
Important Pricing: There's a 0 percent introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. After that, the regular APR is 15.99 percent to 24.74 percent. There's no annual fee.
Best for Travelers
Like the name implies, travelers will benefit the most from The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students. The credit card pays 20,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of having the card. Once obtained, the 20,000 bonus points are worth a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases made on your card.
Purchases earn 1.5 points per dollar. And, if you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account, you'll earn a 10 percent bonus on your rewards. Your rewards can be redeemed anytime for any airline you fly or any hotel you visit.
As an additional perk, you can access your FICO score for free through the Mobile Banking app or Bank of America's online banking. Your FICO score is a measurement of how well you're doing with credit, not just with your Bank of America credit card, but any other credit accounts you have—such as students loans and auto loans.
Important Pricing: There is a 0 percent introductory interest rate on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, the regular APR is 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent. There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.
Best When No Credit's Been Established
Capital One Classic Platinum has a history of approving applicants who are just starting out with credit. As long as you have your own income, your odds of getting approved for your first credit card are fairly good. And, you don't have to be a student to be approved. As with the Capital One Quicksilver One, if you make your first five monthly payments on time, Capital One will consider you for a credit limit increase.
Important Pricing: The Purchase APR is 24.99 percent and the annual fee is $0.
Best for Immigrants
The Deserve Edu MasterCard is a great first credit card for immigrants and permanent residents who don't have a social security number—unlike the vast majority of credit cards that require a social security number in order to be approved.
Once you're approved, the Deserve Edu MasterCard will pay one percent unlimited cash back on all purchases made on the credit card. Students can also enjoy free Amazon Prime membership and gain access to Amazon's free video, music, and reading offerings.
After using the Deserve Edu MasterCard wisely, you may become eligible for the Deserve Pro MasterCard. This upgraded card pays 3 percent cash back on travel and entertainment, two percent back on restaurants, and 1 percent back on all other purchases.