These New Cards May Be Good if You’re Building, or Rebuilding, Credit

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A credit card is a great way to build, or rebuild, credit — when handled responsibly.

But there’s a catch-22 when it comes to credit: you need it to get it. Overcoming past credit missteps can be more complex than building new credit, but both are possible if you start with cards designed to help people in that situation. 

Some new credit cards, and new offerings on existing cards, can help you if you find yourself in need of building or rebuilding credit. 

Pro Tip

Keep a handle on how you’re doing by frequently checking your credit report. You can do this for free on a weekly basis right now through annualcreditreport.com.

That includes longer zero-interest financing, heftier sign-up bonuses, and benefits that align more with the financial situation many people have found themselves in as a consequence of the pandemic.  Some issuers are also offering incentives to use your card responsibly and build credit; the new Chase Slate Edge℠* is an example.

If you’re just starting to build credit or rebuilding it because of past credit mistakes, these new cards may be a good place to start.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured* is a new secured card that’s a standout even among the best secured credit cards. Unlike most secured cards, it offers rewards alongside the ability to build credit with no annual fee. 

You don’t get many bells and whistles with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Card compared to other credit cards, but it’s a great option for people who have a limited credit history or poor credit. Because it’s a secured card, you’re more likely to get approved with a lower credit score, but you’ll need to make an initial security deposit of at least $300 (up to a maximum of $4,900). Once you start using the card, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

The card comes with a high variable APR of 23.99%. High interest debt can accrue very quickly on any balances you carry on this card. To effectively build your credit score with this card, you’ll need to pay your balances in full and on time each month, while keeping your spending well below your credit limit.

Chase Slate Edge℠

Chase recently launched the Chase Slate Edge Card for consumers trying to pay off credit card debt and build up their credit scores.

The card’s biggest draws are the 12-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (followed by a 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR), incentives for using your card responsibly, and no annual fee.

For example, you can lower your interest rate by up to 2% each year if you make all payments on time and spend at least $1,000 on purchases. But the benefit is capped once you reach the Prime Rate (currently 3.25%) plus 9.74%. There’s also an automatic credit limit review when you make all payments on time and spend at least $500 within the first six months.

Just keep in mind the limitations of these benefits. The variable APR range is similar to other credit cards, and can lead to high-interest debt if you start to carry a balance. There are also no rewards for your spending, but you can earn a $100 bonus when you spend $500 within six months of account opening. 

All in all, the Chase Slate Edge is a solid option if you’re trying to grow your credit score — especially if you plan to upgrade to one of Chase’s Freedom or Sapphire rewards cards in the future.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi just rolled out the Custom Cash card*, which pays up to 5% cash back on the first $500 spent in certain categories each month. It too comes with no annual fee, a $200 sign-up bonus, and a 15-month 0% interest rate on new purchases and balance transfers (then 13.99% to 23.99%). 

This card can be a way for you to start dipping your toes into credit card rewards, but only makes sense once you’ve improved your credit and you’re ready to upgrade to a different card. We recommend having a good credit score (above 670) before applying. 

Citi Custom Cash Card’s long introductory APR offer makes it a good option if you’re considering a large purchase in one of the rewards categories, or if you want to consolidate high-interest debt from other cards. To earn the $200 sign-up bonus, you’ll need to spend $750 within three months of account opening.

The rewards structure on the card is simple: you don’t have to enroll to earn 5% back — it’s automatically determined each billing cycle. That makes earning 5% cash back easier than with rotating 5% cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Discover it® Cash Back. 

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card

Editor’s Score: (3.4/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    23.99% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit:
    (No Credit History)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Chase Slate Edge℠

Chase Slate Edge℠

Editor’s Score: (3.2/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $100
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99 – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Editor’s Score: (3.9/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

Bottom Line

If you have a limited credit history or a low credit score, you may want to give one of these three cards a try. Just make sure you have a thorough understanding of how credit cards work and use any new credit card like a debit card: Only charge what you can afford to pay off each month, and always make on-time payments. That is the key to credit card success. 

*All information about the Chase Slate Edge℠, Citi Custom Cash Card and Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.