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Have you ever tried to get a credit card but were declined because you didn’t have credit? That might have left you feeling a little confused. How are you supposed to build credit when you can’t get a credit card in the first place?
Luckily, there are options available that help people with a limited credit history or no credit score at all gain access to credit cards. In this article, we’re going to walk through the five best credit cards for people with no credit.
How to pick the right credit card to start building credit
If you’re looking to start building a credit history, the first thing you need to do is be realistic. As you already found out, not all credit cards are going to be a good fit. You’re probably not going to qualify for a card with a huge welcome bonus. Instead, you’ll want to be looking toward starter cards. These won’t have many benefits, but they’ll give you the ability to build your credit score.
So what should you look for when picking out a starter card? Here are some of the biggest things to consider:
- Reports to all credit bureaus. One of the most important things to consider is whether the card issuer reports your payment history to all three credit bureaus. When you’re looking for loans in the future, not all lenders will look at the same credit report. Having your history reported to all credit bureaus will ensure you’re fully covered.
- No annual fee. Ideally, the card you choose will have no annual fee. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll keep the card open for the long term, which can have positive effects on your credit score.
- Is there a security deposit. Most unsecured credit cards don’t require you to put down a security deposit. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with secured cards. Card issuers implement a security deposit to protect themselves if a cardholder chooses not to make a payment.
- Pay attention to the APR. When comparing cards, pay close attention to the annual percentage rate (APR). You’ll want to pick a card with the lowest APR possible to help minimize any interest charges you’ll pay if you don’t pay your balance in full at the end of the month.
|Card||Intro offer||APR||Annual fee||Required credit score|
Required credit scorecredit_score_needed
Required credit scorecredit_score_needed
CardU.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card
Required credit scoreBad/Poor
CardOpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Required credit scorecredit_score_needed
CardAmazon Secured Card
APR10% fixed APR
Required credit scoreFair/Poor/No Credit
Best overall: card_name
The card_name is our favorite credit card for people with no credit. We love it because it has annual_fees annual fees, no late fees, and foreign_transaction_fee foreign transaction fees. This makes it perfect for anyone just getting started on their credit-building journey.
WebBank, the issuer of the card_name, looks beyond your credit score when making approval decisions. You’ll link your bank account, and they’ll analyze your spending and savings habits as well as your income to decide if you qualify.
The card also comes with the ability to earn cash back on purchases. To start, you’ll earn 1% cash back. Then if you make 12 consecutive on-time payments, the rate will be increased to 1.5%. WebBank will report your payment history to all three credit bureaus, too.
Best for students: card_name
Students looking to build credit for the first time should look no further than the card_name. Sign up and you’ll bonus_miles_full of opening the account.
You’re also going to earn cash back on every purchase you make. This includes:
- 10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eat, plus a complimentary Uber One membership through 11/14/2024.
- 5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
The card_name has annual_fees annual fee and is available to any student with credit_score_needed credit or no credit history. However, it’s not going to be available if you have bad credit.
Best for cash back: U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card
Earning rewards with a secured credit card isn’t common. However, with the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured card, you can earn cash back on the following purchases:
- 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories you choose.
- 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotels, and car reservations booked through the U.S. Bank Reward Travel Center.
- 2% cash back on eligible purchases in your choice of one everyday category (gas stations, EV charging stations, grocery stores, and restaurants).
- 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured card requires a security deposit of between $300 and $5,000. However, once you’ve built a good credit history and moved on to a new, unsecured card, this deposit will be returned. The card also has no annual fee.
Best for no credit check: card_name
If you’d prefer to skip the credit check altogether, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a great option. Capital Bank, the issuer of the card, will forgo the hard inquiry when you apply, and you won’t need to have a bank account, either.
One potential caveat is the requirement for a security deposit of at least $200. However, after six months, as long as you’ve made on-time payments, you can request a credit line increase without an additional deposit. Plus, at the six-month mark, you’ll also have the option to move to an unsecured card. This card has a annual_fees annual fee.
Best for carrying a balance: Amazon Secured Card
While carrying a balance from month to month is something you want to avoid, there are times when it can’t be avoided. If you need to carry a balance, the Amazon Secured Card is the best card to have. The reason is simple: The card has a fixed 10% APR and no annual fee.
You’ll need to put down a security deposit of at least $100. But there are also plenty of positives. With this card, you’ll have the ability to earn 2% cash back on all Amazon.com purchases if you’re an Amazon Prime member. And after 12 months of on-time payments, you’ll have the chance to close your Amazon Secured card and move onto the Amazon Store card, which will give you 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases.
To select the best possible credit cards for people with no credit, we looked at dozens of cards and considered several different factors, including credit reporting, reward potential, card benefits, and fees. We also dug into the fine print of each card to make sure all the information was transparent to anyone thinking about applying.
How to make the most of your starter card
If you’re just beginning to build a credit history, make sure you remember what your goals are. While it might be tempting to fantasize about big rewards, your goal is to build a positive credit history.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of the credit-building tools your card provides. This could be access to credit monitoring or the ability to increase your credit limit periodically with good payment history. These types of things will allow you to work toward a better card offering big welcome bonuses and attractive perks.
Credit building alternatives
Credit cards aren’t going to be for everyone at first, and that’s ok. Luckily, there are several credit-building alternatives that you can choose instead.
Credit builder loans
If you’re looking to build your credit but don’t want a credit card, you could opt for a credit builder loan through a company such as Self or Brigit.
With a credit builder loan, you receive a loan of up to $1,000, which is placed into a certificate of deposit (CD) account. Then each month you make a fixed payment until the loan is paid off. These payments are reported to all credit bureaus, helping to boost your credit score.
Report alternative payments
Payments like rent, utilities and even streaming services aren’t typically reported to credit bureaus. Companies like StellarFi are helping to change that. You simply add the bank account you typically use to pay your bills, link your bills to your StellarFi account, and StellarFi will then report your payment history to credit bureaus.
Become an authorized user
If you have a parent or sibling that has a credit card, you could ask them to become an authorized user on their account. This would allow you to get your own card, with your name on it, but it would be under their account. No credit check would be required, but they would be responsible for your usage and payment history. With good payment behavior, this would be a simple way to establish a credit history or boost your existing credit score.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is no credit the same thing as bad credit?
Having no credit is different than having bad credit. When someone has no credit, they are typically just starting out. This could be a college student or someone new to the country. When you have no credit, it means credit bureaus don’t have enough information.
If you have bad credit, you’ve made some mistakes in the past. Maybe it was a late payment, or it could have been a bankruptcy. These negative marks on your credit can make it difficult to borrow money and lead to higher interest rates.
Can I get a credit card with no credit history and no job?
While getting a credit card with no credit history and job is possible, it isn’t easy. If you find yourself in this situation, your best option may be to get added as an authorized user on someone else’s account or ask a friend or family member to be a co-signer.
What is the easiest credit card to get with no credit?
If you don’t have a credit history, the easiest cards to get are secured credit cards or cards that use non-traditional approval methods. These issuers look less at your credit score and instead focus on payment history from other accounts.
Why am I getting denied for credit cards with no credit?
If you’re getting denied for a credit card, it’s most likely because of the type of card you’re applying for. Cards that come with welcome bonuses and valuable rewards typically require good to excellent credit. If you find yourself getting denied for a credit card, try applying for a secured credit card instead.
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