The Best Credit Cards for Beginners

September 29, 2019

All adults should have at least one credit card, either for emergencies or purchases that require a credit card, like renting a car. Beyond that, these cards are vital for building credit.

If you’re hunting for your first credit card, where should you start?

What to Look For

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Your APR, otherwise known as the interest rate, is the percentage of interest you’ll pay over the course of the year. It’s split between all twelve months, so if you divide the interest by twelve, that is the percentage you’ll pay on any balances on your credit card.

You should aim for 20% APR or lower. Ideally, it should have around a 15% interest rate. Unfortunately, banks that issue credit cards may offer a higher APR if your existing credit is poor.

Annual Fees

Depending on your current financial situation, you may want to avoid cards that charge annual fees for maintaining your account. Some cards may trick those new to credit cards by offering big rewards and a low APR, but could charge you much more than you have to spare.

Rewards

Lastly, there are rewards. Cash back and frequent flier rewards can be very enticing, but you need to look at the fine print. Do frequent flier points expire? Are they only valid for one kind of airline? Remember to check the small details, as these will impact you over time.

Credit Limits

Though this might not be important for those only interested in growing their credit, it’s still wise to look out for the limit. Maxing out credit cards isn’t a good practice.

Best Credit Cards

With all those factors in mind, which are the best credit cards for building your credit?

Discover It Secured

This card has no annual fees, 1% to 2% cash back, and approximately 24% APR.

The downside to this card is the minimum $200 deposit. Though refundable once you’ve passed a certain amount of time, it’s still a good chunk of money you won’t have access to.

Citi Secured Mastercard

Similar to the Discover It Secured credit card, it requires a minimum deposit of $200, has no annual fees, and about a 24% APR. Also stated is a penalty APR of around 30% that can be placed on cardholders that are late on payments.

U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card

Like all secured credit cards, this too requires a deposit. However, unlike the other two above, this card has an APR of around 20%, fraud protection, and a $29 annual fee.