Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (2024)

The Best First Credit Cards for Students To Build Credit

Best Welcome Bonus for a Student Card

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (1)

On Discover's Website

5.0

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (3)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (4)

On Discover's Website

Up to 5% Reward Rate

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations,Read More

Welcome Bonus

Cashback Match™

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

Credit Score

Fair/New to Credit

Our Expert Take

The sky is the limit with the Discover it® Student Cash Back, which will match your cash back in the first year of card membership. For students who can pay tuition by card without fees, that could be a ton of money.

Why We Like It

I love that the rotating categories encourage you to check your account regularly for promotions and how much you’ve spent—things that encourage good habits for someone needing a first credit card.

What We Don’t Like

Discover isn’t always accepted internationally, which could deter anyone who hopes to study abroad.

Who It’s Best For

Students who want to earn the most cash-back rewards on school and living expenses, especially in Discover’s quarterly rotating bonus spending categories.

Expert Commentary

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (6)

Albert Hsieh

Credit Cards and Reward Points Expert

Albert Hsieh is founder and CEO of Foxtrot Dash Inc., a San Francisco-based travel rewards marketplace offering a smart wallet that recommends 30,000 ways to maximize the redemption of hard-earned credit card and travel rewards points. He has proudly redeemed over 30 million reward points, and he and the Foxtrot Dash team boast over three decades of points and miles experience.

Albert has had a lifelong passion for aviation largely sparked by his dad, who retired after 30 years with United Airlines at San Francisco and Oakland. Since childhood, Albert grew fascinated by premium air travel and flew “The Tulip” (the nickname for United's fondly remembered "U" logo) to destinations far and near, with Taiwan, Japan and Egypt ranked as his top favorites.

With an unwavering commitment to the global travel industry, Albert served for 20 years as a commercial and marketing leader at Fortune 500 travel companies including JetBlue, China Airlines, XOJET and Westfield Airports LAX. He later worked as a consultant for Jet Edge, leading a companywide rebrand before their VistaJet acquisition. In recent years, Albert launched his Instagram feed where he captures his global credit card points and airline miles adventures with impeccable photography of luxury airline cabins and beautiful hotels.

His work is regularly featured in social campaigns, and he has drawn mentions in The New York Times and Nob Hill Gazette. On the Money Seed podcast, he has been heard discussing the future of credit card reward points, global travel trends and loyalty programs. When he's not traveling, Albert enjoys life on the West Coast by seeking out new restaurants and world-class wineries, and by spending quality time with loved ones.

Albert Hsieh

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (7)

Albert Hsieh

Credit Cards and Reward Points Expert

Albert Hsieh is founder and CEO of Foxtrot Dash Inc., a San Francisco-based travel rewards marketplace offering a smart wallet that recommends 30,000 ways to maximize the redemption of hard-earned credit card and travel rewards points. He has proudly redeemed over 30 million reward points, and he and the Foxtrot Dash team boast over three decades of points and miles experience.

Albert has had a lifelong passion for aviation largely sparked by his dad, who retired after 30 years with United Airlines at San Francisco and Oakland. Since childhood, Albert grew fascinated by premium air travel and flew “The Tulip” (the nickname for United's fondly remembered "U" logo) to destinations far and near, with Taiwan, Japan and Egypt ranked as his top favorites.

With an unwavering commitment to the global travel industry, Albert served for 20 years as a commercial and marketing leader at Fortune 500 travel companies including JetBlue, China Airlines, XOJET and Westfield Airports LAX. He later worked as a consultant for Jet Edge, leading a companywide rebrand before their VistaJet acquisition. In recent years, Albert launched his Instagram feed where he captures his global credit card points and airline miles adventures with impeccable photography of luxury airline cabins and beautiful hotels.

His work is regularly featured in social campaigns, and he has drawn mentions in The New York Times and Nob Hill Gazette. On the Money Seed podcast, he has been heard discussing the future of credit card reward points, global travel trends and loyalty programs. When he's not traveling, Albert enjoys life on the West Coast by seeking out new restaurants and world-class wineries, and by spending quality time with loved ones.

Credit Cards and Reward Points Expert

An engaging and fun student credit card, the Discover it® Student Cash Back combines useful benefits for cardholders to learn about building credit history while earning extra cash back each quarter on select categories.

Pros & Cons

  • 5% cashback on rotating bonus categories after enrollment
  • First-year cash-back match
  • 5% bonus cashback rate is limited to $1,500 per quarter in spending
  • Bonus categories must be activated quarterly
  • Low 1% base reward rate

Card Details

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 cash back into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 18.24% – 27.24% applies.
  • Terms and conditions apply.

INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 cash back into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best Cash Back Card for Students

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (8)

On Bank of America's Website

4.8

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (10)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (11)

On Bank of America's Website

Choose your 3% category

Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up toRead More

Welcome Bonus

$200

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Credit Score

Excellent/Good(700 - 749)

Our Expert Take

You can choose your destiny with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students by choosing which category you want to earn elevated cash back in. And yes, you can change your mind every month.

Why We Like It

I love that the bonus categories actually align with everyday life, like online shopping, dining, travel and gas.

What We Don’t Like

Earning rates drop once you hit $2,500 in spending in all bonus categories combined per quarter, which can limit your rewards potential.

Who It’s Best For

Students who want to earn cash-back rewards and build their credit profile.

Expert Commentary

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (13)

Emily Moore

Credit Cards Writer

Experiencing the world through travel is a privilege, but affordability is a common barrier to entry. By sharing accessible tips on responsible credit card use, rewards programs and rewards hacking, Emily Jane Moore helps people with limited financial resources access meaningful travel experiences.

Emily Moore

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (14)

Emily Moore

Credit Cards Writer

Experiencing the world through travel is a privilege, but affordability is a common barrier to entry. By sharing accessible tips on responsible credit card use, rewards programs and rewards hacking, Emily Jane Moore helps people with limited financial resources access meaningful travel experiences.

Credit Cards Writer

This card offers valuable cash-back rewards to responsible students with good to excellent credit. The savviest cardholders will pay close attention to their top spending category to maximize their quarterly 3% cash back option.

Pros & Cons

  • Free FICO® Score access
  • Intro APR offer with a generous term
  • Competitive cash-back reward rates
  • Solid welcome bonus
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Higher penalty APR applies to late payments

Card Details

  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • Choose 3% cash back on gas and EV charging station, online shopping/cable/internet/phone plan/streaming, dining, travel, drug store/pharmacy or home improvement/furnishings purchases.
  • No annual fee and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% – 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • When handled responsibly, a credit card can help you build your credit history, which could be helpful when looking for an apartment, a car loan, and even a job. Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app.
  • Contactless Cards – The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best for Off-Campus Students

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (15)

On Capital One's Website

4.3

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (17)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

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On Capital One's Website

Up to 10% Reward Rate

Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats through 11/14/2024, unlimited 3% cash back on dining,Read More

Welcome Bonus

Earn $50 bonus

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Credit Score

Average, Fair, Limited

Our Expert Take

This card would’ve been a personal favorite when I was younger since the bonus categories (dining and entertainment, among others) would’ve slid right into my lifestyle.

Why We Like It

This card has no annual fee and new cardholders can earn a welcome offer for a little extra love.

What We Don’t Like

There’s no introductory APR offer, so if you accidentally overcharge while you’re getting started with credit, you’ll immediately get stuck with high bills.

Who It’s Best For

Students on or off campus who spend money each month on food and entertainment.

Pros & Cons

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Excellent cash back rewards
  • No low introductory APR
  • Limited bonus cash back reward categories

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), with 1% on all other purchases
  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they’re approved for a Capital One credit card
  • Earn 8% cash back on entertainment purchases when you book through the Capital One Entertainment portal
  • Build your credit with responsible card use
  • Whether you’re at a 4-year university, community college or other higher education institution, this card might be an option for you

Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best Flat-Rate Rewards for Students

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (19)

On Capital One's Website

4.2

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (21)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (22)

On Capital One's Website

Welcome Bonus

$50

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Credit Score

Average, Fair, Limited

Our Expert Take

There are no complications on the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card, thanks to its easy flat-rate rewards on every purchase.

Why We Like It

This card’s earning rate beats most student cards without spending caps or restrictions.

What We Don’t Like

After graduation, you may need to switch to a different card with better rewards.

Who It’s Best For

Students who want to earn cash back on their spending without the hassle of tracking multiple categories or spending caps.

Pros & Cons

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Excellent extra benefits
  • Solid cash-back rewards for a student credit card
  • Other student cards may offer better earning potential

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it’s misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they’re approved for a Capital One credit card
  • Build your credit with responsible card use
  • Whether you’re at a 4-year university, community college or other higher education institution, this card might be an option for you

Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months.

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

The Best First Secured Credit Cards To Build Credit

Best Welcome Bonus for a Secured Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (23)

On Discover's Website

5.0

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (25)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (26)

On Discover's Website

Up to 2% Reward Rate

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. PlusRead More

Welcome Bonus

Cashback Match™

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

28.24% Variable APR

Credit Score

New/Rebuilding Credit

Our Expert Take

Despite being a secured card, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card earns cash-back rewards with every purchase, so you can build credit responsibly without losing out.

Why We Like It

I think you’ll appreciate that your deposit can be returned if you use the card smartly—and the process is initiated automatically.

What We Don’t Like

As is standard for secured cards, you’ll need to provide a security deposit once you’re approved.

Who It’s Best For

Those who want to double their cash back rewards on card spending for the first year.

Expert Commentary

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (28)

Albert Hsieh

Credit Cards and Reward Points Expert

Albert Hsieh is founder and CEO of Foxtrot Dash Inc., a San Francisco-based travel rewards marketplace offering a smart wallet that recommends 30,000 ways to maximize the redemption of hard-earned credit card and travel rewards points. He has proudly redeemed over 30 million reward points, and he and the Foxtrot Dash team boast over three decades of points and miles experience.

Albert has had a lifelong passion for aviation largely sparked by his dad, who retired after 30 years with United Airlines at San Francisco and Oakland. Since childhood, Albert grew fascinated by premium air travel and flew “The Tulip” (the nickname for United's fondly remembered "U" logo) to destinations far and near, with Taiwan, Japan and Egypt ranked as his top favorites.

With an unwavering commitment to the global travel industry, Albert served for 20 years as a commercial and marketing leader at Fortune 500 travel companies including JetBlue, China Airlines, XOJET and Westfield Airports LAX. He later worked as a consultant for Jet Edge, leading a companywide rebrand before their VistaJet acquisition. In recent years, Albert launched his Instagram feed where he captures his global credit card points and airline miles adventures with impeccable photography of luxury airline cabins and beautiful hotels.

His work is regularly featured in social campaigns, and he has drawn mentions in The New York Times and Nob Hill Gazette. On the Money Seed podcast, he has been heard discussing the future of credit card reward points, global travel trends and loyalty programs. When he's not traveling, Albert enjoys life on the West Coast by seeking out new restaurants and world-class wineries, and by spending quality time with loved ones.

Albert Hsieh

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (29)

Albert Hsieh

Credit Cards and Reward Points Expert

Albert Hsieh is founder and CEO of Foxtrot Dash Inc., a San Francisco-based travel rewards marketplace offering a smart wallet that recommends 30,000 ways to maximize the redemption of hard-earned credit card and travel rewards points. He has proudly redeemed over 30 million reward points, and he and the Foxtrot Dash team boast over three decades of points and miles experience.

Albert has had a lifelong passion for aviation largely sparked by his dad, who retired after 30 years with United Airlines at San Francisco and Oakland. Since childhood, Albert grew fascinated by premium air travel and flew “The Tulip” (the nickname for United's fondly remembered "U" logo) to destinations far and near, with Taiwan, Japan and Egypt ranked as his top favorites.

With an unwavering commitment to the global travel industry, Albert served for 20 years as a commercial and marketing leader at Fortune 500 travel companies including JetBlue, China Airlines, XOJET and Westfield Airports LAX. He later worked as a consultant for Jet Edge, leading a companywide rebrand before their VistaJet acquisition. In recent years, Albert launched his Instagram feed where he captures his global credit card points and airline miles adventures with impeccable photography of luxury airline cabins and beautiful hotels.

His work is regularly featured in social campaigns, and he has drawn mentions in The New York Times and Nob Hill Gazette. On the Money Seed podcast, he has been heard discussing the future of credit card reward points, global travel trends and loyalty programs. When he's not traveling, Albert enjoys life on the West Coast by seeking out new restaurants and world-class wineries, and by spending quality time with loved ones.

Credit Cards and Reward Points Expert

No credit history required, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers one of the best credit cards for building or rebuilding a healthy credit history, while earning cash back in select everyday categories.

Pros & Cons

  • No annual fee
  • Cash back rewards earning is uncommon for a secured card
  • Free FICO score access each month
  • Cashback Match doubles cash back rewards earning at the end of the first year
  • Bonus category rewards are capped
  • Secured cards don’t provide many of the perks unsecured cards do
  • Secured cards require refundable deposits

Card Details

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit history.
  • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate for free.
  • Terms and conditions apply.

Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match™ - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best for Travel Rewards on a Secured Card from U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Secured Visa® Card *

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (30)

4.0

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (31)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Up to 4X Reward Rate

Earn 4x points on dining and takeout, 2x points at grocery stores, gas stations and on streaming services and 1xRead More

Welcome Bonus

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

29.99% variable

Credit Score

Bad/Poor(0 - 649)

Our Expert Take

I’m impressed that you can earn up to 4 points per dollar spent with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Secured Visa® Card*, an exceptional rate for a secured card.

Why We Like It

The card also throws in a streaming credit each year. Essentially, secured cardholders are treated just as well as unsecured members.

What We Don’t Like

Common with all secured credit cards, your credit limit will be determined by the size of your security deposit.

Who It’s Best For

U.S. Bank customers and other individuals who want to earn flexible rewards with a secured card.

Pros & Cons

  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • No annual fee
  • Comes with a $15 annual streaming credit for eligible services
  • Minimum deposit of $300 is required
  • Non-bonus categories earn so-so rewards
  • Other secured cards may offer rewards that better align with your spending

Card Details

  • Earn 4 points per dollar spent on dining and takeout
  • Earn 2 points at grocery stores, gas stations and on streaming services and 1 point on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a $15 streaming credit for annual streaming service purchases like Netflix and Spotify
  • $0 annual fee

N/A

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best Rewards-Earning Secured Card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card *

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (32)

3.8

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (33)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Up to 3% Reward Rate

Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas and EV charging, online shopping, dining, travel, drug storesRead More

Welcome Bonus

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

29.24% variable

Credit Score

New to Credit

Our Expert Take

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card* is nearly a mirror image of the unsecured version of this card, with excellent rewards on offer.

Why We Like It

Despite being a secured card, cardholders may still be eligible to earn bonus rewards through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.

What We Don’t Like

This card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus.

Who It’s Best For

Bank of America customers and individuals who want to build credit while earning high cash-back rates.

Pros & Cons

  • No annual fee
  • Earns cash-back rewards on eligible purchases
  • Potential for an upgrade to an unsecured card
  • The rewards system can be complicated to track
  • An opening deposit of $200 is required
  • There’s a foreign transaction fee

Card Details

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas and EV charging, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement & furnishings
  • Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • A minimum refundable security deposit of $200 (maximum of $5,000) is required to open this account
  • Now, you can access your FICO® Score updated monthly for free, within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking
  • No annual fee

N/A

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best for Cash-Back Rewards on a Secured Card from U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card *

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (34)

3.7

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (35)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Up to 5X Reward Rate

5% cash back on on the first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories of choice, 2%Read More

Welcome Bonus

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

29.99% variable

Credit Score

Bad/Poor(0 - 649)

Our Expert Take

I encourage everyone to work toward improving their credit scores and the U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card* helps you do that with no annual fee.

Why We Like It

You can earn up to 5% cash back on your choice of two qualifying purchase categories, which adds up quickly.

What We Don’t Like

Earning rewards requires enrollment. Spending caps are also applied.

Who It’s Best For

U.S. Bank customers and those who want to earn cash-back rewards with a secured credit card.

Pros & Cons

  • High rewards potential for a secured card
  • $0 annual fee
  • Useful convenience benefits
  • Requires a deposit as any secured card does
  • High variable APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each foreign transaction

Card Details

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories you choose
  • Earn 2% cash back on eligible purchases in your choice of one everyday category (like gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants)
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Also earn 5% cash back on prepaid hotel, car, or air reservations when booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center
  • Choose payment due date
  • $0 annual fee

N/A

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

The Best First Credit Cards For Beginners

Best for Rewards on an Unsecured Card

Chase Freedom Rise℠

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (36)

On Chase Bank USA, NA's Website

5.0

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (38)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (39)

On Chase Bank USA, NA's Website

1.5X Reward Rate

Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

Welcome Bonus

$25 statement credit

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

26.99% Variable

Credit Score

New To Credit / Limited Credit

Our Expert Take

The Chase Freedom Rise℠ is specially designed for first-time cardholders and comes with fair rewards in this category.

Why We Like It

Credit line increases are considered automatically, which could improve your spending power as you use the card responsibly.

What We Don’t Like

Some customers may feel compelled to bank with Chase, since having a Chase checking account could improve your chances of card approval.

Who It’s Best For

Current Chase checking customers and credit card beginners who want to earn rewards on all card spending.

Pros & Cons

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • $0 annual fee
  • Trip cancellation/interruption coverage
  • 5% back on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025
  • Low-cost financing on purchases over $100 with Chase Pay Over Time℠
  • No bonus categories (except for Lyft)
  • High APR
  • Foreign transaction fee of 3%of the amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • May not be eligible for balance transfers
  • Increased odds of approval for depositing money in a Chase checking account, which requires an extra step that may or may not help you get the card

Card Details

  • Increase your approval chances – Having a Chase checking or savings account with a balance of at least $250 will increase your chances of getting approved for Chase Freedom Rise℠
  • Earn Cash Back – With Chase Freedom Rise℠, you can start building credit while earning 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Earn a $25 statement credit after signing up for automatic payments within the first three months of opening your account. With automatic payments, just pick a date and dollar amount to make sure your Credit Card gets paid on time.
  • Credit Limit Increase – As a Chase cardmember, you’ll be evaluated for a credit line increase in as soon as 6 months. Your credit line is the maximum amount of money you can spend on your Freedom Rise℠ Card
  • Free Credit Score – Track your credit score and learn how to build it with Chase Credit Journey.
  • No Annual Fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Rise℠ card.
  • Member FDIC

Earn a $25 statement credit after signing up for automatic payments within the first three months of opening your account. With automatic payments, just pick a date and dollar amount to make sure your Credit Card gets paid on time.

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Best First Card for Travelers

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (40)

On Capital One's Website

4.8

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (42)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (43)

On Capital One's Website

Up to 5% Reward Rate

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. Plus, earn 5% cash back on hotels and rental carsRead More

Welcome Bonus

N/A

Annual Fee

$39

Regular APR

29.99% (Variable)

Credit Score

Average, Fair, Limited

Our Expert Take

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card fills a niche for credit beginners looking for a card they can use abroad without foreign transaction fees.

Why We Like It

Flat-rate cash-back rewards can make understanding your first credit card’s benefits easy.

What We Don’t Like

This card is pretty light on perks considering it charges an annual fee.

Who It’s Best For

Travelers with fair credit who want to earn bonus cash back and avoid added fees on international purchases.

Pros & Cons

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash-back rewards
  • Fair-to-average credit applicants considered
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Rewards don’t expire
  • High APR
  • No boosted rate in common spending categories
  • No welcome offer
  • No intro APR offer

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or limits to how much you can earn, and cash back doesn’t expire for the life of the account. It’s that simple
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It’s free for everyone
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you’re all set

N/A

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

The Best First Credit Cards For Fair Credit

Best for Flexible Cash Back

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (44)

On Citi's Website

5.0

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (46)

Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (47)

On Citi's Website

Up to 5% Reward Rate

5% cash back on up to $500 in purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle. 4% cashRead More

Welcome Bonus

$200

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Credit Score

Excellent, Good, Fair

Our Expert Take

The Citi Custom Cash® Card doesn’t market itself as a first credit card. Instead, it’s a solid card for anyone—including those rebuilding from fair credit.

Why We Like It

Just about everyone will appreciate earning up to 5% cash back on top of an introductory APR and welcome offer…with no annual fee.

What We Don’t Like

The earning rates aren’t nearly as impressive when you factor in a spending cap of $500 per month in your chosen bonus category.

Who It’s Best For

Individuals with at least fair credit who want rewards that adapt each month to fit their spending habits.

Expert Commentary

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (49)

Julian Kheel

Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Expert

With over 15 years of professional experience studying credit cards and travel loyalty programs, Julian Kheel has served as CNN’s senior editor covering travel and credit cards, as well as the editorial director for The Points Guy, and worked as a consultant for the biggest airlines. He is currently the CEO of Tripsight Inc., an award tools company that recently released Points Path, the first browser extension that automatically adds the prices of flights in miles into Google Flights search results to help travelers decide when to best use their travel rewards.

Julian first learned the ins and outs of credit card rewards and travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment. (And yes, of course it’s all real.) He has previously written about travel and credit cards for U.S. News & World Report, Upgraded Points and Going, and created weekly columns for the travel websites Frequent Miler and Travel Codex.

In addition to appearing as a TV analyst to discuss travel and loyalty programs on national segments for CNN, Bloomberg News, CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Yahoo Finance and Cheddar TV, Julian has also been featured on ABC and CBS Radio, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune on travel-related topics as well.

Julian Kheel

Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (50)

Julian Kheel

Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Expert

With over 15 years of professional experience studying credit cards and travel loyalty programs, Julian Kheel has served as CNN’s senior editor covering travel and credit cards, as well as the editorial director for The Points Guy, and worked as a consultant for the biggest airlines. He is currently the CEO of Tripsight Inc., an award tools company that recently released Points Path, the first browser extension that automatically adds the prices of flights in miles into Google Flights search results to help travelers decide when to best use their travel rewards.

Julian first learned the ins and outs of credit card rewards and travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment. (And yes, of course it’s all real.) He has previously written about travel and credit cards for U.S. News & World Report, Upgraded Points and Going, and created weekly columns for the travel websites Frequent Miler and Travel Codex.

In addition to appearing as a TV analyst to discuss travel and loyalty programs on national segments for CNN, Bloomberg News, CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Yahoo Finance and Cheddar TV, Julian has also been featured on ABC and CBS Radio, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune on travel-related topics as well.

Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Expert

If you’ve always wanted a credit card that adapts to your lifestyle instead of you having to adapt to it, you’ve found what you’re looking for with the Citi Custom Cash. You’ll never have to worry again about making sure you’re earning bonus points at the places you shop the most, because this card will automatically do it for you — even if those places change every month.

Pros & Cons

  • No registration required to earn bonus rewards
  • Cash-back categories are unique categories that other cards may not offer bonus rewards for
  • Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • High balance transfer fee
  • High foreign transaction fee
  • Some everyday rewards categories are neglected

Card Details

  • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% – 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Special Travel Offer: Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.
  • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash® Card account per person.

    Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

    Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

    Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Card

    Citi Double Cash® Card

    Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (51)

    On Citi's Website

    3.8

    Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (53)

    Forbes Advisor created additional star ratings so that you can see the best card for specific needs. This card shines for this use, but overall the star ratings may differ when compared to other cards.

    Apply Now Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (54)

    On Citi's Website

    Up to 2% Reward Rate

    First, you earn 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make. Then, as you pay for those purchases, youRead More

    Welcome Bonus

    Earn $200 cash back

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

    Credit Score

    Excellent, Good, Fair

    Our Expert Take

    I think everyone should have a 2% cash-back card in their wallet, and the Citi Double Cash® Card is one available to those with fair credit scores (1% when you buy and 1% when purchases are paid off).

    Why We Like It

    The cash rewards are awesome on their own, but you’ll also have access to a few travel transfers for additional redemption options (and even more if you hold a premium Thank You points-earning card).

    What We Don’t Like

    The introductory APR offer only extends to balance transfers, not new purchases.

    Who It’s Best For

    Cash-back lovers who want simple rewards that don’t require extra work to track.

    Expert Commentary

    Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (56)

    Julian Kheel

    Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Expert

    With over 15 years of professional experience studying credit cards and travel loyalty programs, Julian Kheel has served as CNN’s senior editor covering travel and credit cards, as well as the editorial director for The Points Guy, and worked as a consultant for the biggest airlines. He is currently the CEO of Tripsight Inc., an award tools company that recently released Points Path, the first browser extension that automatically adds the prices of flights in miles into Google Flights search results to help travelers decide when to best use their travel rewards.

    Julian first learned the ins and outs of credit card rewards and travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment. (And yes, of course it’s all real.) He has previously written about travel and credit cards for U.S. News & World Report, Upgraded Points and Going, and created weekly columns for the travel websites Frequent Miler and Travel Codex.

    In addition to appearing as a TV analyst to discuss travel and loyalty programs on national segments for CNN, Bloomberg News, CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Yahoo Finance and Cheddar TV, Julian has also been featured on ABC and CBS Radio, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune on travel-related topics as well.

    Julian Kheel

    Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (57)

    Julian Kheel

    Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Expert

    With over 15 years of professional experience studying credit cards and travel loyalty programs, Julian Kheel has served as CNN’s senior editor covering travel and credit cards, as well as the editorial director for The Points Guy, and worked as a consultant for the biggest airlines. He is currently the CEO of Tripsight Inc., an award tools company that recently released Points Path, the first browser extension that automatically adds the prices of flights in miles into Google Flights search results to help travelers decide when to best use their travel rewards.

    Julian first learned the ins and outs of credit card rewards and travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment. (And yes, of course it’s all real.) He has previously written about travel and credit cards for U.S. News & World Report, Upgraded Points and Going, and created weekly columns for the travel websites Frequent Miler and Travel Codex.

    In addition to appearing as a TV analyst to discuss travel and loyalty programs on national segments for CNN, Bloomberg News, CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Yahoo Finance and Cheddar TV, Julian has also been featured on ABC and CBS Radio, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune on travel-related topics as well.

    Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Expert

    Not everyone wants to chase bonus categories or shuffle cards in their wallet, which makes the Citi Double Cash the perfect “set it and forget it” credit card. It’s one of the only cards around that not only earns 2% cash back on all purchases—1% when purchases are made and another 1% when they’re paid off but also offers a path to using that cash back in the form of more valuable travel points down the road when you’re ready to take the next step.

    Pros & Cons

    • Earn up to 2% cash back—1% when the purchase is made and 1% when payment is made on the account
    • No cash-back cap—no limit on the amount of cash back that can be earned
    • No annual fee
    • Introductory APR period for balance transfers
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Balance transfer fee
    • Lack of benefits seen in other no annual fee cards
    • No introductory 0% APR on purchases

    Card Details

    • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
    • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
    • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% – 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
    • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
    • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

    Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

    Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of July 2024 (2024)
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