What Are The Best Credit Cards For 18-year-olds? A Basic Guide To Getting Your First Credit Card At 18

Explore the best credit cards for 18-year-olds. Find the best option to establish credit, earn rewards, and manage expenses while staying within your budget.

As an 18-year-old, you’re likely to be starting your journey into financial independence, and getting your first credit card can be a crucial step in this process. A credit card can not only provide a sense of financial freedom and flexibility, but it can also be a source of debt if not used responsibly.

But with the introduction of the CARD Act, short for Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, it is required for consumers under the age of 21 to have a co-signer or a reliable income to be eligible for a credit card. Consequently, the options available to 18-year-olds for obtaining credit have significantly decreased to only a few issuers and credit cards.

However, despite the limitations, there are still credit cards available for 18-year-olds to begin building their credit history. This guide aims to help you understand what to look for in a credit card and provides an overview of some of the best credit cards available for 18-year-olds.

We will cover essential factors such as credit limits, rewards programs, and fees, as well as the pros and cons of different types of credit cards. By following the tips and suggestions in this article, you can set yourself up for financial success and start building a strong credit history early on.

Table of Contents

Why should 18-year-olds get a credit card?

Why should 18 year olds get a credit card
Source: Canva

There are many crucial reasons for getting a credit card at 18. You might be trying to open a credit account as an 18-year-old to establish a good credit history. On the other hand, there might be more important things on your to-do list. For many reasons, it’s crucial to build credit early in life. Your ability to obtain an apartment, a car loan, a mortgage, and even a job depends on your credit history.

It takes time to establish a credit history, so you should get started as soon as possible. It can be challenging to do so before the age of 21, but it is not impossible. Here are some reasons why it’s crucial to build credit early in life and some advice on handling your first credit card.

  • A credit card will help you in your firsts
  • Building good credit young can help you later in life
  • A good credit score earlier on will help you later on
  • Building credit
  • Basic budgeting
  • Emergency use
  • Online purchasing

A credit card will help you in your firsts

Establishing credit early on can help you prepare for many firsts, including your first apartment, first car loan, and even your first job. Having good credit involves more than just making purchases with a credit card. You’ll need to be able to rely on your credit history as a fully independent adult for everything from getting a cellphone and utilities in your name to being eligible for the best car insurance rates.

Your credit history will heavily influence your application’s acceptance. It will also determine whether you must make additional security deposits and how high your interest rates will be. Your credit will be essential for purchasing your first home and may be checked by landlords when approving your apartment application. When searching for your first job, potential employers might consider your credit history rather than your credit scores.

Building good credit at a young age can help you later in life.

Your transition to adulthood can be significantly facilitated by building credit early on and learning how to use it responsibly. This three-digit number on your credit card can be pretty straightforward, but at this point, you might be more concerned about your SAT score.

But you should also give some attention to the numbers on your credit card because when you start building your creditworthiness when you’re young, you’re making life easier for yourself when you’re older.

The likelihood that you will repay a debt without defaulting is what lenders consider to be your creditworthiness. Do they feel comfortable giving this person credit without taking a chance? You are actively establishing your creditworthiness when you apply for your first credit line, such as a credit card.

When determining your credit score, scoring models like FICO view payment history and outstanding debt as the two most crucial components. Your chances of success will increase if you can keep the credit-to-debt ratio low by consistently making your payments on time.

Why do credit card scores matter?

There are numerous benefits to having a high credit score. The best rates on loans and credit cards will be available if you get a credit card earlier, which may also affect how much your auto and home insurance will cost.

The best “rewards” credit cards might be given to you if your credit score is excellent. And perhaps most surprisingly, if your employer asks to review your credit report, having a good credit history increases the likelihood that you’ll get that job or promotion.

To avoid being credit invisible, opening a credit card is also essential. You need a track record demonstrating your capacity to borrow money if your credit is invisible. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 26 million Americans, or about one in ten adults, have invisible credit status, making life more difficult.

Let’s say, for example, that later on, you decide you want to get your first car loan, get a home mortgage, or start a small business. You’ll need to apply for a loan if you don’t have a sizable cash reserve, and it will be much more complicated if you have no credit history.

You would need to put money aside for years to have enough to pay for these kinds of expenses. You can finance some necessities of life more affordably and with more opportunities to live the life you want if you have access to affordable loans.

Building credit

An 18-year-old can begin building a solid credit history by getting a credit card and using it responsibly. This may be crucial if you ever need to apply for a loan in the future. Using a credit card responsibly will help you practice good money management and build a good borrowing history.

Basic budgeting

An effective tool for helping a teen keep track of their spending is a credit card. Additionally, if the teenager is the only one responsible for timely debt payments, it can foster a sense of financial responsibility. A responsible budget must account for credit card payments because they must be made on a regular basis.

Source: canva

Emergency use

A credit card can be a lifesaver for an 18-year-old who is stranded in a broken-down car or experiences a financial or medical emergency and cannot contact another responsible adult for assistance with financial needs. But keep in mind that teenagers need to be able to distinguish between a genuine emergency and a financial “want.”

Online purchasing

Credit cards are necessary for making purchases online, which many teenage shoppers do. Credit cards are also required for various expenses that call for a financial “hold” or deposit, like booking travel or car rentals.

When you’re prepared to establish credit, you find yourself in a frustrating catch-22: With a strong credit history, lenders are more likely to view you as a trustworthy borrower, but it’s easier to build any kind of history with credit to begin with.

Although it is impossible to accelerate time and lower your average credit age, you can position yourself for success by applying for a reputable starter credit card at the age of 18. If you’re a student, this will be either a secured credit card, a college student credit card, or a credit-building credit card.

Your credit history will reflect your score after a few years of responsible card use. And if you continue to practice good habits, you should be able to benefit from a high credit score for many years to come.

How can 18-year-olds sign up for credit cards?

Image Source : Canva

Signing up for a credit card once you turn eighteen isn’t as complicated as you might think. Young adults already have enough to worry about without having to add credit scores to the list. However, the better your score, the easier it will be to lease your first apartment, buy a car, and even start a new career, as employers frequently check your score before hiring. However, that three-digit number can significantly impact your financial life.

Even though learning about personal finance can be intimidating for beginners, the fundamentals are relatively easy. And a good way to get started is by getting a credit card when you turn 18 so you can start building credit and learning responsible financial practices early on.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 altered a few aspects of how and when people could obtain credit cards. The majority of the modifications made were helpful to consumers, including giving people enough time to pay their bills and simplifying the debt-reduction process.

There is a further modification to the Credit CARD Act; credit card applications from 18-year-olds are only accepted with evidence of independent financial support. This practice might seem harsh, but it effectively ended the practice of offering free t-shirts to students who signed up for a card on their university campus using their parents’ income.

You can, however, apply for a student credit card if you are a college student who is 18 years old. If you are not enrolled in a two- or four-year institution, you can also apply for a secured credit card that requires a refundable security deposit. But to simplify things, here are a few things that can help you obtain your first credit card at the age of 18:

  • Develop a source of income
  • Find a Co-signer
  • Request someone to make you an authorized user on their credit card
  • Try a secured credit card
  • Go prepaid

Develop a source of income

Source: Salesflow

There are income restrictions for credit cards that extend beyond young adults. Despite having perfect credit, everyone who applies for a credit card must have enough income to be approved. Although the rules don’t specify what kind of income you must have to be eligible, credit card issuers each have their own (non-disclosed) requirements that change depending on the credit card. You will receive a letter stating why you were rejected, i.e., if you are rejected,  if it is determined that your income is insufficient to qualify.

Find a co-signer

One option if you can’t get approved for a credit card on your own is to get a co-signer who is at least 21 years old. The co-signer must fulfill the requirements for the two of you to be accepted. Even if one of you merely uses the card after approval, you and the co-signer are jointly liable for the balance.

Your co-signer’s credit history will be impacted by how you manage the joint credit card and vice versa. Both of your credit histories will be impacted if either cardholder uses the credit card irresponsibly. This is one of the reasons people are advised not to cosign or get a cosigner.

Request someone to make you an authorized user on their credit card

An authorized user is comparable to a co-signer on a joint credit card. The distinction is that you are not held accountable for the remaining balance since you are an authorized user. Suppose the credit card issuer uses a credit-scoring model that considers authorized users. In that case, the payment history will appear on your credit report and may later assist you in getting your own credit card (VantageScore ignores authorized user accounts).

Try a secured credit card

If you qualify for a credit card, consider applying for a secured credit card, but if your lack of credit history prevents you from being approved, you must make a cash deposit as collateral against the credit limit when using this secured credit card.

Even though you’ve made a deposit, you’re still responsible for paying down the balance that builds up. The deposit is only applied if you never pay off the delinquency on your own and default on the credit card balance. Your secured credit card may be upgraded to a regular credit card if you take good care of it, depending on the card issuer.

Go prepaid

Prepaid cards aren’t credit cards in the sense that you’re given a credit limit, so they won’t help you raise your credit score. Additionally, you can only make purchases with a prepaid card if it has a cash balance.

However, a prepaid card is a good choice if all you need is a piece of plastic that functions like a credit card (for instance, to make hotel or car rental reservations or fuel purchases at the pump). There are no requirements for income or credit. To activate the card, you must deposit money, and when your available cash balance runs out, you must reload the card with additional funds.

Even though you can apply for a credit card at 18, you might not be ready if you forget deadlines, frequently run out of money before your next paycheck, or frequently overdraw your checking account. However, you’re on the right track if you manage your money responsibly, have good money management skills, and are able to fulfill your obligations.

What type of credit card is suitable for 18-year-olds with no credit history?

If you have a bad or no credit history, then don’t fret there is still hope for you. The age of 18 is typically regarded as a significant turning point for a teen. It’s the age at which you can legally apply for a credit card in a financial sense. It is legal for people to open credit cards in their names if they are eighteen or older.

The CARD Act of 2009 stipulates that borrowers between the ages of eighteen and twenty must demonstrate that they have sufficient independent income (such as from a job or regular allowance) to pay back their credit card debt. Some young adults may be eligible for a standard credit card with the right income and credit history, but most students don’t. Fortunately, young adults with poor or no credit history have good options.

  • Student credit cards
  • Secured credit cards

Student credit cards

A student credit card is made especially for college students who don’t yet have any credit history. That indicates that a credit card issuer won’t typically request a credit score when you apply. Instead, when reviewing applications, credit card companies consider a student’s age and income, and the income requirements for student credit cards are typically lower than those for regular credit cards.

Furthermore, student credit cards may be the best option for assisting teenagers in building credit responsibly and with less risk due to their typically lower credit limits. These credit cards might additionally provide bonus benefits, like cash back on all permissible purchases. For instance, you can earn up to the quarterly maximum when you activate the Discover it Student Cash Back Card. This allows you to earn 5% cash back on regular purchases made at various locations each quarter.

Secured credit cards

A secured credit card might be the best option for teenagers if they aren’t in college and don’t have any credit history. A secured card offers a credit line (approved by the credit card issuer) in exchange for a deposit of an equivalent amount. First-time borrowers may find it simpler to manage payments due to the frequently lower spending limit, and potential cash-back incentives may assist with regular expenses.

18-year-olds can move to an unsecured account once they have proven their ability to manage their money responsibly by maintaining low balances and timely payments. When you upgrade to an unsecured Discover it Secured credit card after making six consecutive on-time payments and maintaining good standing on all of your credit accounts for six months, you will receive your deposit back. Additionally, no minimum credit score is needed to apply.

What are some of the best credit cards for 18-year-olds?

The best credit cards for 18-year-olds are those with low fees, rewards programs, and educational tools to help young adults establish credit responsibly. Some recommended options include the Discover it Student Cash Back, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, and the Petal 2 Visa Credit Card.

Still, you can choose from certain variations of the best credit cards for 18-year-olds. Any 18-year-old can experience extreme anxiety when receiving credit card offers in the mail. Who would want to grab the envelope, rip it open, and activate that card when so many people are there to “give” you money? No one wants to start having financial responsibilities this early when their guardians are paying all their expenses.

Many of us understand that these offers in the mail are less appealing than they may initially seem because we’ve either done something similar or understand the responsibility that comes with a credit card, so why take the burden of credit and have the headache of paying all the charges and generating an active income.

But the responsible thing to do here is not to prevent yourself from getting a credit firstly because of all of the reasons we mentioned earlier in “why should 18-year-olds get a credit card” and secondly because by applying for a credit card, you are utilizing the chance to train yourself on how to use credit responsibly. Because at some point in our lives, we all have had to use credit.

In addition, credit cards help us establish credit so that we can get loans at lower interest rates and with better terms. No matter your age, it’s crucial to avoid letting that card get away from you, especially if you don’t know the repercussions.

Many of the credit cards in our list of the best credit cards for 18-year-olds offer advantages specific to that age group. Some of them, for instance, are intended for college students who might require a credit card to handle miscellaneous expenses. Using a credit card to make purchases is much more convenient than waiting for cash to arrive in the mail.

  • Blue cash preferred card from American Express
  • Petal 2 Visa credit card
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card
  • Discover it student cash back
  • Chase freedom unlimited
  • Capital One Platinum secured credit card
  • Deserve EDU Mastercard for students
  • Chase Freedom student credit card
  • Capital One Quicksilver student Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Discover it Student chrome
  • Discover it Secured Credit Card
  • Tomo Credit Card
  • Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa Credit Card
  • Avant Credit Card
  • S. Bank Cash+ Visa Secured Card
  • S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Secured Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Citi Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer

Blue cash preferred card from American Express

Make use of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card if you go grocery shopping, stream television, and fill up at the gas station. Anyone looking to earn rewards for the purchases they’re already making, including those under the age of 18, will benefit greatly from this credit card.

However, the one using the credit card must be at least 13 years old, and the good news is that there is no charge to add an authorized user. This AmEx credit card is the best option if you’re looking for a card that rewards the person adding an authorized user and establishing their child’s credit. Furthermore, the first year’s $95 annual fee is free.

The first $6,000 in annual cashback increases to 6% on grocery stores and streaming services. Gas stations offer 3% cash back, and all other purchases offer 1% cash back. Choose the Blue Cash Preferred Card if you’re 18 or older to get the most out of your AmEx credit card.

Pros Cons
There’s no annual fee They require excellent credit
It has high rewards rate There are spending caps on bonus rewards
There is an intro APR period
Offers bonus categories

Petal 2 Visa credit card

Petal provides two credit cards; the second credit card, known as Petal 2, focuses on cashback and doesn’t charge you anything extra. With Petal, you can get started without having any credit history, which makes it a particularly good credit card for millennial entrepreneurs who are just trying to afford some supplies for their passive income business.

With Petal, you’ll never be charged an annual, late, or foreign transaction fee. Because it allows you to earn 1% cash back on purchases, this unsecured credit card is ideal for 18-year-olds. This cash-back amount can be increased to 1.25% after six consecutive months of on-time bill payments. After six months, you can receive 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

A credit limit of $300 to $10,000 is typically available to applicants. Your financial situation and other application features will all play a role in how it turns out. Petal will look at your existing credit score if you have one. They can also use a linked bank account to determine whether to lend to you if you have no credit history. The best part is that even if you don’t meet the requirements for the Petal 2 card, you can still apply for the Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa Credit Card.

Pros Cons
There is no annual fee There are no complicated rewards
You can qualify with average credit No bonus offers
There is no foreign transaction fee No introductory APR offers
They report to the three major credit bureaus

Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which carries a $395 annual fee, is accepted by authorized users of any age. The benefits are available to all authorized users without them having to pay this fee. A Priority Pass, the Hertz President’s Circle, and the opportunity to receive cash back on purchases are a few of these.

For instance, Capital One Venture X credit card holders can accrue two miles for every dollar spent, ten miles for lodging and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel, ten miles for Turo reservations, and five miles for air travel booked through Capital One Travel. The Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card might be the best option for an 18-year-old and their authorizer friend if both enjoy traveling occasionally.

Pros Cons
You can book 5x miles through capital one travel on hotel and rental cars There’s a $95 annual fee
You get a credit of $1000 for up to four years on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application There is no introductory APR

Discover it student cashback

You may be familiar with 5% interest savings accounts, but did you know Discover also offers 5% cash back on various rotating categories? The first $1,500 in purchases made with the Discover it Student Cash Back credit card are eligible for this cashback rate; however, all subsequent purchases earn only 1% cashback. Grocery stores, dining establishments, Amazon, and gas stations are the most frequently recurring categories.

There is no annual fee or credit score prerequisite for the Discover it Student Cash Back credit card; it is perfect for college students because of this reason. In addition, Discover will match any cash back you earn in the first year. Although the variable interest rate on this credit card ranges from 17.24% to 26.24%, the introductory APR rate is 0% for the first six months.

Pros Cons
There’s no annual fee It has complicated rewards.
You can qualify with limited or bad credit.
There are bonus categories
There is an introductory APR period
They report to the three major credit bureaus

Chase freedom unlimited

Chase provides excellent banking services to all of its clients. One of their more well-liked cards, particularly among younger people, is the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. The annual fee and the fee for adding authorized users are waived with this card. Additionally, it pays you daily earnings for the purchases you make.

Accruing Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card’s most significant benefits. These benefits can be used for various things, including cash back and travel benefits. The opportunity to earn 5% cash back on travel, 3% cashback on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases are also available. The Freedom Unlimited card is the best option if you’re an 18-year-old looking for a Chase credit card.

Pros Cons
There is no annual fee They charge a 3% fee on foreign transactions
You can transfer your rewards to a Chase unlimited rewards card
They give you a generous welcome bonus

Capital One Platinum secured credit card

A $49 security deposit is needed to use this secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you must prove (by putting money down) that you can pay the balance of the charges you incur. The security deposit you make accomplishes this by allowing you to begin using your Capital One Platinum Secured credit card.

Capital One lets you switch to the unsecured version of this card once you’ve proven your eligibility. With this, you can use your credit just like any other card on our list without putting any money down first.

Additionally, there is no yearly fee, and if you decide to upgrade, your security deposit will be credited to your account after the changeover is complete. You’ll be scheduled for a review six months after you’ve opened the credit line. If your payments have been made on time, you can request an increase in credit.

Pros Cons
There is 0% annual fee The maximum card limit is $1000 even after review
Offer a low refundable security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 There is no signup bonus
They report to three major credit bureaus Doesn’t earn rewards
There is no foreign transaction fee

Deserve EDU Mastercard for students

The Deserve EDU Mastercard was created especially for college students and doesn’t request a social security number on the application. To be eligible for the credit card, you must, however, present documentation of your enrollment. This makes it a great card to consider if you’re an international student who wants to have an emergency fund on hand.

The Deserve EDU Mastercard also offers a free year of Amazon Prime Student in addition to 1% cash back on all purchases. This indicates that you will receive special offers and shipping discounts from Amazon in addition to your new credit card. To qualify for this free membership, you must spend at least $500 in the first three months, which you can spend on buying college supplies (if you have such plans). Doing this will give you your membership and the supplies you originally planned to buy.

Pros Cons
Don’t require a social security number for application There are other student cards that offer better rewards.
Offers free amazon prime student for one year
Offers cell phone damage and theft protection
There is no annual fee
There is no foreign transaction fee

Chase Freedom student credit card

18-year-olds may desire to use one credit card while still a student to graduate while exhibiting responsible financial practices. The credit limit can be increased quickly with the no-fee, no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Student credit card.

As with any other Chase credit card, you can use your purchases to accrue cash back. You’ll receive one cent back for every dollar you spend. These points are redeemable for a variety of rewards on the site’s Chase Ultimate Rewards page, including cash back on your statement, using these points.

Purchase and extended warranty protections are included with the Chase Freedom Student credit card. You can automatically increase your credit limit if you make five timely payments during the first ten months.

Pros Cons
You can earn 1% cash back on all purchases without any limits This card is only limited for students
There is an easy signup bonus They have higher Miscellaneous fees
There is no annual fee
They don’t require a credit history

Capital One Quicksilver student Cash Rewards Credit Card

This credit card offers several benefits to its users. First, there are no annual or hidden fees, and every purchase earns unlimited 1.5% cash back. Applying for the card is easy; you can find out if you’re approved in seconds. To get started, you must put down a refundable $200 security deposit, establishing your initial $200 credit line.

Additionally, using this card responsibly can help build your credit. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re protected from unauthorized charges with $0 Fraud Liability. If you make timely payments, you may earn back your security deposit as a statement credit. Furthermore, after six months, you could be considered for a higher credit line without any additional deposit.

If you book hotels or rental cars through Capital One Travel, you’ll earn unlimited 5% cash back and enjoy their best prices on thousands of trip options. You can also keep a check on your credit score for free with CreditWise from Capital One. Finally, until November 14, 2024, you can relish up to 6 months of commendatory Uber One membership statement credits.

Pros Cons
You get an unlimited 1.5% cash back reward on all purchases It has a high APR
There are no foreign transaction fees

Discover it, Student chrome

This credit card from Discover comes with several attractive benefits. Firstly, as an introductory offer, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, dollar-for-dollar, with no minimum spending or maximum rewards. So, for example, if you earn $50 cash back, Discover will give you another $50, turning it into $100, or turn $100 into $200.

You can receive 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in total purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically. You don’t need a credit score to apply for this card. Discover also could help you protect your personal information by removing it from select people-search sites that could sell your data, which is free and can be activated with the mobile app.

There is no annual fee, and responsible use of the card can help you build your credit. You’ll also get a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first six months, and then a variable APR between 17.49% and 26.49% applies. Finally, check the terms and conditions on Discover’s website before applying.

Pros Cons
There are no annual fees Rewards are less attractive as compared to other student cards
You get to earn rewards while building credit Reward earning is controlled in the highest category to $1,000 in purchases per quarter
On the completion of your first year as a cardholder you automatically earn cash back
They offer an introductory APR

Discover it Secured Credit Card

This credit card from Discover is designed to help you build your credit history without requiring a credit score to apply. Additionally, there’s no annual fee to worry about. You can use your tax refund to fund your security deposit, which will also be your credit line, starting at $200.

You’ll need to provide your bank information when submitting your deposit. Automatic reviews will start after seven months to determine if you’re eligible for an unsecured line of credit and can return your deposit. You can earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter at Gas Stations and Restaurants and automatically earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Discover also offers features to help you protect your personal information online, including the ability to remove it from the selected people-search sites that could sell or misuse your data and receive alerts if your Social Security number is found on thousands of Dark Web sites. You can check the terms and conditions on Discover’s website before applying.

Pros Cons
There is no levy on it The rewards are quite limited
It is not very common for secured cards to get cash back rewards earning Secured cards don’t provide as many perks as unsecured cards
You get free FICO score access every month It requires refundable deposits.
Your reward earnings are doubled through cashback match

Tomo Credit Card

This credit card offers several benefits for those looking to build their credit. Firstly, you can get a credit limit of up to $10,000 without providing a security deposit, and no credit check or credit history is required to apply.

Moreover, you won’t have to worry about interest charges with this card. For added convenience, you can set up expedited autopay for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payments. Even non-U.S. citizens can apply for this card. Additionally, this card reports to all three major credit bureaus, so you can start building your credit history immediately.

Pros Cons
They don’t require a credit card check All kinds of financial institutions can’t be linked to your account for approval
There are no APR charges You don’t get any reward earnings on any purchases from credit cards
There are other credit cards that provide better benefits
You need to be pre-approved before getting an actual card application

Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa Credit Card

If you’re looking for a credit card that doesn’t come with annual or foreign transaction fees, this card could be a good option for you. With credit limits ranging from $300 to $5,000, you can choose the best option for your financial situation. If you meet the terms and conditions, you can earn a credit limit increase in as little as six months.

What’s more, you don’t need a credit score to apply. Instead, you may be eligible for a Cash Score. This card also offers 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants, so you can earn rewards on your purchases. You can see if you’re pre-approved in minutes without impacting your credit score.

Additionally, this card is issued by WebBank and reports to all three major credit bureaus, so you can start building your credit history immediately. Petal’s mobile app makes managing your money, tracking your spending, and automating payments easy.

Pros Cons
It doesn’t require a security deposit Rewards are only available at selected retailers
There is no annual fee There is no option for balance transfer
There is a limited rewards program

Avant Credit Card

Avant offers credit products that can help build your credit history, with no deposit required and reporting to all three major credit bureaus. They also provide a fast and easy application process, no penalty APR, no hidden fees, and zero fraud liability for unauthorized charges. While late fees may be charged up to $39, they may periodically review your account for credit line increases.

Additionally, you can conveniently pay your card through their online portal, 24/7. By using their card responsibly, you can help strengthen your credit history. You can also get Mastercard ID Theft Protection by Mastercard and cash-back rewards at select merchants. Checking your eligibility won’t affect your credit score. Just note that if you get charged an interest, the charge will be no less than $1.00, and there’s a Cash Advance Fee of 3%, with a minimum of $10. Avant branded WebBank, a member of FDIC, issues credit products.

Pros Cons
You can infer to see if you pre-qualify for the card without having any effect on your credit Product services may vary based on where you are getting your services from
It is preferably for those with fair credit No balance transfers are allowed
They report to all three major bureaus There are no rewards or benefits

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Secured Card

This credit card offers a lucrative cash back rewards program, allowing you to earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases every quarter in two categories of your choosing.

In addition, you can earn 2% cash back on eligible purchases in one everyday category, such as gas stations, grocery stores, or restaurants, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

You also have the option to choose your own payment due date, providing additional flexibility. Furthermore, there is no annual fee, making this an attractive option for those seeking a secured card with high rewards potential without additional fees. The card also offers useful convenience benefits.

Pros Cons
For a secured card, the reward potentials are high Like all secured cards it requires a deposit
There is no annual fee The APR is high and it varies
There are useful convenience benefits There is a 3% foreign transaction fee

U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Secured Card

source : Altitude GO

The credit card in question allows users to earn rewards points for various types of purchases. Customers can earn 4x points on dining and takeout, 2x points at grocery stores, gas stations, and streaming services, and 1x points on all other eligible purchases.

Cardholders can earn a $15 streaming credit for annual streaming services purchases like Netflix and Spotify. The card does not have an annual fee, making it a possibly interesting option for those who want to earn rewards without incurring additional costs.

Pros Cons
They report to all three major bureaus Requires a minimum $300 opening deposit
No annual fee There aren’t good rewards for non-bonus categories
Comes with a $15 streaming allowance for all eligible streaming services Other cards may offer better rewards that might suit you better

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card



The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers some impressive rewards for travelers and diners. Cardholders can earn 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on going out to eat, 2X points on other travel purchases, and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points if they spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account, which can be redeemed for $750 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

However, there is a downside to this card. It comes with an annual fee of $95, which may be a turnoff for some. Those not wanting to pay the annual fee may want to consider other card options. However, if you are a frequent traveler and a big spender, the rewards and benefits of this card may make it worthwhile.

Pros Cons
Valuable rewards on all purchases High annual fee
Great sign-up bonus Fewer travel options
Earn flexible rewards

Citi Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer

If you’re seeking a straightforward and effective credit card, the Citi Double Cash Card may be the perfect fit for you. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it an excellent option for beginners.

Citi Double Cash cardholders can receive up to 2% cash back on almost all purchases, with 1% cash back earned when the purchase is made and an additional 1% earned when the statement bill is paid. This earning scheme not only maximizes rewards but also encourages responsible credit behavior by only releasing the second half of the cash-back payment after making your payment.

Pros Cons
No annual fee High APR after the intro period
0% intro offer on balance transfers 3% foreign transaction fee
Cash back rewards never expire Any sign-up bonuses
Uncomplicated rewards potential

How to successfully manage a credit card for 18-year-olds?

Once you get one of the best credit cards for 18-year-olds, you’ll need to learn to manage it. While you can legally apply for your first credit card at 18, it is best to hold off until you are confident in your ability to manage your debts while also managing other expenses like rent, utilities, tuition, transportation, and groceries. Fortunately, the best credit cards for establishing credit include advantageous bonuses that immediately promote positive behaviors.

For instance, after six months of consistent, consecutive on-time payments, holders of the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card are automatically given consideration for a higher credit limit. Due to the fact that it is a secured card, you must first make a refundable qualifying deposit of $49, $99, or $200 (depending on your creditworthiness) to access a $200 initial credit limit.

Remember that opening an account does not automatically raise your credit score, as credit scores require activity on that account. The simplest way to accomplish this is by using your account to make a small monthly purchase, then turning around and making the payment each month.

Additionally, if you intend to use your credit card for regular purchases, try to charge at most 10% to 30% of your credit limit at a time. As a result, if your first credit card has a $500 starting limit, you should cap your monthly spending at $150. By doing this, you can keep your debt-to-credit ratio low, which is good for your credit score, and, more importantly, you develop the habit of only using credit that you can afford to repay each month.

One of the most important things to remember is to pay your bills on time because it will affect your score the most. Lenders are most likely to extend your credit even if you have some debt in your name if they see that you are habitually punctual in submitting timely payments.

However, to avoid ever having to pay overdraft fees or interest on the balance, always pay your bills in full when you can. By adhering to these basic rules of thumb, you can start your young adult life off on the right foot and with good credit. We have some additional tips to successfully manage your first credit card below.

  • Set up a budget
  • Set up automatic payments
  • Only spend the amount that you can pay off completely
  • Pay more than the minimum
  • Review your credit card statement each month

Set up a budget

The 50/30/20 method recommends allocating 50% of your take-home pay to essentials like housing and food, 30% or less to wants but not needs, and 20% or more to savings and debt repayment. Examine your credit card statement frequently to keep track of your purchases and determine how much you can afford to spend. This will assist you in sticking to your spending plan and preventing credit card debt.

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Set up automatic payments

You must sign into your account online or through your card issuer’s app in order to set up automatic payments for your credit card. Log in to your account and look for the option to set up automatic payments, then follow the on-screen directions.

Your bank account information and the day you want your payment to be processed must be provided. Once you’ve established automatic payments, you can pay your credit card bill on the same day each month. By following this method, you can lose the stress of remembering to pay your bills on time each month.

Only spend the amount that you can pay off completely

Always handle your credit card as if it were cash. It might be time to stop swiping if you are unable to pay off your credit card entirely. Your credit score is primarily influenced by your credit mix or how much of your credit limit you are actually using.

Utilizing the full limit on your credit card can lower your score and lay the groundwork for future credit card debt. Although using less than 30% of your credit limit generally benefits your credit score, you should always aim to pay off your balances in full.

Pay more than the minimum

You will end up paying more in interest if you only make the minimum payment due on your credit card each month. Due to the fact that a portion of each payment will go toward interest accrued, your balance will only slightly decrease each month.

Make full monthly payments on your balance to avoid paying interest. However, it’s okay if you find yourself in a bind and are only able to make the minimum payment. Making the bare minimum payment is always preferable to not making any payments at all, which would harm your credit.

Review your credit card statement each month

Every month, check your credit card statement to look for any mistakes or unauthorized charges. If you notice either of these, notify your credit card company right away. The majority of credit cards have a zero liability guarantee, which states that you are not liable for unauthorized charges.


What is the time frame for obtaining a credit card?

In most cases, only candidates with excellent credit and money and those with issuers that provide virtual card numbers can receive approval for a credit card and gain access to virtual card numbers in minutes.

For everyone else, processing an application can entail waiting for a card to arrive in the mail and submitting additional paperwork. It can take as much as 14 days—possibly even longer—for a typical process to get approval and receive a real card. Wait before applying for your first credit card.

How much should I charge on my credit card?

While there are differing views on the ideal credit usage level, 30% is generally accepted. Keep your credit usage below 30% to maintain a good credit score. See our guide on credit use for more details.

What qualifications are required for a starting credit card?

If you are below the age of 21, you must have employment or financial documentation. Although it is not technically necessary to have a job if you are 21 or older, getting a credit card without one will be more challenging.

Why am I unable to obtain a credit card?

You may find it more challenging to get a credit card due to a number of issues. You are less likely to be granted a credit card if you do not have a reliable source of income or employment.

Similarly, getting a credit card in your name might be exceedingly challenging if you have too much debt, a poor credit score, a history, are under 18 or do not have a Social Security number. While there are solutions to these problems, such as adding an authorized user or getting a protected card, the procedure can be tedious and requires tenacity and patience.

What makes using credit cards simple?

Search for cards with simple rewards schemes, no or minimal fees, and alerts to remind you to pay your account and restrain your spending.

Further advantages and security features may be included with cards. You might not be liable for illegal charges if your credit card has a zero fraud liability policy.

Travel insurance, price and purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage are possible additional credit card perks.


It can be difficult to gauge your development in comparison to that of the more seasoned individuals around you when you’re the little cub in the den. But you must understand that time is on your side in this situation and that it can be an effective tool if used properly.

You should begin making plans for the future as soon as you can in order to make the most of that time as well as your resources. This entails responsibly establishing your consumer credit profile as soon as (reasonably) possible, in addition to starting to save for retirement with your first paycheck.

So, after you’ve established your first credit account, your main priority should be to establish a good credit history. The most crucial action is to make sure you pay your bills each month on time and in accordance with the terms. Your credit, particularly newly established credit, can be severely damaged by late payments. Using your credit card responsibly will greatly improve your ability to manage your money in the future.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson was a few years out of school and took a job as a life insurance agent in California, selling coverage door-to-door for Prudential. The experience taught her about the technical components of insurance and its benefits for individuals and society, as well as the misunderstandings people often have about insurance. She has over ten years’ experience in the insurance industry, having worked as both a Broker and Underwriter, assisting clients across a broad range of industries. At Insurance Noon, Sarah diligently gathers all the required information and curates up pieces to provide meaningful insurance solutions. Her personal value proposition is to demonstrate a genuine interest in always adding value for clients.Her determined approach to guiding clients has turned her into a platinum adviser to multiple insurers.

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