Your credit score is key to many things, like getting approved for a loan or great insurance rates. Even a credit card typically requires credit, so what do you do when there’s no credit to show? We all have to start somewhere, and a starter credit card for no credit could be the very solution you need. Some cards even offer rewards and benefits. 

Whether it’s your first credit card or you’re simply trying to rebuild credit, these are the best starter credit cards for no credit.

Comparing the cards


Best for growing credit


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Capital One

At a glance

To open your Capital One Platinum Secured card, there are three choices for your minimum security deposit: $49, $99, or $200. This deposit may be refundable, depending on payment history. You will need to link your Capital One account to an authorized bank account in order to receive your card. 

With periodic account review, you can raise your line of credit in as little as six months. The initial $200 credit line can even be expanded up to $1,000 with additional payments. Capital One also allows you to transfer your balance to your Capital One card if you have a higher balance elsewhere. 

Once approved (with no need for a credit check), you have the option to add an authorized user to your account with per-user expense tracking. There are also personalized reminders with 24/7 customer service if you need support. 

Fees

A minimum deposit of $49 is required with a maximum credit limit of $1,000.

There is no annual fee for the Capital One Platinum Secured card. You have a choice of an initial refundable deposit of $49, $99, or $200. There is no introductory purchase APR, but regular purchases and cash advances both share the same 26.99% APR with a daily periodic rate of 0.07395 percent.

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Low transfer fee

  • Minimal required deposit

 Cons


Best for international students


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Deserve

At a glance

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students credit card has some of the best rewards for students with no credit. There is 1% cashback on all purchases, plus extra perks like one free year of Amazon Prime. You can earn cell phone protection of up to $600 when you pay your phone bill with your Deserve card. You can also receive a $10 statement credit when you pay three months of Lemonade insurance coverage with your card.

Cardholders also receive access to Mastercard Platinum Benefits, like a collision damage waiver. Exclusive discounts, like $100 off your Feather subscription and three months of Text + Talk for any Mint Mobile wireless plan when you purchase with your Deserve card, are good through November 11, 2021. 

If you’re looking for balance transfers or cash advances, you are out of luck. Neither service is available with the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students card. With no social security number required, however, international students may also apply and take advantage of these perks. 

Fees

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students has an 18.74% variable APR with few fees. There are no annual or international transaction fees, but you will pay up to $25 for late payments and up to $37 for returned payments. There is not an introductory purchase APR.

Pros 

Cons


Best for cashback


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Discover

At a glance

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card does not skimp on benefits. 

There is 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, with a maximum of up to $1,000 in combined purchases. You receive unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, and with Discover’s wide acceptance, you can enjoy 99% nationwide acceptance with your card. There is also unlimited dollar-for-dollar matching for all cashback you earn in your first year of having the account, deposited into your account after 12 months. Even better, your cashback never expires. You can redeem rewards for cash at any time, or you can use them instantly at Amazon.com or with PayPal.

Discover has security benefits, too, with Dark Web tracking of your social security number. If you lose your card, there is a $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee with free overnight card replacement. To help you improve your credit score, there is credit reporting to all three major credit bureaus, so you can raise your credit score that much faster.

To get started, check to see if you pre-approved without affecting your credit. There is a minimum refundable security deposit of $200, but you may be eligible to receive your initial deposit back after an eight-month review.

Fees

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card has a minimum deposit amount of $200 with no annual fee. 

Balance transfers are permitted at an introductory fee of 3% of the total transfer, with the fee increasing to 5% thereafter. There is an introductory 10.99% variable APR for balance transfers, but after six months from your first transfer, the variable APR increases to 22.99 percent. There is payment forgiveness for your first late payment, but all late and returned payments thereafter incur a fee of $40 each. For cash advances, you will pay a 24.99% APR, but there is no penalty APR.

Pros

Cons

  • Small credit limit

  • $200 minimum deposit

  • Higher APR


Best for student rewards


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Discover

At a glance

With this card, students receive bonus cashback rewards, like 5% cash back at specific, rotating retailers each quarter (up to $1,500). Popular retailers include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and Amazon. For purchases at gas stations and restaurants, there is a full 2% cashback bonus on your first $1,000 in combined purchases at each calendar quarter. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. For your introductory bonus, you get unlimited dollar-for-dollar matching on cashback you earn in your first year of having the card. 

Discover will reward you for being a student, too. For every school year that you receive good grades, you earn a $20 statement credit. The offer lasts up to five years for GPAs 3.0 or higher. There are also periodic account reviews to assess your account standing and payment history. If favorable, you could have the option to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Fees

Discover it® Student Cash Back has a variable APR on a sliding scale of 12.99% to 21.99 percent, depending on your credit and eligibility.

There is a 24.99% variable APR on cash advances. Transfers have a 10.99% introductory offer, with the APR increasing to 12.99% to 22.99% thereafter.

Pros 

Cons


Best to rebuild credit


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OpenSky

At a glance

The line of credit for your OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card depends on your initial deposit. There is a minimum initial deposit of $200, but if you have more money to put down, you can enjoy a healthy credit limit of up to $3,000. Deposits are insured by the FDIC. You also get to enjoy the additional benefits of having a Visa credit card with acceptance at most worldwide retailers and built-in fraud protection. There is no introductory purchase APR, but regular purchases incur a variable 17.39% APR. 

No credit check is needed to apply, so your credit score is unaffected. OpenSky also reports payments to the three major bureaus with reports to help improve your credit score over time.

Fees

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card does charge an annual fee of $35.

Cash advances are permitted, with a fee that is the greater of $6 or 5% of the Cash Advance amount. If you use your card overseas, there is a 3% charge per transaction. There are also fees for late payments, with a $38 late payment fee and $25 charges for returned payments. 

Pros 

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Requires minimum deposit

  • No rewards


Best for high limits


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Petal

At a glance

The Petal® 2 Visa® Credit Card offers a minimum of 2% cash back, but you can earn up to 10% cash back when you make purchases at certain retailers. There is also an unrestricted 1% cash back on all purchases that begins immediately. However, your rewards rate can increase up to 1.5% when you establish a history of on-time payments.

The Petal 2 Visa Credit Card is geared more toward big spenders with a minimum credit limit of $500 that may be too much for those on a more restricted budget.

Petal provides a payments calculator with the ability to set a budget and view expense tracking to better understand your spending. You can also track your payments, so you can potentially reduce the amount of interest you pay with your future payments.

Fees

The Petal 2 Visa Credit Card carries a variable APR that ranges from 12.99% to 26.99%, depending on eligibility requirements. 

It’s a great card for those who want to skip the fees. There are no annual or transaction fees, and you will not be penalized with any late or returned payment fees for even greater flexibility.

Pros

  • No fees

  • Low starting APR

  • High credit limit

Cons

How did we choose these products?

Many banks and financial institutions offer credit cards, but few are suitable for someone with little or no credit. To find the best starter credit cards for no credit, these are some important factors to consider:

  • Type of user: There are some cards specifically designed for those with new credit, while other cards may carry special perks for specific types of users, such as college students.

  • Type of credit card: There are both secured and unsecured credit cards available, with secured credit cards requiring a deposit upfront that is often refundable.

  • Fees: There are many different fees that can quickly cost more money, so be sure to check for different charges like annual fees, transaction fees, late penalties, and returned payment fees.

  • Credit reporting: It is important that a credit card issuer reports your payments to the main credit bureaus –  Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to help build your credit over time.

  • Rewards: Many cards offer additional cashback or bonus rewards when you use your credit card for everyday purchases.

FAQ

Can I get a credit card with no credit?

All credit cards have different requirements to qualify, but many credit cards may have eligibility requirements that preclude those with limited or no credit. If you have no established history of credit, many issuers of no-credit credit cards typically offer special terms, like requiring a credit card or an upfront deposit.  

What is the difference between a secured and an unsecured credit card?

An unsecured credit card is the more traditional form of a credit card, but it typically requires better credit. A secured credit card is often a better fit for those with bad credit or no credit, but you can pay an upfront deposit to use as an initial line of credit.

What is the best credit card for new credit?

If you are just establishing credit, there are many options. However, the best credit card for new credit depends on your specific needs and financial goals, with several cards offering different incentives and requirements that may make one card better suited to you than others. 

Are there alternatives worth considering?

In our analysis of the best starter credit cards for no credit, we surveyed many different credit cards. These are some other starter credit cards that may be worth your consideration.



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