Best First Credit Cards To Build Credit Of May 2024

Building credit is a crucial financial step for anyone looking to secure loans, rent an apartment, or even get better insurance rates. The journey often starts with selecting the right first credit card. As of May 2024, several credit cards stand out for their favorable terms, low fees, and benefits tailored to help newcomers build their credit. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the best first credit cards available this month.

1. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Key Features

  • No Annual Fee: This card does not charge an annual fee, making it an affordable option for beginners.
  • Cashback Rewards: Earn 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • Security Deposit: A refundable security deposit starting at $200 is required, which determines your credit limit.
  • Credit Reporting: Reports to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

Pros

  • The cashback rewards program is generous for a secured card.
  • Discover matches all the cashback you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card with responsible use.

Cons

  • Requires a security deposit.

2. Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Key Features

  • No Annual Fee: Ideal for those looking to build credit without any upfront costs.
  • Credit Line Increases: Eligible for a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time.
  • Credit Monitoring: Access to CreditWise, a free credit monitoring tool.

Pros

  • No security deposit required.
  • Simple and straightforward terms with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Automatic consideration for a higher credit limit.

Cons

  • No rewards program.

3. Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

Key Features

  • No Fees: No annual fee, no late fees, and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Cashback Rewards: Earn 1% cashback on eligible purchases right away, and up to 1.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments. Additional 2%-10% cashback at select merchants.
  • Credit Reporting: Reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Pros

  • No fees make it a cost-effective choice.
  • Potential for high cashback rates.
  • Credit limit up to $10,000 based on cash flow instead of just credit score.

Cons

  • Requires good banking history for approval.

4. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Key Features

  • No Credit Check: Approval doesn’t require a credit check, making it accessible for those with no credit history.
  • Security Deposit: A refundable security deposit starting at $200 is required.
  • Credit Reporting: Reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Pros

  • No credit check needed, ensuring wider accessibility.
  • Reasonable interest rates compared to other secured cards.
  • Helpful for individuals with poor or no credit history.

Cons

  • Requires a security deposit.
  • No rewards program.

5. Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

Key Features

  • No Fees: No annual fee, no interest, no foreign transaction fees, and no credit check to apply.
  • Credit Builder: Use your own money to build credit by transferring funds from your Chime Spending Account.
  • Credit Reporting: Reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Pros

  • No fees or interest charges.
  • No credit check, making it accessible for those with limited or poor credit history.
  • Flexible spending limit based on your Chime Spending Account balance.

Cons

  • Must have a Chime Spending Account to use this card.

6. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Key Features

  • Rewards Program: 3% cashback in a category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • Security Deposit: A refundable security deposit starting at $300 is required.
  • Credit Reporting: Reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Pros

  • Customizable cashback categories.
  • Potential to graduate to an unsecured card with responsible use.
  • No annual fee.

Cons

  • Requires a security deposit.
  • Lower rewards rate on general purchases.

7. Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Key Features

  • No Annual Fee: No cost to hold the card annually.
  • Security Deposit: A refundable security deposit starting at $200 is required.
  • Credit Reporting: Reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Pros

  • Simple and straightforward with no annual fee.
  • Low APR compared to other secured cards.
  • Opportunity to build credit with responsible use.

Cons

  • Requires a security deposit.
  • No rewards program.

How to Choose the Right Card

When selecting your first credit card to build credit, consider the following factors:

1. Fees and Costs

  • Annual Fees: Look for cards with no annual fee to minimize costs.
  • Security Deposits: For secured cards, ensure you can afford the deposit.
  • Interest Rates: Compare APRs, though paying in full each month can help you avoid interest.

2. Credit Reporting

  • Ensure the card reports to all three major credit bureaus to effectively build your credit history.

3. Rewards and Benefits

  • Some cards offer cashback or rewards programs, which can add value to your spending.

4. Approval Requirements

  • Assess your current credit situation. Some cards require no credit history, while others might need a better banking record.

5. Future Opportunities

  • Consider if the card offers a path to upgrade to an unsecured card or higher credit limits with responsible use.

Conclusion

Building credit is a critical step in establishing your financial foundation. The right first credit card can make a significant difference in this journey. As of May 2024, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, Capital One Platinum Credit Card, and Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card are among the top choices for beginners due to their favorable terms and benefits. Carefully consider your financial situation and needs before applying to ensure you select the best card to help you build a solid credit history.