Build Your Credit: Find the Best Credit Cards for Building Credit

By Kevin / December 7, 2016
great credit cards to build your credit in 2015

Today we want to share our top credit card picks for people looking to build or rebuild their credit in 2017.

If you want to establish or rebuild your credit, finding the right credit card can be tricky. This is because many cards require good credit for approval. And we all know that building up credit requires a credit card!

The good news is that there are now cards made specifically for people who are looking to build or rebuild their credit. And we searched far and wide to find cards without hidden fees, processing fees for your applications, or other limitations.

In fact, we were able to find cards with rewards programs, even for those with only fair credit. And we found a secured credit card without an annual fee that can grow as your credit score grows.​

Who Are These Recommendations For?

You will want to check out our recommendations if:

  • You defaulted on a loan, credit card, or other obligation in the past 5 - 7 years.
  • Your credit report is considered limited (i.e., you are someone with a short credit history).

How Will These Cards Help Me?

What you want to accomplish with these cards is to establish a history of making on-time payments and showing responsible use of your credit.

So it’s important to find a credit card that reports to the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. This way, when you use use your card responsibly and pay your bill on time each month, you will demonstrate responsible credit use to other lenders and help to increase your credit scores.​

This will help improve your credit score, will will make it easier for you to access credit for important purchases like auto loans and mortgages - and even other credit cards. And you will probably be able to secure better rates when taking out these loans.

Recommended Credit Cards

Without any further interruptions, lets get to our recommendations.

We'll start with regular credit cards, and move on from there to student credits cards and secured credit cards. We even have a card recommendation for those with a bankruptcy or other credit event on their record.

Earn Rewards with Limited or Fair Credit

Capital One® QuickSilverOne® Rewards Card

Best Overall Credit Card if you have average credit

CreditShout Rating:

Excellent

​Annual Fee: $39

Credit Required: Average, Fair, or Limited

Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn't expire and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Enjoy unlimited access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor your credit profile with CreditWise®.

Intro APR

N/A

Intro Balance Transfer

N/A

Regular APR

23.49% Variable

Click Here to Read Full Review

The QuickSilverOne offers a great rewards program, great rates, and a low annual fee. In fact, the only difference with the QuckSilver card is that QuickSilverOne has the $39 annual fee and credit qualify required to qualify.

On top of that, if you make your first five payments on time, Capital One will automatically review your file to see if you qualify for a larger line of credit.​

Now you may not be able to qualify for the QuickSilverOne rewards card if you had a prior bankruptcy that is still on your credit report. In that case, we recommend the Milestone® Gold MasterCard®.

Re-Establish Credit After a Bankruptcy

Milestone® Gold MasterCard®

Milestone Gold MasterCard for Average and Poor Credit Review

CreditShout Rating:

Annual Fee: $35 - $99 (depending on creditworthiness)

Credit Required: Limited, Bad, or Fair

About this card:*

  • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Choose your custom card design - Free
  • Free online account access
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
  • Previous bankruptcy OK

Intro APR

N/A

Intro Balance Transfer

N/A

Regular APR

23.90% Variable

Thanks to Milestone's® pre-qualification tool - which let's you check if you are pre-qualified for this card without impacting your credit score - and their willingness to accept prior bankruptcy's, we highly recommend this card.

Plus, this is a real MasterCard®, not a catalog card. So this card can be used wherever MasterCard® is accepted - which is pretty much everywhere.​

To learn more, read our complete review.​

Best Cards for Students

Capital One® Journey Student Rewards Card

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One Overview

CreditShout Rating:

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Required: Fair

Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:

  • ​Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, plus a 25% bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time, for a total of 1.25% cash back.
  • There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards don't expire.
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you.
  • Enjoy unlimited access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor your credit profile with CreditWise®.
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees.

Read The Complete Review

Intro APR

N/A

Intro Balance Transfer

N/A, but no Transfer Fee

Regular APR

20.49% Variable

The Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card is designed to help students build their credit.

Unlike other student-centered cards, this one also offers a cash-back reward program.

You can earn up to 1.25% cash back on all your purchases. All without concern for rotating rewards categories where you spend little money anyway.​

Other key benefits of the Journey card include:

  • No foreign transaction fee for students who love to travel!.
  • Low variable APR of 20.49% for both new purchases and cash advances.
  • Making your fists five payments on time will unlock higher credit lines.

Additionally, our research shows that Capital One is more likely to extend credit than other student oriented cash back cards. And this includes students attending 2-year, as well as 4-year, colleges.

The combination of cash-back rewards, low fees, and tools to help students build credit make the Journey Rewards Card a great first credit card for college students when you compare it against the competition.

Discover it® for Students Cash Back Card

Comparison of various Discover it credit cards

CreditShout Rating

Annual Fee: $0​

Credit Required: Fair

Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:

  • 5% Cash Back on Rotating Categories (subject to $1,500/quarter spending cap, then 1%)
  • 1% Cash Back on all other Purchases
  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers

Check out the Complete Review

Top Secured Credit Card

CapitalOne Secured MasterCard: Top Secured Credit Card

Capital One Credit Steps to Build Credit

CreditShout Rating:

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Required: None

Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:

  • No annual fee, with all the credit building benefits.
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus.
  • Free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker.
  • Your minimum security deposit gets you a $200 credit line.
  • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness with no additional deposit required.
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone, or using our mobile app.It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide.

Intro APR

N/A

Intro Balance Transfer

N/A, but No Transfer Fee

Regular APR

24.99% Variable

Read Our Review for More Information

In Conclusion

Applying for a new credit card can be confusing, especially if you are looking to build or rebuild your credit.

I highly recommend reading this guide on CreditForums which explains the difference between terms like “Pre-Qualified” and “Pre-Approved” and shares some proven tricks that other CreditForums visitors have used to get the banks to say yes.​

Another thing that’s important to understand is that there are really two types of cards available if you are looking to build credit: secured cards and unsecured cards.

​Secured cards are usually easier to get, but require a deposit. Many times, the required deposit is in excess of $500. With this list, I primarily focused on unsecured cards - meaning that no deposit is required for approval. To see more secured credit cards, follow this link.

Important Note: When using a credit card to build credit, or for any purpose, it is important to remember to pay on time and never charge more than you can pay for in cash. Also keep in mind that cards for people who are building credit may be easy to get approved for, but the tradeoff is that they usually have a higher interest rate than cards for people with good to excellent credit.

Also – If you need more clarification or have a question you can create a new thread in our credit cards forum. There are a lot of great people there ready to help.

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