Although just a few years ago it would have been much easier, because of the credit crunch last year getting a card for those of you who are looking to build credit can be much more difficult, if you don't know where to look. There are a few different options for people with little to no credit, depending on your circumstances.
Have Average or Poor Credit?
If you already have some credit, and are looking to improve it or rebuild your credit, we have a Guide for you too!
Recommended Credit Cards
Currently, the credit card options available to non-students are not as attractive as those available to students. However, we expect that to change over the next year or so, as the credit bureaus work to improve their scoring for consumers with thin or no credit history. Until then, we continue to recommend the cards listed below.
Top Credit Card: Milestone Gold MasterCard®
With the Milestone® Gold MasterCard® you can see if you are pre-qualified online before you apply. What we like about this is that there is no impact to your credit score. This pre-qualification tool doesn’t necessarily guarantee a card, but, if you pre-qualify, there is a good chance you’ll be approved when you apply.
This card reports to all three major credit bureaus and can be used anywhere the MasterCard is accepted (millions of locations).
- 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
This card has no hidden fees. However, the Milestone® Gold MasterCard® does come with an annual fee of $35 - $99, depending on your creditworthiness.
Top Card For College Students
If you are a college student, and looking to start building your credit you may want to start by applying for a student credit card. Some student cards actually have a decent rewards program although the APR is going to be higher than a card for those with an established credit history.
Discover it® for Students Card
For college students looking to build their credit history, this is the best student card out there. The Discover it® Student Card offers the same great cash back rewards and benefits as a regular Discover it cards.
- Earn 5% Cashback Bonus®* in categories that change
- Earn up to 1% unlimited Cashback Bonus on everything else
- No Annual Fee
- Choose either $20 bonus cash signup offer or 0% APR for 6 months
Best Secured Credit Card
You may want to consider a secured credit card. With a secured credit card you are required to put down a deposit to "secure" the loan or credit limit that you would like.
By securing the credit you are guaranteed approval no matter how bad your credit is, even if you have no credit history at all. It's extremely important to choose a secured credit card that reports to all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.) This way your credit score will go up as the account ages, and you continually pay on time.
Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
The Capital One Secured MasterCard reports to all three major credit bureaus. It also is allows you to participate in the Credit Steps program. Through Credit Steps, you have the opportunity to earn an increased credit limit without increasing your security deposits.
If you are not interested in the Capital One card, you can also check out our Guide to Secured Credit Cards.
Do You Know Your Credit Score?
It's important to know what is in your credit report before applying for a credit card or a loan. We recommend taking advantage of your AnnualCreditReport.com, where you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of Experian, TransUnion and Equifax once every twelve months.
If you want to learn more about reading your credit report, how to get your credit score, and how to build credit, we recommend checking out our page on credit scores and repair.