THIS PAGE MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. MEANING WE RECEIVE COMMISSIONS FOR PURCHASES MADE THROUGH THOSE LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Q: I am an 18-year-old college freshman, and I’m trying to build credit. What is the best credit card to do this?
A: This may come as a surprise to an 18-year-old trying to build credit, but those cards that are specifically designed for a college student or young adult aren’t the best ones, unless one with a good interest rate and comparable credit limit can be found. Most of the ones designed for students or young adults actually have higher interest rates and lower credit limits.
An 18-year-old trying to build credit would be wise to look for cards that have no annual fees and fixed interest rates as opposed to variable interest rates. Fixed rates remain the same, no matter what the prime rate does, while variable rates fluctuate with the increase or decrease in prime rate. (And, unfortunately, very rarely does one see a decrease in credit card rates even when the prime rate decreases.)
Also, when looking for good credit cards for college students or young adults, rewards programs should not be taken into consideration at this point. Once credit has been established and one is used to making payments and using the card judiciously, then cards that offer rewards points (cash back, airline miles, and other things) can be considered.
An 18-year-old looking to build credit might want to consider becoming an authorized user on a parent’s credit card. This will help establish a credit history.