5 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults in 2020

Young professionals seeking a credit card might encounter issues because of their limited credit history. Banks or lenders aren’t quite comfortable extending their credit lines to individuals who haven’t proved they’re creditworthy. Luckily, such people can check out this article about the best credit cards for young adults.

These cards are excellent for university grads or those who are just entering the labor force as they don’t not only provide great cashback and perks, but they also help when it comes to building and improving one’s credit score. Plus, with their low fees and specific features, they teach young adults the responsibility of managing payments and allow them to establish financial and credit history.

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Top 5 Best Credit Cards for First Timers in 2020

1. OpenSky® Secured Visa®

OpenSky® Secured is a straightforward credit card that helps its holders establish credit history by making regular and timely payments. A credit check isn’t required—the only thing you need is a refundable security deposit of at least $200. Full Review

  • No credit check
  • Refundable deposit
  • Builds credit
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OpenSky® Secured is a straightforward credit card that helps its holders establish credit history by making regular and timely payments. A credit check isn’t required—the only thing you need is a refundable security deposit of at least $200. Full Review

APR:

17.39%

Annual fee:

$35

Cashback:

N/A

Foreign transaction fee:

3%

Intro APR:

N/A

Sign-up bonus:

N/A

Recommended credit score:

300-689

Secured:

Yes

2. Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student is one of the best credit cards for students that provide cashback on certain purchases. It rewards students who have good grades and allows them to build their credit history. Full Review

  • No annual fee
  • Good grade reward
  • 1% to 5% cash back
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Discover it® Student is one of the best credit cards for students that provide cashback on certain purchases. It rewards students who have good grades and allows them to build their credit history. Full Review

APR:

12.99%-21.99%

Annual fee:

$0

Cashback:

1% to 5%

Foreign transaction fee:

0%

Intro APR:

0% for the first six months

Sign-up bonus:

N/A

Recommended credit score:

630-689

Secured:

No

3. Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum is among the best first credit cards for non-students who have no or limited credit history. It’s also excellent for holders with an average FICO score who want to improve their credit limits. Full Review

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $0 fraud liability
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Capital One® Platinum is among the best first credit cards for non-students who have no or limited credit history. It’s also excellent for holders with an average FICO score who want to improve their credit limits. Full Review

APR:

26.99%

Annual fee:

$0

Cashback:

N/A

Foreign transaction fee:

0%

Intro APR:

N/A

Sign-up bonus:

N/A

Recommended credit score:

630-689

Secured:

No

4. Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured is one of the best secured cards for young adults with no credit history as it enables cardholders to earn rewards while boosting the credit score and thus building their credit history. Once your credit is improved, you can easily transition to an unsecured card. Full Review

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back
  • Refundable deposit
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Discover it® Secured is one of the best secured cards for young adults with no credit history as it enables cardholders to earn rewards while boosting the credit score and thus building their credit history. Once your credit is improved, you can easily transition to an unsecured card. Full Review

APR:

22.99%

Annual fee:

$0

Cashback:

2% on eligible and 1% on all other purchases

Foreign transaction fee:

0%

Intro APR:

10.99% on balance transfers for six months

Sign-up bonus:

N/A

Recommended credit score:

300-629

Secured:

Yes

5. Capital One® QuicksilverOne®

Quicksilver One® allows holders with average credit to earn handsome cash back on each purchase. It’s the best credit card for young adults that rewards spending and lets you save money anytime you use it. Full Review

  • 1.5% cash back
  • Automatic credit line reviews
  • $0 fraud liability
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Quicksilver One® allows holders with average credit to earn handsome cash back on each purchase. It’s the best credit card for young adults that rewards spending and lets you save money anytime you use it. Full Review

APR:

26.99%

Annual fee:

$39

Cashback:

1.5% on all purchases

Foreign transaction fee:

0%

Intro APR:

N/A

Sign-up bonus:

N/A

Recommended credit score:

630-689

Secured:

No

Best Credit Cards for Young Adults in 2020

  • OpenSky ® Secured Visa ® Credit Card
Best for first-timers who want to build credit
  • Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card
Best for students
  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
Great for increasing credit limit
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Best for earning cashback on seasonal purchases
  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Credit Card
Best overall

Detailed Reviews

OpenSky® Secured Visa®
OpenSky® Secured Visa®

BEST FOR

everyday purchases and building credit

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  • APR: 17.39%
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Cashback: N/A
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: N/A
  • Recommended credit score: 300-689
  • Secured: Yes

OpenSky® Secured stands out as the best first credit card that doesn’t check your credit history upon application. Thus, it’s an excellent choice for first-timers without a bank account or individuals with bad credit who need high approval odds. Since it’s a secured card, you’ll be expected to have a deposit.

Regular payments to your OpenSky® Secured will allow you to boost your credit score. Namely, OpenSky® reports your credit activity to the three primary credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax—which collect all the necessary information to calculate your FICO score. However, unlike other secured cards, it doesn’t allow an upgrade to an unsecured card.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Rewards & Offers

OpenSky® Secured might not be one of the best rewards credit cards for young adults as it doesn’t offer any rewards or bonuses. It involves basic benefits only.

With OpenSky® Secured, you’ll just have a $0 fraud liability and car rental insurance. Therefore, if cashback is what you’re after regarding credit cards, you might want to consider other cards.

OpenSky® Secured Visa®  Pricing & Fees

As a secured card, OpenSky® requires a minimum security deposit of $200. This deposit is refundable, and it acts as your credit limit. The maximum deposit/credit limit is $3,000. OpenSky® also has an annual fee of $35, which is average for secured cards.

Since there are no rewards and cashback, the variable APR is somewhat lower—17.39%, making OpenSky® a good first credit card. Keep in mind that there are fees to watch for in order to avoid extra costs. It’s not recommended to use OpenSky® when abroad due to its 3% foreign transaction fee.

There’s also a cash advance fee of 5% of the total amount. The minimum fee is $6.

What we liked and didn’t like

OpenSky® Secured is a decent first-time credit card as it doesn’t run a credit check, nor does it require a bank account. Plus, it allows you to build or boost your credit score as it reports to three major credit bureaus.

However, it doesn’t provide any cashback or bonuses and has an annual fee, which is neither low nor high. The variable APR is average, but there’s no intro APR.

Lastly, keep in mind that there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3%, so you should use it wisely when abroad so as not to increase the costs.

  • APR: 12.99%-21.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cashback: 1% to 5%
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Intro APR: 0% for the first 6 months
  • Sign-up bonus: N/A
  • Recommended credit score: 630-689
  • Secured: No

Discover it® Student Cash Back is the best starter credit card designed particularly for students. As such, it doesn’t require credit history, though the average FICO (630-689) is recommended. Besides regular cashback and rewards, Discover it® Student awards students who have good grades with an extra statement credit.

Discover it® is excellent for students who are yet to learn how to handle credit. In addition to nice rewards, it provides access to their credit score. Plus, there are no limits to the minimum or maximum amount you can spend.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Rewards & Offers

Discover it ® Student is the best first-time credit card not only because it teaches new users how to manage their credit, but it also allows them to earn nice cashback.

Discover it® Student provides 5% cashback on quarterly purchases you can make every day at various places such as grocery stores and restaurants, Amazon, or gas stations. Each quarter has its maximum that is set when activated. In addition to 5%, you may automatically get 1% unlimited cashback on all other purchases.

Discover it ® has extra perks for diligent students. Namely, those students whose GPA is 3.0 or higher will get a statement credit in the amount of $20 every school year over the next five years.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Pricing & Fees

Discover it® Student is among the best credit cards for young adults with no annual fee. In addition to a handsome cashback and $0 fee, it has a 0% intro APR on purchases and 10.99% intro APR on balance transfers in the first six months. The variable APR ranges from 12.99% to 21.99%.

In case you’re late with your first payment, you won’t be charged any fee. Other late payments, however, are charged $40.

Discover it® Student has no foreign transaction fee. Unfortunately, it’s not as widely accepted outside of the US, so that might be an issue.

What we liked and didn’t like

If you’re a student who wants the best first credit card to build credit and earn cashback, Discover it® Student may be a fantastic pick.

Its rewards enable you to earn 5% cashback on specific quarterly and 1% on everyday purchases. Plus, Discover it® reports your payments to credit bureaus, thus helping you build your credit history.

There is no annual or foreign transaction fee, so you can use it abroad as well without extra costs. However, card acceptance might be a problem outside the US since it’s not as widespread as in the USA. Another minor drawback is signing up every quarter for cashback bonuses. If you fail to sign up, you’ll get only a 1% reward on purchases.

Capital One® Platinum
Capital One® Platinum

BEST FOR

increasing credit limit

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  • APR: 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cashback: N/A
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: N/A
  • Recommended credit score: 630-689
  • Secured: No

Capital One ® Platinum is one of the best credit cards for young professionals with average credit who want to take advantage of the opportunity to earn a higher credit score by making regular payments. It is an excellent alternative for individuals who seek to build their credit or increase their credit limit.

Capital One ® Platinum isn’t secured, so you don’t have to deposit any cash. It provides no cashback and bonuses, but you can save money with regular payments.

Capital One® Platinum Rewards & Offers

Capital One® is a good credit card for young adults who don’t seek cashback or bonuses. It doesn’t offer any rewards except for standard features typical for all credit cards. Hence, Capital One® provides you with $0 fraud liability and car rental coverage, as well as 24-roadside assistance. You can also use a mobile app that makes it easier to track your payments and costs.

In addition, Capital One® provides travel accident insurance and 24-hour travel assistance services. Taking these travel offers into account and the fact that you can use the card outside the US without any fees, we can conclude that Capital One® might also be the best travel credit card for young adults.

Capital One® Platinum Pricing & Fees

There’s no annual fee for the use of Capital One® credit card, so that’s an excellent opportunity to save some money even though there is no cashback provided. There is no intro APR, while the variable APR is somewhat high, amounting to 26.99%. Luckily, there’s no penalty APR in the event of a missed payment. Still, you’ll be charged a fee of up to $39 for late payments.

Capital One® is an excellent card to use abroad, as there are no associated foreign transaction fees. This way, you won’t have to worry about extra costs while using your best starting credit card.

What we liked & didn’t like

Regular payments and staying under the total credit line on Capital One® Platinum Credit Card will allow you to improve your credit history. Namely, Capital One® reports all information to the primary credit bureaus and thus helps you create a positive history of credit responsibility.

There are no annual fees, and making regular payments means you won’t be paying any extra costs.

The 0% foreign transaction fee and an array of traveling perks make Capital One® one of the best credit cards for young adults building credit who love traveling in or outside the USA. The greatest drawback, however, is the lack of sign-up bonuses and rewards that would allow you to earn some cashback. The APR is somewhat higher, though it can be avoided with regular and timely payments.

Discover it® Secured
Discover it® Secured

BEST FOR

credit builders and cashback enthusiasts

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  • APR: 22.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cashback: 1% to 2%
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Intro APR: 10.99% on balance transfers for 6 months
  • Sign-up bonus: N/A
  • Recommended credit score: 300-629
  • Secured: Yes

With the recommended credit score of 300-629, Discover it® Secured is among the best credit cards for young adults whose aim is not only to build their credit history but also to earn cashback. This secured card has outstanding rewards that enable its holders to obtain lush rewards while using it.

Besides reporting your regular payments to credit bureaus, Discover it® Secured initiates automatic reviews at eight months to check if you’re eligible for the transition to an unsecured card. In the event of a transition, your deposit will be returned.

Discover it ® Secured Rewards & Offers

Discover it® Secured is the best credit card for new users who want to earn cashback while building their credit history. It provides 2% cashback on purchases up to $1,000 at restaurants and gas stations every quarter. What’s more, Discover it ® Secured offers 1% cashback on all other purchases.

What you should also know is that there is no minimum spending or maximum cashback, nor is there a minimum redemption amount required. Rewards never expire, and they can be deposited into your bank account or redeemed as a statement credit to your card account.

Discover it® Secured doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus.

Discover it® Secured Pricing & Fees

Discover it ® is one of those best credit cards for young adults with no credit history without an annual fee. But, since it’s secured, it requires a minimum deposit of $200. The intro APR is 10.99% on balance transfer for the first six months. Afterward, the regular APR of 22.99% (variable) is applied.

Travelers may use Discover it® Secured outside the US without fear of additional expenses as there isn’t a foreign transaction fee. But, the minor issue could be card acceptance. Namely, it’s not as accepted abroad as it is in the USA.

The intro balance transfer fee is 3%, while future balance transfers have a fee of 5%. The cash advance fee amounts to $10 or 5%, whichever is greater. In case you’re late with your payment, you’ll pay up to $40.

What we liked & didn’t like

Discover it® Secured is the best first credit card for several reasons. It allows holders to build their credit history and FICO score while earning handsome cashback on seasonal purchases. Its rewards are great if you’re not bothered with having to sign up for them every quarter.

Another excellent feature is that you might be upgraded to an unsecured card after eight months of using Discover it ® Secured responsibly. Discover it® is one of the best credit cards for young adults with no credit that offers cashback but doesn’t require an annual fee, which helps to reduce expenses.

On the negative side, some holders might want sign-up bonuses and rewards that aren’t tied to quarters or seasons. Travelers might encounter card acceptance issues, as Discover it® Secured isn’t as used worldwide as in the USA.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne®
Capital One® QuicksilverOne®

BEST FOR

cash back & increasing credit limit

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  • APR: 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Cashback: 1.5% on all purchases
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: N/A
  • Recommended credit score: 630-689
  • Secured: No

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® is one of the best credit cards for young people with an average FICO who want to improve their credit score and history.

Plus, QuicksilverOne® allows holders to earn cashback on all purchases they make at the rate available for cardholders with excellent credit.

QuicksilverOne® comes with the CreditWise tool that enables cardholders to monitor their score. Additionally, Capital One® will automatically consider you for a higher credit limit after using the card for six months.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Rewards & Offers

Rewards are what propels QuicksilverOne® to the top of the list of the best credit cards to get for young adults. Namely, it allows cardholders to earn 1.5% on every purchase throughout the entire year. This rate is almost 50% greater than the market average. What’s more, with its rewards, you’ll actually earn cash, not credit points or miles.

While many cards set a minimum amount you must reach to redeem your rewards, Quicksilver One ® doesn’t have such a limit. You can redeem your cashback whenever you want. Moreover, you may set up auto-redemption, which automatically turns your cashback into a statement credit once a specific threshold is reached.

QuicksilverOne® doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Pricing & Fees

QuicksilverOne ® is one of the inexpensive best beginner credit cards. It has an annual fee that amounts to $39. Such an amount is far from high, but still, there are holders who would prefer credit cards without any fees. There isn’t an intro APR, while the regular APR is 26.99% (variable).

In order to avoid further expenses, you should keep additional QuicksilverOne® fees in mind. Besides the standard APR, there’s also a 3% cash advance fee, with a minimum of $10. As with any other credit card, you’ll get charged for late payments; QuicksilverOne® comes with a $40 late payment fee.

There’s also a 0% foreign transaction fee, so you can use it when traveling abroad without worrying about extra expenses.

What we liked & didn’t like

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® is one of the best credit cards for young adults who have an average FICO score but would like to boost it while earning cashback on each purchase.

The lack of minimum redemption amount to cash out rewards and the option for automatic redemption is what helps QuicksilverOne® stand out from other credit cards.

Even though it comes with an annual fee and has a somewhat higher APR, the rewards it provides make up for them. To avoid additional charges, you only need to make payments regularly and on time.

How to Choose the Best Credit Card for Beginners

Choosing the right credit card might be overwhelming due to the myriads of information and choices. Before you pick one, you’d want to make sure that you’ve got the one that is just right for you. These are some of the things to consider before you opt for your first credit card.

1. Make sure you’re ready.

Credit cards should make your life easier, not harder. Before you decide to apply for any of the best credit cards for first timers, make sure that you’re ready enough in terms of responsibility. Irresponsible credit card management may incur unwanted debts and ruin your credit history completely. To avoid the worst-case scenario, always track your spendings and make payments on time.

2. Determine what you need the credit card for.

There are two essential things to take into consideration when choosing the best credit card for new users. First and foremost, you need to identify the purchases you frequently make. Is it gas or groceries? Do you buy online or in brick-and-mortar stores? Are you a driver who buys gas every other day? Next, when you’ve determined what you buy most, you need to set the monthly limits based on your purchases. Mind, however, that they are neither too high nor too low.

3. Determine what kind of a credit card you want.

Young adults don’t have that many choices when it comes to picking the best first credit card to build credit. But a few fundamental differences should be reconsidered. Do you want to boost your credit only, or you’d also like to earn some cashback? If you’re a reward enthusiast, what kind of offers are you after? Do you want cash, credit points, gift cards, or miles?

4. Secured or unsecured?

You might be at a loss whether to opt for secured or unsecured good credit cards for young adults. For the first-timers, secured might be a better option as they lower the risk of default on debts due to the required amount you need to deposit before you start using the card.

5. Use your credit card responsibly.

Credit cards, both secured and unsecured, are an excellent way to build or boost your credit if used responsibly. All best first credit cards for young adults report your payments to three major credit bureaus. If you pay on time and don’t miss any payments, you have the opportunity to improve your credit history in just a few months.

Wrap Up

Obtaining your first credit card can be quite a challenge, especially if you have little to no credit history. Luckily, even if your credit is bad or limited, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a credit card. Some of the best first credit cards for young adults have been covered by our review.

Now it’s all up to you to find the one that will meet all your needs or requirements. Identify your costs and purchases first, then determine what kind of a card you want. Also, ask yourself what exactly you want to achieve with it. When you do so, you’re all ready to apply for a credit card that is right for you.

FAQ

Should young adults get credit cards?

Credit cards are excellent for young adults for a few reasons. First and foremost, they help them build their credit history. Good or excellent credit score will be necessary at some point in the future, particularly when looking for a credit card with greater rewards, loans, or credit. Second, credit cards allow holders to earn some cashback or other rewards through their offers.

The rewards can be redeemed in different ways, ranging from cash deposits into a bank account to flying miles or credit points. Third, credit cards teach young adults how to manage their purchases, spendings, and payments effectively and responsibly.

How can I build my credit fast?

Credit cards are just one of a few ways that may help you boost your credit in no time. Namely, all credit cards report your payments to the three major credit bureaus. If your payments are regular, they will build or improve your credit history in just a few months.

However, frequent and regular payments aren’t the only way to build your credit. Some other ways include, but aren’t limited to, paying cell phone and utility bills on time, keeping all credit cards open, and requesting a higher credit limit.

What credit cards can I get with no credit?

Limited credit makes it a bit difficult to get an unsecured credit card with decent cashback. However, this should on no account means that credit cards are unattainable if you have no credit. As seen in our review, some cards are designed specifically for young adults who want to build or boost their credit.

Some of those are:

  • OpenSky ® Secured Visa ® Credit Card (best for building credit)
  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card (best for increasing credit limit)
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card (best for quarterly purchases)
What is the best credit card for young adults?

All credit cards that we have reviewed are great choices for young adults regardless of whether they have limited or no credit. Besides helping them learn how to manage credit cards, they allow cardholders to improve their credit so as to be eligible for credits, loans, or credit cards with more favorable offers and fees. Some even allow holders to earn cashback on both seasonal and everyday purchases.

The best credit cards for young adults that we recommend are:

 

  • OpenSky ® Secured Visa ® Credit Card
  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Credit Card
  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
  • Discover it® Student Cash Back Credit Card
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card