9 Best First Credit Cards For Young Adults This Year
The right credit card can help young adults establish good credit, access benefits, and gain financial independence. Compare offers and begin your journey into adulthood.
Table of Contents
- 9 Best First Credit Cards for Young Adults
- Types of Credit Cards for Young Adults
- What to Look For in a Credit Card?
- How to Apply
- Pros & Cons of Getting a Credit Card
- Tips for First-Time Credit Card Users
- Final Thoughts
Choosing the right credit card can be overwhelming, especially for young adults who are new to managing their own finances. With so many different types of cards and offers available, it’s difficult to know which one is best suited to your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the current best first credit cards for young adults.
From rewards cards with generous sign-up bonuses to low-interest cards, we’ll help you find the perfect card for your financial situation. Keep reading to learn more about credit cards tailored to young adults and how they can help you build a solid credit history while enhancing your quality of life.
9 Current Best First Credit Cards for Young Adults
Consider any one of the following credit cards based on your needs as a young adult. They’ve been divided into three sections so you can decide which works best for you.
Best For Entertainment & Travel
If you’re looking to fund the fun side of life, consider these credit cards. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Chase Sapphire Preferred® Bank of America® Travel Rewards
Lender Scholaroo Our view APR Rate % Minimum Credit Score Learn more Great hotel benefits
13.99%–23.99% 670 Visit website Good Entertainment benefits
17.24–23.24% 660 Visit website Good for Travel 16.24%–27.24% 670 Visit website
Capital One VentureOne Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Bank of America® Travel Rewards
#1 Capital One VentureOne Rewards
This credit card offers a great way for young adults to get rewards while they build their credit.
Benefits and Rewards: You can earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent, 10x miles on hotels when booked at hotels.com/venture, and no annual fee.
Fees and Interest Rates: 13.99%–23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Minimum Credit Score Required: 670–850 is advised.
#2 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is another one of the best first credit cards for young adults. This credit card offers a great way for young adults to get rewards while they build their credit, as well as exclusive access to events and experiences with Chase ExperiencesSM.
Benefits and Rewards: 2x points on travel and dining, 25% more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
Fees and Interest Rates: 17.24–23.24% Variable APR for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
Minimum Credit Score Required: 660–850 is advised.
#3 Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
With this credit card, young adults will be able to earn rewards on their spending as well as save more when they travel.
Benefits and Rewards: There is no annual fee and you get 1.5 points per $1 spent. You get a 25%–75% bonus on points when redeemed for travel purchases.
Fees and Interest Rates: 16.24%–27.24% Variable APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
Minimum Credit Score Required: At least 670 is typically recommended.
Best For Groceries & Dining
Take a look at the following credit cards to help you get the most out of your everyday food purchases. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Citi Double Cash Card
Lender Scholaroo Our view APR Rate % Minimum Credit Score Learn more Great for everyday purchases
15.99%–24.99% 680 Visit website Most diverse rewards
13.99%–23.99% 680 Visit website Low interest rates
15.49%–25.49% 650 Visit website
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards
American Express Blue Cash Preferred®
Citi Double Cash Card
#4 Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
This is a credit card that’s a great fit for young adults looking to build their credit and get rewarded for everyday purchases. With this card, you can earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on all other purchases. You also have the potential to earn a higher credit limit over time.
Benefits and Rewards: 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on all other purchases; plus a 10% customer bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
Fees and Interest Rates: No annual fee; 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles, then 15.99%–24.99% Variable APR; 3% foreign transaction fee.
Minimum Credit Score Required: At least 680 is recommended.
#5 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Although on the more premium side, this credit card is designed to help young adults maximize their grocery and gas purchases. You can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, plus 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, friends and family can also take advantage of special offers.
Benefits and Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6, per year in purchases; 6% on selected streaming subscriptions; 3% back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, toll, trains, buses and more; 1% on all other purchases plus special offers for friends and family.
Fees and Interest Rates: $95 annual fee; 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable; 3% foreign transaction fee
Minimum Credit Score Required: 680 is recommended.
#6 Citi® Double Cash Card
An ideal card for young adults who want to maximize their cash-back rewards from everyday purchases, there is no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
Benefits and Rewards: You can earn 2% cash back: 1% when you buy, and an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases.
Fees and Interest Rates: No annual fee; 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, then 15.49%–25.49% Variable APR; No foreign transaction fees.
Minimum Credit Score Required: At least 650–680 is recommended.
Best For Online Shopping
For those who want a credit card that takes their money further when purchasing items or streaming their favorite shows online, these options can help you out. Chase Freedom Flex Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
Lender Scholaroo Our view APR Rate % Minimum Credit Score Learn more Low interest rates
14.99%–23.74% 690 Visit website
Good spending rewards
14.49%–24.99% 680 Visit website Best choice overall
14.49%–22.49% 670 Visit website
Chase Freedom Flex
Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
#7 Chase Freedom Flex
This is another one of the best first credit cards for young adults. It is perfect for young adults starting to build up their credit score, the Chase Freedom Flex credit card offers generous rewards and bonuses with no annual fee.
Benefits and Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases, 5% cash back in rotating categories and 25% more value when you redeem your rewards at checkout.
Fees and Interest Rates: No Annual Fee and 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate of 14.99%–23.74%.
Minimum Credit Score Required: From 690 upwards is advised.
#8 Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card
Great for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee but still want to make the most of their rewards.
Benefits and Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases, plus a $150 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
Fees and Interest Rates: No Annual Fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months, and then a variable rate of 14.49%–24.99%.
Minimum Credit Score Required: Around 680 is recommended.
#9 Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
This card offers great rewards for those who love shopping on Amazon and are already signed up for an Amazon Prime account.
Benefits and Rewards: 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market and 2% back for restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores.
Fees and Interest Rates: No Annual Fee and 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate of 14.49%–22.49%.
Minimum Credit Score Required: 670 or higher is recommended for this card.
Types of First Credit Cards for Young Adults
Before getting a card, it is important to know the different types of credit cards offered to young adults and what each of them offers. This way, you will be able to choose the one most suited to your needs.
Rewards credit cards offer you points, cash back, and other incentives when you make purchases. These rewards can be redeemed in various ways, such as for travel or statement credits.
Secured vs Unsecured Cards
Secured cards make use of a cash deposit that serves as collateral for the card. It’s offered to people with no or limited credit history the opportunity to build credit. Unsecured cards, on the other hand, don’t need a security deposit. Having said that, there may be higher interest rates and fees for those who don’t maintain a good credit score.
Student credit cards are designed specifically for students, offering lower interest rates and other perks tailored to their needs.
Travel credit cards help frequent travelers accumulate points or miles when they make purchases, which can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.
Factors to Consider When Comparing Credit Cards
When selecting the best first credit card as a young adult, there are several factors to consider. You should use these to compare the different credit cards for your young adults to choose the best one for yourself.
Low or no annual fees
Make sure that you’re aware of any fees and penalties associated with the credit card, such as annual fees or late payment charges. Annual fees can add up quickly and reduce the amount of money available to cardholders. As a young adult, it’s important to try to find a credit card with no or low annual fees, so that you don’t need to spend more than necessary on your card. The more young adults understand what fees could be charged, the better prepared they’ll be to avoid them.
Low interest rates
Interest rates are an important factor to consider when choosing a credit card, as higher rates can make it more expensive to pay off a credit card balance. It’s best for young adults to look for cards with low interest rates as well as a 0% introductory (APR) period. Additionally, paying off the balance in full each month can help keep interest costs low.
Rewards and benefits
There are numerous credit cards that offer rewards and benefits such as cash-back, points, or miles for making purchases. Be on the lookout for these rewards programs, as they are a great way for young adults to save money and learn how to responsibly manage their credit – all while being rewarded for it.
The credit limit is the maximum amount of money a cardholder can borrow on the card. Young adults should consider their spending habits and find cards with limits that they can responsibly manage.
Young adults should be aware of the credit score requirements for each card they are considering. Knowing their own credit score and researching credit cards that meet those requirements can help young adults find the best cards for themselves.
Some credit cards require a co-signer if a teen does not have enough of a financial history or credit score to qualify on their own. Take this into consideration when selecting a card and make sure that your co-signer of choice is comfortable with the agreement.
Level of responsibility
Make sure to consider how much responsibility you can handle when managing your own credit card, as well as any tools or resources that will help to better manage your finances. Doing this will ensure that you don’t run into debt, thereby getting the most out of your credit card.
How to Apply for a Credit Card for The First time?
When applying for a credit card for the first time, provided that the requirements for eligibility have been met, the process to secure one is simple.
Eligibility requirements For Credit Cards for Young Adults
Take note of the following requirements in order to apply for a credit card.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a valid government-issued ID or Social Security Number
- Have an income (which can include a part-time job, allowance from parents, or student loan)
- Demonstrate responsible use of credit
Steps to Apply for A Credit Card
In order to apply for your very first credit card, you can expect to follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather Documents
Before you can apply, you will need to have some documents handy that may include the following:
- Proof of identity such as a passport or driver’s license.
- Proof of address such as a utility bill or phone bill.
- Employment information such as pay stubs or tax returns (if applicable).
- Bank statements or other financial documents (if applicable).
- Authorization for a credit check (if required).
Step 2: Compare Offers
Look through different credit card offers to find the one that best fits your needs. Make sure you compare factors such as Annual Percentage Rates (APRs), bonuses, rewards, and fees associated with credit cards.
Step 3: Fill Out Your Application
Once you have chosen a credit card, fill out the application form. This will usually involve entering your personal information, such as your address, date of birth, and current employment status.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
After you’ve filled out the application form, ensure that you double-check it for accuracy before submitting it. Having done that, all you need to do from here is wait for a response from your chosen lender.
Benefits and Costs of Getting Credit Cards for Young Adults
Getting a credit card involves both benefits and potential drawbacks that include the following:
- Establishes credit history by on-time and complete payments
- Allows you to manage expenses responsibly and build good financial habits
- Helps with emergencies or major purchases for which you might not have enough cash/savings for
- Earn rewards, such as cashback, discounts, or travel points
- Easier to carry as compared to cash
- Potentially high-interest rates if payments are not made on time or if you don’t have good credit
- Can lead to debt if not used responsibly
- Can hurt your credit if you miss your payments or pay late
- Potentially high annual fees for some cards
- Temptation to overspend
Top Tips for Beginners Using a Credit Card for the First Time
By keeping the following tips and tricks in mind, young adults can use their first credit card responsibly and benefit from the rewards associated with having one.
Keep Track of Your Spending
The first and most important tip when using a credit card is to keep track of your spending. Create a budget to help you stay within your means and ensure that you only spend what you can afford. Automated reminders are also helpful in keeping up with payments and avoiding late fees or any other charges for not paying on time.
Read the Terms of Your Agreement
Before signing up for a credit card, make sure to read the terms and conditions so that you understand all the features associated with your card. Look for potential fees, interest rates, and rewards – such as cashback or airline miles – to help get the most out of your staying credit up. Additionally, you should never sign up for a card with hidden costs or fees that could catch you by surprise.
Pay at Least the Minimum Amount Due
Once you have your credit card in hand, make sure to pay at least the minimum amount due each month on time. Missing payments and late fees can have a negative effect on your credit score, resulting in higher interest rates for future borrowing. It’s also essential that you stay on top of your payments each month so that you don’t get overwhelmed with debt.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the best first credit card for young adults:
Is $1,000 good for first credit card?
$1,000 is a fairly common limit for first credit cards and can be good depending on how it will be used.
Is Visa or American Express better?
Neither Visa nor American Express is necessarily better as they both have their own advantages and disadvantages. One of the main reasons people tend to opt for Visa is because it is more widely available worldwide in comparison to American Express. Having said that, it’s best to research both before making a decision.
How many credit cards should a 23-year-old have?
Generally speaking, one to two credit cards is a good number for a 23-year-old; too many can result in overspending or debt.
What is the minimum age limit to apply for a credit card?
Most banks require an individual to be at least 21 years of age to apply for a credit card independently. Generally, if you are 18 and looking to get a credit card, you must have some source of independent income and provide proof of it to get a card. You can have a look at different credit card options for you adults to see the specific requirements for each as they may differ.
If your main goal to get a credit card is to build credit and get a history, you can also ask your family and friends to add you as an authorized user to their cards.
When it comes to the best credit card for the first time as a young adult, there are plenty of options available. Be sure to do your research and choose the best card for you based on your individual needs and financial goals. Each credit card mentioned offers unique benefits and rewards to help you make the most of your money while building up your credit score. With any of these cards, young adults can take charge of their finances and start working towards a better financial future, all while enjoying everything that life has to offer.