Choosing the Best First Credit Card

Every consumer must start out with one credit card or another. Unfortunately, no single option is the perfect first credit card for everyone. Financial situations and personal circumstances vary from person to person after all. Students, new citizens, and other consumers all require something different. Without a doubt, choosing the right card is an important decision with lasting effects. The wrong choice could potentially start a consumer out on the wrong path with their credit. 

College Students

Typically, students fall under the "no credit" category and need to build their credit. Various student cards are available, but they're not created equally. A student benefits most from a card with a low interest rate and cash back rewards. For the latter feature, rewards for gasoline and grocery purchases are preferable. Most banks and financial institutions offer their own student-focused credit cards.
read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
no credit
intro purchase APR 0% for 6 monthsregular APR13.49 - 22.49% (V)
intro BT APR 10.99% for 6 months 3% BT fee
rewards 1 or 5% 
  • earn 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories 
  • 1% cashback on all purchases
  • double cashback for first year
  • $20 cashback annual  bonus if your GPA is 3.0 or greater


no annual fee

no credit needed

5% cashback on changing categories

double first year cashback

read review
The Credit CARD Act of 2009 placed limitations on the credit card industry and students under 21 looking for credit, though. In most cases, students are now required to secure a co-signer on their application. Individuals with a steady income are often exempt from the co-signer requirement. These regulations have made it more difficult for students to acquire their first credit cards compared to past years. 

New Citizens

Rarely are credit histories shared between countries. This situation won't affect the average consumer unless they move from one country to another. For new citizens, acquiring credit accounts can prove quite difficult. Regardless of their previous credit history, the slate is wiped clean once they permanently move to another country. Such individuals then fall into the "no credit" category. 
read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
no credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.99 - 24.99% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer no BT fee
  • no annual fee
  • for average or no credit
  • high 24.99% APR
read review
New citizens should consider a card like the Capital One Platinum as their first card. In this card, consumers receive a fair interest rate and countless features. This includes payment flexibility, fraud protection, and even a credit limit increase after five on-time payments. Plenty of applicants with no credit will be approved for this card, and recent citizens can start building their credit right away. 

Every Situation Is Different!

Finding the perfect first credit card tends to become a consumer's first challenge. As previously mentioned, students generally need a card with a low rate. Consumers with recent citizenship in a new country need something entirely different. Non-students and even consumers starting with credit later in life find themselves looking for entirely different credit card features.

Before choosing the first card, each consumer must take their own needs and personal circumstances into consideration.

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