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2019

Best Credit Cards for No Credit

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Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.

If you don't have any credit yet, it might seem hard to take that first step towards building a credit history. How can you be approved for a credit card if you don't have any credit reports to check? There are actually quite a few options for you, covering both secured cards and unsecured cards.

Best Credit Cards for No Credit
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Our Selection Criteria

  • No or low fees: You may need to pay an annual fee if you’re just starting to build your credit profile, but not in every case. Avoid predatory cards with exorbitant setup or monthly fees.
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus: To build a credit history your card activity needs to be reported to the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. All the cards mentioned on this page will report activity in this way.
  • Easy to use: Establishing a credit history doesn’t need to cause headaches. The best credit cards for no credit won’t cause problems when charging to the card, making payments, or checking account information.
  • Reliable customer service: Many issuers that offer cards for people with no credit tend to have poor customer support. Save yourself a lot of trouble by sticking with the major card issuers as much as possible.
  • Rewards: Credit cards for no credit don’t usually offer rewards, but there are a few that do. Rewards aren’t important for establishing a credit history, but if you can qualify for a rewards card, it’s a nice bonus.
  • Other perks: Most cards for no credit only come with some basic shopping and travel protections. But in some cases you’ll find some more valuable benefits being offered.
Is a Credit Card for No Credit Right for You?
Best Credit Cards for No Credit
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Is a Credit Card for No Credit Right for You?

If your goal is to establish a positive credit history, credit cards can help you get there. Even starting from nothing, there are some credit card offers that can help get your foot in the door.

Although you won’t qualify for the most valuable and interesting cards, you aren’t stuck with the absolute worst cards either. Having no credit can actually be better than having poor credit when it comes to applying for your first credit card.

You don’t have a history of negative activity weighing you down, which could automatically disqualify you from some card offers. (If you do have a negative credit history, check out some credit cards designed for bad credit.)

It’s important to always use credit cards responsibly, and this is even more crucial when you’re trying to build credit. This is actually pretty simple; the main challenge is making consistent, on-time payments (preferably of your full statement balance) month after month.

If you can handle these three conditions, you can use a credit card (or cards) to help establish an excellent credit history.

Take some time to read more in our Definitive Guide to Building Credit with Credit Cards. You’ll learn all about how credit cards affect your credit, how to use them to increase your scores, and how to qualify for the best cards on the market.

There’s more to a strong credit history than just credit cards. Check out the other elements that factor into your credit and how to maximize each category for the best credit scores.

Our Selection Criteria
BEST PICK FOR

Best Secured for Earning Rewards, No Annual Fee

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card (Review) is our pick for the best secured card. Rather than punishing you for having no credit, this card actually has a decent cash rewards program.

You’ll need to make a minimum security deposit of $200, with a maximum of $2,500.

Discover will review your credit card account every 8 months. If these automatic reviews reveal evidence of responsible card use, on this and other accounts, they may return your security deposit and allow you to keep using the card.

There isn’t an option to upgrade the Discover it Secured to an unsecured card. Instead, you need to just apply for a different Discover card as usual.

  • 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • restaurants
    • gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: New cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year
  • 6-month 10.99% balance transfer intro APR (very rare for a secured card), followed by a regular rate of 24.74% Variable.
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Keep tabs on your FICO 8 Credit Score, based on your TransUnion report, and get tips to improve your credit scores.
  • Social Security number alerts: Notifications if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
BEST PICK FOR

Best Secured for Low Security Deposit

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Credit range Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.49% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® (Review) is a good pick if you want to pay the lowest security deposit possible.

Depending on your creditworthiness — such as income and rent payments — you’ll be given a minimum required security deposit. This will be one of the following:

  • $49
  • $99
  • $200

No matter which amount you’re required to deposit, you’ll end up getting a $200 credit limit. So you may end up paying just $49 for a $200 limit, if they decide you’re worth the risk. Or you may have to pay $200 to get a $200 limit, which is the normal offer for most secured cards.

The maximum security deposit for the Capital One Secured card is $1,000.

BEST PICK FOR

Best Secured for High Credit Limit

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card

Our rating
Credit range No Credit
Details
Annual Fee $25
Regular APR 20.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Most secured cards have relatively low maximum credit limits, in many cases under $3,000. But the Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card is different, accepting a security deposit of $300 to $10,000.

So you’ll have more potential spending power than other secured cards. A Wells Fargo checking or savings account is required to apply for this card. But if you need a secured card with a high credit limit this will be your best option. If that’s the case it might be worth opening an account with Wells Fargo.

  • Upgrade path: Wells Fargo will check your account periodically to see if you qualify for an upgrade to the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $25
BEST PICK FOR

Best Unsecured for No Annual Fee

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Our rating
Credit range No Credit
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.46% (Variable)

You don’t need to be a student to apply for the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review), despite the name.

This rewards credit card is designed for average or limited credit. But you may have a chance of being approved with no credit history, especially if you have a high income and solid employment history.

  • 1% cash back for every purchase
    • pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back
  • Increase your credit limit: Access a higher credit line after making the first five monthly payments on time.
  • CreditWise Credit Monitoring: Keep tabs on your TransUnion credit report, and see your VantageScore 3.0 based on that report.
  • Minimum credit limit: $300
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
BEST PICK FOR

Best Unsecured for Alternative Underwriting, No Fee

Petal Cash Back Visa® Card

Our rating
Credit range No Credit
Details
Annual Fee None
Regular APR 14.74% - 25.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Petal Cash Back Visa® Card was created specifically for people with limited or no credit, and as such it doesn’t always require a credit history to be approved. Petal Card is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC. If you do have a credit history, WebBank may check it as it processes your application.

To determine your creditworthiness, WebBank may ask you to connect to your bank account to see how much money you have, and how you use it. You must enter your login details to give WebBank access to view your account, which could make some people uncomfortable. But this is how WebBank determines your ability to pay, rather than relying on the typical factors when considering your creditworthiness. You can also connect other accounts to give WebBank a better picture of your overall finances.

There are no fees for using this card: no annual fee, no late fee, no foreign transaction fee. That’s quite unusual to see on a card designed for no credit, and it means you can use it to improve your credit completely for free, as long as you always pay your statement balance in full by the due date to avoid interest charges.

  • 1% cash back for every purchase initially
  • 1.25% cash back for every purchase after making 6 on-time monthly payments
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase after making 12 on-time monthly payments
  • Doesn’t always require credit history: Applicants may be asked to connect to bank account to determine creditworthiness
  • Visa Local Offers: Earn Uber credits by shopping at participating merchants
  • Visa benefits: Including an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver and Roadside Dispatch
  • Interest Calculator: Shows how much you’ll owe in interest if you choose to carry a balance
  • Credit limit: $500 to $10,000
  • No foreign transaction fees or late fees (14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR)
  • Annual fee: None
BEST PICK FOR

Best Unsecured for Alternative Underwriting, Low Fee

Deserve Classic Mastercard

Our rating
Credit range No Credit
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Deserve Classic Mastercard (Review) was designed for people without credit histories. It doesn’t require a credit history to qualify, although they may run a credit check when you apply.

In addition to the normal criteria, Deserve will also check factors such as the following:

  • education
  • earning potential
  • future employability

So you’ll have a better chance of approval than most cards, without having to make a security deposit. This is a pretty basic card, without any rewards, but it’s a good option to help establish a credit history and work your way toward good credit scores.

Take note that Deserve will need to connect to your bank account to check the balance. If you’re concerned about privacy or security this may not be up your alley, but it seems logical since Deserve bases its decision on more than just an applicant’s credit history.

  • Lemonade Insurance rebate: Get a $10 statement credit after making three consecutive payments to Lemonade Insurance with your card.
  • Feather Furniture rebate: Pay with your card and use code DESERVE100 to get $100 off your first month’s rental from Feather rentals.
  • Mint Mobile rebate: Use your card to sign up and pay for any Mint Mobile wireless plan by November 28, 2019, and you’ll get a $45 statement credit.
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits: Including Cell Phone Insurance, Price Protection, Roadside Assistance, and more.
  • Maximum credit limit: $1,500
  • Annual fee: None

Deserve issues another card designed for students without credit histories, the Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review). It offers 1% cash back for every purchase, a free year of Amazon Prime Student, and a few other perks that could be useful for college students.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

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