No credit? No problem! These best credit cards for no credit can help you start to build a positive credit history today.

Have you ever worried that you can’t get a credit card because you have no credit? If that’s something you’re concerned about, you don’t need to be. There are credit cards for no credit. Some even come with valuable benefits, like cash back rewards or a reduced or 0% introductory APR on either purchases, balance transfers, or both. 

Now, we have to stress that most of the cards on this list are offered for those with no credit. If you have credit, and it’s all bad, you’ll have to investigate credit card specifically for bad credit.

But in most cases, no credit shouldn’t be a problem. Just be sure you’re aware of exactly what type of card you’re applying for. Some require you to put up a security deposit, while others are true unsecured credit cards. Beyond that, look carefully at both the costs and benefits to find the right credit card for no credit for you.

Overview: Best credit cards for no credit

Credit cardBest for
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit CardRaising your credit limit quickly
Capital One Platinum Credit CardNo annual fee
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit CardLow deposit
Discover it® SecuredCash back
Chase Freedom® Student credit cardStudents

Best for raising your credit limit quickly – Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

If you don’t have the excellent credit needed to score some of the bonuses other Capital One credit cards offer, consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It’s a terrific card for average credit and you can still earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with a modest $39 annual fee.

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Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months.

  • No foreign transaction fees and a modest $39 annual fee.

Apply Now >>

Features:

  • Intro APR on purchases: N/A.
  • Intro APR balance transfers: N/A.  
  • Regular APR: 26.99% (Variable).
  • Annual fee: $39.
  • Rewards: 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases.

One of the weak spots inherent in credit cards for no credit is the low credit limit factor. Since the issuer is either providing the card for someone with no credit, or the credit line is limited to the amount of a security deposit, the credit limit is on the low side. That’s true with the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card as well, but Capital One will automatically review your credit limit after six months (possible increase!)

But the unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on all purchases, in combination with no foreign transaction fees, are additional perks.

Best for no annual fee – Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

Finding an unsecured credit card with average credit can be difficult, but the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is happy to have your business. You won’t find many perks to owning this credit card, but it’s a great first card for young people looking to build a strong credit history and there’s no annual fee.

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Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • Only average / fair / limited credit is required for approval

  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months

  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Apply Now >>

Features:

  • Intro APR on purchases: N/A.
  • Intro APR balance transfers: N/A.       
  • Regular APR: 26.99% (Variable).
  • Annual fee: $0  
  • Rewards: None.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card may be the best example of a pure credit card for no credit. There are none of the perks of some of the other credit cards on this list, like cash back rewards or 0% or reduced APR’s on purchases or balance transfers. But the card is designed squarely for those with either no credit or even fair credit. And like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, it also offers the ability to increase your credit limit after six months.

But one major advantage the Capital One Platinum card has over the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is that it has no annual fee. If you’re just planning to get a credit card to begin building your credit, you don’t plan on taking extensive advantage of cash back rewards, but you don’t want to pay an annual fee, this is the credit card for you. 

Best for low deposit – Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

If you are worried that you will not get approved for a conventional credit card or have been rejected in the past, the Capital One Platinum Secured is an excellent option. It’s rare to find one that doesn’t charge an annual fee and Capital One will automatically review your credit limit in as little as six months.

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Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line.

  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months with no additional deposit needed.

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Apply Now >>

Features:

  • Intro APR on purchases: N/A.
  • Intro APR balance transfers: N/A.
  • Regular APR: 26.99% (Variable).
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Rewards: None.

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is one of the most straightforward secured credit cards you can get. You’ll initially get a $200 credit line with a refundable deposit of $49, $99, or $200 (it all depends on your credit score). From there, make small purchases and pay your balance off in full each month, and you’ll watch your credit score slowly climb as you establish a responsible payment history.

Cardholders will be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months in which you can upgrade to one of Capital One’s higher tier credit cards. While the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer any rewards or sign-up bonuses, it will help you finally build the credit you need so you can graduate on to rewards credit cards.

Best for cash back – Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured

Features:

  • Intro APR on purchases: N/A.
  • Intro APR balance transfers: See Terms introductory rate for see terms.
  • Regular APR: See Terms.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Rewards: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants for the first $1,000 spent each quarter, then 1% cash back on all other purchases.

As a secured credit card, Discover it® Secured is available for consumers who have no credit or even poor credit.

The amount of your credit limit is determined by the size of your deposit, which can be between $200 and $2,500.

Even though it’s a secured card, you’ll have all the benefits of an unsecured credit card. And since Discover will report your payment history to all three major credit bureaus, you’ll be building your credit while you use the card and make your monthly payments.

Best for students – Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Chase Freedom® Student credit card

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In A Nutshell

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card can help students begin to build a strong credit profile while earning a $50 Bonus for signing up and making one purchase during the first three months.  There’s no annual fee to own.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • $50 Bonus after making your first purchase within three months from account opening

  • Keep your account in good standing and receive a $20 award each account anniversary for up to five years

  • No annual fee

  • $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • $20 Good Standing Rewards after each account anniversary for up to 5 years
  • Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening when meeting credit criteria
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Free credit score with Chase Credit Journey
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
17.24% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , 0 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

Features:

  • Intro APR on purchases: N/A.
  • Intro APR balance transfers: N/A.
  • Regular APR: 17.24% Variable.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Rewards: 1% cash back on every dollar spent on purchases, plus a $50 bonus reward for making one purchase within three months, plus a $20 annual “Good Standing” reward for the first five years.

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card brings the benefits of Chase’s other credit cards to students.

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card offers the chance to easily build credit AND earn cash back at the same time. Even if you have no credit history, you can sign up, start making purchases, and earn 1% cash back across the board.

Just pay your bill on time each month and watch your score improve. You can even monitor your credit through Chase’s Credit Journey service.

Summary of the best credit cards for no credit 

Credit cardRewardsUnique features
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchasesCapital One automatically reviews your credit line after six months for a potential increase
Capital One Platinum Credit CardNone No annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

Capital One automatically reviews your credit line after six months for a potential increase
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit CardNoneCapital One automatically reviews your credit line in as little as six months for a potential increase
Discover it® Secured2% cash back on up to $1,000 each quarter at gas stations and restaurants, plus a cash back match at the end of the first year
Chase Freedom® Student credit card1% cash back on all purchasesNo credit history required; Chase increases your credit limit after five on-time payments within the first 10 months

How we came up with our list of the best credit cards for no credit 

To sift out the best credit cards for no credit among the many that are available, we looked not only at the card offers overall, but also the specific categories each specializes in. After all, even though you have no credit, you’re entitled to get a card that best suits your needs.

Rewards

We started with the basic assumption that the person making application would have no credit, and would, therefore, need to apply for a card that specifically accommodates that limitation. We then looked at the benefits each provides. And surprisingly, even though benefits are fairly limited, they’re available on most of the cards on this list. 

Cost of the card

Next, we looked at the cost of having the card. As a rule, interest rates tend to be high on these cards precisely because of the lack of credit history. Issuers assume a higher risk of default. We then looked at secondary costs, primarily the presence or absence of either annual fees or foreign transaction fees.

Most important features of credit cards for no credit

Part of the reason we’ve assigned “best for” classifications for each card is that there is no one card that’s best for everyone. Which card you select will depend on what features and costs are most important to you.

In analyzing the card offers on this list, we considered the following:

APR 

As already stated, APR’s will be higher on credit cards for no credit than they will be for established credit cardholders. Even in cases where a range of APRs is presented for a given card, you should assume you will pay the maximum rate. After all, you have no credit.

Once again we need to stress our recommendation that you pay your balance in full each month. That will eliminate interest as a factor, since you won’t need to pay it. Interest rates only matter if you intend to carry a balance.

Annual fees 

We recognize annual fees as a significant issue on credit cards for no credit, because it’s a fee you’ll pay even if you never use the card. And when added to an already high APR on most cards, it can make a card particularly expensive to use. Still another issue is that since credit cards for no credit typically have low credit limits, annual fees have a bigger impact.

For example, if you have a credit limit of $1,000, a $95 annual fee will be the equivalent of paying a 9.5% interest rate – in addition to your regular APR.

For that reason, we favored cards that have no annual fee.

Sign up bonus

In most of our credit card evaluation posts, we look closely at sign-up bonuses as an important criterion. However, this is not a factor with credit cards for no credit.

Sign-up bonuses are used by credit card issuers as an inducement to attract the most qualified customers. Since those applying for credit cards with no credit are specifically unqualified, credit card issuers don’t need to offer bonuses to attract applicants.

If you do come across a credit card for no credit that offers a sign-up bonus, read the fine print very carefully. The card issuer may impose other charges or restrictions that will at least offset the bonus, if not more.

Cash back structure

Though sign-up bonuses aren’t offered with credit cards for no credit, cash back rewards frequently are. We purposely attempted to favor credit cards for no credit that do offer cash back rewards. After all, while building credit from the ground up is good, doing it while you’re also earning cash back rewards is even better.

Foreign transaction fees

In a global economy and one where international travel has become so frequent, this is an often under-estimated cost. For example, if you typically charge $20,000 to your credit card in a year, and $10,000 of it is spent on foreign transactions, a 3% foreign transaction fee translates into a $300 annual cost. 

Once again, we’ve attempted to include cards on this list that do not charge foreign transaction fees. But that’s not the case with all cards listed.

Additional benefits 

One of the major reasons you have a credit card at all is for the additional benefits they offer. These can include purchase protection, collision damage waiver on car rentals, travel insurance, and roadside assistance.

They may not be deal-breakers, particularly when you’re trying to get your first credit card, but they come under the category of “nice to have” when they are included in a credit card you’re interested in obtaining. 

FAQ on credit cards for no credit 

Do credit cards for no credit require cosigners?

Not in the case of secured credit cards or the Green Dot Prepaid Mastercard. Since either type of card is collateralized by the security deposit or the prepayment, default isn’t a concern for the credit card issuer.

On other cards, a cosigner may be required if you’re unable to demonstrate the ability to make payments on the card. Though you may not have – or be required to have – a credit history, the card issuer will be particularly interested in your regular income.

If it’s sufficient to make payments on the card, a cosigner will not be required. However, if you have little or no income, a cosigner may be necessary.

Do credit cards for no credit automatically convert to regular credit cards, once you develop a good credit history?

That’s more typical if you have a secured credit card. The card issuer may release your security deposit after you’ve made a certain minimum number of on-time payments. For example, a bank may require you to make 12 consecutive on-time payments in order for the account to be reviewed. If you meet the requirement, the security deposit will be released, and your secured credit card will automatically convert to an unsecured one.

In other cases, the credit card you’ve been issued is very specific. Once you reach a point where you have an acceptable credit history, which can extend to your overall credit history beyond your payment record with the credit card itself, you may be offered a different card with better terms and features.

Once I’m approved for a credit card for no credit, is there anything more that I need to do? 

Absolutely! You need to:

  1. use the card on a regular basis,
  2. and make your required monthly payments on time – each and every month.

A credit card for no credit isn’t the kind of card you get and then throw in a drawer. Just the fact that you have the card won’t help your credit score. That will require regular use and regular monthly payments. You should plan to charge at least a little each month on the card, then make the required monthly payment.

Your credit scores are determined by your payment history more than anything else, and that’s why you need to make active use of the card. But be aware that even one late payment can undermine your effort, and leave you with a poor score.

At the same time, be careful not to overuse the card. Next a payment history, the next most important factor in determining your credit score is your credit utilization. That’s the amount of your outstanding balance, divided by your total credit limit. It should be below 30% to optimize your credit score.

If your credit limit is $1,000, and you owe $800, your credit utilization ratio is 80%. That’s way too high, and it’ll hurt your credit score.

Since I have no credit history, how long will it take me to build a credit score after being approved for a credit card for no credit? 

Unfortunately, building a credit score from the ground up is a time-sensitive undertaking. It’s likely you’ll need a minimum of six months of on-time payments before your credit score will begin to build.

But if you have just one credit card, your score won’t be very high, even if you make your payments on time for a year or more. The credit bureaus prefer that you have at least three lines of credit. For that reason, once you build up a good credit rating with one credit card, you’ll want to add a second. After that, you may also want to go for an auto loan or other installment loans (since loan mix also counts).

Should you get a credit card for no credit?

Having a credit card has become critical to surviving financially in the 21st century. It’s no longer acceptable to have no credit at all. You need to have sufficient credit to support a good credit score. That will not only make it easier for you to obtain financing for a car or home, but it may be required to rent an apartment or to get a job.

It’s also become necessary to have a credit card for certain financial transactions. For example, you’ll generally need a credit card to purchase airline tickets, rent a car, and often to make online purchases. 

Since it can take several years to build a good or excellent credit score, you should select a card from this list and complete the application immediately. The sooner you get one card approved and put into use, the sooner you’ll be able to duplicate the effort. As described above, the key to building a good credit score is to have a good credit history on several credit lines. And the longer that process goes on, the higher your credit score will be.

Summary

As the saying goes, you’ve got to start somewhere. And when it comes to credit cards, that’s a credit card for no credit. Just be careful not to compare offers on credit cards for no credit with other cards. Credit cards for those with excellent credit are going to have very attractive perks, like big sign up bonuses, generous cash back rewards, and extended 0% introductory APR’s.

Credit cards for no credit are more basic. Yes, added perks are nice to have. But the primary purpose is always to get that first card, and begin building your credit. Keep that in mind as you shop for the right card.

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About the author

Total Articles: 153
Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed “slash worker” – accountant/blogger/freelance web content writer – on Out of Your Rut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides “Alt-retirement strategies” for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires. He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering work-arounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the “savings barrier” and transitioning from debtor to saver. He’s a regular contributor/staff writer for as many as a dozen financial blogs and websites, including Money Under 30, Investor Junkie and The Dough Roller.