[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
When Americans turn 18, they are considered adults under the law. That means that they can vote and be tried as an adult, but it’s also the first time that they are able to apply for a credit card account in their own name, though they’ll have to jump through a few hoops first.
Under the CARD Act of 2009, no credit card may be issued to a consumer under the age of 21, unless they have a co-signer who has the means to repay the debts or they can prove they independently can repay the debt.
The problem is that teenagers by their very nature have little or no credit history. (You can see if you’re considered “scoreable” by checking your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) Nevertheless, some credit card issuers are so eager to acquire new customers in this age group, that they can offer cards specifically tailored to their limited credit profiles. These cards for teens and young adults will have lower requirements, in exchange for fewer rewards and higher interest rates than those offered to the general market.
So here are five credit cards, none of which charge an annual fee, that are just right for teens, students and other young adults.
This card features 1% cash back on all purchases, plus a .25% bonus on the cash back each month when cardholders pay their balances on time. Further, cardholders receive a higher line of credit after they make their first five monthly payments on time, as part of Capital One’s Credit Step program. There is no a foreign transaction fee on this or any other Capital One credit card.
This card is great for those with no or low credit, like teens. It helps teens build credit. As a secured credit card, it requires a security deposit, which acts as the card’s credit line. That deposit if fully refundable and can range from $200 all the way up to $3,000. And, as secured cards to, it’s ongoing APR is a bit lower at just 17.39% (variable) . It also offers teens access to financial education information.
3. BankAmericard Credit Card for Students
This card offers new applicants 0% APR promotional financing on new purchases for 15 months, and a standard interest rate of 15.24% to 25.24%. Otherwise, this is a fairly simple card from a major retail bank, so young adults have the opportunity to conveniently manage all of their accounts in one place.
4. Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa Card
Wells Fargo offers this student card that features 3% cash back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for their first six months card membership. After that, cardholders earn 1% cash back on all purchases. An innovative benefit is a cellular telephone protection program which offers up to $600 of coverage against covered damage or theft at no cost except for a $25 deductible. The coverage is effective so long as you use your Wells Fargo credit card to pay for your service bill.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
At publishing time, the Capital One Journey Student Rewards card and OpenSky Secured Visa credit card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt