Credit Cards for Building Credit | An Expert Guide
The credit card offers on this page are geared toward individuals looking to build or rebuild credit. If you are one hundred percent committed to making on-time payments to all of your creditors and keeping your balances low compared to your credit limits, you may successfully build your credit over time. These types of credit cards can often have higher than average fee structures and interest rates. Carefully review all of the card details before applying and attempt to pay your balance in full each month to avoid paying too much in interest. Click on the images below to get specific advice from our experts.
Browse ALL Expert Guides
What To Look For When Applying
If you are looking for a credit card to build credit, it's important to keep things simple. By doing so, you can concentrate on paying your monthly bill on time, which is a key to building a strong credit history. First, try applying for a basic card offered by the bank or credit union where you already hold a checking or savings account. In this way, your payments become a simple matter of transferring funds between accounts, rather than issuing payments between institutions. Other valuable features that you should look for include cards that forgive late fees and no (or low) penalty interest rates. Finally, if you are unable to qualify for a basic credit card, consider applying for a secured credit card instead.
What To Avoid When Applying
When trying to build credit, you should avoid applying for credit cards that you will not qualify for. Those with a limited credit history should look for cards that are designed for their credit profile such as student cards or those designated for applicants with average credit. If your credit history is too limited even for one of these credit cards or if you're trying to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy or foreclosure, you might consider applying for a secured credit card, which requires a deposit to "secure" the credit line that will be extended to you. After several months of on-time payments, you may be able to upgrade your secured card to an "unsecured card" that doesn't require a deposit. You should avoid focusing on rewards credit cards when you are trying to build credit, and instead look for simple products that you can manage responsibly month to month.
Should You Apply For More Than One?
If you are trying to build your credit, then you should avoid applying for multiple cards at the same time. Doing so creates too many recent inquiries on your credit reports, and can hurt your credit score temporarily. By spacing out your new applications over many months, you can continue to add to your credit history with each new account. At the same time, if you are trying to build credit, then you should never apply for more credit cards than you can responsibly manage at one time. And if multiple credit cards may tempt you to overspend and incur debt, then you should focus on managing just a single card at one time.
When Is The Best Time To Apply?
If you have a limited credit history, then you may need to open up a credit card account in order to build good credit. This takes time, so it is important to apply sooner rather than later. According to the CARD Act of 2009, credit card applicants under the age of 21 are required to show proof of income before being approved. So if you're under 21 and trying to build credit for the first time, the right time to apply is soon after getting a job. Once you have your first credit card, a good rule of thumb is to wait at least six months before applying for an additional card, in order to build up a strong payment history.
There are no cards that match your search
Please revise your search criteria above and try again.
Our credit experts would love to know what you think. Just remember to keep it clean, civil, honest, and avoid posting sensitive, private information. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser.
It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Please note that any Credit.com comments below are, of course, completely independent (not reviewed or endorsed by people representing financial institutions).
Okay, fire away!
*For complete information,
see the terms and conditions on the credit card issuer’s
website. Once you click apply for this card, you will be directed to
the issuer’s website where you may review the terms and
conditions of the card before applying. While Credit.com always
strives to present the most accurate information, we show a summary
to help you choose a product, not the full legal terms - and before
applying you should understand the full terms of products as stated
by the issuer itself.
†Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card
offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies
which Credit.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact
how and where products appear on this site (including, for example,
the order in which they appear). The site does not include all
credit card companies or all available credit card offers.