[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Your first bicycle probably had training wheels, and the first vehicle you drove likely wasn’t an exotic sports car. So what kind of credit card should you get if you haven’t used one before?
Credit cards can be powerful and complex financial instruments, so it is important that new cardholders choose products best suited to their needs. For example, a card with a very simple fee structure will make it easier for new credit card users to avoid making costly mistakes. New credit card users might also consider applying for a card from an issuer that offers retail checking and savings accounts. In this way, cardholders can see all of their balances from one login, and payments become a simple matter of transferring funds between accounts, not third parties.
It’s important to know where your credit stands when you apply for a credit card. Not all credit card newbies lack a credit history. After all, student loans, car loans and mortgages can build very strong credit scores. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where your credit score falls.
Here are five credit cards worth considering when it comes time for inexperienced cardholders to dip their toes into the water.
- $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future transactions is 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.49% - 25.24% variable APR.
- See monthly updates to your FICO® Score and the reasons behind your score for free
- No Penalty APR – Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
- $0 Annual Fee
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This card is fairly simple. It has no annual fee, but offers no rewards. Cardholders also have free access to Chase’s Blueprint program, which offers budgeting and goal-setting tools. Finally, this card is offered by Chase, which has a large retail banking presence for those who want to have a credit card account where they have a checking account.
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
- The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee…EVER
- 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
- Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
- Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
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Simplicity boasts no late fees, no penalty interest rate, and no annual fee, so it lives up to its name. New cardholders also receive 18 months of interest free financing on new purchases. Citi is also a retail banking giant, so cardholders can open up checking or savings accounts there as well.
PenFed is the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which was created to offer banking services to members of our armed forces and their families. Today, many can qualify if they belong to all sorts of private and public organizations, or join a military support group. Their Promise card has no fees for anything including annual fees, late payments fees, foreign transactions fees, cash advances fees, and balance transfer fees.
Discover it® - Cashback Match™
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
- Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- No annual fee.
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Discover is popular among new cardholders due to the simplicity of its cards and its reputation for excellent customer service. Their Discover it card features no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty interest rate, and cardholders first late payment fee is waived automatically, In addition, cardholders always receive 100% US based customer service. Although discover does not have any retail banking locations, it does offer online savings accounts.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
This is one of the only credit cards that has an EMV smart chip, no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee, so it is a great first card for someone planning on traveling outside of the country. In contrast, most other credit cards impose a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S. New cardholders earn 10,000 bonus points when they use their card to make $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening, and 1.5 points are earned for every dollar spent with this card. Each point is worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel expenses. Finally, Bank of America also has a vast network of retail branches.
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 Chase Slate, Citi Simplicity, and Discover it cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies