Credit Cards For Limited Or No Credit History

You're on your way to great credit, but you have to start somewhere. These credit card offers from our partners are available to those with limited or no credit history and are a great step forward to building your credit history. Currently in school? Check out these partner offers just for students. Federal laws impose restrictions on issuing credit cards to individuals under 21 unless the applicant has the independent ability to repay debt or has a co-signer over the age of 21 who agrees to accept joint liability for the account.

See offers from our partners below.

Apply Now Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your QuicksilverOne card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$39
Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited

Discover it® chrome for Students

Discover it® chrome for Students

626 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter-no sign-ups needed. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% for 6 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Fair Credit
See Rates & Fees

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited

Discover it® Secured Card

Discover it® Secured Card

757 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair/New to Credit
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line.
  • You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Fair/New to Credit
See Rates & Fees

Discover it® for Students

Discover it® for Students

1,096 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% for 6 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Fair Credit
See Rates & Fees

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Apply Now Credit Needed
Limited, Bad
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Limited, Bad

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Apply Now Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited

Self Lender Credit Builder

Apply Now Credit Needed
See Terms
  • Build credit and build savings with Self Lender.
  • Get credit monitoring and the opportunity to apply for a credit builder account.
  • A credit builder account can help you establish credit history and save money in a safe, responsible way.
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus. No credit history required. No hard credit pull.
  • The credit builder loan is a CD-secured loan.
  • Loan is a 12 or 24 month installment loan funded by Self Lender's bank partner and held in an FDIC-insured certificate of deposit bank account, in the customer's name, for 12 or 24 months.
  • Available in all 50 states.
Apply Now at Self Lender Credit Builder's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
See Terms
Balance Transfers Intro APR
See Terms
Regular APR
See Terms
Annual Fee
See Terms
Credit Needed
See Terms

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
Apply Now at Capital Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
18.64% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$35
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

Green Dot® Platinum Visa® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
N/A
  • Credit card (not prepaid or debit) designed to help you build credit with responsible use
  • Pre-qualify fast without impacting your credit score
  • Most people will qualify for a card
  • Good credit or a bank account is not required
  • Make security deposits and payments with cash at retail stores nationwide
  • No late fee on your first late payment.
  • Track your spending with 24/7 online account access
  • Use everywhere Visa is accepted
Apply Now at Green Dot's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99%
Annual Fee
$39.99
Credit Needed
N/A

Credit Cards That Help Build Your Credit

Updated: January 18, 2018

CreditCards.com's Best Starter Credit Cards for Limited to No Credit History: January 2018

  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card - unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • Discover it® chrome for Students - great for restaurants and gas
  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card - no annual fee
  • Discover it® Secured Card - cash back on every purchase
  • Discover it® for Students - great for online shopping
  • Capital One® Secured Mastercard® - easy access to higher credit lines
  • Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® - no foreign transaction fee
  • OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card - great for building credit quickly
  • Green Dot® Platinum Visa® Secured Credit Card - pre-qualify fast

For more credit cards tailored to college students or recent graduates with a short or no credit history, see our student credit cards.

When you are just starting out, it can be tough to land the car you want, the apartment you need and even the job you are hoping for. Why? Because so much of our society centers around having good credit. But in a few short months, you can establish credit and be on your way to financial bliss. Here, we look at:

  • How can I get a credit card if I have no credit history?
  • How can you build your credit?
  • How do I get a credit card at 18?
  • Do you have to have a job to apply for a credit card?
  • What information is needed to apply for a credit card?

Find out more about building credit:

How can I get a credit card if I have no credit history?

  1. Make sure your credit reports are complete. Check with the 3 major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – and make sure they have files for you. If not, they may be missing basic information, such as your Social Security number.
  2. Check your score. If you have a credit file, check your credit score either through MyFICO.com for about $20 for each score or your VantageScore for free at CreditCards.com.
  3. Look into a credit-builder loan. Establish a bank account with your local credit union, then check on getting a credit-builder loan. These are small loans designed to help you build your credit. But don’t spend it – instead pay it back each month.
  4. Consider a secured card. The fastest and easiest way to build credit is with a credit card, and a relatively easy card to land is a secured card. That’s because you put down a refundable deposit that is used to secure your credit limit. Just make sure the card issuer is going to send your credit habits to the credit bureaus.
  5. Research, then apply for one card. With your score handy, look at cards you are likely to get, checking annual fees and any other charges that might be incurred. Only apply for one card so that you don’t negatively impact your score with multiple credit pulls.
  6. See about being an authorized user. If your credit is so thin you can’t land a card of your own, see if you can become an authorized user on a responsible consumer’s card. Just make sure they pay on time and in full each month, because their good credit habits will go on your file. Not all card issuers report authorized users’ information to the credit bureaus, so check. In a few months, you will be able to apply for your own card.

How can you build your credit?

  1. What’s your score? You need a baseline.
  2. Are your credit reports accurate? Correct any errors with the 3 major credit bureaus.
  3. Do you pay bills on time? If not, start immediately.
  4. Have you applied for a credit card? This is the fastest way to build credit.
  5. Do you make a charge each month? This helps you build your credit month by month.
  6. Can you pay in full each month? If you pay in full each month, you avoid paying interest charges and you build your credit that much faster.

How do I get a credit card at 18?

  • Do you have credit files? The first thing you should do when you turn 18 is to check your credit files with the 3 major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You want to make sure that a) you even have a file, and b) that the file is accurate. Have the bureaus correct any incomplete or inaccurate information.
  • Do you have income? If you are under 21, you are required by the Credit CARD Act of 2009 to have your own income if you want a credit card of your own.
  • What’s your score? You’ll need this to know which cards you qualify for. Only apply for one so your score doesn’t take a hit.
  • Could you be an authorized user? If you don’t have your own income or your credit file is too thin (not enough credit information), look into being an authorized user on a responsible consumer’s credit card account. You are not legally responsible for the bill, but you benefit from their good credit habits. Also, unlike co-signing, it’s easy to be taken off an account as an authorized user.

Do you have to have a job to apply for a credit card?

If you are over 21 years old, you don’t have to have a job to apply for a credit card, provided that you have reasonable access to income, for example that of a partner or spouse. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amended the CARD Act of 2009 in 2013 to allow at-home parents the ability to get a credit card without a job. However, if you are under 21, it gets trickier, because in an attempt to protect young consumers, the 2009 law requires them to have income of their own when applying for a card. This does not apply if you are applying as an authorized user.

What information could be needed to apply for a credit card?

  • Name
  • Phone
  • Address
  • Years at address
  • Whether you own or rent
  • Monthly housing payment
  • Income
  • Income source
  • Liquid assets
  • Whether you have a bank account
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Dual citizenship

Best Credit Cards for No Credit of 2018

CardRewardsAnnual Fee
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit CardUnlimited 1.5% cash back$0
Discover it® chrome for Students2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, 1% everywhere else$0
Capital One® Platinum Credit CardIncrease your credit line after your first 5 on-time monthly payments$0
Discover it® Secured Card2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, 1% everywhere else$0
Discover it® for StudentsCash back match at the end of your first year$0
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®N/A$0
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®1% cash back on all purchases$0
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit CardN/A$0
Green Dot® Platinum Visa® Secured Credit CardN/A$0

Join the Discussion

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The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by the card issuers or advertisers. Additionally, the card issuer or advertiser does not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

See the online credit card applications for details about the terms and conditions of an offer. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's web site.

* For additional rates, fees and costs see issuer's website for detailed pricing and terms.