College graduates at graduates
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Graduating from college is a huge step toward adulthood. From paying bills to navigating student loans, there’s a lot of new experiences and responsibilities that come after receiving your diploma.

But not every new experience has to be stressful, including getting a credit card. To help make the process easier, we’ve outlined a few of the best credit cards for new college graduates.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Dining and entertainment

Credit required: Good to excellent

Do you tend to spend a decent amount of money eating out? Do you enjoy catching a movie a few times a month? If this sounds like you, the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card may be your match.

You’ll earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases. That means you could earn cash back on fast food purchases, takeout, concert tickets and more. (If you’re interested in earning rewards on concert ticket purchases made at Vivid Seats, the SavorOne’s sister card can earn you 8% cash back.)

There’s a sizeable cash bonus of $150 when you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months of account opening. Think: that might be enough to cover a month of groceries or two months worth of utility bills. Plus, the SavorOne doesn’t charge an annual fee, meaning you won’t be charged a yearly fee for owning the card.

If you tend to travel abroad, you’ll enjoy the SavorOne’s lack of foreign transaction fees (a pesky charge added to purchases made outside of the United States).

Additionally, if you have any debt to pay off, there’s a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (15.74%-25.74% variable thereafter).

Discover it® Cash Back

Best for: Earning cash back

Credit required: Good to excellent

Interested in earning cash back for your everyday spending? With the Discover it® Cash Back, you’ll get an outstanding 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter after activation) and an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases.

For 2019, the rotating bonus categories are as follows:

  • January–March: Grocery stores
  • April–June: Gas stations, Uber and Lyft
  • July–September: Restaurants & PayPal
  • October–December: Amazon.com, Target & Walmart.com.com

You can read more about the Discover it® Cash Back bonus categories by reading our 2019 guide. Keep in mind you must activate the bonus category each quarter using your online Discover account in order earn 5% cash back.

This card doesn’t offer a traditional welcome bonus, but Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year with their Cashback Match feature. For example, if you’ve earned $150 in cash back your first year of card ownership, Discover will deposit another $150 into your account, automatically.

You’ll also enjoy a 14-month introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers (13.74% – 24.74% variable thereafter) should you need to pay off a large purchase or any debt.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Earning cash back

Credit required: Fair

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good cash back rewards option for those with fair credit. Building credit is one of the most important things you can do as a new graduate. With this card you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, perfect for those who aren’t interested in activating and tracking rotating bonus categories.

This card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, and you’ll have to pay a $39 annual fee each year, but don’t let that deter you. The QuicksilverOne comes with a lot of flexibility in terms of rewards redemption — you can redeem your cash back in any amount at any time for statement credit, a mailed check, gift cards and more. Plus, your rewards never expire.

With the QuicksilverOne, you can receive access to a higher credit line with Capital One’s Credit Steps program. Simply make your first five monthly payments on time to be considered for a higher line of credit.

Most importantly, make sure to pay off your balance in full each month. This card doesn’t offer any introductory APR offers for purchases and balance transfers, and the 26.46% variable APR is quite high should you not fully pay your bill.

Discover it® Secured

Best for: Building credit

Credit required: Poor

The Discover it® Secured makes it easy for those with limited or poor credit history to earn cash back rewards for their spending.

You’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in spending per quarter) and 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll have access to the same Cashback Match feature as the Discover it® Cash Back, meaning Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

The Discover it® Secured is one of the few secured cards that doesn’t charge an annual fee. Additionally, after eight months, Discover will review your account to see if you qualify for an unsecured card.

There’s a short 10.99% introductory APR on balance transfers for six months (24.74% variable thereafter) — which is nothing to get excited about — so try not to use this card if you plan on carrying a balance or would like to pay off any debt. Plus, this card has a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfer ( see terms)*.

The bottom line

No matter your credit history and spending habits, there’s a credit card out there that can help you make post-grad life a little easier.

For more information on the best credit cards for each level of credit, explore our expert recommendations:

If you still need a little help understanding the ins-and-outs of credit cards, you can read our newbie’s guide to getting your first card here. Not convinced you need a card? Read our piece on how not owning a credit card could be costing you over $100 a year.