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Best credit cards for no credit history in June 2024

Updated May 23, 2024

The listings that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which Bankrate receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Here's an explanation for

If you have no credit history, credit card issuers often offer specific credit cards that help you build credit from scratch. In time, you can improve your credit score by using a credit card responsibly. Examples of responsible card use include making on-time payments and limiting how much available credit you use. A positive credit history could open the door to better rates, fewer excess costs and more. Here’s how we compared the best offers from our credit card partners to help you find the best credit card for no credit history.

Best student card with rotating bonus categories

Bankrate score

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Intro offer

Info

Cashback Match

Rewards Rate

Info

1% - 5%

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

Best for accessing a higher credit line

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

29.99% (Variable)

Best secured card FOR GAS AND DINING

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Intro offer

Info

Cashback Match™

Rewards Rate

Info

1% - 2%

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

28.24% Variable APR

Best starter rewards card

Bankrate score

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Rewards Rate

Info

1.5% - 5%

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

29.99% (Variable)

Best for flexible deposit

Bankrate score

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Chime's secure site

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Annual fee

None

Regular APR

N/A

Best for building credit with savings

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5
3.1
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Self's secure site

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Annual fee

$25

Regular APR

28.74% (Variable)

Best for no credit check

Bankrate score

Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5
3.1
Info
No Credit History
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital Bank's secure site

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Annual fee

$35

Regular APR

25.64% (variable)

Compare Bankrate's top credit cards for no credit history

Card name Best for Annual fee Regular APR Bankrate review score

Student card with rotating bonus categories

$0
Intro Offer: Cashback Match
Info
Regular APR: 18.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

5.0 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Accessing a higher credit line

$0
Intro Offer: N/A
Regular APR: 29.99% (Variable)

4.1 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Secured card for gas and dining

$0
Intro Offer: Cashback Match™
Info
Regular APR: 28.24% Variable APR

4.5 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Best starter rewards card

$0
Intro Offer: N/A
Regular APR: 29.99% (Variable)

4.0 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Best for flexible deposit

None
Intro Offer: N/A
Regular APR: N/A

4.2 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Chime's secure site

Building credit with savings

$25
Intro Offer: N/A
Regular APR: 28.74% (Variable)

3.1 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Self's secure site

No credit check

$35
Intro Offer: N/A
Regular APR: 25.64% (variable)

3.1 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital Bank's secure site

A closer look at our top credit cards for no credit history

Image of Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best student card with rotating bonus categories

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Discover is one of the few issuers to offer an intro APR offer for students with little-to-no credit history. 

Students who don’t mind tracking and enrolling in bonus categories to maximize reward earning potential.

The Discover it® Student Chrome offers rewards on a couple of popular spending categories like dining and gas, but skips out on the hassle of tracking and enrolling in bonus categories each quarter.

Image of Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Best for accessing a higher credit line

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This card is one of the only secured options that may reward you with a credit limit that’s higher than your initial deposit.

People focusing solely on building credit who aren’t set on earning rewards.

The Citi Secured Mastercard is another low-cost and no-fuss option for anyone who is set on building credit first before needing the added incentive of earning rewards.

Image of Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Best secured card FOR GAS AND DINING

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Discover will automatically match all of the cash back that you earned at the end of your first year — a great bargain for a starter credit card.

Foodies, roadtrippers and credit-builders who want to earn rewards, but may not have the credit requirements for a more lucrative rewards card may enjoy this Discover option.

If you don’t mind keeping up with rotating categories and enrollment dates (and you’re a student), the Discover it® Student Cash Back has the same welcome offer program and higher rewards rates in specified bonus categories.

Image of Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best starter rewards card

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This card is one of only a handful of secured cards that earns rewards and offers cardholders the chance to graduate to an unsecured credit card with responsible use.

Credit-builders interested in upgrading to a Capital One rewards card after they’ve improved their credit score.

The Merrick Bank Secured Credit Card won’t earn rewards, but it offers a relatively low APR. If you aren’t able to pay your balances in full each month, having a low APR is much more important than earning rewards.

Image of Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Best for FLEXIBLE DEPOSIT

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It’s incredibly light on fees. This card has no interest charges, no annual fees, and even no cash advance fees. It also doesn't require a lump-sum minimum security deposit as with traditional secured cards. 

Tech-savvy consumers who have no credit history. Chime is an online financial technology company with no physical locations — all the account management is done online or on its app.

Two similar cards are the Zolve Azpire, which also backs cardholders’ purchases with deposits in an accompanying checking account, and the Self — Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa, which provides a credit-builder loan as a precursor to a secured credit card.

Image of Self - Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card

Self - Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card

Best for building credit with savings

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The combination of a savings account and a secured credit card, especially because neither requires a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Enthusiastic credit-builders who want to build savings while building credit or who want a headstart on establishing a credit mix.

A more straightforward card with rewards is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. A standard $200 security deposit will get you immediate access to a credit line and rewards on spending in a few popular categories.

Image of OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Best for no required credit check

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You can be approved for this card while skipping a credit check altogether. You don’t even need a bank account to apply. 

Credit-builders with negative marks on their credit report could have an easier time qualifying for this card than other credit-builder cards. 

This card has an added annual fee on top of the required security deposit, but the lack of a credit check can be fairly enticing. The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card has no annual fee (See Rates & Fees) and the minimum security deposit you put down can be as low as $49, $99 or $200, so it could be a more cost-effective alternative.

Image of Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card + Checking Account

Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card + Checking Account

Best for people without SSNs

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It doesn’t have any typical credit card fees. In fact, it may be one of the only credit cards that doesn’t charge interest. Instead, Zolve deducts your purchase amounts from a deposit account that you fund.

People without Social Security numbers coming to the U.S. on student or work visas that want to start building credit history in the country.

While most cards do not consider foreign credit history, American Express is one of few issuers that looks at credit history outside the U.S. from select countries. If you are new to the country but have credit from another country, then this might be a good option.

What does it mean to have no credit history?

If you have no credit history, that means you haven’t had an active credit account that reports to one of the credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. Credit cards are a common tool with which to build your credit, but mortgages and car loans can also affect your credit.

Why your credit score matters

Most credit cards and loans have credit score requirements for qualification. If you have no credit history, you won’t be able to qualify for many credit cards, including some of the most valuable rewards cards. 

Having no credit score may also restrict you from qualifying for several other types of loans, including car loans and mortgages. Before lenders are willing to work with you, they want to know that you’re a reliable borrower who pays off your loans or cards regularly and on time. 

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Bankrate Insight

About 28 million Americans are credit invisible, meaning they have no traditional credit report with the three major credit bureaus. Without a documented credit history, lenders have no record of your ability to pay back debt.

Tips on choosing a card for no credit history

If you don’t have a credit history, your credit card choices are more limited than if you have even fair credit. Here’s some expert advice to help you choose a card that can steer you toward your ultimate financial goals. 

What people are saying about credit cards available with no credit history

Discover and Chase cards were some of the most popular among Reddit users in the r/CreditCards subreddit, with several people praising the Discover it® Secured Credit Card and Chase Freedom® Rise℠ Card for their generous rewards and low cost. 

The Freedom Rise was highlighted in particular for being an unsecured card, making it more accessible than cards that require a security deposit. It also stood out because it could put cardholders on the path to better Chase cards down the line. Users also pointed to cards like the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card as well as various student cards as options for people with limited credit history.

“Chase Freedom Rise is my pick. To what others have said, it’s an unsecured credit builder card without any real disadvantages when compared to ‘normal’ cards. This can also be useful for you down the road, since you can establish a relationship with Chase, and Chase has some of the best rewards cards on the market. It also offers a good product change path, as the [Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited®] are both fantastic cards to have.”

Reddit user*

The user goes on to recommend Discover as another great issuer to start your credit journey with, as “they’ve historically been one of the more forgiving issuers for people with limited credit, and their products are solid. They also probably offer the best secured card on the market, if you must resort to a secured card.

The search for your first credit card can be daunting, so it certainly helps when others who are more experienced can lead you in a good direction. Another Reddit user offered advice for anyone eager to apply for their first credit card: Start with your own bank.

“If you bank with Chase that might be a good place to start. They have good cards and they might be more willing to offer you an unsecured card from the start as you already have a relationship.”

Reddit user

Whichever route you take, it’s best to look for cards that carry low or no annual fees and ideally offer a clear upgrade path to better cards down the line.

*The quotes and citations included on this page have been verified by our editorial team and are accurate as of the posting date. Be sure to check the issuer's website/terms and conditions for all up to date content. Outlinked content may contain views and opinions that do not reflect the views and opinions of Bankrate.

Here’s a Bankrate expert’s advice on building from no credit

Bankrate editor Steve Dashiell offers some insight on just how many options you have for building credit, even if you have thin or no credit history. 

“Rather than thinking of your lack of credit history as a negative, think of it as a blank slate. You’re unproven to most lenders, which means that while you may not qualify for some of those juicy high-earning rewards cards, you still have a variety of credit-building options available through most issuers. Student cards for example are an excellent place to start if you’re a student, as many have lax credit score requirements. Secured cards are another great option if you don’t mind putting down a security deposit to open your account. Both card types are relatively simple and can help you start building your credit. 

And if you don’t feel comfortable managing your own credit card just yet, you can do what I did: ask to become an authorized user on a trusted family member’s credit card. This lets both of you benefit from the main accountholder’s credit habits but frees you from managing payments. Once your score improves and you become more comfortable with how a credit card works, you can apply for a card in your own name.”

— Steve Dashiell, Editor, Credit Cards
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Bankrate Insight

If you don’t meet the requirements to open a credit card, try to become an authorized user on a parent or guardian’s credit card. There is no age requirement to become an authorized user and your credit profile can benefit from the primary account holder’s good credit habits.

Expert advice on using a credit card for no credit

Getting your first credit card is an essential first step in your long-term credit journey. Follow this expert advice to make the most of the opportunity and set yourself up for success. 

Make building credit a priority

Starter cards help you start your credit-building journey. While some cards offer rewards, the best starter cards have features like FICO score snapshots, payment reminders and spend analysis breakdowns to help you manage and build credit. 

Limit your applications

Don’t apply for too many cards too fast. Applying for multiple cards in a short period of time could signal to lenders that you want more credit than you can responsibly handle, and the multiple hard credit checks may also lower your credit score. The ding to your credit score for one inquiry is small, but multiple inquiries could make a difference.

Follow standard credit card best practices 

There are several credit card best practices you can leverage that will help you build credit and avoid credit card fees or interest. These are especially useful for new credit users as they establish positive credit habits and are relevant even as you qualify for credit cards for good and excellent credit. 

Be patient

Take your time as you build your credit. Start with one card and make small purchases, pay them off immediately and set up payment reminders so you never miss your bill due date. Typically, it takes six months before you can have a valid FICO score, but how long before you see improvement depends on your goals and situation. Be patient and consistent and your hard work should pay off.  

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Bankrate Insight

Although it’s generally a good idea to keep credit card accounts open while building credit, you may ultimately want to close an account if you no longer use it and it carries too many fees or requires a security deposit that you want back. Consider closing the card (or cards) you’ve had for the shortest amount of time over older accounts.

Our data: Is bad credit better than no credit?

A common question from potential cardholders is whether having bad credit is better than having no credit. Given the nature of FICO credit scoring, this is a fair question, because generally, the higher your credit score, the better. So is having no credit worse than having a 500 credit score?

The truth is, you’re in a much better position with no credit score than you are with a poor credit score. When you have no credit score, it simply means you don’t have any credit activity that would reflect on your credit reports. You haven’t done poorly to have a low credit score — you just haven’t done anything at all. However, having a bad credit score means you made some credit missteps in your journey like missing payments, defaulting on accounts or using too much of your available credit.

We looked at our proprietary data of Bankrate readers who applied for a card on our site in 2023 to see the difference in card approvals based on credit score. Bankrate users with thin credit were 39 percent more likely to get approval for cards on our site than users with bad credit. These trends suggest that having no credit can slightly increase your chances of qualifying for a credit card than having bad credit.

Remember that your credit score isn’t the only factor issuers consider when reviewing credit card applications. They might also consider your income, homeownership status and other financial factors.

How we assess the best cards for building credit

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50+
cards rated
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500+
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Debt
250+
fees tracked
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

When evaluating the best cards for building credit, we consider a mix of factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether cards offer features that make it easy to build credit history while minimizing costs.

We analyzed over 50 of the most popular cards designed for people with no credit history and rated each based on its cost, APR, credit-building features and more to determine whether it belonged in this month’s roundup.

Here are some of the key factors that we considered: 

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Frequently asked questions about credit cards for no credit history