Best Credit Cards to Build Credit

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It’s not always easy to get a credit card if you have little or no credit history, but it’s possible.

You’ll likely have to get a card that is priced for higher-risk consumers. Cards in this credit category tend to have lower credit limits, high interest rates and even annual fees. You won’t get approved for cards requiring “good” credit.

Look for a card that reports to the three major credit bureaus, has no or low fees and a reasonable interest rate in case you carry a balance from one month to the next.

Search for a credit card with no annual fee.

You won’t build a better credit history with one issuer over another, so focus more on the costs of the cards you’re comparing.

The best types of credit cards for building credit

Here is an overview of the card types available to people with limited or no credit history.

Store or gas credit cards. These cards tend to have high interest rates and low credit limits, but are easier to qualify for than general-purpose credit cards. Unless they carry the logo of a card network such as Visa or MasterCard, however, these cards can only be used at that particular merchant or group of merchants.

CARD SEARCH: Compare gas credit cards on Bankrate.

Secured credit cards. These cards require a cash deposit as collateral in case you default, but you can often graduate to an unsecured card after a given period and get your deposit refunded at that point. On the downside, secured credit cards come with an annual fee, and the deposit amount usually determines the credit limit. Some secured cards charge other upfront fees as well.

CARD SEARCH: Find the right secured credit card for you.

“Bad” credit unsecured cards. These cards don’t require a deposit, but they tend to charge high interest rates, annual fees and other upfront fees in some cases. Make sure to read the fine print.

CARD SEARCH: Got bad credit? Find a credit card that will help you rebuild your credit history.

Prepaid “credit” cards. Prepaid cards are actually debit cards, not credit cards. That is, you can’t revolve a balance on these cards. Many of the cards that have a “credit builder” feature don’t report to the major credit reporting agencies.

CARD SEARCH: Search for a great secured credit card today.