Top view image of a woman holding and showing credit cards

Credit cards for beginners, what I wish I had known

The best credit card for beginners is that one that used properly! To build credit and improve your life. When you get your first credit card, you will be tempted to pull it out and pay for anything. Don’t do that!  Credit cards are not free money. Everything you purchase with your credit card will have to be paid for from your bank account eventually. But here’s the most important part: the longer you take to pay it, the more it will cost you. This is called interest. Every month you don’t pay off the balance, interest will be added to what you owe. Before you start using your new credit card, read How to use a credit card, then read it again. This will set you up for success with your new card.   

Credit cards for beginners, what I tell my friends to look for

Getting your first credit card can feel overwhelming and exciting all at once.  Here are a few things to look for as features of your first credit card.  

  1. Zero fraud liability:  This is fairly common among credit cards but not 100%. You want to make sure that you will not be liable for any charges should your credit card be stolen.  
  2. Provided by a stable company:  If all goes well, this credit card will be a card you keep forever.  I still have my first credit card even though I’ve opened and closed several since. This card and its 20 plus year history is a great base for my credit score. 
  3. Low or no annual fee: Because you plan to keep this card for a very long time, you don’t want to pay to keep it. That will be for other cards once you’ve established your credit and good credit card habits. High annual fee cards aren’t bad, they just aren’t what you need to begin with. 
  4. Bonus! A good app for managing your account: Today, advanced apps can make managing, paying, and safeguarding your credit card much easier.  

Credit cards for beginners, what you don’t need to worry about

When getting that first card, you may be tempted to search for all of the bells and whistles so to speak. But don’t get caught up in those things, you will miss out on good opportunities now if you do. Your first credit card is about playing the long game to establish and build your credit, and to practice using your card wisely. 

  1. Credit limit: Don’t worry about the credit limit. In fact, for your first card, lower is usually better.  You don’t need a $15,000 credit limit.  $300 to $500 is more than sufficient.  
  2. Rewards: Most credit cards offer some sort of rewards, but rewards cards are not the best thing to start with. As you are beginning your credit card journey, you probably will not be using it enough to make the rewards worthwhile so ignore that for better value.

Finding your first credit card

Now that you know what to look for, you can navigate over to our credit card page and get started. Make sure to read the reviews and account details before accepting any offer!

Picture of Nathan Foley

Nathan Foley