Experian and CreditMatch

Best Credit Cards for College Graduates

If you've just graduated from college, congratulations on your achievement! As you enter the next phase of your life, you'll want to make sure you have a good credit card or two to help you build your credit history and take advantage of the perks credit cards can offer.

Of course, responsible credit usage is key. That means paying your credit accounts on time every month—and avoid carrying a balance. Check out these top credit cards for college grads from our partners.

    Best No-Fee Cash Back Card for Good Credit

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    If you have good credit and are looking for an easy-to-use rewards card without an annual fee, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a great option. You'll earn 2% back on all purchases: 1% when you buy, and 1% as you pay off the purchases. That's one of the best flat-rate cash back offers available, and it means you never have to think about what card to use on which purchase.

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    This is another straightforward rewards card with a slightly different earning structure. There's no annual fee, and you earn 1% back on all purchases. You'll also get 5% cash back at different places each quarter—like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and more—up to a quarterly maximum. (You must activate the offer each quarter to earn 5% back in the promo category.) For new members, Discover will also match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically and with no limit. Finally, if you need to finance some big purchases after graduation, you'll get a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months.

    Best Rewards Card for Limited Credit

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    If you don't have perfect credit but still want to earn rewards, you're in luck. You're likely to get approved for this card even with fair credit. There is an annual fee, but at $39 it's relatively low. You'll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and there are no limits. That means if you spend more than $2,600 on the card each year, you'll offset that annual fee—making the card worth it. You'll also get access to a higher credit line after the first five months of making on-time payments.

    Best No-Fee Travel Rewards Card for Good Credit

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    This no-fee card lets you earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; 3 points per $1 spent on gas stations, rideshares and transit; and 3 points per $1 spent on eating out and ordering in. You earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You're also eligible for a 30,000-point bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of owning the card—that's worth $300. You can redeem points for travel through Wells Fargo's Go Far Rewards program, where there are no blackout dates on air travel.

    Best Premium Rewards Card for Good Credit

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    If you're willing to pay a $95 annual fee, this is a great premium card to start with. You earn 2 points per $1 spent on all travel and dining purchases worldwide, as well as 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases. After you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, you'll get 60,000 bonus points—worth $750 toward travel when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You can also transfer points on a 1-to-1 basis to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty program partners.

    Best Card for Limited Credit History

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    If you don't have great credit and need a card to help you build or improve your credit standing, consider the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card. There's no annual fee, and you'll get access to a higher credit line after making the first five months of on-time payments. You won't find a lot of frills here, and the APR is relatively high. But it's an unsecured card that will help you improve your credit if you use it responsibly—which will let you graduate on to better cards in the future.

    This Card Is Right for You If:

    If you can't qualify for an unsecured card, a secured credit card is a smart way to build your credit. You have to pay a deposit to use the card, and that deposit serves as your credit limit. The Discover it® Secured card is one of the best available: There's no annual fee, and you earn 1% cash back on all purchases. You also get 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. After eight months of owning the card, Discover will automatically review your account to determine whether it can be transitioned to an unsecured card.

    Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn More.

    Methodology: Experian’s editorial team reviews the credit cards and loans in its CreditMatch marketplace by assessing the value of each card or loan based on a number of criteria, including fees, annual percentage rates (APRs), rewards earning and redemption rates, sign-up bonuses and more. Cards and loans may be selected as “best” in more than one category.

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