Best credit cards for building credit of 2024

Build your credit with a credit card. Get matched to credit cards from our partners based on your unique credit profile.

Get higher approval odds

Great option if you’re having trouble getting approved for a credit card.

Protect yourself from fraud

Get fraud protection benefits, like limited or $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.

Earn rewards for your spending

Pick a card that offers cash back rewards to get more for your money.

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All credit cards for building credit

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15 partner offers

Annual fee

Some credit cards have an annual fee you'll pay when you first receive the card and at each cardholder anniversary. Take the cost of an annual fee into account when considering which card will benefit you the most over the course of a year.

Annual percentage rate (APR)

The APR on credit cards is simply the interest rate the card issuer charges when you don't pay off your balance in full each month—it doesn't include the card's annual fees or other fees you may be charged for using your card. There are several types of APR that can apply to credit cards including purchase, balance transfer and cash advance.

Rewards

While qualifying for the most competitive rewards cards will require you to build your credit further, some credit-builder credit cards come with rewards. Rewards credit cards reward you with cash back, points or miles equal to a percentage of each dollar you spend, which may be a rate of 1% to 2%. Some rewards credit cards reward spending in categories such as gas, groceries and dining at a significantly higher rate—3% to 6%, for example. Look for rewards that align with what you spend the most on.

Minimum security deposit

Some credit cards for building credit are secured. A secured card generally requires you to make a refundable security deposit that will become your credit limit. The standard deposit is $200.

AvantCard logo.

AvantCard

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

2% (cash back)

Ongoing APR:

29.74%* Variable

Annual Fee:

$0*

Credit One Bank® NASCAR® American Express® Credit Card for Rebuilding Credit

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

1% (cash back)

Ongoing APR:

29.74% Variable

Annual Fee:

$75 First year. $99 thereafter, billed monthly at $8.25

Credit One Bank American Express® Card for Rebuilding Credit

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

1% (cash back)

Ongoing APR:

29.74% Variable

Annual Fee:

$75 First year. $99 thereafter, billed monthly at $8.25

AvantCard logo.

AvantCard

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

1% (cash back)

Ongoing APR:

35.99%* Variable

Annual Fee:

$39*

FIT™ Platinum Mastercard® logo.

FIT™ Platinum Mastercard®

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

N/A*

Ongoing APR:

29.99% Variable

Annual Fee:

$99

AvantCard logo.

AvantCard

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

1% (cash back)

Ongoing APR:

35.99%* Variable

Annual Fee:

$75*

AvantCard

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

N/A*

Ongoing APR:

35.99%* Variable

Annual Fee:

$0*

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® logo.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard®

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

N/A*

Ongoing APR:

29.99% Variable

Annual Fee:

$75 - $125

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® logo.

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

Intro bonus:

N/A*

Rewards:

N/A*

Ongoing APR:

29.99% Variable

Annual Fee:

$75 - $125

Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from third party companies ("our partners") from which Experian Consumer Services receives compensation. This compensation may impact how, where, and in what order the products appear on this site. The offers on the site do not represent all available financial services, companies, or products.

Credit scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any offer.

*For complete information, see the offer terms and conditions on the issuer or partner's website. Once you click apply you will be directed to the issuer or partner's website where you may review the terms and conditions of the offer before applying. We show a summary, not the full legal terms – and before applying you should understand the full terms of the offer as stated by the issuer or partner itself. While Experian Consumer Services uses reasonable efforts to present the most accurate information, all offer information is presented without warranty.

Experian websites have been designed to support modern, up-to-date internet browsers. Experian does not support Internet Explorer. If you are currently using a non-supported browser your experience may not be optimal, you may experience rendering issues, and you may be exposed to potential security risks. It is recommended that you upgrade to the most recent browser version.

Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

What you should look for in a credit card for building credit

1

Look for 3-bureau reporting

Build your credit with a card that reports to all 3 credit bureaus.

2

Start with a secured card

Add a deposit to your card to set your credit limit.

3

Consider upgrade potential

Switch to an unsecured card once you build your credit.

4

Pick a pre-qualified card

Avoid extra inquiries by picking a card that you pre-qualify for.

Start with your FICO® ScoreΘ and see card offers matched to your credit profile.

Get started for free

ΘCredit 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.

Frequently asked questions

Here are four things you can do to start building credit if you currently have no credit history:

  1. Get a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are designed to help you build credit if you would otherwise have a difficult time qualifying for a credit card. In order to be approved, you'll typically need to put down a refundable cash deposit. The amount of your deposit will determine your credit limit.
  2. Establish credit with Experian Go. You can also begin your credit journey by signing up for Experian Go, a free program that allows consumers with no credit report to create one. You can sign up by creating an Experian membership account and following the prompts. You'll gain access to personalized advice on how to build your credit from there.
  3. Get credit for your bills. Build credit without taking on debt by signing up for Experian Boost. Experian Boost gives you credit for the bills you already pay for, such as utilities and online subscriptions.
  4. Become an authorized user. Becoming an authorized user on another person's credit card can help you build credit without having to qualify for your own card. Both the primary account holder and you will have balance information and payment activity on the account added to your credit report. As long as the account is managed responsibly and all payments are made on time, credit activity from the account can help you grow your score and qualify for your own credit card down the line.

Building credit is the process of establishing a history of responsibly managing credit cards and loans. You can build credit in a number of ways. As you borrow and pay back your debts, your lenders report information about your credit management back the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). How you manage credit contributes to your credit score, which is a number that summarizes the information on your credit report. Lenders can then look at that number as a measure of how likely you are to manage credit responsibly.

When you built credit by responsibly managing credit over time, lenders are more likely to lend to you. On top of that, a high score can help you qualify for lower interest and a wider range of credit products.

You can use a credit card to rebuild your credit by managing the card responsibly over time. On the other hand, if you mismanage your credit card, you could do damage to your credit and finances overall. Here are the two most important things to know about building credit with a credit card:

  • Pay your bills on time: The single most important thing you can do for your credit is to always pay your bills on time. Making at least the minimum payment on your credit card each month will build up a positive payment history, which increases your score over time. On the other hand, missing or late payments damage your score. To ensure you don't miss payments, set up autopay for your credit card bill and ensure you have the money available in checking each month to cover it.
  • Don't max out your credit card: The second most important thing to keep in mind when managing a credit card is that you should keep your credit utilization low. Your credit utilization ratio is a measure of how much of your available credit you're using. It's calculated by dividing your credit card balances by your total available credit, then multiplying the result by 100. For example, if you have a $1,000 credit limit and you have a $200 balance, your credit utilization is equal to 20%. To keep your utilization low, make small purchases with your card and pay them off each month. Aim to keep your utilization below—the lower, the better.

What you'll need in order to qualify for a credit-building credit card depends on the specific type of card. In order to qualify for a credit card, you'll need to be 18 years old and have proof of steady income. You'll also typically need proof of your identity, such as a Social Security number. For most credit cards, you'll need at least some positive credit history in order to qualify. However, if you have no credit, your best bet will likely be to apply for a secured credit card. A secured credit card will require you to put down a cash deposit, which will serve as the credit limit for your credit card.

The time it takes to rebuild your credit varies person to person. For example, if you have negative information on your credit report—such as late and missed payments, collections or bankruptcies—you'll need to wait for time to pass before that information is removed from your credit report. But on the other hand, there are things you can do to rebuild credit in the meantime.

First, improve your payment history by prioritizing making on-time payments. If you have outstanding balances or debts in collections, pay them off ASAP. Also, if you have high credit card balances, make a plan to pay down what you owe. While improving your payment history is a strong way to build credit over time, getting your credit utilization rate below 30% can result in improvement to your score within as little as one month.

While there isn't one standard best credit card for building credit, one of the strongest options is to apply for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are able to offer lowered barriers for approval because your security deposit mitigates any risk to the card issuer that they won't recoup their funds should you stop making payments. For that reason, a secured credit card is an accessible way to start building credit now. On top of that, many secured credit cards act as a convenient stepping stone to unsecured credit. Look for a secured card that automatically evaluates your eligibility for an upgrade after a period of time managing the card well.

On top of looking for a credit-building credit card that you're able to get prequalified for based on your income and credit, you should look for the same qualities that you would seek in a standard credit card. Specifically, look at the credit card's interest rate, any fees (such as an annual fee), the potential to earn rewards or an intro bonus, fraud protection and any other benefits the card comes with. In addition, if the credit card is secured, look at the security deposit requirements to ensure it's affordable for you.

A history of using credit responsibly and a good credit score are important because they play a big part in determining whether you'll qualify to borrow money for things you may need, like a home or a car. Not only that, your credit may come into play anytime you apply to rent housing or set up a new utility or phone service. Here are some specific scenarios where having good credit can be important:

  • Applying for a credit card: While you maybe able to qualify for a credit-builder credit card with no credit, a higher credit score may grant you access to a wider range of options. Credit cards for high credit come with competitive terms, such as welcome bonuses, rewards benefits, low interest rates and other perks.
  • Renting an apartment: Some landlords check your credit to determine whether or not to rent to you. With low credit, you may be unable to qualify, face higher income requirements or be required to apply with a cosigner.
  • Buying a car or a house: When you're ready to buy a home or a car, you'll likely need to qualify for a home or auto loan. Lenders look at your credit history to determine whether you qualify to borrow, as well as what interest rate to charge you. If you do qualify, lower credit could mean paying more overall to borrow, and it can also mean needing to come up with a higher down payment.
  • Setting up insurance and utilities: Some utility providers and home and auto insurance companies check your credit. If you have no credit or low credit, they may require you to put down a larger deposit to ensure your bill doesn't go unpaid.
  • Applying for a job: While not every state allows employers to check your credit, some allow it as part of the applicant screening process. Keep in mind that an employer would need your written permission to check your score in any state.

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