Best Credit Cards for No Credit History

Updated on April 9, 2024

Having a good credit score is almost a necessity in the United States today. You might think you can avoid it for some time, but be assured, a bad or nonexistent credit score will severely inhibit you at some point in your life. This rule applies to everyone living in the United States: immigrants, international students, and young people alike.

4 Reasons You Need Good Credit

The biggest reason to have a good credit score is simple: you will need a loan for something eventually (although getting a loan with no credit history is possible, it isn’t ideal). Below is a list of common loan uses, as well as some other important reasons to have strong credit.

1. Student Loans

Whether it’s tuition, textbooks and a laptop, or room and board, college is a huge investment that many students need loans to cover.

2. Buying or Renting a Home

If you are like most people, a home is the most expensive purchase you will make in your lifetime and will almost always require a loan. Even if you’re not planning on buying a home, many renters will require a great credit score as well.

3. Getting a Credit Card

Having good credit will help you qualify for the best credit cards, which can provide several benefits. Large credit lines, numerous rewards, cashback matches, higher security, and lower interest rates are a few.

4. Bad Credit can Limit Job Prospects

Many companies check your credit score as part of their hiring process. A great credit score will show them you are a responsible candidate. Bad credit could also hinder your ability to get a company credit card – which means you will be responsible for all travel and other expenses up front.

10 Best Credit Cards for Building Credit

Now that you know the importance of having a good credit score, where do you start? For most, a credit card is the best first step. Below is a list of the top 10 credit cards for people with no credit history, ranked from highest to lowest based on fees, security, and benefits. Each will have its own share of advantages and disadvantages.

1. Capital One Secured Mastercard


  • Security down payment can be as low as $49 for a $200 credit limit
  • No annual fees
  • Specifically designed to help build credit


  • High APR

2. Discover it Secured Card


  • No annual fees
  • Rewards
  • Can move to an unsecured card after 8 months


  • $200 security deposit minimum

3. Opensky Secured Visa Credit Card


  • Everyone accepted
  • No bank account required


  • Annual fee
  • $200 deposit required

4. Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card


  • No fees
  • Designed for people with bad credit


  • $500 minimum deposit required

5. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


  • 1.5% cash back on everything
  • Make 5 payments on time to get a credit increase


  • Annual fee
  • Slightly harder to qualify for

6. Primor Secured Visa Gold Card


  • All credit scores accepted
  • Higher credit limit


  • Must have a bank account with First Choice Bank
  • Annual fee

7. First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard Secured Credit Card


  • All credit types accepted
  • Wide security deposit range ($300 – $2000)


  • Annual fee
  • Limited payment options and bad customer service

8. Secured Visa Merrick Bank


  • $200 – $3000 deposit and limit option
  • Good for faster growth


  • Annual fee first year
  • Monthly fees after the first year
  • High APR

9.UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card


  • Designed for those with no credit, known as “the Comeback Card”
  • A wide range of limits
  • Fixed interest rate


  • Annual fee
  • High APR

10. Milestone Gold Mastercard


  • Everyone approved
  • Decent APR


  • High annual fee
  • Low credit limit

How Can I Start Building My Credit?

Building good, strong credit will take some time — but is not impossible. The important thing is that you get started as soon as possible because the length of your credit history is a large factor in your score. There are a few different ways you can begin to build credit, but a credit card is the easiest for most people. Below you will find information on using credit cards responsibly.

Building Credit with Credit Cards

After reading the list of credit cards for people with no credit, we hope that you’ve felt encouraged to take the first step! Here’s how:

1. Get a Credit Card

To get any credit card, you must first apply. Pick a card that you think you can qualify for and start there.

Warning: Do NOT just apply to every card you can find! Every time your credit is “hard pulled” by a bank or credit card company, it lowers your credit score. Many of the above cards will not perform a hard pull, but it is important to be aware of this now and in the future. Always double-check before applying.

Many card applications can now be completed online in a simple process. With a secured card, like those mentioned above, you will have to make your security deposit before you can start using your card.

2.  Start Using Your Credit Card

Simply having a credit card is not enough when it comes to building credit. You must use your card and pay it off each month. To increase your score quickly, do not max out your card every month, as maintaining a high balance is seen as risky behavior. Try to spend (at most) 30% of your balance each month (if your credit limit is $200, try not to spend over $60 in a month).

Set yourself reminders to pay off your balance on time each month. This will not only help you build credit but save you lots of money on interest as well.

3. Increase Your Credit Limit

Depending on which credit card you have, you will be eligible for a credit increase after a few months. Many of the cards above offer this automatically. If they don’t, you should try applying on your own – worst case scenario, you stay where you are.

4. Apply for a Second Credit Card

Once you have established some sort of credit, try applying for another card. While this doesn’t necessarily have to be a “better” card, it might be worth a shot if you think you can qualify. Remember to stay under 30% on both cards and pay them both off in full, each month.

Building Credit with a Loan

Credit cards can be a great resource for certain types of purchases, but they won’t be able to cover everything. Here are a few reasons you might need a loan:

1. Purchasing a Car

While you can certainly purchase a used car at an affordable price, the ability to get a loan will greatly expand your options and what kind of car you can buy.

2. Student Loans

Whether it’s for tuition, books and other supplies, or living expenses, many college students rely on student loans to get by in college.

3. Medical Emergencies

No matter how good of a planner you are, life has a way of throwing us the unexpected. Medical expenses can be huge sums of money that you will have no say over.

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Getting a Loan With No Credit

Loans are another great way to help you build up your credit score and can help in a lot of tough situations. But how can you get one with no credit? While loans are slightly more challenging, you do have options – check them out below!

1. Get a Loan Co-signer

Many loans will allow you to make up for a lack of credit by using a co-signer. Your co-signer will need to have a good credit history, and they will be responsible if you default on your loan. This is a good option if you have a trusted person with good credit who will agree to sign on your behalf. Here are some tips on finding a cosigner for your loan as an international student!

2. Try Getting a Small Personal Loan

Without a credit history, you will not be able to go get a mortgage right off the bat. One good way to get your feet wet is a smaller personal loan, which will usually have much lower requirements regarding credit score and history. Many loans, like the one from Stilt, are great for immigrants, students, and anyone with no credit history who’s looking to build credit.

3. Look for Loans Who Use a Soft Pull

As mentioned previously, hard pulls of your credit can hurt your credit score. Plenty, though, like the one from Stilt above, offer a soft pull. Make sure you check for that before applying.

Building your credit can be a challenging and rewarding process. Don’t be discouraged! There are many opportunities for loans and credit cars for those just starting out. The important thing is to get started, and to get started responsibly. Building good credit from the start is much easier than having to repair it later.

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