Header Background

2019's Best Credit Cards for No Credit

Below are our picks for 2019's best credit cards for people with no credit or limited credit. These cards offer competitive rates for those who lack a well-established credit history. Our reviews follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

Average APR
Average Annual Fee
Rate Trend
since last month

Review Breakdown: Cards for No Credit

Finding the right credit card can be tricky, especially for those with limited options due to their lack of credit history. Below is a summary table of the top credit cards for people with no credit history, including students and other first-time applicants who have limited or no experience with credit.

Here are 2019's best credit cards for people with no credit:

Credit Cards For No Credit
Rank Card Name Feature Annual Fee Expert Rating
1 Capital One® Platinum Credit Card Pay no annual fee $0 ★★★★★ 4.8
2 Discover it® Student Cash Back Good Grades Rewards $0 ★★★★★ 4.7
3 Discover it® Student chrome Good Grades Rewards $0 ★★★★★ 4.6
4 Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card 1.5% cash back $39 ★★★★★ 4.5
5 Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Deposit of $49, $99, or $20 $0 ★★★★ 4.4
6 Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card No/Limited Credit Variable Monthly Fee ★★★★ 4.3
7 Discover it® Secured 1% cash back $0 ★★★★ 4.2
8 Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® No/Limited Credit Variable Monthly Fees ★★★★ 4.2
9 Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® 1% cash back $0 ★★★★ 4.2
10 Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business Build business credit $0 ★★★★ 4.2
11 Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card No/Limited Credit Up-to $9.95 monthly* ★★★★ 4.0

5 Tips for People with No Credit History

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Finance Contributor
5 Tips for People with No Credit History
CardRates.com Guide: No Credit

In our modern culture, a valid credit history isn’t just a nice thing to have — it’s often a necessity. Without a credit history, you’ll have a difficult time securing reasonable loans, renting a home, or even getting hired for certain jobs. A credit history allows potential lenders to extend you credit, but it’s also a way for others to verify how responsible you are with your finances.

If you’ve never used credit at all, how do you begin to building it? That’s the proverbial catch-22 when it comes to establishing credit – you often need credit to get credit. However, there are ways to begin building a good payment history and have it reported to the credit rating bureaus, which is what ultimately builds your credit history.

1. Apply for a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a great way to start building a credit history, as they are often available to a wide range of credit types, including those consumers without any credit history at all. Many credit card issuers offer secured cards and report your payments to the credit bureaus.

To open a secured credit card account, you’ll need to make a cash deposit. That deposit will be kept in a secured savings account to act as collateral for your credit line. In most cases, the size of your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit.

By using the card and paying off the balance, you can establish a good payment history. After six months of building a payment history, you’ll become eligible for a credit score. Depending on the secured credit card you have, you may be automatically upgraded to an unsecured credit card after demonstrating responsible credit behaviors.

If you wish to recover your deposit, you can do so simply by closing your credit card account with a $0 balance. Having your account upgraded by the issuer will also result in your deposit being returned. If you close your account with an outstanding balance or default on your account, you deposit may be used to pay off your remaining debt.

2. Get a Department Store or Gas Credit Card

Closed-loop store credit cards are often easier to obtain than a standard credit card, in part because they can only be used with one retailer. Additionally, the credit limits are usually lower and the interest rates higher than most open-loop credit cards.

That said, store credit cards that report to the three credit bureaus can still be used to establish your credit history and start building credit. Make sure to avoid carrying a balance on these cards, however, as the high rates can easily add up to expensive interest fees.

3. Have Your Rent Payments Reported

There are services that now act as intermediaries by taking your rent payment and paying the landlord for you. The service will then report your payment history to the credit reporting bureaus. Other services allow a landlord to upload payment information directly to a website for reporting, as well.

Keep in mind, however, that these types of credit report accounts may not be included in every once of your credit scores. There are dozens of credit scoring models, and the type of data each model uses can vary widely. Rental payment information is often included in more recent credit scoring models, but may not be as useful in older models.

4. Have Someone Cosign a Loan

Of course, credit cards aren’t the only way to establish history. Personal and auto loans can also be used to establish and build credit, though you may need help to obtain a loan if you have no credit score. In this case, having someone cosign the loan with you — meaning they agree to be responsible for the loan should you be unable to make payments — can make it easier to get a loan without a credit history.

At the same time, consider carefully before asking someone to cosign a loan. Cosigners are accepting financially responsible for the loan, and the loan will show up on both your credit reports and their reports. Any irresponsible behavior associated with the loan, such as late payments or default, will negatively impact both credit scores.

5. Become an Authorized User

If you know of someone who is willing to have your name put on their credit card as an authorized user, this is another way to get a credit history started. You can take advantage of their payment history without even necessarily using the card. Just make sure that whoever you ask to help you has a good record of making on-time payments.

Follow these tips to get started on your credit history, even if you’ve never used credit before. Just remember to always make your payments on time, never exceed your credit limit, and keep your balances low. Soon, you’ll have a credit history you can be proud of.

Photo source: creditcardchaser.com

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

The information on this page was reviewed for accuracy on .

About the Author

Brittney Mayer Brittney Mayer Finance Contributor

Brittney Mayer is a contributing editor for CardRates.com, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides and in-depth company profiles. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on websites such as MarketWatch, US News & World Report, NBC News, Kiplinger, National Foundation for Credit Counseling, TheSimpleDollar.com, BadCredit.org, CreditSoup.com, and CreditCards.com, among others. Brittney specializes in translating complex financial jargon and ideas into readable, actionable advice on lending best practices.

Brittney Mayer

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. See the credit card issuer's website for specific terms and conditions of each card.