Looking to open your first credit card? Maybe you’re going off to college, or have started your first job and looking to build up some credit. It can be overwhelming, especially as a young person with little financial experience, to dive into the seemingly endless credit card options. That’s why I wrote this guide.
When it comes to your first credit card, the actual card you obtain is less important than the features and perks of those cards. In general, you want to look for a card with little to no annual fee, don’t require a stellar credit score to be approved, and of course, great rewards.
Based on these factors, I’ve included more details on the most important rewards you should focus on for your first credit card. Find a card with one or all of these perks, and you are on a great track.
Cashback is one of the best credit card perks for young adults because it requires little strategizing to reap its benefits. All you do is spend how you would normally, and these cards allow you to earn money on what you’ve spent.
It’s so simple, and it can feel too good to be true (heck, even Harry Potter got cashback in this one fan art piece). Some of the best cashback rates are 5%, but most are below that. Consider how you spend money and choose a card that will give you the most cash back rewards accordingly.
Travel rewards are a wonderful benefit to have on your first credit card. Some cards offer extremely high miles amounts for spending a certain amount (typically a few thousand dollars) in the first few months.
Many young people find this useful for making large purchases such as studying abroad, paying off loans, or purchasing a car. And the tangible rewards are hard to beat!
Finally, keep an eye out for specific student perks. Many cards offer rewards for simply being a student, including cash for good grades, extra fraud protection, and various financial education tools.
If you are going to be a student in the near future, consider one of these student-focused cards as your first credit cards if the rewards are a good fit for you.
Of course, financial decisions vary greatly from person to person. Consider these rewards in terms of how they would best fit into your life, and make sure to talk to a trusted adult or financial advisor before you apply to any credit card.