Most readers who have seen this blog know that I have been reviewing specific individual credit cards. This post is going to be a little different. I’m going to highlight a few different cards targeted towards those who are new to credit.

Getting your first credit card is a huge milestone in one’s financial life. Getting a second credit card is also big. This post gives you my suggestions for where to start. The cards are organized by earnings structure.

 

5x Rotating

Discover It for Students

My first rewards card was a Discover It that I got during my last semester of college. I still have my Discover Card because of my long account history.

Discover is known for helping those with thin credit files build their credit history. They offer tools like a free TransUnion credit score and a spend analyzer to help keep you organized. I recommend the student version for beginners. All Discover cards have no annual fee and earn cash back.

Discover does not offer a fixed sign-up bonus for any of its cards. But they will match the cash back that you earned in your first year of card-membership. Plus, students who have a 3.00 GPA or higher will receive a $20 cash back bonus each semester. This can be up to $60 per school year, assuming you’re a student and you take fall, spring, and summer classes.

The Discover It for Students offers 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories. For 2019, the categories are as follows:

  • 1st Quarter: Grocery Stores
  • 2nd Quarter: Gas Stations, Uber, & Lyft
  • 3rd Quarter: Restaurants & PayPal
  • 4th Quarter: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, & Target

The regular version is harder to get approved for. It might make sense to apply if you’re not a student (anymore). I applied for the regular version as a student and I got a small limit. If you are a student, Discover might “graduate” your student card into a regular card after college graduation.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom is a great option if you’re a beginner who is interested in earning Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. It has no annual fee and earns 5x UR points on rotating quarterly categories. There is a spend limit of $1,500 per quarter for the categories.

This classic Chase card offers a 15,000 UR point (or $150) sign-up bonus. It can be earned after spending $500 in the first three months. 15,000 points is a good amount to get you started on saving for travel.

You can transfer your points to a Chase Sapphire card or Chase Ink Business Preferred if you decide to open either of them later. This lets you take advantage of Chase’s transfer partners and travel portal. You can’t transfer your points directly from this card.

 

Flat Rate

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom Unlimited (CFU) is a good choice if you’re interested in earning Chase UR points and you have varied spending. This card earns 1.5x UR points on all purchases with no spend limits.

Like the Freedom, it offers a 15,000 UR point (or $150) sign-up bonus. It can be earned after spending $500 in the first three months.

You can transfer your points to a Chase Sapphire card or Chase Ink Business Preferred if you decide to open either of them later. This lets you take advantage of Chase’s transfer partners and travel portal. You can’t transfer your points directly from this card.

Citi Double Cash

This card is one of the best flat rate cards on the market, especially if you want cash back. You earn 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill. That’s a total of 2%.

Double Cash has no annual fee and is another great keeper card. However, it has no sign-up bonus or significant perks.

 

Bonus Categories

American Express Everyday Card

This card is the only no annual fee card that lets you directly transfer Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points to travel partners.

It earns 2x MR points at Grocery Stores and 1 point for everything else. You will receive a 20% points bonus on all transactions if you use your card 20 times per calendar month. With the bonus, you will earn 2.4x points at Grocery Stores and 1.2x points for everything else.

This card is a fantastic option if traveling, points, and miles is something you’re interested in. However, it’s a weak option for use as a primary card.

Citi Rewards +

This new credit card from Citibank is the successor to their Thank You Preferred card. The card earns Thank You points and integrates you into Citi’s points “ecosystem”.

This card earns 2x points at Gas Stations and Grocery Stores. Citi also rounds up the amount of points earned to the nearest 10 for all purchases. Such rounding is a bonanza for small purchases. For example, you will receive 10 points if you spend $1 at a convenience store.

It offers a 15,000 TY point (or $150) sign-up bonus. It can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first three months.

You can transfer your points to the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier if you decide to open either of them later. This lets you take advantage of Citi’s transfer partners and travel the world for less. You can’t directly transfer to Citi’s partners (except JetBlue) with this card.

 

Final Draw

In essence, these six cards are some of my favorites for young adults who want to enter the credit world. All these cards have no annual fee and great earning structures. Therefore, you can keep them forever and let your credit history and age of accounts grow.

Most of these cards are also complements to bigger travel cards with perks and annual fees. Thus, you should keep reading PYCR and figure out which transferrable points currency is right for you. Or you can decide to earn cash back if the situation warrants it.

You should think about your lifestyle, job, budget, and desire to travel. As with most credit and travel related situations, your mileage may vary.

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