Best Credit Cards for First Timers 2017

Best Credit Cards for First Timers 2017

If you’re looking for the best credit cards for first timers, look no more!

It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by the myriad of choices out there, especially so as credit card companies are competing hard to offer the best deals and get your business. In this post we rounded up this year’s best credit cards for first timers, just for you.

  1. Discover it® for Students

Discover It best credit cards for first timers

Eligible Credit Score:
Annual Fee: $0

APR: 13.99% -22.99% (variable)
Promotions: 0% intro APR for 6 months

Late Payment Fee: Up to $37
Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Probably the best credit card for first timers (yes, it is available to non-students despite the name), Discover does not penalize you for having a limited credit history. They have 5% cashback (that you must sign up for) on special categories which change quarterly (capped at $1,500) and an unlimited 1% cashback on others. For first-time users, you’ll get double the amount of cashback at the end of your first year. This is a great offer especially if you know you’ll be spending a lot in your first year!

Discover it for Students allows cardholders to track their FICO® Credit Score online & on monthly statements, which is great if you’re building your credit worthiness (hint: you are). By regularly monitoring your credit score as well as your credit card usage, you could get a sense of how your financial behavior impacts your credit score.

If you’re a student, Discover rewards you for good grades by giving a $20 cash back for each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher. No better reason to work harder for those As!

The only cons is that Discover might be less widely accepted than Visa or Mastercard. It should not be a problem if you’re only planning to use it in the U.S. It’s still one of the the best credit cards for first timers in our opinion.


  1. Chase Freedom® VISA

Eligible Credit Score: Good – Excellent
Annual Fee:

APR: 15.99% – 24.74% (Variable)
Promotion:  0% Intro APR for 15 months

Late Payment Fee: $15-37 (tiered based on balance)
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in US dollars

This credit card provides one of the best bonuses around – a one-time $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening? That’s a 30% instant cash back! On top of that there is 5% cash back on categories (gas, restaurant, grocery, etc) that change quarterly, with a $1,500 cap. If you happen to be spending a lot on these, you should seriously consider this card. Check their website regularly!


  1. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Eligible Credit Score: Good – Excellent
Annual Fee:

APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Promotion:  0% intro APR for the first 9 months.

Late Payment Fee: Up to $35
Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

This credit card by Capital One might be your better option if you’re already banking with them. They also offer pretty good welcome bonuses, including a one-time $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of approval – that’s 20% instant cash back! Aside from that, you earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day, with no expiration date. Pretty awesome right?

However, this card requires that you have a good credit score. If you’ve been paying your bills and student loan on time, that should not be a problem.

  1. Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Eligible Credit Score: Limited History, Average
Annual Fee:
APR: 24.99%

Late Payment Fee: $35
Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

This credit card incentivizes you to pay your purchases on time by increasing the cashback for the month from 1% to 1.25% – no cap, no expiration date. You could increase your credit limit after 5 timely bill payments. But what we love best about this credit card is the fact that you can pick the monthly due date that works best for you, so you can schedule your bill to come right after payday.

While we like the flexibility, this card comes with a lower rate of cash back rewards compared to the previous 3.

5. Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Eligible Credit Score: Good
Annual Fee:

APR: 15.74 – 25.74% (Variable)
Promotions: 0% for first 7 months

Late Payment Fee: N/A
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%

This card from Citibank offers good rewards – within the first 3 months of membership, you get 2,500 bonus reward points after spending $500. You get 2 reward points per dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment and 1 point for everything else. When you’ve accumulated enough, you could exchange these rewards for cash, merchandise or gift cards. On average, if you spend $250 monthly, you will get $100 worth of reward annually. And that’s why we think it’s one of the best credit cards for first timers.

While Mastercard is accepted anywhere and everywhere in the world, watch out for the 3% foreign transaction fee when you’re planning to use it overseas! Those dollars add up, just saying.



You need to know what you need a credit card for in making your decision. If you’re maximizing rewards and will only use your card in the US, the Discover It card is perfect. However, if you need it overseas, a Mastercard or Visa credit card might work better. Also, remember to get one of the cards with 0% overseas transaction fee.

All in all, know your needs and remember that you will likely keep your first credit card for life. Most importantly, pay your credit card bills on time – this is crucial in building your credit score. Debitize can help!

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First Credit Card
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