3 Best Credit Cards For 18-Year-Olds In 2024

Chidinma Ofoegbu
June 6, 2023
3 best credit cards for 18 year olds in 2024
3 best credit cards for 18 year olds in 2024

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When choosing the best credit cards for 18-year-olds, there are certain things to look out for.

You want to make sure you’re choosing a credit card that offers better than average chances of approval for customers with recent credit histories, and also do not charge excessive fees. 

Young adults have little to no credit history, and this makes it hard for them to shop for credit cards.

Interestingly, there are options to help solve this issue, and we will be reviewing the best credit cards for 18-year-olds in this blog. 

Ideally, companies that offer incentives like cash sign-up bonuses, 0% introductory APRs, and generous rewards programs to entice new creditworthy customers, are great options. 

Let’s go over the 3 best credit cards available for young adults in the United States.

Top 3 Credit Cards For 18-Year-Olds

#1: Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why we like it:

Annual Fees

annual_fees

Regular APR

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Credit Required

credit_score_needed

Annual Fees

annual_fees

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Credit Required

credit_score_needed

Why we like it:

  1. Benefit from automatic credit line reviews, potentially allowing for an increase in your credit limit in as little as 6 months.
  2. Access to CreditWise from Capital One, allowing you to monitor and track your credit profile for free.
  3. $0 Fraud Liability ensures you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges, offering peace of mind.
  4. Tap to Pay feature allows for quick and secure contactless payments, enhancing convenience.
  5. No foreign transaction fees, making it a suitable option for international travel.
  • Qualify for a higher credit limit with timely payments in just six months, promoting good credit behavior.
  • Enjoy effortless cash back on all purchases, no limits or rotating categories.
  • Travelers benefit from no foreign transaction fees, ideal for international shopping.
  • Need to spend at least $2,600 annually to counter the 1.5 percent cash back rate’s annual fee.
  • No welcome offer or introductory APR for purchases/balance transfers.
  • Perks are less remarkable in contrast to alternative cash reward cards.

Consider the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card if getting a secured credit card seems like the best choice for you as a first credit card.

Although there aren’t many benefits or opportunities to earn rewards with this card, there is a $0 annual fee and 1.5% cashback on all purchases which is highly rewarding without encouraging non-essential purchases. . 

This card is best for 18-year-olds building credit, and also because neither a significant credit history nor good credit are necessary.

Additionally, you could begin with a security deposit as low as $49. Within six months of the account’s opening, automatic credit line reviews could start.

Your security deposit will be returned to you as a statement credit if you are approved for an unsecured card.

There is no sign-up bonus for the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. The card’s lack of signup bonuses isn’t necessarily a glaring flaw, similar to how it lacks rotating reward categories.

If you’re new to the world of rewards credit cards, you should be aware that signup bonuses typically require you to spend a certain amount of money within a specific time frame and aren’t automatic (typically thousands of dollars). 

Advantages Of The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Below are the advantages of this credit card:-

(i) The card will age with you 

You can still keep your Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card even if you no longer qualify as a student.

Even if you are not a student, the reward rates are the same, and rewards never expire.

(ii) Sign up bonus 

One of the few student credit cards with a sign-up bonus is the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card, which gives you $50 after spending $100 in the first three months.

You’ll get this card’s $50 bonus as soon as you meet the minimum spending requirement, unlike other student credit cards that offer smaller (or no) bonuses or that match cash back earned in the first year. There is no easier way to put it.

(iii) No charges on foreign transactions 

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card, like many travel rewards cards, doesn’t charge transaction fees for purchases made outside of the United States, so you don’t have to worry about getting nickel-and-dimed for every transaction.

(iv) $0 fraud liability 

Capital One will not hold you responsible for any fraudulent charges made with your Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card (just make sure to report your card as soon as it is stolen!).

(v) Travel accident insurance 

Your Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card automatically insures you and your dependents for up to $100,000 for loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing while at the airport or on the aircraft if you use it to pay for a trip. Sure, it’s highly unlikely to occur, but it’s still nice to have.

Disadvantages Of The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

(i) Eligibility

The only disadvantage of the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is the eligibility requirements. The following criteria are necessary to qualify:-

  • You must be accepted or enrolled as a full- or part-time student at a university or community college that has received accreditation.
  • You must be in possession of a Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • You must have 630 and 689 on the FICO credit scoring system.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have documentation showing that your monthly income is at least $425 more than your rent or mortgage.

 

Many prospective international students will be turned away because of these requirements.

Additionally, because Capital One does not accept co-signers, students who receive financial aid from their parents but do not have a source of independent income will not be eligible. Students without credit histories are also ineligible.

#2: Discover it® Student Cash back Credit Card

Why we like it:

Annual Fees

annual_fees

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Credit Required

credit_score_needed

Annual Fees

annual_fees

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Credit Required

credit_score_needed

Why we like it:

  1. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, making it a lucrative deal for students.
  2. This card provides an opportunity for students with limited credit history to start building their credit.
  3.  Discover offers assistance in removing personal information from select people-search sites, helping to safeguard your data.
  4. 0% Intro APR: Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, providing some breathing room for initial expenses.
  5. The card offers forgiveness for your first late payment, providing a bit of flexibility for students.
  • Best for students to build credit. You don’t need any credit history to qualify for the card.
  • Rewards automatic match during the first year.
  • Discover It® App to help manage accounts and track rewards on the fly.
  • Zero annual fees
  • The rotating reward categories might be confusing and a hassle for a student. Plus, you’ll need to activate the cashback rewards each quarter of the year.

Discover it® Student Cash Back might be the ideal product to get you started if you’re earning a little money while you’re in school and want to build your credit history.

You can build credit in ways that a debit card cannot with the help of Discover it Student Cash Back or another student credit card.

Additionally, every time you use this Discover student credit card, you will receive actual cash back. 

With Discover it® Student Cash Back, you can get unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases in addition to 5% cash back on a variety of recurring categories, including gas, dining out, Amazon, and more, up to a maximum of $1,500 per quarter.

Advantages Of The Discover it® Student Cashback Credit Card 

Below are the advantages of this credit card:-

(i) Outstanding rewards 

The benefits are far superior to almost every other option for students without credit histories.

You can receive 5% cash back in categories with a $0 annual fee on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending and 1% back on all other purchases.

The 5% categories, which you must choose to participate in each quarter, usually represent regular expenses.

(ii) Student friendly ways to earn bonuses 

With the Discover it® Student Cash Back, there is no requirement for high spending to secure a sign-up bonus.

It doubles all of the cash back you received during your first year instead. This flexibility is beneficial for students who don’t spend a lot of money.

(iii) Credible recognition 

Discover maintains a wholly US-based customer service team and has consistently won awards for customer satisfaction in the credit card industry.

When you have a significant query about a charge on your card, that is a competitive advantage that shouldn’t be undervalued.

(iv) Introductory 0% APR for six months on purchases 

With a six-month introductory 0% APR offer on new purchases, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card gives you time to pay off a new laptop or textbooks without worrying about interest fees.

The variable APR for this card will be 17.99%-26.99% variable after the promotional rate has ended.

The Student Cash Back card stands out among other student credit cards thanks to its 0% APR promotion.

(v) Access to your credit scores 

Additionally, Discover offers free access to your FICO® Credit Scores online and on your statement, which is great for tracking how your credit score changes as a result of responsible card use.

Disadvantages Of Discover it® Student Cashback Credit Card 

There are certain reasons why you might not want to use this credit card, let’s go over some of the disadvantages. 

(i) There’s a cap on how much you can earn 

There is no cap on the 1% cash back you can get. However, the first $1,500 in purchases in the bonus categories each quarter—equaling $75 in cash back—are the only ones that qualify for the 5% cash back; after that, your cash back rate drops to just 1%, as it does for all other purchases.

(ii) Limited acceptance abroad 

Even though there are no foreign transaction fees with the Discover it® Student Cash Back, you shouldn’t travel for a semester abroad with just this card in your wallet.

(iii) Not an option for international students 

Although a credit history is not a requirement to be approved for the Discover it® Student Cash Back, Discover confirms that a Social Security number is.

You might not be eligible for this credit card if you don’t have a Social Security number or a history of good credit in the United States.

#3: Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card

Why we like it:

Annual Fees

annual_fees

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Credit Required

credit_score_needed

Annual Fees

annual_fees

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Credit Required

credit_score_needed

Why we like it:

College students who want a straightforward card to earn rewards without having to worry about activating or monitoring spending categories should use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card.

You will always receive 1% cash back on all of your purchases. There is no minimum amount required to redeem your rewards for cash, and they never expire.

This credit card comes with $0 annual fee, and a $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.

Advantages Of The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card 

Below are the advantages of using the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card:-

(i) No credit history required 

One of the best credit cards for 18-year-olds with no credit history is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card.

To qualify for this credit card, you must be enrolled in school, though, and Chase may check your status.

Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that not getting approved for a student credit card is simply a matter of being a student.

Additionally, if you’re under 21, you must apply with documentation of your independent income.

(ii) Purchase protection

In the event that something you purchased with your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is harmed or stolen, you are covered by purchase protection insurance.

You are protected up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account with this coverage, which is valid for up to 120 days after the date of purchase.

This kind of coverage could be a lifesaver given how much the typical student spends on pricey items like textbooks and electronics.

(iii) Extended warranty coverage 

Manufacturers’ warranties of three years or less can be extended by one additional year for items bought with the card.

This feature would give you a two-year warranty on anything you purchased with the card, which should give you a little more peace of mind.

(iv) Enjoy numerous bonuses 

When you’re trying to balance the cost of books, tuition, rent, and other daily expenses, every little bit of value helps.

On purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card offers 1% cash back.

Additionally, if your account is in good standing, you might be eligible for an additional $20 after each anniversary of your account for the first five years.

And while it’s not common for student credit cards to offer sign-up bonuses, this one does. While not the richest thing available, it is fairly simple to obtain.

Receive a $50 Bonus after your first purchase within the first three months of opening your account.

You can obtain it without having to meet a minimum spending requirement, unlike with some other cards.

(v) Credit limit increase 

Additionally, after making five timely monthly payments within the first 10 months of account opening, the card extends an automatic credit limit increase to eligible cardholders.

Rules apply. Because it can lower the percentage of available credit you’re using, an increase in your credit limit can help your credit score.

Disadvantages Of The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card 

The disadvantages of this credit card include:-

(i) 3% foreign transaction fees 

Pay attention to foreign transaction fees if you travel outside of the US.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited®  credit card levies a 3% foreign transaction fee on each transaction.

In the long run, those fees can add up and end up costing you hundreds of dollars, especially if you’re participating in a study abroad or summer internship program.

Consider applying for a credit card that doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee if you intend to travel abroad.

(ii) Other cards offer more bonuses 

Consider the Discover it® Student Cash Back, which has no annual fee and offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly rotating categories that you activate (1% cash back on all other purchases), for more substantial ongoing rewards. 

(iii) No introductory APR

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card doesn’t have an introductory 0% APR offer for purchases or balance transfers, but it does offer a $50 bonus for your initial purchase.

This is a significant disadvantage if you need to purchase an expensive item, like a couch or a laptop.

Conclusion

As a teen, deciding to apply for a credit card is a great choice. It will help in building credit early enough, mastering money management skills, and providing you with emergency cash when needed. 

As we reviewed the above credit cards, we checked the cashback rewards, foreign transaction fees, APR percentages, eligibility requirements, and other necessary benefits. If you found this blog helpful, subscribe to our newsletter so you’ll be notified when a new blog drops. 

FAQs

Yes, an 18-year-old is eligible for a credit card if a cosigner is 21 or older or if they can demonstrate sufficient income.

You can demonstrate your ability to repay the debt by demonstrating your financial independence through either their income or assets. Many times, getting a small part-time job is sufficient to get you approved for a credit card with a low credit limit.

In either scenario, keep in mind that you will be responsible for making monthly credit card payments. Don’t apply if you can’t afford it! The CARD Act of 2009 outlines these regulations in order to shield young consumers from potentially damaging credit decisions.

With a credit card, you can borrow money from a bank on the condition that you’ll pay it back by the due date or pay interest.

There are several benefits attached to having a credit card as an 18-year-old. One of the most important benefits is that it helps you build credit early enough. It also affords you the opportunity of earning valuable rewards, and enjoying card benefits.

What’s more? Owning credit cards gives you access to emergency funds when needed, and makes you learn money management skills early enough.

With the above discussion out of the way, let’s go over the best credit cards an 18-year-old can qualify for, even with little or no credit history.

You might have trouble getting approved for any traditional credit card, regardless of your age or status as a student, if you don’t yet have any credit history (you’ve never had a student loan, car loan, or credit card, for example).

The best way to establish credit for the very first time is with secured credit cards, which are an exception to this rule. A secured card initially functions more like a debit card; before you can use the card, you must deposit funds into a bank account.

However, the secured credit card differs from debit and prepaid cards in that it will inform credit bureaus about your responsible use of the card and assist you in building credit.

Also, having a co-signer can help you qualify for a good credit card when you have no credit history. You want to ensure that your co-signer has a good credit history, and pays their debt on time so you’re not affected.

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