Best credit cards for teens
March 16, 2020
As a teenager, you may wonder if you’re too young to get a credit card. Once you’ve reached adult status, you’re free to apply for your own account, and there are plenty of good card options. The idea is finding the right one for you and using it wisely.
When reviewing different offers, there are some things to keep in mind. You’ll want the cost of the account to be low, which means minimal (if any) fees. The issuer should submit information about the account to each of the three major credit reporting agencies so you can build a credit history. Since many credit cards come with valuable rewards programs, it’s also smart to look for an account that enables you to earn as you spend. Here are three great credit cards for teens that check those boxes and offer some extra benefits.
Chase Freedom®: Perfect for young teenagers
If you aren’t 18 yet but want to start using credit, you can jump on someone else’s account as an authorized user. The Chase Freedom® card is excellent for this purpose. As long as the adult is willing to add you as a guest, you will receive a credit card imprinted with your name. You can use the card to buy things, but because you’re not an account owner you won’t be responsible for any incurred debt (though you might have to repay the owner of the card). Factors that make this card compelling:
Discover it® Secured card: Perfect for easy qualification
You can apply for this secured credit card when you’re 18-years old. The cash deposit guarantees the credit line and offsets the risk of lending to a new borrower. If you run up a balance, the issuer can take the money held as security. The deposit can be as small as $200, and if you manage the account responsibly, it will always be your pool of savings. Among its other excellent qualities:
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®: Perfect for college students
The Journey Student Rewards card from Capital One is an ideal credit card to consider when you’ve reached adulthood. It’s unsecured, so an independent income source will be especially important to qualify. Your job and earnings will reassure the issuer that you can handle the credit line without an established credit history or a cash deposit. It has other fine attributes as well:
At a glance comparison
|APR||Annual Fee||Rewards Rates||Sign up Bonus||Unique features|
|Chase Freedom||0% for first 15 months 16.74% – 25.49% variable||No||5% cash back on $1,500 in purchases in bonus categories each quarter 1% cash back on all other purchases||No||Authorized users can be teens or younger Extended warranty protection extends U.S. manufacturer’s warranty for between 1 to 3 years Purchase protection covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.|
|Discover it Secured card||24.49% variable||No||2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 every quarter. 1% cash back on all other purchases||Match all earned cash back at the end of first year.||Account is reviewed at 8 months for transition to unsecured credit line, and deposit return Alert if Social Security number appears on “dark web” and when new accounts show up on Experian credit report Free FICO® Credit score on monthly statements|
|Journey Student Rewards from Capital One||26.99% variable||No||1% cash back on all purchases||No||Automatic security alerts Flexible due date Increased limits after 5 on-time payments Insurance on vehicles rented with the credit card covers damage due to collision or theft.|
As you can see, each of the recommended cards has strengths, but the one you choose needs to fit your needs and circumstances. Perks are only beneficial when you use them. Because two of these cards are for teenagers applying in their own names and who have not proven themselves to be low-risk borrowers, the interest rates are on the high side. If you get one of these, it’s especially important to pay your bills in full so you can avoid expensive financing costs.
Whether you become an authorized user on an adult’s credit card or apply for a card independently, be sure to treat the account carefully. Monitor your spending so you don’t overcharge and get into costly debt that’s tough to pay down. Review your statements often, and if you notice something wrong, address it with the issuer immediately.
With the right card, you will create a positive credit history while enjoying the benefits of being a cardholder.