You want a credit card but you have no credit history. It’s a “Catch-22” — banks won’t take a chance on you because you have no credit, but you’ll have no credit unless someone accepts you.
Below we offer some unsecured credit card options for those with no credit history. Note that you may have a higher interest rate with these cards and may have to pay an annual fee. (If that sounds bad, you should consider using a secured credit card to help build your credit. This requires a security deposit but is often cheaper overall.)
Capital One “Average Credit” Cards
Capital One has a number of cards that it lumps together under the “average credit” banner, but their description of average credit seems to include those with no credit history, or at least very little history. Among the major issuers, they are the first one we would try. You can also use their Pre-Qualify page to see what you’re likely to be accepted for, without any harm to your credit score for doing so.)
- Capital One Platinum Mastercard – No annual fee but a high 26.99% interest rate. No rewards.
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Rewards – $39 annual fee and the same 26.99% interest rate, but you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases.
- Capital One Journey Student Rewards – As the name suggests, this one is for students. Capital One and other card issuers are more lenient with students, meaning it is easier to get accepted, even with no credit history. No annual fee, 26.99% interest rate, cash back of up to 1.25%.
- The Petal Credit Card is a newer credit card that is looking specifically for people like you — those with no credit history, but also no bad credit history. So if you’re new to credit, they are worth checking out. No annual fee credit card with decent credit lines when compared to competitors, and a cash-back program that starts at a modest 1% rebate on your purchases but can quickly ramp up to 1.5% after a year of on-time payments.
Store Credit Cards, Gas Station Credit Cards
Credit cards from department stores or specific gas station chains are often easier to be approved for when you have no credit history. The interest rates are often higher, and you may be limited to purchases at that one retailer. But it can be a way to begin building a credit history. Below are a handful of options that are particularly easy to be approved for, but most store credit cards are way more open to zero credit history or very little history than standard bank credit cards would be:
- Walmart Credit Card – Walmart offers two card options: a store credit card that is only accepted at Walmart, and a Walmart Mastercard accepted wherever Mastercard is accepted. If you have no credit history, you can expect that you might get approved for the Walmart store card but probably not the Mastercard.
- TJX Rewards Credit Cards – The credit card of TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
- CITGO Gas Credit Card – Credit cards gets you a small discount on CITGO gas. (Also look for credit cards from other gas station brands in your area.)
- Staples Credit Card – Accepted at Staples office supply stores.
- Goodyear Credit Card – Credit card for tires and related automotive purchases.
- Fingerhut – Catalog/Internet retailer says “We can often say Yes! when others say no” and if you “make your payments on time, you build your buying power with us, and we report your payment history to the credit bureaus.”