Trying to build credit when you have no credit what so ever can be difficult since most credit cards are only offered to people with established credit. There in lays the catch 22 of trying to build credit. There are still cards that you can obtain which are designed for people with no credit history. Responsible use of one of these cards can help you to build up your credit.
The hardest part is obtaining your first credit card. You need to pursue offers that you can reasonably be assured that you qualify for, for example applying for an American Express gold card is totally out of the question if you have no credit history. You may need to opt for a secured credit card. These will require a security deposit, which will be returned to you after a set amount of time has passed. The card will look and act in all respects just like any other credit card. This allows you to build up not only a credit score but also a good payment history. Other cards to consider include student credit cards and store brand credit cards. Store brand credit cards tend to have very high interest rates, so be prepared to pay off your entire balance each month to avoid interest charges.
One thing to keep in mind is that any card aimed at someone who has no credit will carry a high interest rate. It is not uncommon for these type of credit cards to carry interest rates of 30 percent or higher. The terms and conditions are also not very favorable, for instance many carry a monthly fee plus an annual fee. Another thing to watch out for is cards which offer no grace period. A grace period allows you to pay off your balance and avoid interest. These type of cards are known in the industry as fee harvester cards. Your only real option here is to build up a responsible payment history and wait it out 12 months to 18 months then apply for a real credit card elsewhere once you have built up your credit score and credit history.
When it is time to open a better credit card up, pick just one. The reason being is that every time you apply for credit anywhere you get hit with what is known as an inquiry. Multiple inquiries will result in a dip to your credit score, lasting anywhere from 6 months to about 1 year. If you need or want to better credit cards stagger out the applications by at least 6 months. You can get rid of the fee harvester card 6 months after you receive your new credit card without effecting your credit score too much.
You should start out with just one credit card. Learning how to use the card responsibly is an important first step towards building your credit score. Once you have a credit score and have used your card responsibly by paying your credit card statements on time each month, you can then decide if having more than one open account is right for you. Having multiple cards open at one time if you have never had credit cards could lead to disaster.
Below is my top pick credit card for people new to credit:
Credit One Bank® Credit Card with Gas Rewards
This card is for people with no credit or poor credit. While the interest rate is somewhat high it is not as bad as it could be. This card also offers rewards, at least at the gas pump, where you will get cash back for gas purchases. Rewards cards for people with little to no credit are almost unheard of. it has an annual fee between $35 and $99 and an interest rate varies between 17.9% – 23.90%. Approval rates for this credit card are very high so this one makes the top of my list.