4 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults

4 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults

Best for All-Around Spending
#1
Citi Double Cashback Card
  • It’s called a double cash card for a reason: it pays you back, twice—get 1% cashback on all purchases with absolutely no spending limits, and an additional 1% on all monthly payments (as long as you keep up with your minimum payments)
  • Straightforward rewards redemption process
  • ValuePenguin says it’s "Easily the best cashback card on the market."
Best for Recent Graduates with Good Credit
#2
Chase Freedom Credit Card
  • Rotating 5% cash back categories with quarterly spending caps, 1% cashback on everything else
  • A generous and easily obtainable bonus ($150 after spending $500)
  • Its a no-fee credit card that also offers a 0% introductory APR that lasts 15 entire months
Best for Travelers
#3
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Those who love to travel know this as one of the best credit cards for young adults, thanks to the ability to earn up to 2x more points per $1 spent (and 1 point per $1 spent on other categories)
  • Tons of options for redeeming rewards in Chase Ultimate Rewards, a program that offers tremendous value according to The Points Guy
  • Many first-time credit card options don’t offer a signup bonus, but this card delivers with the ability to earn $625 towards travel rewards
Best for Those Without Credit History
#4
Discover It Secured Card
  • Perfectly suited for those with no credit history (like young adults) or for those rebuilding credit
  • Earn 2% cashback on restaurant and gas purchases and 1% cashback on everything else
  • Earn bonus cashback as a dollar-for-dollar match at the end of the first year of using this credit card

After 20 hours of research evaluating 50 products, we picked Citi Double Cashback Card as our top choice.

67% of millennials aged 18-29 do not have a credit card. This is partially because millennials do not like debt, according to Facebook research. It also has to do with the fact that most millennials just don’t know how to handle credit cards.

That's why it's important to find the best credit cards for young adults, one that addresses their particular needs.

But that’s not all:

Under the law, people under the age of 18 cannot be considered for a credit card on their own, while according to the CARD Act of 2009, people under the age of 21 cannot obtain a personal credit card without proof of income or an adult co-signer with good credit standing.

Despite these things, you should still give this list of the best credit cards for young adults a serious look.

Here’s the deal:

According to Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride, millennials are making a big mistake by not using credit cards. Millennials are spending more than previous generations, an average of up to $9,600 on groceries per year, and $2,800 eating out. When charged to the right credit card, this behavior can rack up rewards like rebates and dream vacations.

Having a credit card is also ideal for situations where you might need extra security when making payment. Debit cards are protected from fraud, but credit cards have stronger fraud protection. Credit cards can also offer insurance for big purchases.

Credit cards can also help you in emergencies, when you don't have cash, not to mention, make traveling abroad easier by not having to worry about bringing large sums of money. Most importantly, credit cards can help you build your credit score. There are certainly means for building your credit score without credit cards, but these options might take longer.

If you want to try a credit card but are scared of what you might do with it, try starting out with a secured credit card first.

What’s the bottom line?

There are plenty of options to choose from, but these are the best credit cards for young adults.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 4 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults
Discover It Secured Card
Check on Discovercard
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Check on Chase
Chase Freedom Credit Card
Check on Chase
Citi Double Cashback Card
Check on Citicards
4 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults

4 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults

Read Video Infographic Tips

After 20 hours of research evaluating 50 products, we picked Citi Double Cashback Card as our top choice.

67% of millennials aged 18-29 do not have a credit card. This is partially because millennials do not like debt, according to Facebook research. It also has to do with the fact that most millennials just don’t know how to handle credit cards.

That's why it's important to find the best credit cards for young adults, one that addresses their particular needs.

But that’s not all:

Under the law, people under the age of 18 cannot be considered for a credit card on their own, while according to the CARD Act of 2009, people under the age of 21 cannot obtain a personal credit card without proof of income or an adult co-signer with good credit standing.

Despite these things, you should still give this list of the best credit cards for young adults a serious look.

Here’s the deal:

According to Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride, millennials are making a big mistake by not using credit cards. Millennials are spending more than previous generations, an average of up to $9,600 on groceries per year, and $2,800 eating out. When charged to the right credit card, this behavior can rack up rewards like rebates and dream vacations.

Having a credit card is also ideal for situations where you might need extra security when making payment. Debit cards are protected from fraud, but credit cards have stronger fraud protection. Credit cards can also offer insurance for big purchases.

Credit cards can also help you in emergencies, when you don't have cash, not to mention, make traveling abroad easier by not having to worry about bringing large sums of money. Most importantly, credit cards can help you build your credit score. There are certainly means for building your credit score without credit cards, but these options might take longer.

If you want to try a credit card but are scared of what you might do with it, try starting out with a secured credit card first.

What’s the bottom line?

There are plenty of options to choose from, but these are the best credit cards for young adults.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 4 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults
Discover It Secured Card
Check on Discovercard
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Check on Chase
Chase Freedom Credit Card
Check on Chase
Citi Double Cashback Card
Check on Citicards

Best for Those Without Credit History

Best for Those Without Credit History: Discover It Secured Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.24%
  • Variable APR
    24.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months.
  • Bonus Offers
    Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Pros

  • Perfectly suited for those with no credit history (like young adults) or for those rebuilding credit
  • Earn 2% cashback on restaurant and gas purchases and 1% cashback on everything else
  • Earn bonus cashback as a dollar-for-dollar match at the end of the first year of using this credit card

Cons

Look, there’s not a lot to get excited about this card, and that’s kind of the point. The Discover It Secured Card is here to help you build your credit history… and not a whole lot more than that. Compared to some of the other cards on this list of the best credit cards for young adults, it has a relatively high APR of 23.99%. It’s the price you pay for getting started, but don’t worry—there are plenty of other exciting credit cards you’ll have access to—airline credit cards, hotel credit cards, and more—once you’ve built your credit with this card (or one of the others on this list). The one final bummer? There’s a limit to the cashback you can earn each year.

Details

  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.

Application Process: Online on Discover’s website is the easiest way to do it. Note that a security deposit of $200 or more is needed to establish your credit line (up to the amount that Discover can approve).

Annual Fee: None, not unlike many of our other picks for the best credit cards for young adults—ideal for those responsibly building credit.

APR: No introductory offers here, just a variable APR of 23.99%.

Rewards and Redemption Options: It’s not all business over here—using this card will get you 2% cash back on restaurant and gas station purchases on up to $1,000 purchases per quarter ($4,000/yr). Additionally, you’ll earn 1% cashback on everything else, which isn't bad considering how this card can help you rebuild your credit.

Bonus Offers: The cashback you've earned during your first year is matched dollar-for-dollar for an extra rewards bonus.

Best for Travelers

Best for Travelers: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.24%
  • Variable APR
    17.27% - 24.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    1 point per dollar
  • Annual Fee
    $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Intro APR
    n/a
  • Bonus Offers
    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Pros

  • Those who love to travel know this as one of the best credit cards for young adults, thanks to the ability to earn up to 2x more points per $1 spent (and 1 point per $1 spent on other categories)
  • Tons of options for redeeming rewards in Chase Ultimate Rewards, a program that offers tremendous value according to The Points Guy
  • Many first-time credit card options don’t offer a signup bonus, but this card delivers with the ability to earn $625 towards travel rewards

Cons

Let’s be frank: this credit card is not a good deal for those spending less than $10,000 per year when comparing potential rewards to the high $95 annual fee. Additionally, it can be hard for a young adult to get approved for if they don’t have any credit history. After all, the card requires excellent credit for approval.

Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Application Process: Online—you’ll have to first sign in as when applying for any other Chase credit cards.

Annual Fee: Enjoy zero fees during the first year, but steel yourself for a $95 fee for the next (and so on as long as you keep the account open). Credit Donkey says it’s “worth the $95 annual fee”, which is not an honor bestowed lightly.

APR: Based on credit-worthiness, you’re looking at a variable APR between 16.99% and 23.99%.

Rewards and Redemption Options: There’s a lot of good news here, starting with the fact that redemption options are flexible. When you redeem them through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal you get a 20% discount on points, meaning that each point will then be worth $1.25.

When redeeming travel rewards, you’ll be rerouted to a travel portal kind of like Expedia, where you can book flights or hotels, while comparing different options at a 1:1 ratio. No losing points in the process! Partner airlines include major airlines like Air France/KLM, British Airways, Korean Air, United, and Virgin Atlantic, and major hotel chain options include the likes of Marriott, Hyatt, and Ritz-Carlton.

Statement credits and cash backs can also be redeemed, but at a 1 cent:1 point ratio, so you’re probably better off getting this card only if you’re willing to use Chase’s other rewards redemption options.

Bonus Offers: Earn 50,000 rewards points for every $4,000 spent within the first three months of opening an account, which is $625 towards travel when redeemed using the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Additionally, if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the first 3 months, you’ll earn an extra 5,000 points. The only caveat to this latter term is that you can't have received a bonus from this Chase card or another Chase card over the past 24 months. While most use this perk as a way to empower employees to make purchases, a young adult might use it to add a parent or partner to their account (mostly to rack up the bonus).

Best for Recent Graduates with Good Credit

Best for Recent Graduates with Good Credit: Chase Freedom Credit Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.24%
  • Variable APR
    16.24% - 24.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Bonus Offers
    Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Pros

  • Rotating 5% cash back categories with quarterly spending caps, 1% cashback on everything else
  • A generous and easily obtainable bonus ($150 after spending $500)
  • Its a no-fee credit card that also offers a 0% introductory APR that lasts 15 entire months

Cons

There’s not a whole lot of freedom when it comes to a strict minimum redemption amount of $20. We’ve shared many options for credit cards with straightforward rewards redemption and unfortunately, this card isn’t one of them. This mostly has to do with the fact that you have to remember to first activate the quarterly bonus categories in order to actually get higher cashback rates on them. Here’s the real stinger—this card may offer no annual fees, but there are foreign transaction fees to deal with.

Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.24-24.99%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

Application Process: Online, on Chase’s website.

Annual Fee: There’s no annual fee to use this card but there is a foreign transaction fee.

APR: Celebrate the fact that you get 0% for the first 15 months, then a variable APR of 15.74% to 24.49%. Additionally, balance transfer fees are $5 or 5% of the transferred amount (whichever is greater).

Rewards and Redemption Options: Redeem your rewards as cash back, bank account deposits, or statement credits. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent apiece and may be claimed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Using this portal, you also have access to general or travel merchandise purchases made through the portal or third-party retailers such as Amazon.

Bonus Offers: Easily earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within 3 months after opening an account. You can also earn $25 after you add your first authorized user to the account and they make their first purchase within that same 3 month period.

Best for All-Around Spending

Best for All-Around Spending: Citi Double Cashback Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.49%
  • Variable APR
    14.74% - 24.74%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months
  • Bonus Offers
    n/a

Pros

  • It’s called a double cash card for a reason: it pays you back, twice—get 1% cashback on all purchases with absolutely no spending limits, and an additional 1% on all monthly payments (as long as you keep up with your minimum payments)
  • Straightforward rewards redemption process
  • ValuePenguin says it’s "Easily the best cashback card on the market."

Cons

This is really nitpicking, but there are a few things about this credit card that might give you pause. First, there’s no sign-up bonus, a major bummer for those conditioned to expect them when opening a new credit card account. Second, you technically can’t redeem rewards whenever you want—you’ll have to wait until earning at least $25 in rewards, as this amount represents the minimum for cash back redemption.

Details

  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

Application Process: Apply online on Citi’s website.

Annual Fee: There’s no annual fee—perfect for the young adult just getting started with building their credit.

APR: Enjoy the benefits of 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers within the first 15 months of account opening. Just don’t get too comfortable—you’ll be assessed a variable APR between 14.49% to 24.49% once the honeymoon is over.

Note that balance transfers do not earn cash back, and must be completed within 4 months after account opening. There will be a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the total amount, whichever is greater.

Rewards and Redemption Options: You can claim your rewards as statement credit, a gift card, or as a check in the mail. Note that the minimum cash back redemption is $25.

Bonus Offers: As already stated, there are no bonus offers to get particularly excited about, but you’ll be happy to know that this credit card comes with:

  • A free pass on your first late fee;
  • Special access to presale tickets and VIP packages and complimentary movie screenings; and 
  • Travel insurance and purchase protection.

Want to build credit, but have no clue where to start? You’re in the right place.

We know that it’s tricky to choose a credit card when you’re a  young adult, especially if you’re new to the world of personal finance. That’s why we’ve taken the time to answer common credit-related questions from people just like you. We cover everything from the application process to the importance of paying your monthly statement on time, so browse our FAQs for tons of insider info on credit cards for young adults.

General Information About the Best Credit Cards for Young Adults

What is a credit card for young adults?

A credit card for young adults is a line of credit that is designed for young adults, such as college students and recent graduates. In some cases, your line of credit is self-funded via a security deposit (more on that below). Other times, a bank funds your line of credit, and then you repay the bank by sending payments to your credit card company.

Do I have to be a young adult to get one of these credit cards?

Nope, that’s generally not a requirement if you’re applying for a credit card geared toward young adults. There are some exceptions, of course.

However, if you aren’t a young adult, you might prefer different cards than the ones referenced in this article. Check out these articles instead:

Credit cards for young adults are generally designed for individuals who don’t have much experience with personal finance products. They are set up to benefit young cardholders and help them build or establish credit.

What’s the difference between a secured card and an unsecured card?

Most credit cards, including the ones in our list of faves above, are unsecured. That means you don’t have to provide collateral to get a line of credit. Your line of credit is funded by a bank or credit union on the credit card’s behalf.

A secured credit card is funded by your own money. You send a deposit, and then the credit card company activates your card. The amount of your security deposit often determines how much credit you receive, but some companies offer partially secured cards.

A partially secured card is a line of credit that’s funded by you and a financial institution. For example, you may pay a security deposit of $100 but receive a credit line of $200. If you do not default on your payments or violate your cardholder agreement, you can request a refund for your full or partial security deposit when you close your credit card account.

Can I use my credit card to pay for college?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it if you have other options. Make sure you’ve applied for scholarships, Pell Grants, and student loans before you rack up debt on your credit card.

You can use your credit card to pay for nearly everything (as long as it’s legal!), but we encourage you to use it responsibly. We’ll discuss this more under the section titled “How a Credit Card for Young Adults Can Affect Your Credit.”

What is the best credit card for young adults?

It’s hard to just choose one card as the best credit card for young adults because everybody has unique spending habits and financial goals. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our 4 favorite credit cards for young adults:

  • Discover It Secured Credit Card - best for young adults without credit history
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card - best for young adults who like to travel
  • Chase Freedom Credit Card - best for recent graduates with good credit
  • Citi Double Cash Credit Card - best for all-around spending

We’ve also compiled a list of the best credit cards for college students that you might find helpful.

The Application Process for Credit Cards for Young Adults

How do you get a credit card for young adults?

Many credit cards for young adults have an online application that provides a response in less than a minute or two. You may also have the option to apply over the phone, via postal mail, or at a local bank or credit union.

Why didn’t I get an instant approval for a credit card?

We know it’s a total bummer when you don’t get approved instantly, so we’ll explain why it happens. When you get the dreaded “we are still processing your application and will contact you within 7 to 10 days” response, it does not mean your app got rejected. It means that something on your app flagged a manual review rather than a computer-generated approval.

Here are some common issues that may lead to a manual review:

  • No established credit or very little credit
  • Multiple addresses in the last few years
  • Excellent credit but lower-than-expected income
  • A low credit score that’s the result of recently rectified debts from years ago

If you don’t receive an instant approval, contact the credit card company to see if you can speed up the application process. They may need additional information from you.

Do I need my parents to cosign for my credit card?

If you have decent credit, you can get a credit card without having your parents cosign on the application. However, there might be benefits to applying with your parents, including:

  • High credit line
  • Low APR
  • Approvals for cards that you would have been rejected for on your own
  • Generous rewards and other perks if their signature helps you get a card geared toward people with excellent credit

If your parents have bad credit, we don’t recommend having them cosign. Their financial history and current spending habits may impact your future credit history in a negative way.

What are some reasons I might get denied for a credit card?

Check the terms of service before you apply for a credit card for young adults. Many credit card companies provide information on deal breakers that cause immediate rejection, such as:

  • Active bankruptcy status
  • Unemployment with no source of steady income
  • Lack of a Social Security number
  • Lack of U.S. citizenship

You may also get rejected for a card if you have a low FICO score, a high debt-to-income ratio, and/or multiple accounts in collections.

When can I reapply if I get denied for a credit card for young adults?

After you fix the issues that contributed to your rejection, which may take a while. If you’re unsure why you got rejected, you can request a statement of explanation from the credit card company.

We recommend waiting at least 6 months, preferably much longer - like a year or two - before reapplying for a card. This gives your credit history time to show a pattern of responsible behavior after you fix the issues that caused the card rejection.

Fees, Deposits, and APR

How much does it cost to get a credit card for young adults?

It’s free to get a credit card unless your card charges an activation fee, an annual fee, or a security deposit. A security deposit is refundable if you use your card responsibly, but activation fees and annual fees are generally not.

What does it mean if a credit card wants a security deposit?

It means that your FICO score probably needs some TLC, so you are a risky applicant. Instead of denying your application, the credit card company wants you to fund your own line of credit with a security deposit.

A security deposit is refundable, sometimes with interest, if you follow the cardholder agreement. If you file for bankruptcy or have your credit card account closed due to nonpayment, you probably won’t get your security deposit back.

What fees I should expect from a credit card for young adults?

Your card might have an annual fee, but those are more common in rewards cards or cards geared toward adults with excellent credit. You may have an activation fee if you get a card for people with bad credit, but most cards we’ve reviewed don’t charge upfront fees.

Here are some other fees you may encounter while using a credit card for young adults:

  • Cash advance fees
  • Overlimit fees
  • Late fees
  • Terminal fees for some merchants
  • Foreign transaction fees

You can limit the number of fees you pay by using your card responsibly. Pay your bill on time, and avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM unless it’s an emergency.

What is my APR?

An APR is an annual percentage rate. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains how an APR works by describing it as “the price you pay for borrowing money.” We agree with this definition.

An APR is often avoidable if you pay off your entire credit card balance before the due date. If not, you may pay an APR that’s generally somewhere between 10% to 35% for your purchases. You’ll know what your variable APR is when you apply for a credit card, so there shouldn’t be any surprise expenses each time you use your card.

Does everyone have the same APR for a credit card?

Each credit card has its own guidelines for determining a cardholder’s APR. Some cards give every customer the same APR, but that’s not the norm.

Your APR is generally determined by creditworthiness, which means whether your credit is good or bad. If you have bad credit, you’ll probably have a high APR because it’s risky for credit card companies to give you a line of credit.

How a Credit Card for Young Adults Can Affect Your Credit

Will getting a credit card for young adults help my credit?

It might - as long as you use it responsibly. Don’t make frivolous purchases with your card, and don’t max it out.

Pay your bill on time, every time, and try not to utilize more than 30% of your available credit. That means you shouldn’t charge more than $90 total if you’ve got a $300 credit line.

How do I check my credit?

Many credit cards for young adults offer free credit monitoring, so that’s one option. You can also request a free credit report each year from the three major credit bureaus.

Credit Karma and Credit Sesame let you monitor your credit report for free, but neither site provides free copies of your official credit reports. You can request those by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. If you want your FICO score, check out MyFico.com.

Why did my credit score go down when I applied for a credit card?

This is a common complaint from credit card applicants, and it happens when a company runs a hard inquiry rather than a soft inquiry. In the future, you can prevent this by using preapproval tools before you apply for cards. These tools use soft inquiries that do not affect your credit score.

How long does it take to build credit with a credit card for young adults?

If you have bad credit or no credit, your credit score may jump several points as soon as you get approved for a new credit card. However, it takes months - sometimes years - for your credit score to drastically change when you start building credit.

If I get a secured card, will it still improve my credit?

Yes, if you use your secured card responsibly. Credit bureaus treat secured credit cards the same way they treat unsecured cards. If you pay your monthly bills on time and keep your credit utilization ratio low, a secured card can help improve your credit.

Potential Concerns About Credit Cards for Young Adults

What if I can’t afford my credit card bill?

Make sure the credit card company knows! If possible, contact them before your bill is late to explain what’s going on in your life. They may extend your due date or offer to waive the late fee if you are honest about your situation.

Even if the credit company isn’t willing to work with you, they might keep your card open if you let them know you’re experiencing a temporary financial setback. If they don’t hear from you, they might close your account or lower your credit line.

What happens if my card is lost or stolen?

Your credit card company will issue a replacement card (there might be a fee for this) and cancel the original card. Make sure you contact your credit card company ASAP if your card is missing, as your account might get hit with fraudulent charges if you wait too long.

Yes, you can dispute the fraudulent charges, but it takes time to do that. It’s easier to prevent them from happening in the first place by telling a credit card company your card is gone.

There’s a purchase that isn’t mine on my credit card statement - help!

Yikes! Okay, before you panic, answer the following questions:

  • Have you signed up for any monthly subscriptions, such as Ipsy or FabFitFun?
  • Have you recently rented a car?
  • Have you recently booked a hotel room?
  • Is your credit card linked to PayPal or your bank account as a secondary funding source?
  • Does your card have a monthly maintenance fee or an annual fee?
  • Have you registered any bills for auto debit?

We mentioned cars and hotel rooms above because sometimes they place authorization holds on credit cards and debit cards. Alternately, you may have simply forgotten you signed up for a subscription box or an automatic debit for a bill.

If none of these situations apply, contact your credit card company immediately. These charges may be the result of identity theft or a compromised card number. Your card company can help you remove them from your statement.

What if I go over the limit for my credit card?

A credit card isn’t a checking account, so it’s difficult for you to go over the limit. The exception is if you have a monthly maintenance fee, an annual fee, a late fee, or APR interest that hits after you have maxed out your card.

If you manage to go over the limit for your credit card, you might get hit with an overlimit fee. Even if you don’t have a fee, try to avoid going over your limit; it doesn’t look good on your credit report.

I returned a purchase and don’t see my refund - what do I do?

Contact your credit card company if it’s been more than a week or so. Refunds generally take a few days to appear on credit card statements. That means it’s totally normal if you return a pair of socks to Target and don’t see your refund 15 minutes later.

Hold on to your receipt for the returned item until the correction appears on your statement. You may need to show the credit card company if you don’t see your refund after the normal processing timeframe passes.

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

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