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How to Get A Credit Card With No Credit

Last Updated: September 6, 2023
5 min read

Key points about: how to get a credit card for no credit

  1. There are credit card options for individuals with no credit or limited credit history.

  2. A secured credit card is a type of card that requires a security deposit at account opening.

  3. A student credit card is a credit card, usually with a lower credit limit than other credit cards.

Credit history and credit score are major factors in getting approved for a credit card. That's because credit card issuers typically run a credit check of your credit history before issuing a credit card. They want to know that you have experience making on-time payments and using credit responsibly.

But if you haven’t had a credit card before or you don't have an extensive credit history, you still have options to build up your credit score and prove your creditworthiness.

While there's no one best credit card for building credit history, a secured credit card or a student credit card can be an excellent place to start. If you’re approved, with the proper spending habits, you can use your credit cards to build personal credit, and may be able to impact your credit score.  

So, if you’re just starting your journey to build credit history, here’s what you need to know about how to get a credit card with no credit history.

Apply for a credit card for people with no credit history

You could get the ball rolling with a credit building card to build credit history. If it's your first time getting a credit card, you can opt for a credit card geared toward people with limited credit history or no credit history.

These alternatives may come with specific terms, such as higher interest rates and lower credit limits. With responsible use, you could establish a good credit score and showcase your creditworthiness. 

Types of credit cards for people with no credit history include:

Secured credit cards

A secured credit card is a credit building credit card that requires a cash deposit as collateral. This upfront cash payment is typically equal to the credit limit, which helps to minimize the risk to the credit card issuer.

If you’re approved for a secured card, you can use it to make purchases, and then you’ll make monthly payments as long as you carry a balance. You’ll accrue interest on purchases if you don’t pay your balance in full each month, and any missed payments could show up on your credit report and may negatively impact your credit score. 

Did you know?

By using a secured credit card responsibly, by making purchases you can either pay off each month or pay at least the minimum monthly payment on, and paying on time you could build your credit history and may be eligible to have your deposit returned. With the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, you may qualify to get your deposit back after six consecutive months of on-time payments and maintaining good status on all your credit accounts.1

A secured card isn’t only a suitable credit building card; a secured credit card may also be helpful for those rebuilding credit history if they want to improve a poor credit score.. If you need to determine your credit score, you can check your credit before applying for a secured credit card. 

Student credit cards

Student credit cards can help students with no credit score start building their credit history. A student credit card is often considered a good credit building credit card, as with responsible use, you could build towards a good credit score. 

To apply for a student credit card, you must usually be at least 18 years old, have a U.S. address and Social Security number, show proof of education, and provide all the required information requested in the credit card application. The requirements may vary from card issuer to card issuer.

Student credit cards may have a lower credit limit than standard cards. However, they also may come with perks such as no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, or cash back rewards on everyday purchases. 

One benefit of a student credit card with cash back is that some credit card issuers let you use the cash back you've accumulated to pay your monthly statement balance. 

As with other credit cards, you could use a student card to make regular purchases, then pay at least your minimum monthly payment. Since these cards are for people with little or no credit history, they may come with a comparatively low credit limit and a higher APR or interest rate.

You may also want a student credit card with no annual fee as a credit building card, so you don't have to worry about paying fees while managing your first credit card. Discover has no annual fee on any of our cards, including student credit cards.

With a student credit card, you can start building a credit history, and with responsible use, you can build up your credit score. Then, you could apply for a mortgage, car loan, or other forms of credit with more confidence.

You may also be eligible to upgrade your student account to a standard credit card account upon graduation, especially if you've built or maintained a good credit score. The new card may also have an intro APR offer at account opening. 

Build credit history as an authorized user

If you don’t qualify for a credit card account directly — or aren’t interested in using a secured card or student credit card — a friend or family member can add you as an authorized user to their credit card account to build credit history. You’ll get a card in your name, but the account owner is still responsible for paying the account.

If you become an authorized user on someone else’s account, it’s important to check that all activity on the card is reported to each major credit bureau so you can build towards a good credit score. You’ll also want to make sure the person who owns the card is responsible when it comes to making payments because you'll be sharing their credit history, and for better or worse, it could show up on your credit report, which may impact your credit score.

Get a credit card with no credit

Getting a credit card with no credit history or limited credit history may seem difficult. The good news is that options are available to people who have yet to have any credit cards and are building credit history for the first time or for those who are rebuilding their credit history.  

Whether you apply for a secured credit card, open a student card, or become an authorized user on someone else’s account, just remember to use your card wisely to build up your credit score

Make on-time payments, keep your balance low, and avoid accruing interest if you can. This way, you can improve your creditworthiness and become eligible for other types of credit cards.

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  1. Graduation Transparency (Secured CLI): Monthly reviews start your seventh month as a customer. We will refund your security deposit if you have made all payments on time for the last six consecutive billing cycles on all your Discover accounts including any loans, and you've remained in “good status” on all credit accounts you are responsible for whether they are Discover accounts or not. “Good status” means: (1) your credit report shows no delinquencies, charge-offs, repossessions, or bankruptcies for the six months prior to our review; and (2) your Discover Secured Card is not in a prohibited status at the time of our review, including, but not limited to: closed, revoked, suspended, subject to tax levy, garnishment, deceased, lost/stolen, or fraud. Monthly reviews may be delayed if you change your payment due date. When you qualify to upgrade to a standard, ‘unsecured card’, Discover will also consider you for a credit line increase. We typically process your refund in 2-3 business days based on your delivery preference. If you close your account and pay in full, we’ll return your deposit within two billing cycles plus ten days.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.