Now that you've got a track record of managing your monthly bills responsibly, you can start to shop around for an entry-level credit card. At first, you probably won't qualify for the very best rewards credit cards on the market. But, as a stepping stone on your way to a strong credit history, you can select from a few high-quality credit cards for limited credit:
- Capital One® Platinum Credit Card. Traditional bankers consider Capital One an upstart, because the lender uses its own risk analysis database to review credit card applications. The company also customizes its credit card offers based on where you're at in your financial journey. This "no frills" credit card offers an introductory offer of no annual fee for the first year, and a modest annual fee after that of $19.
You won't want to carry much of a balance on this card. Just leave a dollar or two on your balance when your statement cycle ends, so your lender will report usage to the credit bureaus. Combine that strategy with the careful use of your retail cards, and you'll likely start earning even better credit card offers from competing lenders.
On the other hand, if you're not yet able to qualify for this card, the lender will also consider you for their secured credit cards. It might seem ludicrous to leave a few hundred dollars of your cash on deposit with a bank for the privilege of carrying a credit card, but you'll accelerate the process of earning unsecured credit. Good luck!