Getting the best starter card can heighten your creditworthiness to the card issuing companies. Specifically, if you want an early relationship with Chase Bank, you can start with their product. You can get better chances to upgrade to a higher Chase card that way.
I have reviewed the best Chase credit card for beginners. Furthermore, I have included cards from other issuers to help you finalize your pick through corroborative evidence.
Our Top Beginners Chase Credit Card Recommendations
Your first card is a milestone in your credit scoring path. You should get the best options to choose the best from. I have compiled a list of the best Chase credit cards for beginners, along with other solid options. Note that all these cards have a $0 annual fee.
You can go through my comparative analysis for the cards below to make a prevailing final decision.
- Best Overall: Chase Freedom Rise
- Best for Flexibility: Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Best for Students: Discover It Student Cashback
- Best for Credit-Building: US Bank Cash+Secured Visa Card
Best Overall Card for Beginners: Chase Freedom Rise
The most important thing for you as a beginner is a high opportunity to build credit. Chase Freedom Rise lets you kickstart your journey by exempting you from a security deposit. It is an unusual feature of starter cards. You can open a Chase account for $250 to increase your approval chances. However, you can withdraw it after you get the card.
Another credit-building feature is a $25 statement credit if you enable automatic payments within the first three months. You will not have missed or late payments this way.
You also get an additional chance of a free credit check within the first six months. If you keep a responsible financial attitude, Chase will increase your initial credit line. With no annual fee and an average of 26.74% APR, you can enter the credit world confidently.
Cash Back Rewards
Freedom Rise offers the highest cash return in the ongoing purchases category. The 1.5% cashback is peculiar to other beginner cards that provide only a 1% return.
I am overwhelmed by the perks this card offers! Their value is the same as some premium cards. These benefits are unusual for other starter cards.
- You get up to $1,500 per person coverage for trip cancelation or delay. If you book again, you will not have to pay the entire amount again.
- Chase allows up to $500 purchase compensation per claim. If you bought a product through this card that was lost or damaged, the bank refunds you.
- You get access to My Chase Plan. It is a program that allows you to break large payments in a series of small installments. You can complete it within 18 months.
- You get an extra year extended warranty on selected US-based products. The original warranty should be at most three years. You can avail free repairs or replacements for one more year.
- You do not have to pay an annual fee. It helps you in saving and spending on necessities.
- You get statement credit upon switching to auto pay within the first three months. You can save yourself from the hassle of remembering your due date.
- You can earn unlimited cashback of 1.5% on all purchases.
- You get many services comparable to top-tiered Chase cards, like travel and luggage insurance.
- You can incur a moderately high APR if you carry a monthly balance.
- You do not get bonus categories. You will have to wait for an upgraded card to increase your rewards quickly.
Best Flexible Card for Beginners: Chase Freedom Unlimited
You will have no problem getting this card if you:
- Were an authorized user
- Asked your landlord to register your timely payments
- Got a personal loan and paid it on time
You get a hefty bonus offer of a dollar-by-dollar cashback match at the end of your first year. Your cashback will double before your second year with Chase Freedom Unlimited begins. Only a few beginner cards have such a generous offer.
However, the highlight of this card is its whooping intro offer. Picture this: a card with 0% balance transfers and APR on purchases for the first 15 months! It is excellent news if you plan to pay off a significant investment. You can carry a balance and clear your dues before the intro offer ends.
Cash Back Rewards
You can earn cashback between 1.5% – 5% with this card. Chase returns 1.5% on every routine purchase you make, paralleled only by a few starter cards.
You earn a 3% cash return on buying medicines and eating out. Additionally, you get a 5% cashback on travel reservations through this card. Also, you get maximum redemption through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You can also wait and transfer rewards to a high-tiered card when you upgrade. Your rewards will never expire.
- You are exempt from APR for the first 15 months. It will allow you enough time to pay off an enormous debt and get back on track.
- You can earn 5% cashback on travel bookings. It is advantageous if you study in another state or abroad and have to travel frequently.
- You get a 3% return for drugstore shopping and restaurants. You can earn on getting food delivered, too.
- You get a dollar-by-dollar cashback match at the end of your first year. Combine the double cashback with the 0% APR, and you have a solid beginner card.
- You must pay a foreign transaction fee so travel will be expensive.
- You need a credit score to apply for this card. You have to build credit by becoming an authorized user first.
Best Student Card for Beginners: Discover It Student Cashback
You will love it if you are a student learning to build credit. Aside from its cashback offers, Discover It Student Cash Back has other perks, too. You have to pay a 0% introductory APR on purchases. Moreover, you get to pay only 10.99% interest on balance transfers.
This offer expires after six months. However, you must still pay the lowest interest rate against other beginner cards. You should clear your monthly dues to avoid that charge.
You also get a cashback match at the end of your first year. You can make $100 cashback into $200 that way. It is an excellent incentive to keep you enthusiastic in your credit-building journey.
Cash Back Rewards
This card has a generous cashback offer that is hard to resist. As compared to other cashback starter cards, the 5% return on rotating bonus categories is a lavish deal. Moreover, all types are student-friendly. You do not have to sign up for unnecessary subscriptions to earn.
The reward cap, however, is at $1,500 for combined categories. Besides, you get the regular 1% cash return on purchases like any other beginner card.
- You can earn 5% cashback on rotating bonus categories. All categories are everyday amenities necessary for a student.
- You incur 0% intro APR for the first six months on purchases. It allows you enough time to plan your expenses to avoid the ongoing APR.
- It has no foreign transaction fee, so you can benefit if you are a student abroad.
- Discover It is not widely accepted internationally, so you might be unable to use it outside the US.
- You have to activate the rotating categories every quarter. You might forget to do so and lose the opportunity to earn.
Best Credit-Building Card for Beginners: US Bank Cash+Secured Visa Card
The most significant feature of US Bank Cash+Secured Visa is that you can choose your payment date. It is unique among other beginner cards that have a set due date. You can align your payment with your salary issuing date.
However, besides a $0 annual fee and exceptional rewards against other such cards, there is little to appreciate. You do not get a welcome offer. Also, the interest rate is fixed at a high of 29.99%. US Bank also charges you with a foreign transaction and balance transfer fee.
This card is a pure credit-building card that compels you to clear your monthly dues to avoid the APR. It urges you to spend on categories to earn early. This setup requires you to plan how to use your card efficiently to stay focused on your credit-scoring goal.
Cash Back Rewards
I love the breakdown of cashback US Bank Cash+Secured Visa offers. The bonus categories are all those that we all use regularly. You get a 5% cash return if you spend $2,000 on two rotating categories. TV, internet, electronics, clothing, and cell phone services can earn you lots. Then there are the 2% return categories. You can choose two out of the following:
- Gas stations
- Vehicle charging stations
There is no reward cap on these categories. You earn the usual 1% on every other purchase, less than the 1.5% with Freedom Rise.
Finally, you get a solid 5% cashback on booking flights, hotels, and rental cars through this card. You can redeem your rewards through statement credit or directly into your US bank account. Your rewards will stay viable until 36 months from when you got them, which negatively compares with Chase Freedom cards. Their rewards do not expire.
- It has a generous cashback reward system that allows you to start earning early.
- You do not have to pay an annual fee.
- You can choose the date for monthly payments. This will enable you to pick a date at your convenience.
- You can incur a high fixed APR if you carry a balance. This can upset your savings plan and can also nullify your cashback earnings.
- You do not get an introductory offer to ease into the card ecosystem.
Go for the highest limit you can get in a starter card. A low credit limit will increase your credit utilization ratio, which you must avoid. The best utilization ratio should be under 30%. The credit utilization ratio is your expenditure against your allowed credit line. If you have a limit of $200 and you spend $100, your utilization ratio is 50%.
Features to Consider Before Getting a Credit Card for Beginners
You must choose your first card diligently because your credit-building depends upon it. A successful choice will increase your creditworthiness for future mortgage or car loans. Remember to evaluate your income against your expenses before researching for a starter card.
|Chase Freedom Rise
|$500 – Around $5,000
|1.5% cash back on every purchase
|Chase Freedom Unlimited
|20.49% – 29.24% Variable
|$500 – $10,000 (Most users get a maximum of $5,000)
|5% cash back on travel reservations; 3% cash back on drugstore and dining purchases; and 1.5% cash back on every other purchase
|Discover It Student Cash Back
|18.24% – 27.24% Variable
|$500 – $3,000
|5% cash back on rotating bonus categories up to $1,500; and 1% cash back on every other purchase
|US Bank Cash+Secured Visa Card
|$300 – $5,000
|5% cashback on two bonus categories; 5% cash back on travel bookings; and 2% cash back on two everyday categories
A high limit will allow you more room to spend and keep your ratio within a reasonable range. Note that several beginner cards, like US Bank Cash+Secured Visa, have an initial low credit limit. Inquire about the potential increase and the maximum credit line you will get.
You should always aim for a low-interest card as a beginner. You have just started and are probably on your first job. A high interest can make a severe dent in your pocket. You should focus on building credit by spending on necessities instead of paying a huge interest.
That said, most beginner cards have a high-interest rate. You may have to pay up to 30% APR if you plan to carry a monthly balance. Select a card with the lowest APR range, like Discover It Student Cashback, and prepare to clear your monthly dues to offset it.
Although you are new to credit or have a low score, you should know the score different cards require. If you want Chase Sapphire Preferred as a beginner because you like it, you should know that the card requires an excellent score.
Furthermore, you can get approved for beginner cards with zero or a poor credit score. So, find out what your credit score should be to get an upgraded card or increased credit line. You can upgrade quickly to a better Freedom card if you start with Freedom Rise.
There are starter cards that demand a security deposit before issuance. You should go for the lowest deposit limit if you don’t want to hold hundreds of dollars for months. You can get your deposit back. However, mostly, there is no set time for when you will receive it.
Freedom Rise is unique here because you don’t need a security deposit to get it.
Remember to read the fine print thoroughly, too. Beginner cards charge you for every late, missed, and return payment. You also have to pay a foreign transaction fee for most of them. You will have to pay a fee for balance transfers and cash advances, too.
We all remain eager to explore the “earning by spending” part of credit cards. If you want to start accumulating cashback or reward points from as early as day one, go for it. Select a beginner card like Freedom Unlimited that offers all or some of the following:
- Welcome bonus
- Introductory discounts
- Complimentary services
- Reward points
- Reward miles if you want a travel starter card
You can always get a better card once you have a good credit score. However, if you like the services of your issuer, you might want to upgrade with them. Do your research for the most suitable future card.
Many starter cards like Freedom Rise offer an increased credit line after you display responsible payment behavior for a few months. Find out the maximum credit limit and when you will get it. It will be easier to plan for big purchases or loans in the future.
What Is the Easiest First Credit Card to Get?
Although there are multiple first cards you can get easily, Chase Freedom Rise is the easiest to get approved for. It has lenient requirements and is a perfect fit for beginners looking for rewards and upgrades.
How Many Credit Cards Should a Beginner Have?
A beginner should have one card minimum and three cards maximum. It is better to start with a single card and go for high-tiered ones after you have a good to excellent credit score.
What Is a Starter Credit Card?
A starter card is meant for those about to start their credit-building journey. Such a card does not require a high credit score, so it is easy to get approved. Those looking to rebuild their bad credit can also benefit from a starter card.
I recommend Chase Freedom Rise as the best beginner’s card. Its zero annual fee, reward percentage, and upgrade potential make it a solid option. You should look for a low-interest, high-credit limit card before starting your credit-building journey. Moreover, avoid additional charges and look for rewards and offers.