Financial Fitness


5 credit cards for teens

Posted at 6:32 AM, May 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-13 06:32:12-04

When Americans turn 18, they are considered adults under the law. That means that they can vote and be tried as an adult, but it’s also the first time that they are able to apply for a credit card account in their own name, though they’ll have to jump through a few hoops first.

Under the CARD Act of 2009, no credit card may be issued to a consumer under the age of 21, unless they have a co-signer who has the means to repay the debts or they can prove they independently can repay the debt.

The problem is that teenagers by their very nature have little or no credit history. (You can see if you’re considered “scoreable” by checking your credit scores for free on Nevertheless, some credit card issuers are so eager to acquire new customers in this age group, that they can offer cards specifically tailored to their limited credit profiles. These cards for teens and young adults will have lower requirements, in exchange for fewer rewards and higher interest rates than those offered to the general market.

So here are five credit cards, none of which charge an annual fee, that are just right for teens, students and other young adults.

1. Discover it Chrome for Students

This card offers 2 percent cash back on all dining and as purchases, on up to $1,000 spent each quarter, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. In addition, Discover will waive a cardholder’s first late payment fee, and there is never any penalty interest rate applied. New cardholders will also receive 0 percent APR promotional financing for six months, and a standard rate of 12.99 percent to 21.99 percent after that.

Other benefits include a free FICO credit score on monthly statements, online, and in their mobile app. In addition, the Discover card maintains an excellent reputation for customer service.

2. BankAmericard Credit Card for Students

This card offers new applicants 0 percent APR promotional financing on new purchases for 15 months, and a standard interest rate of 10.99 percent to 20.99 percent. Otherwise, this is a fairly simple card from a major retail bank, so young adults have the opportunity to conveniently manage all of their accounts in one place.

3. Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa Card

Wells Fargo offers this student card that features 3 percent cash back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for their first six months card membership. After that, cardholders earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases. An innovative benefit is a cellular telephone protection program which offers up to $600 of coverage against covered damage or theft at no cost except for a $25 deductible. The coverage is effective so long as you use your Wells Fargo credit card to pay for your service bill.

4. Capital One Journey Student Rewards card

This card features 1 percent cash back on all purchases, plus a 25 percent bonus on the cash back each month when cardholders pay their balances on time. Further, cardholders receive a higher line of credit after they make their first five monthly payments on time, as part of Capital One’s Credit Step program. There is no a foreign transaction fee on this or any other Capital One credit card.

5. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card For College Students

New cardholders earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou points after making $500 in purchases within three months of account opening. Cardholders also receive double points for dining and restaurant purchases, plus one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are worth about one cent each toward a variety of merchandise, gift card, and travel options. New cardholders also receive seven months of 0 percent APR promotional financing on new purchases, and a standard rate of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent after that.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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