I am looking to build my credit history but before I apply, I’d like to get some recommendations about cards that work best for someone like me with no prior history.
If you have no credit history you should start out with a secured card.
I would suggest joining a credit union which offers a secured credit card.
There's a few different ways to get your credit file started. Secured card is one option. You could try for a Capital One Platinum card. This is a no-frills, entry level card that's typically easy for thin to non-existant files to acquire. (One of my daughters got this card as her first card of her own.) In a few months, you should be able to PC it to a Quicksilver and then start earning 1.5% cash back on your spend. If you're a student, there's a few different "student" level cards out there. (Citi, Discover, Chase, etc. )If you have a current relationship with a credit union, you might ask them about their credit offerings for beginner credit as well. If you're in their footprint, BB&T has been doing "soft pull" approvals, so you could try for one of their cards, and if declined, you wouldn't have any hard pulls recorded on your file.
Store cards are also easy to get if there's one that suits you, but it is in your better interests to limit the amout of "store" cards that you carry. One or two won't hurt, but building a file full of retail cards can be frowned upon when you begin to look for bigger and better lenders to get in with.
Use whatever card you decide to get for at least six months and you'll have a FICO score by then and a little history. After a year, you should be able to look at cards from other lenders like Amex, Discover, Citi, BoA, etc.
By all means, stay away from the predatory lenders that will start marketing your once you've developed a credit file. You don't need the likes of Credit One, First Premier, Surge, Verve, or anything along those lines. Whatever you decide, make sure you read the fine print before you apply. The above cards can charge in excess of 30% (!) interest with "no grace period", meaning that interest will accrue from the moment the transaction posts to your account, along with many "fees" that add up in a big way.
Best of luck and welcome to MyFICO!
Check for prequals.
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I am going to throw Open Sky in there, too
It's a decent starter card and it saves you HP for later when it actually counts.
@Macklink9410 wroteo you mind if I ask what “prequels” are?
Prequals are when you visit a lender's website and let them do a "soft" pull of whatever credit file you have to see if you have any "Prequalification" offers. You aren't guaranteed to be accepted but the odds are in your favor if you have a prequal offer. Soft pulls don't show up as an "inquiry" on your credit report, which can lower your score if you have too many. Prequals are usually accessed from the main bank credit card page or if you have a bank account, they may be from within your login page.
Later on, if you don't want lenders sending you prequal offers in the mail or online, you can "opt-out" for free with the credit bureaus. (However, this will also disable your own ability to check for prequal offers.)
Although you don't have a credit history, do you have a financial history, like pay, student loans, cell ohone?
If you have these things and have been dealng with a bank or credit union, they may be willing to give you an unsecured card.