How We Evaluated
I’m a veteran writer who has covered travel rewards and the intricacies of credit card points-and-miles. For this list, I looked for cards that would appeal to first-time cardholders and students looking to make the most out of the card rewards landscape. Most of these choices are within reach of those with limited or average credit, and many of them incentivize good spending habits with easy access to your credit score and bonus cash back. I also dug up a few options for travel and lifestyle-oriented spenders. While not as forgiving as basic starter cards, these cards will go far for those who use them well. And, finally, none of these cards have annual fees.
Things to Know About Credit Cards
Long introductory period APR rates are only a short-term incentive. Potentially high APR rates snap into effect after the card’s intro period ends, which could cost you a lot in interest if you’ve left your balance unpaid. It’s really important—especially when getting a card for a big purchase—to keep an eye on your finances, and keep an eye on the calendar.
APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating these cards. One thing to remember is that if you pay your card off in full every month, you will not be charged interest.
Banks have final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have average credit or above. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.
Please note: The offers mentioned above were valid at time of publication but are subject to change at any time. Some may no longer be available.
When you sign up for one of these cards, Reviewed may receive an affiliate commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.
Other Top Credit Card Options
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Meet the testers
Danny Nelson is a travel writer and freelance journalist. Aside from Reviewed, his work has appeared in The Points Guy. He is based in Boston.
See all of Danny Nelson's reviews
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.
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