The Best Credit Cards for Young Adults in 2022

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Whether you’re a high school student who’s graduating soon, a college freshman reveling in the intellectual delights of university, or a young adult starting a career, you’re at the point in your existence where you’re likely thinking about building up your credit. 

Establishing a solid credit history boosts your spending power and increases financial possibilities. While building a credit score that lenders take seriously can be challenging for young adults, responsibly using a credit card is one of the best ways to accomplish this objective.

We’ve chosen the best credit cards for young adults in this article. Without further ado, let’s dive in! 

Discover It Student Cash Back 

The Discover It Student Cash Back card is one of the best cards for young adults who want to earn robust cash back rewards. You’ll earn 5% for everything you buy from specific spending categories that rotate every three months and 1% on all other purchases with no limit. 

What’s particularly exciting about this card is that Discover will automatically match, dollar for dollar, the cash back you’ve accumulated by the end of your first membership year, giving you the power to turn $50 cashback into $100 or $100 into $200. 

The Discover It comes with a 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) offer for the first six months. Then, a 13.24% to 22.24% variable APR kicks in. 

You can apply even if you don’t have a credit history. There’s no yearly fee and no late fee on your first missed payment. You get free access to your FICO credit score to keep tabs on how your efforts establishing credit are paying off. 

Cardholders can use Discover’s Freeze It feature, an on/off switch to stop and start the ability to make new purchases. This anti-fraud feature can be activated online, from a mobile device, or over the phone. Discover is the only major credit card issuer to offer this. 

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Rewards

If you’re a young adult with a less-than-perfect credit score, you might want to get the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Rewards card. However, you’ll need to pay a $200 security deposit to get an initial $200 credit line. 

The security deposit serves as collateral, which means it won’t earn interest or be applied to your monthly payments. After six months, you’ll be automatically considered for a higher credit limit. You won’t be required to pay an additional security deposit if they grant you one.

If you put more money down as a security deposit, you’ll get a higher credit line (up to $3,000). By promptly making your monthly payments, you can earn back your deposit and be able to upgrade to an unsecured card.

Cardholders get access to CreditWise at no additional cost. This credit monitoring service won’t affect your credit score. 

Some cards offer new member bonuses, such as cashback after spending a certain amount in a specified period. However, the Quicksilver doesn’t give you these kinds of perks.

Earning rewards points 

To earn reward points with some cards, you must make purchases from categories that rotate every three months. The Quicksilver doesn’t place these restrictions on you, making it less confusing to accumulate reward points. However, the 1.5% you earn on every purchase you make isn’t as good as the points you can rack up with companies that have rotating categories. 

Quicksilver card fees 

Many credit cards come with an annual fee. The Quicksilver doesn’t have one, which means it’s a terrific card for young adults low on cash and just beginning to establish a credit history. The card has a 26.99% variable APR, which is a bit on the high side.

Some credit card companies make you pay foreign transaction fees of up to 3% for purchases made outside the US. The Quicksilver Secured card doesn’t do this, so it’s good to have if you do a lot of traveling.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Young adults with good credit should consider applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, a card with one of the best rewards programs, even if it can be a little confusing. For starters, you earn 5% cashback on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal and 5% cashback on gas station purchases (up to $6,000) in your first year as a member. 

You’ll enjoy 3% cashback on dining, including takeout and eligible food delivery services, and drugstore purchases. You’ll get 1.5% cashback on everything else (up to $20,00). 

There’s no minimum amount you need to redeem to get cashback. You can choose to get a statement credit or a direct deposit into your checking or savings account. Link your Chase Freedom Unlimited card to your Amazon account and instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for your orders, including tax and shipping.

Furthermore, you’ll receive a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. There’s no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. 

After the introductory period, there’s a variable APR of 15.24% to 23.99%. Unfortunately, there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, which is a bummer if you’re planning on buying lots of stuff on international vacations

American Express Green Card

The American Express Green card is perfect for young adults who frequently travel for work, regularly dine out with clients or colleagues, and have a decent credit score. Like other American Express travel cards, you earn Amex Membership Rewards points. 

This card is best for individuals who spend a lot but intend to pay off the balance each month. To make it worth your while, you’ll need to earn enough rewards each year to cover the cost of the card’s $150 annual fee. 

The Amex Green card has a spending limit that varies over time based on market factors and your spending and payment history. However, it’s hard to find out what it is at any given time, and this means you might not know when you’re close to maxing out your card. 

You’ll need to pay off most charges by the due date of each billing period if you want to continue making purchases. A part of your balance can be paid off over time with interest, and the APR you’ll pay depends on your creditworthiness.

The American Express Green card lets you split your purchases with other Venmo or PayPal users directly from the American Express app. The app divides up the total amount and tells each party what their share is.

Rewards program 

The Amex Green’s decent rewards program gives you three points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining. The travel category includes everything from airfare and hotel reservations to tolls, public transit, and ridesharing

Unlike some other Amex cards’ dining rewards, restaurants outside the United States are eligible for reward points. Cardholders earn 40,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first six months. 

Travel perks 

Amex Green members who travel a lot will love the bonuses that make taking trips more relaxing and streamlined. For example, you’ll get up to $100 in statement credits when you buy LoungeBuddy passes with your card. With a LoungeBuddy pass, you can purchase single-use day passes to airport lounges where you can unwind in style. 

You’ll also get up to $100 a year in statement credits when you use the card to pay for your Clear membership. Clear is a prescreening program that uses biometrics to verify your identity at airports and other venues, which speeds up the check-in process. 

There are no foreign transaction fees. However, American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted abroad as some other cards are.

Aspiration Zero

Aspiration Zero offers many of the same benefits as the cards mentioned in this article. However, we also give you the ability to do something none of the others do: make a difference in the world. We’ll plant a tree with every purchase you make, and if you want to, you can round up what you buy to plant a second tree. 

By using the Aspiration Zero carbon-neutral credit card just once a day, you can help to eliminate your carbon footprint’s adverse effects. You can even track your journey to carbon neutral in our easy-to-use app. 

You can feel good about doing all your banking with us. We never use customers’ deposits to fund the carbon emissions-spewing fossil fuel industry.

We’re a neobank visionary enough to realize that vigorous economic growth must be counterbalanced with impassioned environmental and social activism. That’s why we’re committed to donating 10% of our profits to not only helping economically disadvantaged Americans but also planting 100 million trees by 2030 to stem the insidious tide of climate change.

Our financial products are firmly rooted in the ethics of environmental justice. We’ll help you spend, save, and invest without ignoring our primary mission, helping to heal the planet. That way, you can grow your wealth while helping to secure a bright future for our precious earth.  

What’s more, the Aspiration Zero card itself is biodegradable. Instead of being manufactured from plastic, it’s made from plant-based materials. 

If you’re looking for a credit card that helps the environment while putting money in your pocket, apply for the Aspiration Zero today

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