The Top 5 Best Beginner Credit Cards in 2019
Since this is my first official blog post, there is no better topic to start with than beginner credit cards. It can be a bit daunting when you are just beginning travel hacking because of the plethora of credit card options.
When I first began travel hacking, I didn’t really know what I was doing and ended up picking the wrong credit cards. Those wrong choices still affect me today because it caused me to miss out on maximizing the Chase 5/24 rule, limited time sign-up bonus offers, and more.
I do not want you to make the same mistakes I did so make sure you follow this guide when choosing which credit cards to apply for to begin your travel hacking journey.
5. Discover it Secured
If you have absolutely no credit history then this is the card for you. This card offers a ton of value and cash back opportunities for a secured card.
In order to establish your credit line, you will provide Discover with a refundable security deposit of $200-$2500. You will also need to provide your bank information when submitting the deposit. An automatic review will start 8 months after opening the card to determine if you can transition to an unsecured line of credit and receive your deposit back.
The Discover it Secured card offers 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations up to a limit of $1000 in combined purchases each quarter. You will also receive 1% cash back on all other purchases.
This may not sound like a great deal, but if you have no credit history this card is one of the few secured cards that will provide cash back value. This card is a great no annual fee, cash back, credit building option.
If you at least have some credit history, these next four cards may be a better option.
4. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card comes with a one time $150 cash back bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of opening the account. The standard cash back amount on everyday purchases is 1.5%.
There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. There is also a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months. So make sure to get that balance paid off within the first 15 months to avoid paying interest fees. The card also offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months, but there is a 3% fee on the amount transferred within that 15 month period.
The card would likely rank higher on the list if it offered 5% cash back on rotating categories like some of the next cards do, but it is still a great cash back card that can be used to build your credit score while still earning some cash back.
3. Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash Card comes in at number 3 on the list because of one simple reason, 2% cash back on ALL purchases. There is no annual free for the card.
This card also offers 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, which is slightly better than the Quicksilver Cash Card.
The Citi Double Cash Card is really a no frills card and a great option to build your credit score up while receiving 2% cash back on every purchas
2. Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it is the second best beginner card to get in 2019. This card offers one of the best intro offers you can find for cash back cards. Discover will match all the cash back that you earn on the card at the end of the first year. There is no limit to how much they will match and it is done automatically. This means if you maximize the cash back you earn on this card throughout the first year, you could receive a very nice cash back sum at then end of the year.
You will earn 5% cash back each quarter at various places such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, Amazon, and more. If you are able to maximize the quarterly amount, you can earn a TON of cash back at the end of the year. It is important to keep up with which category is selected for the 5% bonus each quarter and use this card as much as possible.
You will also receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can redeem the cash back amount you earn at any time with any amount available. There is no annual fee on this card.
The 5% cash back rotating categories and intro offer are the reasons to get this card, you can make a killing in first year while also building up your credit history.
1. Chase Freedom
The Chase Freedom Card is easily the best beginner card to get in 2019. Why? Because unlike all of these other cash back cards, the Chase Freedom Card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points and can be used for travel.
Like most of these other cards, the Chase Freedom card has no annual fee, 0% intro APR for 15 months after account opening on purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% fee on the balance transferred in those first 15 months.
The card also offers a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months after opening the account. Similar to the Discover it Cash Back card, you can earn 5% cash back (up to $1500 in combined purchases) in rotating categories each quarter.
But those perks are not why the Chase Freedom card is the best beginner card of 2019. This card is the best because you earn Chase UR points which then can be used to earn cash back. However, these UR points become a whole lot more valuable when they are transferred to travel partners and used to redeem free flights and hotel rooms.
Chase UR points earned by the Chase Freedom card can’t be directly transferred to Chase travel partners. However, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Ink Business Preferred cards, you can transfer the UR points to those cards and then transfer them to travel partners or use the points however you like.
So if you sign up for the Chase Freedom card, earn those Chase UR points, save them up until you apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card, and transfer those points over to maximize their value.
This card is such a great option for a beginner in 2019. And when you combine it with other Chase cards, it becomes even more valuable. This card will be a valuable staple in your credit card collection for years to come.