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Top cards that build credit

Explore cards that can help improve your credit score.

Our top cards

These secured cards are linked to a deposit account balance, which determines your credit limit, allowing you to avoid excessive debt while also building a credit history.

Earn up to 4% APY

Current Credit Building Card

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  • $0 monthly fees
  • No credit check, interest charges or security deposit
  • Build credit plus earn up to 4% APY
  • $50 referral bonus

Build credit & earn up to 5% APY

Varo Believe

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  • $0 monthly fees
  • No credit check or APR
  • Must have Varo bank account to apply
  • Build credit plus earn up to 5% APY
  • $30 referral bonus

Build credit, get cashback

Step Visa Card

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  • $0 monthly fee
  • No credit check, security deposit or interest charges
  • Up to 3% cashback
  • Earn 5% with $500+ in direct deposits
  • Build positive credit history before 18

Compare cards that build credit

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Requirements Credit Bureaus Offer
Current Credit Building Card
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Current Credit Building Card
$0 per month
$0
Subject to approval, with no credit check involved.
Equifax, Experian,TransUnion
Get a $50 referral bonus by inviting your friends to join Current. Once the person receives the invite link and makes qualifying deposits of at least $200 within 45 days of opening the account, you and the referred friend each earn $50.
Varo Believe
Not rated yet
Bonus
Varo Believe
$0 per month
$0
Must have a Varo Bank account with no negative balance and have received at least $500 in direct deposits in the past 90 days to qualify.
Equifax, Experian,TransUnion
Varo is running a Referral Bonus Promotion through January 11, 2024 that gets both existing and new customers $30 when signing up for a Varo Bank account.
Step Visa Card
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Step Visa Card
$0 per month
$0
No age requirements; opt-in available at 18 to report positive credit history to bureaus.
Equifax, Experian,TransUnion
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How do credit-building cards work?

Credit-building cards are like a debit and credit card hybrid. They’re basically an alternative secured credit card, but with a different security deposit.

Credit-building cards are usually secured with an existing, linked bank account. The linked bank account balance acts as your security balance and sets your spending limit. When you use the card to make purchases, the balance is repaid with the linked bank account. Those payments are then reported to the credit bureaus, which can help you build a positive credit history.

Most traditional secured and unsecured lines of credit charge interest. But most credit-building are free, and most don’t charge annual fees or an APR like a traditional credit card.

Benefits of credit building cards

One of the best benefits of credit-building cards is the opportunity to build a better credit history, and usually, that means fewer fees than traditional credit cards.

  • Usually no APR. Most credit building cards don’t charge interest.
  • Fewer fees. Unlike traditional credit cards, some credit-building cards don’t charge annual or monthly maintenance fees.
  • The account is secured. Most have some type of security, whether it be a linked bank account or a security deposit, making them a safer way to borrow due to the lower risk of accumulated debt you can’t repay.
  • No credit check. While traditional secured cards might check your credit, some credit-building cards don’t require a hard credit pull.

What to watch out for

Credit-building products are considered safer than traditional borrowing methods, but with that safety comes some downsides.

  • Low spending limits. Because credit-building cards often require a security or deposit, spending limits are typically much lower than traditional credit cards.
  • Often requires linked bank accounts. Most require you to link an existing bank account, and most require you to open a specific checking account to qualify.
  • Check where they report. Some credit-building products don’t report to all three credit bureaus. For example, Affirm only reports payments to Experian.
  • Credit building loans take time. Unlike traditional installment loans, credit-building cards with loan installments won’t let you access funds until the term is over.

Who are credit-building cards best for?

Credit-building cards are great for anyone who wants to build or start improving their credit history.

However, you’ll need a security deposit or a linked bank account that’s funded for the card to actually work. They won’t build credit on their own — you have to use the card so that repayments get reported to the credit bureaus.

Bottom line

Building credit takes time — often years of hard work. But many of these cards can help push you in the right direction if you consistently use them and make all your payments on time. But taking on credit-building products isn’t the only way to boost your credit history — see more tips on how to build credit here.

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