Home » Top Picks » Best Credit Cards for Young Professionals

Best Credit Cards for Young Professionals

Best Credit Cards for Young Professionals

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Aug 16, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Being a young professional can involve a lot of financial juggling, from paying down student loans to building up an emergency fund and saving for retirement. Choosing a credit card can help you earn rewards and build a good credit history, but learning how to responsibly manage credit and avoid getting into debt with a credit card is key.

The two most important ways to build a great credit score with credit cards are to never let your card balances rise above 30% of your credit limit, and always pay on time. Combine those practices with keeping your oldest card open and by not applying for too many cards in a short period of time, and you’re on your way to creating a solid credit profile.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the top five credit cards for young professionals. None of these cards have annual fees, so you can get cash back and rewards points for things such as dining out, traveling and more, without worrying about a yearly cost eating into what you earn. Take a look and see which one best fits your budgetary needs and your spending habits.

In this article:

Best first credit card for young professionals:

Discover it® Cash Back

  • 0% for 14 months on purchases and Balance Transfers, then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically*

  • Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back

More Info

The Discover it® Cash Back is a popular card among young professionals starting their credit journeys and also offers excellent ongoing value. It features rotating quarterly categories on which cardholders can earn 5% cash back on purchases, as well as a generous offer for new cardmembers.

The rewards rate lets you 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically The sign-up bonus has the potential to be a huge value if you put the bulk of your spending on this card during the first year you have it. For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

There’s also a solid introductory offer with a 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers. For purchases, it’s 0% for 14 months. For balance transfers, it’s 0% for 14 months. After the intro period, it’s 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

Read: Chase Freedom vs. Discover it — Which is the Best 5% Cashback Credit Card?

The annual fee is $0, with a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*, and as far as a foreign transaction fee, there is none.

Best cashback card for young professionals:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
(72)
Apply Now

on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

This card keeps it simple and offsets some of the cost of making purchases with the card. Earn cash back on every charge at a flat rate, so you never have to worry about remembering to sign up for rotating cash back categories or earning varying amounts depending on what you’re buying.

The annual fee is $0 and the foreign transaction fee is 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. There’s a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater..

If you’re looking for a sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a good one. You can earn a Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

The introductory offers are 0% Intro APR for 15 months for both purchases and balance transfers. After that, the regular purchase APR is 14.99% - 23.74% variable.

In addition, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer points earned on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and redeem them for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for extra value.

Best travel card for young professionals:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide

  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.

Highlights
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

More Info

If you’re looking for a card that can help fund your love of travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can help.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers the opportunity to earn 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. You can redeem rewards points for travel, statement credits, gift cards and more. There’s no limit to the amount of points you can earn, and points don’t expire as long your account remains open. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders get 25% more value when redeeming points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

There’s also a solid sign-up bonus for new cardholders — Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The annual fee is $95, and as far as a foreign transaction fee, it is $0.

Best 0% interest card for young professionals:

Citi Simplicity® Card

It might not offer cash back or rewards, but what the Citi Simplicity® Card does have is a solid 0% introductory APR offer for purchases and balance transfers. If you are planning to make a big purchase, such as a laptop, appliance or furniture, and need time to pay it off without accruing interest — or if you have existing credit card debt you want to transfer and pay off without paying interest charges — this card can give you the opportunity to do so.

The intro APR is 0% for 18 months on purchases and 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After the intro periods expire, the regular purchase APR is 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable).

There’s a balance transfer fee of Balance transfer fee – either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater..

The annual fee on this card is $0 and the foreign transaction fee is 3% of each purchase transaction after its conversion into U.S. dollars.

Best card for dining out and entertainment:

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 3% Cash Back on dining and entertainment; 3% Cash Back on popular streaming services; 3% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023

  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • No minimums for redeeming and cash back won't expire for the life of the account

Highlights
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

See additional details for Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

More Info

Whether you’re rooting for your favorite team at a football game or having a relaxing time out with friends at your favorite sushi restaurant, you can earn cash back on dining out and entertainment when you pay with the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. Capital One defines dining out as purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. Entertainment includes ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events), theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls or bowling alleys. (There are certain exclusions in both categories.)

The rewards rate is 3% cash back on dining and entertainment; 3% cash back on popular streaming services; 3% cash back at grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases. plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at vivid seats through january 2023. In addition, the card comes with solid introductory APR offers on purchases and balance transfers: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months and N/A.

After the intro periods expire, the APR is 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable). The card’s balance transfer fee is $0 at this Transfer APR. It has an annual fee of $0, and if you’re worried about a foreign transaction fee, there is none.

The sign-up bonus is an easy one to achieve. You can earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

If you’re a heavy spender in the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card’s cashback categories, it’s worth noting the card has a big sibling. The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card charges an annual fee of $95, but it offers Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment & popular streaming services, plus 3% at grocery stores and 1% on other purchases.

Read: Capital One Savor vs. SavorOne

The bottom line

As a young professional, you’re at an important time in your life. It’s smart to take time now and plan your financial journey, and a good credit card can help you do that. If you’re not sure exactly how building your credit history works, take a look at our guide on how to use a credit card to build credit. And if you’re wondering how many credit cards is too many, we’ve got a guide for how many credit cards you should have, too.

The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card have been independently collected by CompareCards and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. 


Recommended Posts:

Read More

Best Discover Credit Cards of 2020

Discover offers a broad range of credit card products. So whether you’re in the market for a card that offers cash back on every purchase or one designed to help you build credit, Discover has an option for you. Plus, for new cardmembers, each Discover card matches all of the cash back you’ve earned at […]

Read More