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The 10 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults and Professionals of October 2022

The 10 Best Credit Cards for Young Adults and Professionals of October 2022

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is our pick for the best credit card for young adults and professionals in October 2022. Its cashback earning potential is high, its purchase protection is generous and it has $0 annual fee.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

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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.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Top credit cards for young adults and professionals of 2022

Maximizing everyday purchases

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

Frequent travelers

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Frequent grocery shoppers

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

The best credit cards for young adults and professionals either offer rewards relevant to their lifestyle or give them the chance to build or improve their credit. So whether you are looking for a starter card with no credit check, to get a card for your startup business expenses, to find a student-friendly card or looking to maximize everyday purchases, this list may have a card for you.

Best credit card for young adults and professionals to maximize everyday purchases

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

$0

17.24% - 25.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

With 5% cash back rewards on flexible categories, $0 annual fee and $500 purchase protection, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is our pick for maximizing everyday expenses. New cardholders can 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

Another useful perk to young adults is cell phone protection; this card covers $1,000 per year for cell phone theft or damage so as you use the card to purchase the phone. Overall, your first-year earning potential is $966 if you spend about $1,500 monthly.

All of these perks and bonuses come at a price of good credit — you typically need a score of 660 to 850 for approval. The card also charges 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars fee on foreign transactions

  • 5% cash back on various categories, including groceries
  • Large introductory bonus
  • Generous purchase and cell phone protection
  • Requires high credit score
  • No travel specific rewards
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars fee on foreign transactions


Best credit card for young adults and professionals to travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$95

18.24% - 25.24% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 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
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our pick for frequent travelers because it has a wide array of travel transfer partners and a very generous sign-up bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. These points can transfer to a wide array of travel transfer partners, which include JetBlue, United and Emirates.

You can also earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases. For hotels, you can earn up to $50 in statement credits each anniversary year of hotel stays. You may maximize your points by using the Chase Freedom Flex℠ alongside this card, but be aware of the 5/24 rule, which may affect your approval odds.

On the downside, this card has a $95 annual fee, an APR of 18.24% - 25.24% Variable , and typically needs an 720 - 850 credit score (720 to 850) for approval. Also, consider your airline of choice and spending habits before signing up for this card — certain airline partners, like American Airlines, are not available for points transfer.

  • Wide array of travel transfer partners to redeem travel rewards
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Generous intro offer
  • $95 annual fee
  • Must spend $4,000 to qualify for introductory bonus
  • Requires an 720 - 850 credit score


Best credit card for young adults and professionals to buy groceries

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

$200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

$0

16.99%-27.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 16.99% to 27.99% variable APR.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • New! 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Get $7 back each month after using your Blue Cash Everyday® Card to spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.

Frequent grocery shoppers might want to consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express because they may earn 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply.

While there are other cards that offer higher rewards rate on groceries, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gives a more dependable rewards rate on groceries that isn't limited to the first year or just one quarter. This card gives payment flexibility to carry a balance with an introductory APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months (16.99%-27.99% Variable APR thereafter). It also comes with a large welcome offer.

On the downside, this card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. It also has up to a $40 late payment fee and typically requires a credit score of 660 to 850.

For rates and fees of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here

  • $0 annual fee
  • Bonus points on U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas purchases
  • Large welcome offer
  • Terms apply
  • Not the highest rewards rate on U.S. supermarket purchases
  • Foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • $40 late payment fee
  • Terms apply


Best credit card for young adults and professionals with a startup

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Card not available

Brex For Startups

None

  • Rewards rate: Earn points on every dollar spent with industry-leading multipliers: 7x on rideshare, 4x on travel, 3x on restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions and 1x on all other transactions.
  • Introductory bonus: None
  • Credit score needed: Doesn't disclose
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: N/A, Brex cash account is used to pay off the card balance

We picked the Brex For Startups as our top choice for startups because it has various categories to earn points, no personal guarantee required, applying doesn't affect personal credit score and doesn't charge fees. The credit card with daily payments offers Brex rewards points (worth 1 cent each) in a wide variety of categories.

You can Earn points on every dollar spent with industry-leading multipliers: 7x on rideshare, 4x on travel, 3x on restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions and 1x on all other transactions. Brex also offers rewards tailored to the tech and life sciences industry. For young startups, this card may help scale business without the inconvenience of fees.

The Brex For Startups is only available for corporations and other non-individual liability firms, so sole proprietors don't qualify. Only corporations and other non-individual liability companies qualify. Also, you need to open a Brex cash account to get the credit card with daily payments, which unlocks the rewards points.

  • Earn reward points on various categories
  • Applying doesn't affect your personal credit score
  • Doesn't charge fees
  • Individual liability companies don't qualify
  • You need a Brex cash account to apply
  • The rewards card requires daily payment


Best credit card for young adults and professionals with a business

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

$0

15.49% - 21.49% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases

Generous cash bonus and cash back rewards for business expenses with a $0 annual fee makes the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card our choice for young business professionals. A young business owner may Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

If you have a large amount in upfront business expenses in the first three months, you can get it back in the form of a hefty sign-up bonus: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

On the down side, this card doesn't have travel rewards to fly and visit clients frequently. If your business expenses are more than $25,000 a year, this card might not be the best for you. There's also a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars and a $40 late payment fee.

  • $0 annual fee
  • 5% cash back for business essentials
  • One of the largest cashback sign-up bonuses currently available
  • No travel rewards for flyers
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee
  • Rewards rate is limited to $25,000 in purchases per year


Best credit card for young adults and professionals in graduate school

unavailable card art
Card not available

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

  • Rewards rate: 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
  • Credit score needed: 0 - 660

For graduate students, we recommend the Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card because it gives a $20 statement credit for good grades, has no credit score requirement to apply. It lets you 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.

This card also gives an Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

On the downside, there's no introductory cash bonus offer and the 5% cash back has a low spending limit, up to $1,500.

  • 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
  • $20 statement credit for good grades
  • No credit score needed to apply
  • $1,500 quarterly spending limit for the 5% cash back
  • No intro cash bonus


Best credit card for young adults and professionals with limited/bad credit

unavailable card art
Card not available

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)

  • Introductory bonus: N/A
  • Credit score needed: 0 - 600
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 28.49% (Variable)

Earning rewards isn't just for cardholders with good credit. We chose the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card as our pick for earning rewards with limited/bad credit because it has a refundable deposit and may help you earn 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply). A secured credit card is geared toward people with bad credit or no credit and it uses money as collateral.

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card stands out with unlimited cash back on every purchase, despite requiring a $200 deposit for its credit line. The $200 deposit is refundable upon responsible use and you can earn your way to an unsecured credit card.

Unfortunately, this card doesn't have the extra perks that other cards on our list have, like an introductory cash bonus offer or a 0% introductory APR. The card also comes with a very high APR of 28.49% (Variable). There's also a late payment fee of up to $40. Still, young adults that may have defaulted on a loan or have limited credit may still find this card helpful to earn rewards while building credit.

  • Earn 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
  • Deposit is refundable
  • Can upgrade to unsecured card after responsible use
  • $0 annual fee
  • High APR
  • Requires a $200 deposit


Best credit card for young adults and professionals without a credit check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

On OpenSky's Secure Website

N/A

$35

18.89% (variable)

0 - 600

  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved.
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • View your FICO® Score through your OpenSky account, an easy way to stay on top of your credit
  • Nearly half of OpenSky cardholders who make on-time payments improve their FICO score 30+ points in the first 3 months
  • Your refundable* deposit, as low as $200, becomes your OpenSky Visa credit limit
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • *View the cardholder agreement

If you're looking for a credit card with no credit check required, we recommend the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card because it doesn't pull your credit when you apply and the deposit is refundable. If you're starting from scratch with no credit, then this card may help you build your credit quickly with the benefits of fraud protection and worldwide acceptance. With a 18.89% (variable) APR, this card has a relatively low interest rate given no credit score requirements.

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card has no rewards rate, no introductory cash bonus and requires a $35 annual fee. Still, it's rare to come across a credit card with no credit check, so this card may help young adults with bad or no credit build credit quickly.

  • No credit check
  • Relatively low APR
  • Refundable deposit
  • No cashback rewards rate
  • $35 annual fee
  • No introductory cash bonus


Best credit card for young adults and professionals to build credit

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

$0

28.49% (Variable)

0 - 600

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
  • Rewards rate: Non-rewards Card
  • Introductory bonus: No bonus
  • Credit score needed: 0 - 600
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 28.49% (Variable)

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is our best credit card to build credit because it may accept a refundable deposit as low as $49 and has $0 annual fee. While this card has no rewards rate or introductory bonus, it stands out with its $0 annual fee and ability to open a $200 credit line with as little as $49.

If you're more focused on repairing your credit rather than earning rewards, this card may be a good fit for you. The interest rate is still high with a 28.49% (Variable) APR, but the card has flexible due dates for payment, which may allow you to find a payment date that better aligns with your budget. Overall, this card may be a good fit for young adults who are more focused on rebuilding their credit than earning cashback rewards.

  • $0 annual fee
  • May qualify for $200 credit line with a deposit as low as $49
  • Flexible due dates for monthly payments
  • High APR of 28.49% (Variable)
  • No rewards rate
  • Has a late payment fee up to $40

Compare best credit cards for young adults and professionals of 2022


Credit card
Welcome offer
Credit score needed
Annual Fee
Maximize everyday purchases Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!660 - 850$0
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Travel Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.720 - 850$95
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Shop groceries Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Everyday<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express
Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.660 - 850$0
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
Show All Rows

Credit Card Tips for Beginners

Before you take out your first credit card as a young adult, consider the following tips:

  • Consider becoming an authorized user to benefit from someone else's good credit history
  • Stay current with your loan payments, like student loans, to keep your credit in good standing
  • Make on-time credit card payments
  • Keep your credit utilization ratio low
  • Avoid credit card debt by saving up for larger purchases or building an emergency fund
  • Make to consider the annual fees when choosing your first credit card
  • Be careful with cards that incentivize you to to spend to maximize bonus offers — a bonus offer shouldn't drive you into credit card debt

First-time credit card FAQs

Should young adults and professionals get credit cards?

Generally, credit cards can help young adults and professionals build credit quickly. Your credit score typically plays a crucial role in your eligibility or premium you pay on other financial products, like car insurance. So, getting a credit card is a small step toward building credit and saving money in the future.

How long does it take to build or rebuild credit with a credit card?

Generally, cardholders with bad credit see their credit score improve after as little as six months of responsible use.

What are the best cards for young adults with credit card debt?

If you have credit card debt, then consider a balance transfer card. Generally, a credit card that offers a 0% APR introductory rate will help you with credit card debt because you can transfer the debt over and pay it off interest-free. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months (followed by an APR of 17.24% - 25.99% Variable), so you have over a year to pay off credit card debt interest-free.

Can I get a credit card with no income?

Generally, credit card companies consider creditworthiness for approval and don't usually have specific income requirements. For instance, the Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card is geared toward students who likely don't have full-time income.

Can I get a credit card as a teenager?

Yes, teenagers can become authorized users of their parents' credit cards to benefit from building good credit history.

What is the average credit card debt for a young adult?

Our 2021 research of credit card debt revealed that young adults under 35 have $3,660 in average credit card debt.

Recap best credit cards for young adults and professionals of October 2022

Methodology

ValuePenguin evaluated over 50 different credit cards to examine reward rates, credit score requirements, bonuses and annual fees to narrow down a list of best credit cards for young adults and professionals. We prioritized cards with low annual fees, rewards rates above 1% or low credit score requirements.

For rates and fees of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here

The information related to Brex For Startups, Discover it® Student Cash Back, Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).