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The Best Credit Cards for New Grads

CitiBank Secured

Harzog suggests this card, since Citi will invest the money you use to back your credit into an 18-month certificate of deposit with a high interest rate (around 4%).

“It’s nice that your money isn’t just sitting there,” Harzog says, adding that most secured cards don’t let cardholders earn interest from their deposit.

At around 18.24%, the card’s APR is a bit high, but it has a fairly standard $29 annual fee and NerdWallet agrees the card is a good choice for anyone planning to put a lot of capital upfront. The credit line can be anywhere from $200 to $5,000, and Citi offers cardholders the opportunity to graduate to a unsecured card after 18 months.

“The point is to get a card with training wheels, then graduate to the big bike,” Harzog adds.

Discover Open Road Card

If you managed to build good credit while completing your higher education (or had a co-signer), then CardRatings.com suggests you apply for the Discover Open Road Card, which offers all the perks and benefits a new grad needs. This includes a 0% introductory APR rate for the first 12 months—helpful if some time elapses between graduation and your first steady paycheck. After the first year, the APR will be between 11.99% - 20.99%, depending on your credit worthiness.

Cardholders also get 1% cash back on all purchases and added rewards on purchases made at gas stations and at restaurants. Also, students will be spared an annual fee with this card.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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