Best Credit Cards For Building Credit — January 2021

When you to build or improve your credit, a credit card is one of the best ways to do it. There are many credit cards available for those who are new to credit or whose score has seen better days. Whatever the reason, the right card can help you reach your goals. Below are the Motley Fool’s top recommendations for the best credit cards for building credit in January 2021.

Best Overall

Discover it Secured

The Discover it Secured has no annual fee, offers cashback rewards, and reports to the three major credit bureaus so you can build your credit by paying your bill on time and in full. Few credit cards for building credit offer these benefits, which is why this card is number one on the list.

When you open an account, you must pay a $200 security deposit. However, this also doubles as your credit limit, and Discover will refund it to you when you upgrade to an unsecured credit card after eight months of responsible use.

Discover it Secured rewards you with cashback for up to $1,000 in purchases made at gas stations and restaurants every quarter. Even when you reach your limit, you can still earn 1% back on everything else — no activation required. After your first year, Discover will automatically double your cash back — with no limits to the amount of cashback you can earn.

Discover is accepted by 99% of merchants and also allows cardholders to check their FICO credit score for free. 

Best Cashback Card

Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees,” Visa

This credit card’s big draw is in the name: You pay zero late fees, foreign transaction fees, annual fees, or any other type of fee. For this reason, the Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees,” Visa is one of the most affordable credit cards for building credit on the market. 

In addition, you can also enjoy 1.5% cash back on new purchases after paying your bill on time for 12 consecutive months. Until then, you can earn 1% back on all other purchases starting immediately, plus 2% to 10% back on eligible merchants.

Depending on your credit, you could qualify for a credit limit between $500 and $10,000 and a variable APR between 12.99% and 26.99%. 

Your payment history is reported to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, so you can spend knowing you’re boosting your credit. Also, you can monitor your spending, your account, and even set up automatic payments through the card’s convenient mobile app.

Receive pre-approval in a matter of minutes without worrying about your credit score. You don’t have to pay a security deposit, either. 

Best Cashback Card For Students

Discover it Student Cash Back

Right now, new Discover it Student Cash Back cardholders can take advantage of a limited-time introductory offer: Unlimited Cashback Match. Discover automatically matches your cash back after your first year, meaning you can enjoy double the rewards — which is perfect for broke college students.

You can earn 5% cashback when you checkout with PayPal, on Amazon, the grocery store, restaurants, and gas stations (up to the quarterly limit). When you do reach the limit, you can keep earning 1% back on everything else. 

The Discover it Student Cash Back card will also give you $20 worth of statement credit every school year you maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher (for up to five years). 

Like other Discover products, you’ll get a complimentary Credit Scorecard that contains your FICO score and additional information to help you build your credit. You can also enjoy peace of mind knowing that Discover will monitor websites on the dark web for your personal information. 

You don’t have to pay any annual fees, and Discover will waive the late fee on your first late bill. Plus, there are no interest rate changes for late payments. You pay zero-interest for the first six months, then 12.99% to 21.99% interest, depending on your creditworthiness.s

If you refer a friend, you can qualify for a $50 statement credit for each person that qualifies for a Discover it Student Cash Back card. 

When you become a cardholder, you can get access to Freeze It, a feature that lets you conveniently lock and unlock your account to stop unauthorized purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers. 


  • Daly, Lyle. “Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit of January 2021.” The Motley Fool, 29 Dec. 2020,