2017 Top Credit Cards for Recent Graduates

I am entering the consulting world this summer and I am looking at getting a credit card, preferably cash back rewards, when I start working. What are some of the top options out there currently and it would be great if anyone could list things such as credit score needed, annual fees, reward options, and anything else deemed important? I plan on paying it off each month so the interest rates aren't a huge concern. I would also love to hear of any experiences any of you have had with a certain card. Thanks!

Comments (106)

 
Best Response
Mar 2, 2017 - 1:52pm

Chase Sapphire Reserve. Assuming they still offer the 100k point bonus.
I'm not a huge cash back fan, because MOST cards don't offer enough for me to find it worthwhile compared to getting the points. But if you really want cash back, I think one of the Capital One venture cards was good.

Check The Points Guy website. You'll find everything you need on there.

...
  • 2
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 1:57pm

I think the reserve just killed their 100k points. The spg amex is offering 35k for like 3k spend. With the merger of Marriott , spg points are epic.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 1:58pm

Maximizing Credit Card Rewards (Originally Posted: 08/04/2017)

Starting at a bay area based practice this week, and I want to get a personal credit card that will help me maximize my points I'll receive from traveling for projects (my group travels a decent amount.) I currently have a Discover Student Card and a Platinum Corporate Amex.

Sorry this is kind of a vague post, but if anyone has strong views in regards to a personal card to pair with a corporate Amex I'd appreciate the insights. Side Note: Credit Score is strong I've had my discover card since last winter and have perfect with paying all balances off.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 1:59pm

Chase Shappire Reserve is everything you want in a personal card and more. Chase points are viewed as one of the more valuable point currencies, and 3x on travel and food is ideal. They used to offer 100,000 bonus points if you spent 3 or 4 grand in the first 3 months, but they lost so much money that they had to bump it down to 50,000 points - still worth it. You get a priority pass lounge access for you and UNLIMITED guests (not unlike the Amex platinum). Some of the consultants actually modeled the higher earning cards out and the reserve was the clear runaway winner. Don't be deterred by the $450 yearly charge.

Keep spending :) (no I didn't get paid by Chase to write this)

EDIT - Not to mention the $300 travel credit...

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:00pm

Huge Chase guy I see, and thanks for the insights! You definitely think the reserve is the better move than the $450? I kinda have the same thought process as you in the $450 becomes a small cost when you're getting great benefits.

My first project is local, but I know my group travels so I definitely want to maximize that.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:09pm

Agreed, the Chase Sapphire Reserve by a wide margin. Even without the the 100k sign-up bonus I still think its head and shoulders above the other Premium travel cards. The $300 travel reimbursement is extremely lenient in terms of what it covers and for dining and travel the ultimate rewards multiplier means your effectively getting 4.5% back on spend in those categories-- assuming you redeem it for travel through their portal which is easy to navigate and fairly painless.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:06pm

impossibru:

Key is to get a new credit card every 4 months or so. Start with the Chase ones since they have that stupid 2 year rule.

This doesn't make sense.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:05pm

JB1995:

Starting at a bay area based practice this week, and I want to get a personal credit card that will help me maximize my points I'll receive from traveling for projects (my group travels a decent amount.) I currently have a Discover Student Card and a Platinum Corporate Amex.

Sorry this is kind of a vague post, but if anyone has strong views in regards to a personal card to pair with a corporate Amex I'd appreciate the insights. Side Note: Credit Score is strong I've had my discover card since last winter and have perfect with paying all balances off.

Check out the app Birch Finance. Started by a friend of mine. Helps you do exactly this

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:11pm

Credit Card Point for Major Purchase (Originally Posted: 05/29/2017)

Hello everyone, I know this may not be specific to investment banking but would like some advice. I have some student loans I have to pay off, and I am going to buy a new car. Total for both is about 65K, i have enough to pay for both with no loan needed. I want to put it on a credit card that will give me the most points/rewards. What credit card would you guys think is the best? APR doesn't matter since I will pay it off that month. Thank you.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:12pm

Go get the chase ink business card. 80k points once you hit minimum spend and they have a great cell phone program. Chase UR points are easily transferred and worth like 1.4 cents a point.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:13pm

Thank you for the feedback, I was thinking about going with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The ink business is good but I feel like alot of the bonuses I wouldn't use. I would like some rewards with gas, dining, etc.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:16pm

Chase points are worth more and have more travel partners. The CSR also has 3x on food and travel, whereas the amex really doesn't have many bonus categories. I have most of the big cards and put the majority of my spend on CSR, then Citi and finally Amex.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:17pm

Get amex platinum or csr if they are in the 75k-100k sign up area... that could mean 165k points right there. Keep in mind as others had said, Chase will probably start you at a 5k credit limit and although amex does not have a limit on card, a new card probably won't let you spend more than 10k in a month or so. I'd call up and see if they can approve you for a higher credit limit or something based on proving savings account or assets, salary.

Edit: I believe amex has a car buying program, look into that

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:22pm

Good Credit Cards for IBD Analysts (Originally Posted: 05/14/2016)

Hi guys, I'm an incoming analyst and I'm wondering what's a good credit card to get? I plan on charging most things outside of rent with the card, so I'm looking to get good rewards for any fees paid. For anyone who's an analyst, what cards do you guys use?

And before anyone says anything, I did already glance through some previous threads.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:23pm

I've had three finance jobs and all three issue regular Amex green charge cards so I have the Amex Gold card as my personal card so I can combine my points. For example, I charged over $100k on my corporate card over the past 18 months as I have been traveling to Europe a lot for different deals so I am able to combine those points with my personal Amex points.

However, I know people that have used myriad other non-Amex points cards as they want cash back or airline mile rewards cards or whatever. Just personal preference.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:28pm

WSO1212:

I've had three finance jobs and all three issue regular Amex green charge cards so I have the Amex Gold card as my personal card so I can combine my points. For example, I charged over $100k on my corporate card over the past 18 months as I have been traveling to Europe a lot for different deals so I am able to combine those points with my personal Amex points.

However, I know people that have used myriad other non-Amex points cards as they want cash back or airline mile rewards cards or whatever. Just personal preference.

I have an amex platinum delta card....I'm starting consulting in the fall and will get a green amex. Can I combine the points with these two, or do he combinations only work for non-airline amex cards?

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:29pm

Credit card for other personal use? (Originally Posted: 12/15/2013)

Besides Amex SPG, do most consultants bother to get another credit card NOT for accumulate SPG points for mileages but for personal expense and spending for other cash rewards? If so, which bank and which specific credit card do you use?

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:30pm

Amex SPG + Chase Sapphire Preferred is a common consultant combo (i.e. 80% of my class use them). CSP gives you 2X points for dining, taxi, airfare, rental car, etc. And you get to transfer Ultimate Rewards point from CSP to airlines.

I've also seen Amex SPG + Amex Premier Rewards Gold combo. Caveat there is that not everybody takes Amex, and the annual fee is higher.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:34pm

I never understood why people that want travel rewards dont just get a Venture Card. Visa is taken everywhere unlike Amex and you can use it for literally any travel expense (baggage fees, hotels, cabs, etc.) Are the rewards with other products that much better?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:35pm

happypantsmcgee:

I never understood why people that want travel rewards dont just get a Venture Card. Visa is taken everywhere unlike Amex and you can use it for literally any travel expense (baggage fees, hotels, cabs, etc.) Are the rewards with other products that much better?

For Amex SPG, starwood points and status are worth more than the 2x points on Venture for starwood stays. Once you hit gold you get 3x starwood points and a bunch of other bonuses. Plus crossover rewards and transfer bonuses, etc.

As compared to CSP, I actually don't know. Venture looks like a good deal.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:39pm

happypantsmcgee:

I never understood why people that want travel rewards dont just get a Venture Card. Visa is taken everywhere unlike Amex and you can use it for literally any travel expense (baggage fees, hotels, cabs, etc.) Are the rewards with other products that much better?

Because with you can get higher redemption value on Chase UR, SPG, and Amex MR points by transferring it to airlines and getting a free international flight on saver awards (for free coach flights or upgrade to business). I almost always use my points for those (or SPG award/cash+award nights for SPG points).

UR also can be racked up even more quickly by:

1) Using their UR mall (where you can get 7-10 points per dollar on popular websites)
and/or
2) Combining it with something like a Chase Freedom, which gives you 5x on certain categories then transferring UR points on Freedom to your CSP account.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:43pm

Question:

Why don't people use the fidelity amex - 2% cash back monthly direct deposit into your account or fidelity Visa - 1.5% CB, more often?

I understand SPG Amex because it can net you 2-4% depending on how you spend your points, but rather than dicking with points and redemptions with CSP, I would think the following spend is best:

@ SPG = amex SPG
Everywhere else amex accepted = Amex Fidelity
Everywhere where amex not accepted = Visa Fidelity

cash in bank is better than points, plus you earn a higher overall rate with the flat 2% back with no category bullshit gimmicks...

thoughts?

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:45pm

Ko77:

Question:

Why don't people use the fidelity amex - 2% cash back monthly direct deposit into your account or fidelity Visa - 1.5% CB, more often?

I understand SPG Amex because it can net you 2-4% depending on how you spend your points, but rather than dicking with points and redemptions with CSP, I would think the following spend is best:

@ SPG = amex SPG

Everywhere else amex accepted = Amex Fidelity

Everywhere where amex not accepted = Visa Fidelity

cash in bank is better than points, plus you earn a higher overall rate with the flat 2% back with no category bullshit gimmicks...

thoughts?

The earnings category and redemption options are not that complicated... It doesn't take that long to figure it out.

The key to high value redemption, again, is transferring it to airlines and using it for saver awards/upgrades internationally. You can get 4+% returns on your spend if you do this.

Of course, the caveat here is that you travel internationally once a year or more. Most of consultants I know would have done that trip anyway, so they get cards with points. But if your lifestyle doesn't fit that criteria, you should certainly go for the cashback option.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:44pm

Citi Forward for 5x points on restaurants and entertainment
AMEX Blue Cash Everyday for 3% on groceries, 2% on dept stores, 1% everything else
BofA for 3% on gas
Discover for 5% rotating categories and ShopDiscover
United MileagePlus... mainly for 50,000 miles signup

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:47pm

Where to Put Your Money / Credit Card Advice for IB Analyst (Originally Posted: 02/12/2018)

I'm an incoming 1st year IB analyst. I am currently trying to upgrade my very basic BofA credit card into something more substantial with higher rewards, and it is leading me down a series of questions.

Ultimately, I am choosing between the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the new BofA Premium Rewards Card. The BofA card offers bonuses if you keep $20k+ in combined checking/Merril Lynch accounts. Now, I have about that much in a checking account. I know that it is not recommended to keep a high amount in a checking account, but I am totally lost and need advice. I have a Roth IRA and a Brokerage account. Each year, I am planning on investing about $6k into the brokerage account and maxing out the Roth IRA until I am no longer eligible and then will max out my 401k. What am I supposed to do with the rest of my money? Am I supposed to move it out of my checking into a high yield bank account online? Why is there so little information about what people do what the large sums of money they receive from being in IB? Or, am I completely missing something and am supposed to be investing $15k+ instead of a measly $6k? If you could give me advice on what you did as an analyst, I would really appreciate it!

Thanks!

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:48pm

Hi GoBigRed288, check out these threads:

  • Investment Banking Analyst: 15 Things I Wish I Knew I was writing an email to a fellow monkey who is about to start as an investment banking analyst ... time to throw one back in the pit. What I wish I knew as a first year investment banking analyst: 1) ... Analyst- tell them you just really want to do well and look to them for
  • Where to put your $$$- advice? a shitload of tuition tax credits, etc. I'm projecting to tuck away $50-60k after tax for the year. ... Looking forward to starting my BB analyst stint at a sub-NY cost-of-living city assuming ... I'll be honest, in the past I've only put my money in savings accounts avg. 2% p.a., just ...
  • A One Stop Shop For All Things Diversity Recruiting- The Most Exhaustive List On WSO Investment Banking Eligibility: URM Deadline: Every Fall Credit Suisse- Steps To Success / Doug Paul Program ... NYC (SF as well for IB) Divisions: Investment Banking, Markets, Asset & Wealth Management ... to be considered for $10,000 Inspiring Excellence Scholarship Divisions: Investment Banking
  • Buy/Hold/Sell, do you put your money where your mouth is? include in your personal portfolio aka IRA account? Are ER Analysts under pressure to maintain a favorable ... I was always interested in this field and had a question that I wanted to address to Analysts or ... people with knowledge in this domain, How many of your own Buy/Hold/Sell recommendations would you ...
  • Investment Banking Analyst: A True Day in the Life a question of what you value most in your work. Tips for Investment Banking Analysts Think about the long ... hungry for the next opportunity. Everything you do during your stint as an investment banking analyst ... page that explicitly covers the investment banking interview. If you want
  • My Story (A Thank You Card to Patrick and the Team) how my IB recruiting was going. I told him about my desire to stay within the region for banking and ... due to double major) for a Intern role in IB. I sat down with my fund partner at the VC and discussed ... (IB #2) with a call (more people need to do this) and landed an interview for an IB Intern role. ..
  • Have $80k in savings. Where to put it? in IB. Dont want to leave it in the bank as nominal returns are too low (and real returns are ... I was thinking funds, but had some money in a small-cap fund that basically did nothing for a year, so ... Work in London and currently have about $80k's worth of savings from my first year as analyst ...
  • More suggestions...

If we're lucky, maybe I can guilt some users to help you out: rglaser Howyan1 ggantman

You're welcome.

 
Jul 8, 2018 - 12:27am

GoBigRed288:

Where to Put Your Money / Credit Card Advice for IB Analyst (Originally Posted: 02/12/2018)

I'm an incoming 1st year IB analyst. I am currently trying to upgrade my very basic BofA credit card into something more substantial with higher rewards, and it is leading me down a series of questions.

Ultimately, I am choosing between the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the new BofA Premium Rewards Card. The BofA card offers bonuses if you keep $20k+ in combined checking/Merril Lynch accounts. Now, I have about that much in a checking account. I know that it is not recommended to keep a high amount in a checking account, but I am totally lost and need advice. I have a Roth IRA and a Brokerage account. Each year, I am planning on investing about $6k into the brokerage account and maxing out the Roth IRA until I am no longer eligible and then will max out my 401k. What am I supposed to do with the rest of my money? Am I supposed to move it out of my checking into a high yield bank account online? Why is there so little information about what people do what the large sums of money they receive from being in IB? Or, am I completely missing something and am supposed to be investing $15k+ instead of a measly $6k? If you could give me advice on what you did as an analyst, I would really appreciate it!

Thanks!

bump

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:49pm

Quick Credit Card Question (Originally Posted: 04/20/2017)

If I want to never pay interest on credit cards, do I need to pay just the statement balance or the current balance?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:51pm

cool thank you :)

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:52pm

Statement balance. HOWEVER that assumes that your credit card gives you 30 days to pay with no interest.
Make sure to read the fine print.

- If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you've hired an amateur
  • 1
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:53pm

Honestly, I'd rather just pay the full balance than go read the fine print on all my cards. Is that a safe assumption to make for all major cards? If it weren't, I'd be seeing monthly interest charges even if I pay on time, right?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:54pm

The statement is correct. But for maximizing your FICO scores you need to have at least 2 cards reporting with only one reporting a balance up to 9% (and paying the statement date will cover that basis).

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:56pm

I don't do autopay for anything because I'm a control freak and I have several bank accounts and streams of income and sometimes an account might be empty. I just have due dates on Google Calendar and when I make a payment, I put that in my calendar too with the confirmation number.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
  • 1
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 2:59pm

A question that should go to your onboarding specialist but at Deloitte you should use your corporate card, if you don't have it yet they recommend personal card but keep the receipts.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:00pm

Credit card as a SA (Originally Posted: 05/11/2009)

Will be starting late May as a summer analyst. I'll be making 75k prorated and have never had a credit card before. I'm living on my own right now and running a bit low on funds. Is it possible for me to get a credit card (even with a $500 limit) without any guarantor?

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:05pm

In 2003 when I was a freshman in college I got a platinum card with a starting limit of $1000 that I didn't even apply for, with no income at all. Ah the days of subprime lending.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:06pm

get one. and pay it off each month to build up yuor credit. will help you in the long-run especially when you are looking to get a place in the city in the future or in any point where people are cehcking your credit

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:13pm

phpmvk:

.


Stop it, you retard. We get it. You want to talk about credit cards. One thread is enough.
heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:14pm

Best credit card - UK Edition (Originally Posted: 03/23/2011)

The "what credit card do you use" thread (//www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/what-credit-card-do-you-use) inspired me to ask a similar question for those based in London.

I personally carry an AmEx Preferred Rewards Gold, and use my HSBC debit card where that is not accepted. I also carry an AmEx Gold and Citi MTVu card for the US. I've always been happy with AmEx, and love the perks (eg, £200 for food + hotel if your flight's delayed, 1yr extended warranty on everything you buy, card replacement within 24 hours anywhere in the world, etc), but the points system is nowhere close to the 2% cash-back discussed in the above thread, which seems like I'm leaving a significant amount of money on the table.

I'm wondering what other people carry?

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:16pm

Clarkey:
Do you know what your Net Worth has to be before being invited/given an American Express Centurion Card? A buddy of mine claims to have one, but I think he's full of shit.

Make him show it to you.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:17pm

Clarkey:
Do you know what your Net Worth has to be before being invited/given an American Express Centurion Card? A buddy of mine claims to have one, but I think he's full of shit.

there isn't isn't a net worth requirement you just have to spend $250,000 or more a year...

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:18pm

Clarkey:
Do you know what your Net Worth has to be before being invited/given an American Express Centurion Card? A buddy of mine claims to have one, but I think he's full of shit.

"According to Journal International, the average age of a Centurion reader from Europe or the Middle East is 49 years. 94% of primary cardholders are male and they have an average of 3.3 properties. Their average household income is €653,000 and their average total net worth is €4.5million. They have an average disposable monthly income of €8,800."

In other words, your buddy is full of shit.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:21pm

The 2 guys I know with centurion cards both put their kids (3 and 4 each) college tuition on them I think.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:23pm

happypantsmcgee:
The 2 guys I know with centurion cards both put their kids (3 and 4 each) college tuition on them I think.

You can do that with most cards. My pops charged my, my sister's, and my brother's prep school and college to his LL Bean card. EPIC numbers of gift certificates

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:22pm

Check out the creditexpert website (owned by Experian I think). I always used it to monitor my credit rating and report, and noticed I could also use it to check what credit cards I qualified for.

 
Mar 2, 2017 - 3:31pm

I guess the better answer to this question is really: if you have an offer, this information is already in the info they sent you.

Depending on what kind of credit card they give you, you might have to pay an annual fee to opt into the rewards program. Some firms cover this, some don't. My use of "most" was too aggressive apparently.

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