Student Credit Cards are designed for college students who have limited or even no credit history. They offer a variety of benefits, including cash back rewards, 0% APR introductory rates, and a way to build credit. We examined nearly two dozen cards to arrive at the best student credit cards available today.
- Top Student Credit Card Offers
- Student Credit Card Basics
- How to Choose a Student Credit Card
- Final Thoughts
Top Student Credit Card Offers
1. Chase Freedom Student Credit Card–Editor’s Pick
2. Journey Student Rewards from Capital One—Editor’s Pick
You can also monitor your credit with Capital One’s CreditWise app. There’s $0 fraud liability protection, you pick the due date, and you can get customized alerts on account activity.
3. Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students—Best for International Students
4. Petal 2 Visa Card—Best for Cash Back
5. Jasper Mastercard
6. Petal 1 Visa Card
Student Credit Card Basics
The use of student credit cards is growing. According to the California Student Aid Commission, 60% of college students use a credit card billed in their own name. Using plastic can meet several financial needs for those in college.
First and foremost, it provides students with a safe and convenient way to make purchases. Second, it can offer a lifeline in emergencies. Third, it can help students build credit. A good credit rating can be instrumental in helping you achieve your financial goals. Finally, it can generate some cash back rewards.
The better student cards offer perks specifically designed for college students. For example, some cards will reduce your interest rate if you achieve good grades. Other cards lower your rate when you pay your bill on time and stay under the credit limit. And almost all of the top student cards offer rewards specifically geared toward young adults.
How to Choose a Student Credit Card
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a student credit card:
Fees: The best cards charge no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. The foreign transaction fees are particularly important if you plan to travel overseas.
Social Security Number: Most credit cards require a SSN, which is a problem for foreign students. Several on our list do not require a social security number.
Rewards: If you are going to use a credit card, you might as well earn some cash rewards. The standard reward rate is 1%, but some of the best offers pay up to 1.5%.
Do I need credit to get a student credit card?
No. Many student credit cards do not require a credit history. If you do have a credit history, however, it will be evaluated as part of the underwriting process.
Do student credit cards help build your credit score?
Yes. Student credit cards generally report payments and balances to one or more of the major credit bureaus. As such, responsible use of the card can improve your credit score.
Do I need to be a full-time student to get a student credit card?
Generally, yes. Credit card issuers will require some proof of enrollment, along with the name of the institution and expected graduation date. Full-time enrollment, however, is generally not required. Part-time students can also qualify for a student credit card.
How is a student credit card different than other cards?
First, it’s designed for students with limited or no credit. Second, many cards offer rewards and other perks tied to grades.
A student credit card offers a secure way to pay and a credit limit to handle emergencies when away from home. They also allow young adults to build credit for the first time. At the same time, one must take care not to accrue significant credit card debt. For those who pay off the balance in full each month, a student credit card offers a secure, convenient way to manage finances while in school.