Best Credit Cards for College Students

It’s no secret that college students get some of the best offers in all walks of life. By extension, this should also mean that credit card issuers have the best credit card options for students. However, some parents dislike the thought of bestowing their kids with credit cards without informing them about the benefits that can accrue should they build their credit score as early as their college years.

A favorable credit score is likely to increase your chances of getting a higher credit limit, thereby improving your spending power. However, this will only occur if you pay the credit back on time and in full. Therefore, the first step is to get a part-time job as a student. Then and only then will you check out these criteria for choosing the best credit cards for students. Or, you could peruse through them quickly.

Points to consider before choosing a student credit card:

Low Fees

Credit issuers understand that students have no disposable cash at hand. Therefore, they would try to waiver any expenses related to the card. Go for those that charge no annual fees as well as zero foreign transactional fees. You never know when you might have to go international.

Reasonable APRs

Wishful thinking would side along the lines of 0% introductory interest on payments or the same interest rate offered for an extended amount of time. Sadly, that is never the case. Go for an institution that has a steady APR rate. The most recommended for students should be 18% or lower.

Rewards and Cash Back Programs

There are numerous options that come with welcome bonuses and cashback incentives when you shop at selected stores. You can also earn reward points redeemable in gift cards and discount options. Go for the best offers suited to your style of living.

That said, take a good look at some of the best credit cards for students currently in the market outlined below. While it’s possible to get more than one credit card, you may easily overcharge them and lose your perfect credit score.

1. Discover Student Credit Card

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Typically, there exist two types of credit card options from Discover it. The first, Discover it Student Cash Back as already mentioned, ticks a few of our boxes, including a 5% cashback reward on money spent in different categories. It comes with no annual fees and zero foreign transactional fees. You will also get a 0% APR for the first six months of use and, later, a steady rate of 14.49% to 23.49%.

On the other hand, the second, Discover it Student Chrome is very convenient when paying for gas and food at restaurants. It also comes with a 0% APR rate for the first six months, and they will also waiver your first late payment fee. However, both cards are not as widely accepted in the country as Master cards or Visa. The card is also a setback to international students since only U.S citizens are eligible to apply.

2. Chase Student Credit Card

Chase Student Credit Card

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The Chase Freedom Student card comes with relatively low-interest rates and an APR OF 16.49% as of March 2020. Similarly, it’s easier to build your credit score, provided you pay on time for at least five times on your first ten months of use. Earning rewards with the Chase credit card is as easy as shopping. 5000 points is equivalent to a $50 cashback guarantee.

Nonetheless, it has its drawbacks, with its biggest taxing on foreign transactional fees. You may also not qualify for the credit card if you don’t have a steady source of income. The bank does not allow co-signees. Lastly, Chase bank is the only bank on this list that’s somewhat backward for lack of better terminology. They have no online application means and still rely on physical application forms submitted personally at their branches.

3. Wells Fargo Student Credit Card

Wells Fargo Student Credit Card

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The Wells Fargo College Card is one of the best choices to get a start on building your credit score. It’s got an Annual Percentage Rate of 0% during the first six months, which will ultimately increase to anywhere between 12.15% to 22.15%. The company also offers 3% cash rewards on every $2500 spent on gas, medicine, and grocery for the first six months. You will thereafter, get unlimited cashback to the tune of 1% for any other purchases.

Nonetheless, the card also comes with some strings attached. For starters, you will be charged a flat rate of 3% on any foreign transactions. Moreover, the company’s policy also stipulates that you must have an existing eligible Wells Fargo account in order to make payments online. To some, this might be a deal-breaker.

4. Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students

Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students

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The Bank of America Students credits card is best suited for international students who travel a lot. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen for eligibility. Moreover, there are no fees charged on foreign transactions outside the U.S. Another striking benefit is its big welcome reward bonus of 25K points on condition that you spend $1000 in the first three months. This shouldn’t be a problem considering the prices of smartphones these days.

On the other hand, the card comes with a noose around your neck. For example, your credit score needs to be excellent or good to qualify for the card. They will not just hand out credit without performing a background check on you despite your steady, well-paying job. Similarly, its higher credit limit at first may not be as student-friendly in terms of instilling responsible expenditure.

5. Citi Rewards+ Student Card

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

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Right off the bat, Citi Rewards student credit card is best suited for small purchases at supermarkets. You will receive a $25 gift card as a start bonus and have all your purchases rounded up to the nearest 10 points. Citi’s addition of ThankYou points for purchases done at supermarkets can also help get your cashback offers. As for their APR, you will experience the least rates of 0% for the first seven months on purchases that will rise to anywhere between 15.49% to 25.49% depending on your credit score.

Sadly, all reasonable offers also blow a few bells and whistles along the way. The card will charge you a 3% fee on overseas purchases as well as a balance transfer fee of $5 minimum. Similarly, if you’re not familiar with these terms, then you might end up shooting yourself in the foot with their 0% APR for seven months. The bank charges a penalty APR rate of up to 29.99% on late payments, which may stick with your card indefinitely.

6. Deserve EDU Mastercard

Deserve EDU Mastercard

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The Deserve Edu Mastercard is also great for foreign/non-U.S. students. Their tax lags on credit eligibility and would qualify almost anyone without checking on their credit history. Therefore, it is an excellent option for newbies looking to start building their credit once more. Moreover, you don’t need a social security number to register. Once approved, feel free to make your purchases via Amazon Prime limited to $59 for one year. There are also no foreign transactional fees as well as annual fees.

However, the APR charged here is quite high and not steady. As of March 2020, the rate stands at 19.74%, subject to increase or decrease depending on a number of factors. Similarly, the credit card offers no welcome bonus or special financing offers. Lastly, you may not make balance transfers or withdraw cash advances when you find yourself in a fix.

7. The Petal Cash Back Visa Card

The Petal Cash Back Visa Card

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Saving the best for last, the Petal Cash Back Credit card offers the highest credit limit of $10,000. This is enough for a young college investor looking for capital for a small startup business. There are no annual fees imposed on the card with as low as 14.49% variable APR.

The institution will also offer you a chance to earn rewards with 1 to 1.5% cashback rates and no fees charged on foreign transactions. You don’t even need to deposit a security fee to sign up and can start shopping as soon as you get the card.

The only downside to the card comes when it lacks in sign up bonuses and introductory APR. Otherwise, it’s a great travel companion for newbie students who have just enrolled for their first credit card.


The best rates on mortgages and student loans will all depend on an excellent credit score. These are some of the best credit cards for college students to begin from. If you still don’t know which one to pick, seek help from a professional guidance counselor. A good recommendation, however, would be to go for a secured credit card if you have a bad credit history. Otherwise, if you don’t have the cash deposit but have a good credit score, go for the unsecured credit card. Alternatively, you can consult a professional to be sure of the best credit card for you.

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