The student credit cards on this list are all the best of the best. They’re from reputable credit card issuers and offer rewards on purchases and special perks for students. Some even offer a special 0 percent introductory interest rate, which can give you time to get used to having a credit card without the extra cost of interest.
Once you’re approved for the credit card of your choice, make sure you keep your balance low and make all your monthly payments on time. These good habits will help build your credit history and allow you to qualify for things like a car, house or apartment in the future. Now, let’s take a look at the best student credit cards.
Best Overall: Discover it for Students
For the most potential in earning rewards, the Discover it for Students credit card is the way to go. Earn five percent cash back on quarterly rotating categories and one percent back on everything else. You must sign up to earn the five percent cash back in the bonus categories. As a bonus, Discover will match, dollar-for-dollar, all the cash you've earned back at the end of your first year.
You can also earn $20 cash back bonus each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher. You can earn the bonus for up to the next five years.
Important Pricing: There’s no annual fee. Receive a 0 percent introductory APR for six months. After that, the regular APR is 14.49 to 23.49 percent.
Best Flat-Rate Rewards: Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
With the Journey Student Rewards Credit Card from Capital One, students earn one percent cash back on all purchases. Capital One offers a great incentive to encourage good credit card habits: an additional rewards for paying on time. You can boost your cash back up to 1.25 percent each month you make your payment on time.
There’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn, and your cash rewards don’t expire.
Good credit card behavior will allow you to earn another reward: a potential credit limit increase. If you make your first five payments on time, you’re eligible for a credit limit increase. To make it easier to make timely payments, you have the flexibility of choosing your own due date.
Important Pricing: There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. The regular APR is 24.73 percent.
Best for Dining and Gas Rewards: Discover it Chrome for Students
If you’re a student that spends a lot on dining and gas, the Discover it Chrome for Students is for you. Earn two percent cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchased every quarter and one percent on everything else. No signup needed.
Like the Discover it for Students, you can earn $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher, for up to the next five years.
Important Pricing: There’s no annual fee. You’ll receive a zero percent introductory APR for six months. After that, the regular APR is 13.99 to 22.99 percent.
Best Points Rewards Credit Card: Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students offers a nice signup bonus. You’ll get 2,500 bonus points after spending $50 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The 2,500 points are worth $25 in gift cards, electronics and more at thankyou.com.
Ongoing, you’ll earn two points per dollar on dining and eating out and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
Important Pricing: There’s no annual fee. Enjoy a zero percent introductory APR on purchases for seven months. The regular APR is between 16.24 and 26.24 percent, depending on your creditworthiness.
Best for International Students: Deserve Edu MasterCard for Students
Most credit cards require a social security number. It’s how credit card issuers verify the student’s identity and check their credit history. This can pose a problem for any one who lacks a social security number, including international students.
The Deserve Edu MasterCard pays one percent unlimited cash back on all purchases made on the credit card. (This doesn’t include cash advances, balances transferred from another credit card or returned purchases). Deserve also pays for Amazon Prime Student membership, allowing cardholders to get access to Vdeo, Music, and reading. Amazon Prime Student membership is normally $59 per year.
After being approved, Deserve will begin reporting your credit history to the credit bureaus, which means your responsible credit card use will help you build a good credit score. Using your card responsibly also allows you to become eligible for the Deserve Pro MasterCard, which pays three percent cash back on travel and entertainment, two percent back on restaurants and one percent back on all other purchases.
Important Pricing: The regular APR is 20.49 percent. There’s no annual fee.
Best Signup Bonus: Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students
The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students credit card pays a nice 20,000 bonus points. To earn the bonus, you’ll have to spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account. With this card, the 20,000 bonus can be redeemed for a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases made on your credit card.
Ongoing, you’ll earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on purchases. Plus, you can earn a 10 percent bonus on your rewards if you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account. You can use redeem your rewards on any airline or hotel purchase at any time.
As a Bank of America credit cardholder, you’ll be able to access your FICO score for free through the Mobile Banking app or in Online banking. The FICO score will keep you updated on where your credit stands.
Important Pricing: Enjoy zero percent introductory interest rate on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, the regular APR is 16.49 to 24.49 percent. There’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.
Best for Building Credit: Capital One Secured MasterCard
It’s common for students establishing their credit for the first time to have a hard time getting approved for a credit card. That’s where a secured credit card can be useful.
With a secured credit card, you pay a security deposit to secure the credit limit.
With the Capital One Secured MasterCard, you’ll have the option to pay a refundable $49, $99, or $200 security deposit based on your creditworthiness. With the minimum required security deposit, you’ll get a $200 credit limit on your card to start out with. If you’d like a bigger credit limit, you can deposit more money before your account opens.
Once you’ve received your credit card, you can use it just like any other credit card. With the Capital One Secured MasterCard, you’re eligible for a credit limit increase when you make your first five monthly payments on time. You won’t have to make any additional security deposits toward this credit limit increase.
As a Capital One customer, you’ll get access to CreditWise, a free credit monitoring service that helps you stay on top of your credit history.
Important Pricing: The APR is 24.99 percent. There is no annual fee.
Best Low Interest Rate: Wells Fargo Cash Back Card for Students
With the Wells Fargo Cash Back Card for Students, you can earn three percent cash back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first six months and then one percent cash rewards on all other purchases. You can choose to have your rewards automatically deposited into your Wells Fargo savings account in $25 increments, applied as a statement credit to your credit card, or sent to you via paper check. You can also redeem your rewards for travel, gift cards, and more.
New cardholders will enjoy zero percent introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first six months. If you also have a Wells Fargo checking account, you can use your credit card for overdraft protection, but beware that overdraft protection charges are treated as a cash advance and charged an additional fee and higher interest rate. It’s best to maintain a zero balance if you add your card as overdraft protection.
Important Pricing: After the introductory period, the regular APR is 12.90 to 22.90 percent based on your creditworthiness. There’s no annual fee.