Student credit cards are designed for US college students over the age of 18, and are, in my opinion, something that each college student should have so that they can start building up a credit history and have a good credit score by the time they graduate (which is essential for employment checks, housing rental, and mortgage loans). A credit card will also come in handy when paying for everyday expenses such as groceries and utilities. What I like most about student cards is that many of them offer a rewards system and additional incentives when students get good grades and pay their bills on time. Some cards even offer a points system that gives you points for every dollar you spend. You can even find some student cards that offer 0% introductory APR (annual percentage rate) on purchases, which lets you hold a balance from one month to the other without incurring interest for a predetermined period of time.
To help you choose the right student credit card for yourself, I have put together a list of the best student credit cards available in the US market right now. All the cards below have no annual fee.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students. This rewards credit card gives you 2,500 bonus ThankYou points when spending $500 on this card within the first 3 months of card membership. You’ll earn 2 points for each dollar you spend on entertainment and dining at restaurants, as well as 1 point for each dollar you spend elsewhere. Enjoy 0% intro APR for purchases for 7 months (13.99% – 23.99% Variable regular APR thereafter). No annual fee.
Discover it® Student Card. This cash back card, issued by Discover Financial, gives you 5% cash back on $1,500 spent quarterly in rotating categories that change every three months, such as gas, dining, movies and more. You have to sign up for each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases automatically. Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 6 months, 12.99%-21.99% standard variable APR thereafter. This student card has even made it to our list of Best Credit Cards 2014. Choose your card design.
Read our review of Discover it Student Card here.
Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus. Get a $20 Cashback Bonus when you make a purchase with this card in the 3 first months. This top student card has no annual fee and lets you earn up to 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, when you sign up and shop in rotating categories. From July till September you’ll earn this great cash back bonus on gas station purchases. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. Paying late won’t raise your APR, and there’s no late fee for the first late payment. You also get a free FICO® credit score monthly which will help you keep your credit rating on the right track. This card comes with a low 10.99% intro APR for 6 months on balance transfers made before for transfers before 10 October, 2014. After the intro period there’s a variable APR of 12.99% to 21.99%.
Read our review of the Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus here.
Journey℠ Student Rewards from Capital One®. This student rewards card gives you 1% cash back on all your purchases, and rewards you with 25% bonus on the cash back you earn each month as long as you pay your bills on time. Cash back doesn’t expire. There’s no limit to what you can earn and you can redeem your cash back any time you want. Busy students will be pleased to know that you can even set up automatic redemptions. You can even enjoy access to a higher credit line after you make your first 5 monthly payments on time. $0 annual fee.
Read our review of Journey℠ Student Rewards from Capital One® here.
Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students. Earn 5% bonus cash back from Citi in quarterly categories with previous enrollment. Free enrollment each quarter for new categories that earn additional cash back. Earn a full 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can earn up to $300 total in cash back rewards during the calendar year. No Annual Fee and no co-signer required. Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 7 months, and a variable 13.99%-23.99% regular purchase APR after that.
Read our review of Citi Dividend Card for College Students here.
Best Student Card Tips
Student credit cards are a great way for you to build good credit, which will be very important for you in the near future when you want to get a mortgage or loan. Apart from building a good credit history, having a student credit card will give you access to a line of credit and cash, as well as help you earn rewards or cash back when you make purchases.
Some student cards reward you if you have a good GPA and pay your bills on time and most cards give you between 1%-5% cash back when you make purchases with the card. Remember to always read the terms and conditions of the cards you’re comparing in order to find the one that will give you the most rewards on the things you spend more money on. Remember to always look for the card that offers the most exciting rewards.
Many credit cards for students offer a 0% introductory APR for purchases, which is something you should keep in mind when looking for a credit card and planning on holding a balance. Remember that this introductory interest rate expires after a number of months, after which you will have to pay a high interest rate starting from 12.99% or more. So you shouldn’t use your card as a supplemental student loan.
If you are careful, your student credit card will be a huge advantage to you, now and in later life.