When it comes to credit cards, students are in a tough spot. On the one hand, there are a number of reasons why they will want one, including security, convenience and the chance to build their credit history before graduation. But at the same time, many students are young adults who have no experience responsibly managing credit. As a result, too many students end up with large amounts of debt that stick with them for years after graduation. Issuers offer a wide selection of cards, but you’ll want to use them wisely so you don’t end up in debt or lose your rewards to outlandish interest. More specifically, the right credit card for you will depend on your spending habits. In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose a great card and share our picks, based on overall value, for the best student credit cards.
How to Pick a Student Credit Card
The right credit card for students will have many of the same qualities that other applicants want, but students will want to pay more attention to particular features. For example, students should look for low interest rates and fees, and consider a card offered by the bank that they currently have checking and savings accounts with. Since many students travel out of state for college, travel insurance policies may be welcome as well.
Some student credit cards offer modest reward programs, but those new to credit may want to be careful. For many credit card users, the opportunity to earn rewards for spending can be just another reason to overspend. For these reasons you’ll want to swipe wisely so you don’t lose your hard-earned rewards to high interest or wind up in debt. If saving money on everyday purchases matters more, a cash back credit card may be good bet, as these cards offer points for things like gas, restaurants and retail. If your credit is bad, a secured credit card, which requires a cash deposit that acts as your credit line, is a smarter option. (You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.)
Now that you have a sense of what cards are out there, read on for our picks of the best credit cards for students, based on perks and overall terms. For full details, please read the card agreements.
Our Picks for the Best Student Credit Cards
Why We Picked It: Journey incentivizes students to make their payments on time, which is crucial for building a great credit history.
Rewards Details: This card offers students 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 0.25% when they pay their monthly bill on time. Capital One also provides access to a higher line of credit after they make their first five monthly payments on time.
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 20.49%
Why We Picked It: This card offers competitive rates, fees and benefits, as well as $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher.
Rewards Details: Students earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases. They can earn an extra $20 cash back each year they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the next five years. And they can receive a full cash back match after their first year at the end of that year.
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 13.49% to 22.49%
At publishing time, the Journey Student Rewards and Discover it Chrome for Students are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuers. Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuers.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.