The Best Overlooked Student Credit Cards

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Whether you’re a student in college or a parent looking for your teen’s first credit card, you’ve come to the right place. Chances are you are most familiar with the student credit cards made specifically for students. However, there are a few credit cards often overlooked because they don’t specifically have the word “student” in the name. And yet, they can do almost all of the same things that traditional student cards can. Here are the best that we found. 

At A Glance

What Are the Most Overlooked Student Cards?

The most overlooked student credit cards are not always “student credit cards”. There are various categories – like rewards cards, business cards, subprime credit, and more – that are just as suitable for young adults. Repurposing existing credit cards to be used by students can be done, but it’s often left as a missed opportunity. Here are the most overlooked student credit cards that you probably haven’t thought of.

Greenlight Family Cash Card

Greenlight Family Cash Card
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Greenlight Family Cash Card

  • 20.24% to 28.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Greenlight Family Cash Card is a cash back credit card that pairs with an active Greenlight app plan. The card earns up to 3% cash back on every purchase, with higher monthly spending earning bigger rewards.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No annual fee
  • Greenlight subscription required
  • Earn 3% when you spend $4,000 or more in a billing cycle
  • Earn 2% when you spend $1,000 or more in a billing cycle
  • Earn 1% when you spend less than $1,000 in a billing cycle
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.24% to 28.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
  • You have kids and already subscribe to a Greenlight program
  • You want optional access to an investment portfolio of over 4,000 stocks
  • You do't want to pay an annual fee

This one is a doozy, as Greenlight’s Family Cash Card is genuinely unique. You may recognize the name from Greenlight’s other popular product, the Greenlight Debit Card, which is made for kids and teens. Most recently, the company has added the Family Cash Card, a credit card for the whole family. It harbors credit-building powers for your teen when you add them as an authorized user.

It’s uncharacteristic for a credit card to cater to teens under 18 because of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. For this reason, Greenlight may often get overlooked. When you think of student credit cards, your mind probably wanders off to a wide-eyed 18-year-old going off to college, looking for a means to pay for food, books, and tuition. However, with the Family Cash Card, your teen can get started on their credit-building journey before college responsibilities fall on their laps.

Furthermore, with the Greenlight Family Cash Card, parents can help guide and monitor their teens’ spending to educate them on financial responsibility. If used appropriately, the card can help build your teens’ credit history for a brighter future. In addition, the card earns 3% cash back on all purchases. Parents can then redeem the rewards to help pay for college expenses or anything else in their children’s daily lives.

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card
Fair-Poor-No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Fair / Poor / No Credit Required
Visa Processing Network
$0 Annual Fee

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

  • 29.99% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR
  • 29.99% (Variable) Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

Building credit without hidden fees is a breeze with the OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card. You can build credit, graduate to unsecured credit, and boost your financial knowledge base while paying $0 in annual fees.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No annual fee
  • No credit check to apply. Find out instantly if you are approved- Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2/3 of cardholders receive a 48+ point improvement after making 3 on-time payments
  • Get considered for an unsecured credit line increase after 6 months - no additional deposit
  • Monitor your credit progress with free access to your FICO Credit Score.
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly to establish and build credit history.
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Secure your credit line with a refundable security deposit - as low as $300.
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • Now you can make smaller partial payments towards funding your security deposit over 60 days
  • Over 1.2 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $300
  • You want a secured credit card but don't want to pay an annual fee
  • You have at least $300 available for a security deposit (up to $3,000)
  • You are serious about building credit and plan to pay on-time each month
  • You want to graduate to unsecured credit
OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

Terms & Conditions

The OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card is not particularly made for students. However, it can easily be applied to the spending habits of a college pupil. The nature of a secured credit card requires a minimum deposit to act as the card’s credit limit.

For this reason, the OpenSky Plus can perfectly fit the mold of a student credit card. Understanding how to save money during college is a useful skill to learn. The fact that you need a bit of savings to open a secured credit card account can help students understand the value of having healthy spending habits.

The OpenSky Plus Secured Visa has no annual fee, no credit check, and it can help build or rebuild credit if used responsibly. You will need at least $300 to use as the card’s security deposit. The reason we recommend this card is because it’s common for students to have little to no credit history, which can make it difficult to qualify for other unsecured credit cards.

With the OpenSky Plus, students get a shot at graduating to an unsecured line of credit with the  OpenSky® Gold Visa® Unsecured Credit Card. The OpenSky Plus also has a sister card, the OpenSky® Secured Visa®. It features a $35 annual fee with similar benefits to the OpenSky Plus.

Self Visa® Credit Card

Self Visa® Credit Card
Fair-Poor-No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Fair / Poor / No Credit Required
Visa Processing Network
$25 Annual Fee

Self Visa® Credit Card

  • 29.24% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Self Visa® Credit Card is a secured credit card that pairs with an existing Self Credit Builder Account. The card has no formal approval process. Instead, hopeful consumers simply need to open a Self account and save over $100 to fund the secured Visa account.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • If you have an active Credit Builder Account in good standing, 3 on time payments, $100 or more in savings progress and satisfying income requirements you may be eligible to receive the Self Secured Visa Credit Card*, without a hard credit check. Criteria subject to change. • Build credit and savings at the same time. • Start with a Credit Builder Account* that reports monthly payments to all 3 major credit bureaus. • At the end of your plan, unlock the savings you built — minus interest and fees. • The Self Visa® Secured Credit Card* is accepted at millions of locations in the U.S.
    *Credit Builder Accounts & Certificates of Deposit made/held by Lead Bank, Sunrise Banks, N.A., SouthState Bank, N.A., First Century Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. Subject to credit approval. Self Visa® Credit Card issued by Lead Bank, First Century Bank, N.A., or SouthState Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. See Self.inc for details. Subject to ID Verification. Individual borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security Number are required. All loans are subject to consumer report review and approval.
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $25
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $15
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $15
  • You're serious about raising your credit score
  • You already have a Self Credit Builder Account
  • You don’t mind the card's $25 annual fee
  • You plan to pay your card balance in full every month

Similar to the OpenSky card, the Self Visa® Credit Card has also made our list. It features benefits that can help students begin their financial education with the right tools. The Self Visa has made our list due to its low minimum deposit requirement. With as little as $100, students can begin using the Self Visa for their spending needs like food and entertainment. A small deposit is helpful because students may not have the resources for a larger deposit. With a low deposit, the student can also easily manage their monthly payments without spending over their budgets. 

It’s important to note, though, that to get a Self Visa® Credit Card you need a Credit Builder Account from Self. Think of it like a savings account that will feed your secured credit card. You can also learn more about the Self Credit Builder account on our review for the Self Visa® Credit Card.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Fair-Poor
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Fair / Poor
Visa Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

  • See Terms Regular Purchase APR
  • See Terms Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card is a credit-builder product from Chime – a fintech that offers an assortment of financial products and services with no hidden fees. The secured card functions harmoniously with Chime’s other products and services, including their high-yield savings account.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No annual fee or interest
  • No credit check performed when applying
  • No minimum security deposit required
  • Ideal for everyday purchases to help build credit with regular on-time payments
  • Checking account required
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $2.50 per transactio
  • You're seeking to build your credit score
  • You don’t want a credit check on your credit report
  • You don’t want the hassle of a minimum security deposit
  • You want access to high yield savings to help your money grow
  • You don’t want to pay any additional fees
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Terms & Conditions

With the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card, students have access to a secured credit card and a high-yield savings account. In other words, students can save their money while they grow their money, and at the same time they can build credit.

The beauty of Chime is that it does not have a minimum security deposit. Unlike the other secured cards on our list, with Chime your security deposit can be as affordable as you need it to be. And there are a few perks to adding a much higher deposit (if you can). Chime features a $200 overdraft protection called Spot Me. However, the feature is only activated when you make at least a $500 qualifying direct deposit.

Chime would work best for students who have a part-time job, so they can take advantage of the Spot Me overdraft benefit. However, it is also an excellent choice for students who may not have much for a higher minimum deposit like the other secured cards on our list. In addition, with the Chime card, there is no need to worry about extra charges like monthly service fees or foreign transaction fees.

Petal 1 Card

petal 1

Fair/Poor Credit

No Annual Fee


Petal 1 Card

Petal 1 Rise

Petal 2
Annual fee $0* $59* $0*
Credit limit $300 to $5,000 $300 to $3,500 $30 to $10,000
Rewards 2% to 10% back at select merchants 2% to 10% back at select merchants 1% to 1.5% cash back on all purchases; 2% to 10% back at select merchants
Path to credit limit increase?
*Terms apply

The Petal 1® Visa Credit Card is an unsecured credit card. Petal 1 requires little to no credit to qualify and reports to all credit bureaus, meaning it’s possible for it to help students build credit. 

The card is equipped with contactless payment tap technology and can easily be added to your mobile wallet for convenience. On top of all the handy tech features, Petal has all the protections you may need to use your card securely. Like most credit cards, Petal 1 has fraud protection tools and other features that can help protect your credit. 

Cardholders will have the ability to freeze their credit card via the Petal app in case they encounter suspicious transaction activity or misplace their card. Most importantly, if you’re a student barely beginning your credit use, with Petal there are no credit checks. As a result, your credit won’t take a hit with a hard pull on your report. Instead, a soft pull is conducted during your application review process.

Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.

About: Jeannyn Gomez
Jeannyn Gomez

Jeannyn is the Content Management Assistant for BestCards.com. In addition to serving on all aspects of social media and spreading the word on expert credit and personal finance advice, Jeannyn finds herself on quests for humor, supernatural phenomena, and conspiracy theories for fun.

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BestCards is an independent, Florida-based credit card comparison platform. Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which BestCards receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). BestCards does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.