Compare the Best Credit Cards for Students

The best credit cards for students prevent young cardholders from getting into debt while they build up their credit. Explore options for student credit cards by reading BestCards.com’s detailed reviews below. You can find the best credit cards for college students today, including Visa student credit cards, Mastercard student cards, Discover student cards, and more:

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NJIT EDU Credit Card

NJIT EDU Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 18.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Good , Fair
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Enjoy Amazon Prime Student for one year
  • Cell phone protection for up to $600 when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card
  • No foreign transaction fees
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 18.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: v
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $37
Credit Card Deals

Deserve® EDU

Deserve® EDU
  • Regular Purchase APR 18.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles with your EDU card (Lifetime Value of $59)
  • Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you'll automatically start earning cash back on all purchases
  • Feel secure with cell phone protection up to $600
  • No international transaction fees on purchases abroad so you can travel with confidence
  • No Social Security Number required for international students to apply
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 18.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $25
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $37
Credit Card Deals

Wescom Bruin Choice Visa® Credit Card

Wescom Bruin Choice Visa® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.15% to 23.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.15% to 23.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 13.15% to 23.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 5X points on select UCLA purchases
  • Earn 1.5X points on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Credit limits of up to $1,000
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.15% to 23.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.15% to 23.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $2 or 2% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 13.15% to 23.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $2 or 2% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $15
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $25
Credit Card Deals

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 16.99% to 26.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 15 months
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Build credit with responsible use
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months for transactions made within 60 days of account opening
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 16.99% to 26.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
Credit Card Deals

Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 1% in cash back for all of your purchases
  • Earn an annual $20 Good Standing Rewards bonus for 5 years when you keep your account in good standing
  • $50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening
  • 3 complimentary months of DashPass, then a 50% discount for 9 months when you subscribe before December 31, 2021
  • Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides until March 31, 2022
  • Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening when meeting credit criteria
  • Contactless pay and unlimited access to your monthly credit score
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • 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
Credit Card Deals

National Bank of Arizona Elite Credit Card

National Bank of Arizona Elite Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.24% to 22.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.24% to 22.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 23.24% to 24.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $195
  • Credit Needed Excellent
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Get $300 or 30,000 points when you spend $5,000 within the first 90 days
  • Earn 3% cash or 3X points on travel and dining purchases
  • Earn 1.5% cash or 1.5X points on everything else
  • $100 annual travel credit
  • No blackout dates or restrictions on redemption
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.24% to 22.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.24% to 22.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.24% to 24.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $195
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
Credit Card Deals

SBI Visa® College Real Rewards Card

SBI Visa® College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Fair , No Credit Required
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • 1.5X points on everyday purchases
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • No cap or limit on the points you can earn, plus you have five years to redeem points for rewards
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Up to 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Sterling National Bank Visa® College Real Rewards Card

Sterling National Bank Visa® College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Good , Fair
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points on your first purchase
  • Enjoy 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Up to 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Comerica Visa® College Real Rewards Card

Comerica Visa® College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Good , Fair
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • No annual fee
  • 1.5X points on everyday purchases
  • No cap on points, plus 5 years to redeem
  • Visa Signature protection and perks
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Up to 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. Dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Park National Bank Visa Signature® College Real Rewards Card

Park National Bank Visa Signature® College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Poor
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 1.5 points for every eligible net $1 you spend
  • Earn unlimited points that do not expire for five years
  • Earn 2,500 bonus rewards points just for using your new card for the first time
  • Zero Fraud Liability
  • Enjoy 0% APR for the first six billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.49% to 23.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Up to 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

What Is a Student Credit Card?

Student credit cards are a unique type of card designed specifically for college students. Student cards are an ideal option for those that are over the age of 18 and new to credit. Because student cards are similar to other credit cards, they sometimes offer rewards points, interest-free periods, and introductory bonuses. Despite their similarities to different types of credit cards, however, student cards differ in a few key areas.

How Does a Student Card Differ from Other Credit Cards?

Because student cards are designed with the college student in mind, they typically have lower requirements when it comes to credit score and credit history. Most college students have minimal experience with credit cards – or credit in general. That’s because most credit card issuers require cardholders to be at least 18 years old.

Student credit cards, therefore, need to be more lenient on their credit requirements. This makes them an excellent option for those who have never had a credit card before. Using their credit card responsibly, students can build up their credit history and credit score and move up to a better rewards credit card when they graduate.

Student cards usually have lower credit limits than other types of credit cards. This is due to the lesser credit restrictions. Lower credit limits isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as it can help the cardholder learn the ropes of credit and practice keeping their credit utilization ratio low. Keeping that ratio below 30% is essential to building credit.

Despite the lower limits, however, student cards offer more than enough financial might to purchase textbooks, dorm snacks, or anything else that college kids need to survive campus life.

What To Expect from a Student Card

Here’s what should you look for when shopping around for a new card:

Rewards

While not common, there are plenty of good student rewards cards on the market. Many student credit cards feature lesser benefits in comparison to general rewards credit cards, but that’s not always the case.

No Annual Fee

Generally speaking, signing up for a credit card without an annual fee makes financial sense. This rule doesn’t apply, though, if the benefits that you earn while using the credit card are higher than the cost you’re paying each year.

Debt Forgiveness

When learning how to use credit cards and navigate debt, especially at a young age, it’s essential to look for a card that offers debt forgiveness. You’ll want a card with debt forgiveness to prevent your credit score from being negatively affected.

Academic Incentives

This is a perk unique to credit cards for students. Some cards offer cardholders account statement credits if their grades meet a certain threshold, such as meeting GPA minimums each academic school year.

Credit Cards for College Students with No Credit History

One of the most significant differences between student credit cards and non-student versions is that students typically don’t have the credit history needed to get other unsecured credit cards. Because of the easer credit requirements, student cards are attainable by most students.

Secured Cards: The Perfect Student Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Students that don’t qualify for a student card can also apply for a secured credit card. Secured cards differ from other credit cards in that they require a security deposit to open. This deposit acts as both the collateral and the line of credit. Using these types of cards is a great way to boost your credit score and quickly move on to a student or other type of credit card.

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What's the Best Credit Card for Foreign Students?

Deserve® EDU Mastercard

deserve-edu-mastercard
No Deposit Required & No Annual Fees
  • eceive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles
  • Feel secure with cell phone protection up to $600
  • Zero Fraud Liability
☆ 1% Cash Back on Purchases
☆ No Foreign Transaction fees
☆ Pay w/ Apple Pay™ or Google Pay™
☆ 24/7 Mobile App Access

The Deserve EDU Mastercard is a versatile student rewards card that is also ideal for international students. The card is a no-annual-fee student credit card that’s ideal for international students (and US students, too). The card, issued through Celtic Bank, provides unlimited 1% cash back on purchases, the chance at free Amazon prime Student, and more.

Cards with a Cosigner

For students seeking a credit card that does not require a cash deposit, there are options. One such option is to become an authorized user on their parent’s credit card accounts. This allows them to build their credit off of the good credit habits of the primary cardholder. Another option is to get a credit card with a cosigner. Cosigners help get student credit cards with no credit – or even non-student credit cards.

What Is a Cosigner?

A cosigner is a person who signs a credit card application with someone and agrees to take on the burden of their debt, should they not be able to make their payments. A cosigner is – in essence – a guarantor of the credit card application, ensuring that lenders don’t have as much to worry about when it comes to a risky applicant – such as a student.

Cosigners make student credit card applicants much more attractive. They have the added benefit of the opening up more enticing credit card offers to those who would normally not have qualified. These attractive offers can include rewards credit cards, such as cashback or travel rewards cards, which can help students save money on everyday purchases or even visits back home during the holidays.

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The CARD Act of 2009

Federal law mandates that those under the age of 21 must provide proof of independent income adequate to cover and potential credit card debt. According to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, there are strict federal limits on how much credit was available to those under the age of 21, as well as the marketing practices of credit card lenders who previously were accused of preying on students that lacked the financial education to make informed decisions.

Per the CARD Act, anyone between the ages of 18 to 20 must provide valid proof of income to cover their credit card obligations. This income must be independent of any family money (including allowances, birthday presents, etc.)

Because of the difficulty of those under the age of 21 encounters when it comes to proving enough income to cover potential credit card debt, it can be challenging to get accepted for all but either the most basic of credit cards or secured credit cards. Fortunately, students also have the option of using a parent, guardian, or other trusted loved one as a cosigner.

Student Credit Card FAQs

There are plenty of questions that pop up about college credit cards. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:

  • Student cards are similar to other credit cards. These cards differ in that they are meant for college students. Because of this, student cards require specific information. Some of this information is the same as what all credit card applications require:
    • A Social Security Number is required whenever you apply for a credit card. Despite this, some applications have no impact to your credit score.
    • Proof of enrollment is another requirement for many student cards.
    • Income or savings information might be required.
    • Some issuers require a student card applicant to have a student loan with the bank.
  • Students are required to be 18 years or older to get a student card.
  • Yes. Student cards are an excellent option for establishing a good credit history.  Student versions of credit cards offer lower interest rates than secured cards. These varieties of cards also provide rewards, cash back, and other perks.
  • Most credit cards come with an easy to use app, which allows you to track your spending, set automatic payments, or even check your credit score in minutes. Other cards offer good grade discounts, free subscriptions (like a free year of Amazon Prime student), or other on-campus perks.
  • International transaction fees are charges for using your credit card for purchases outside the United States. These charges can be in foreign countries or even non-U.S. websites. Each bank charges a different fee, with some having no foreign transaction fees at all.

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