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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Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 17.74% to 27.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    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: 14.74% to 24.74% 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: 14.74% to 24.74% 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: 17.74% to 27.74% 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
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Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 17.74% to 27.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    Fair , No Credit Required
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 12 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within 90 days
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases
  • Points never expire + no limits on earnings
  • Access to FICO® Score (updated monthly)
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 17.74% to 27.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
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Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
  • Regular Purchase APR 26.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 26.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 26.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    Fair , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • When balance is paid on time, cash back earnings rate increases to 1.25% for the month
  • Keep track of your credit score for free with CreditWise from Capital One®
  • No annual fee
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 26.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 26.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
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Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
  • Regular Purchase APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 17.74% to 27.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    Fair , No Credit Required
  • Intro Purchase APR 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Introductory 0% purchase APR for your first 12 months
  • Introductory 0% APR for 15 months
  • Enjoy additional travel, auto rental, and purchase benefits
  • 3% cash back on the category of your choice
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • Free access to monthly FICO® Score
Rates & Fees
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months on transfers made within 60 days of account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 17.74% to 27.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • 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 $29
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Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 16.49% - 26.49%% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 16.49% - 26.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    Fair
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards
  • Cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 16.49% - 26.49%% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 16.49% - 26.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you.; None after that
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
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Wescom Bruin Choice Visa® Credit Card

Wescom Bruin Choice Visa® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.4% to 23.4% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.4% to 23.4% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 13.4% to 23.4% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    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: 13.4% to 23.4% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.4% to 23.4% 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: 13.4% to 23.4% 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
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National Bank of Arizona Elite Credit Card

National Bank of Arizona Elite Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.74% to 23.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.74% to 23.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.74% to 25.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $195
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    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: 15.74% to 23.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.74% to 23.74% 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: 24.74% to 25.74% 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
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SBI Visa® College Real Rewards Card

SBI Visa® College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 27.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    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: 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 24.99% 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: 27.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% 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 $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
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Webster Bank College Real Rewards Card

Webster Bank College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 27.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    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: 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 24.99% 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: 27.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% 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 $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
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Comerica Visa® College Real Rewards Card

Comerica Visa® College Real Rewards Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 27.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.
    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: 15.99% to 24.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 24.99% 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: 27.49% 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
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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 Programs

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. As with all credit cards, pay attention to the qualifying categories that reward points for purchases

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. That means that with the right credit card in your wallet, you may be entitled to a credit on your balance for merely keeping up good grades.

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, especially at a young age. You’ll want a card with debt forgiveness to prevent your credit score from being negatively affected.

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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Other Options for Students: 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.

Become an Authorized User

An authorized user is a secondary user for a credit card that receives a card with their own name on it. The purchases they make with this card reflect on the same statement as the primary account holder and shares the same credit limit.

Authorized users can  build a positive credit history with no credit history needed. An authorized user’s credit score may improve over time if they and the primary account holder show responsible spending habits.  Keep in mind that not all issuers give information about authorized users to the three major credit bureaus though, so if you are hoping to help someone gain their financial footing, check your account information, or with your credit card issuer first. before adding another user.

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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.

The Best Credit Cards for College Students 

Trying to find the best credit cards for students? BestCards has comprehensive and impartial reviews of the top credit cards for college students on the market today. Scan our hundreds of reviews, use our comparison tool and take advantage of our extensive credit card resources and advice. Ready to get started? Let’s find your best card today!

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