Students generally have no income and no credit history, so they often have to apply for student cards to build up their credit. Generally these cards require credit scores of around 600, but there are instances of those who have 0 credit getting these cards. These cards all have no annual fee.
What is a student credit card?
A student credit card can help you earn rewards and enjoy short-term, interest-free financing. What’s more, a student card is a great first step toward establishing a good credit history, which is crucial for obtaining favorable rates on future loans, renting your own apartment and getting low insurance premiums. If you’re in college and want to start building credit, check out these student credit cards which can also help you earn valuable credit card points while in college.
As a student, it’s important to choose a credit card that you can easily manage. Furthermore, you must restrain yourself from overspending, and always pay your balances in full and on time. The best options on the market have minimal fees, yet provide student-friendly benefits, as well as excellent opportunities to build credit.
Best Student Credit Cards to Get in 2016
Chase Student Credit Cards
Chase Freedom: Not technically a student card, but offers 5% cashback on rotating cateogries of up $1500 per quarter and 1% back on everything else. Chase is lenient to students who already have a chase bank account and more likely to approve you for the freedom. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be combined with a premium card such as the Chase Ink or CSP to transfer to other programs making it especially valuable. (See Hybrid/Transferable Points Cards)
Discover It for Students
Discover It for Students: Similar to the Chase Freedom, 1% on everything but offers rotating 5% categories such as Dining, Movies, Home Improvement etc. every quarter. Also seems to be the most friendly card company, uses only U.S. customer service reps, no forex fees, waives first late payment fee etc. Proof of Student required. (schedule, tuition bill ec.)
Citi Thank You Preferred for Students
Citi Thank You Preferred for Students: Citi’s new student card. Previously called the Citi Forward card that offered 5% on movies, music, bookstores (and amazon) and restaurants. The new version of the card is significantly neutered. It now offers 2% on restaurants on entertainment with 1% back on everything else. A decent card, probably the easiest card to obtain outside of getting a card with your local bank.
Bank of America Student Credit Cards
Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students: Generally harder to get than the Discover It or Citi Forward. 1.5x cashback everywhere, no forex fees. Smartchip enabled Same as the regular Bank of America Travel Rewards card (see ‘Best card for no forex fees’ section)
Bank of America Americard Cash Rewards for Students: Generally harder to get than the Discover It or Citi Forward. 1% cashback on everything, 2% on grocery stores, 3% on gas. 2% and 3% are limited to $1500 spend per quarter. Similar to the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, but gas and grocery categories are flipped (2% gas, 3% grocery) and $6000 per year instead of 1500 per quarter.
Sallie Mae Mastercard
Sallie Mae Mastercard: 5% on gas and groceries, limited to $250 each per month, 5% on bookstores (amazon included) up to $750 per month. Best for small spenders/people who don’t MS.
Capital One Journey for Students
Capital One Journey for Students: 1% cashback, plus 25% if you pay on time, so 1.25% cashback on everything. No forex fees. Not recommended as BoA Travel Rewards for Students is better.
Can I earn credit card points for paying bills?
Yes, it is possible to use mortgage, rent, utility, student loan, and other bill payments to earn points. In some cases the company may offer a means of paying directly with a credit card, however it is important to note whether an extra fee is charged and, if so, how much. If there is no additional fee, or if it is low enough that you are willing to pay it (for instance, if you absolutely needed to hit a minimum spending requirement) then go about it in this way.
Are there fees for using a student credit card?
If this is not possible, or is too expensive, then all hope is not lost. There are several services that exist to facilitate paying bills that can be funded either directly with a credit card or indirectly via a reloadable card purchased with a credit card. See the rest of the Wiki on Manufactured Spending, and How to Meet Minimum Spend.
Using a Student Credit Card
Credit cards for students are designed to help students build credit and assist in establishing good credit habits that can be used to create a foundation for a successful financial future. From travel and cash rewards to a lower interest rate, there are credit cards for students with a variety of features. Remember to now be spending beyond your means with any student credit card.