Student Credit Cards

These student credit cards will help you build excellent credit early.

It is more important than ever to start building an excellent credit history when you are young. The student credit cards in this section are designed specifically for students with little or no credit history, and many even reward you with the things you love most: cash, travel, entertainment and more!

Remember, the key to building good credit is to use credit responsibly: always pay your credit card bills on time and in full. If you have a limited in-flow of cash, only charge the necessities and what you can afford to pay back right away. The best credit cards for students serve two important purposes: 1.) They teach you or your college student about responsibly using a credit card and 2.) Building credit early.

Best Student Credit Card Offer: Discover it™ Card for Students

The good news is that credit cards for college students are abundant today and don’t require an established credit history, making it easier for young adults in college to get approved. Not only that, a number of student credit cards include cash back rewards programs on the stuff students are most likely to buy, plus extended intro periods in which students pay 0% interest.

The credit cards for college students below are proven credit-builders, and give the under-21 crowd a head start on the path towards excellent credit.

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Discover it® for Students

Intro APR
0%
6 months applied to Purchases
Regular APR
12.99%-21.99% Variable*
Balance Transfer
See Terms
Ongoing
Average Savings
$268.51
Over 1 year Apply Now View Savings Info

Discover it® for Students Highlights

  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • Generous. 5% cash back at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond® on up to $1,500 in purchases from April through June 2014.*
  • Human. Talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
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4.85
Expert Rating

Your Average Savings

Year One Year Two Year Three Total
Interest Savings on Balance Transfers ? $35.05 $35.05 $35.05 $105.15
* For Interest Savings on Balance Transfers calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". For calculation purposes, please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Interest Savings on Balance for New Purchases ? $162.06 $84.12 $84.12 $330.30
* For Interest Savings on Balance Carried on New Purchases calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". Please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Reward Points ? $86.40 $86.40 $86.40 $259.20
This card offers 5% cash back ($.05) on up to $1,500 spent in rotating categories that change each quarter. Creditnet assumes cardholders spend 35% of their total purchase balance on these 5% cash back options. Creditnet then assumes that consumers earn 1% cash back on the remaining 65% of their monthly purchase balance.
Balance Transfer Cost ? -$15.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$15.00
* For Balance Transfer Cost calculations, we take the specific balance transfer fee associated with a card to determine the cost. Once this balance transfer cost is calculated, we deduct this value from the total savings amount. Please note that we only factor in this cost if a user intends to transfer a balance, as determined by selecting "Yes" under "I want to carry a balance" in your "My Credit Card Profile".
Annual Fee ? -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00
* Annual fee costs are only deducted from your total savings when a card includes an annual fee. Credit cards that waive the annual fee for the first year have also been accounted for in our calculations.
Totals $268.51 $205.57 $205.57 $679.65
* Credit card savings displayed are based on estimates as calculated by Creditnet.com, are not endorsed by any credit card issuer, and are for comparison purposes only. Savings vary based upon individual factors such as spending & payment habits and how long you expect to maintain the card.

Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus

Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
12.99%-21.99% Variable*
Balance Transfer
See Terms
Ongoing
Average Savings
$210.57
Over 1 year Apply Now View Savings Info
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4.7
Expert Rating

Your Average Savings

Year One Year Two Year Three Total
Interest Savings on Balance Transfers ? $35.05 $35.05 $35.05 $105.15
* For Interest Savings on Balance Transfers calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". For calculation purposes, please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Interest Savings on Balance for New Purchases ? $84.12 $84.12 $84.12 $252.36
* For Interest Savings on Balance Carried on New Purchases calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". Please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Reward Points ? $86.40 $86.40 $86.40 $259.20
This card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases that rotate each quarter. Creditnet assumes 35% of purchases made with this card are on these bonus categories, with the remaining 65% of purchases earning the standard 1% cash back.
One Time Bonus ? $20.00 $0.00 $0.00 $20.00
This card rewards students with a one-time $20 cashback bonus after their first purchase.
Balance Transfer Cost ? -$15.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$15.00
* For Balance Transfer Cost calculations, we take the specific balance transfer fee associated with a card to determine the cost. Once this balance transfer cost is calculated, we deduct this value from the total savings amount. Please note that we only factor in this cost if a user intends to transfer a balance, as determined by selecting "Yes" under "I want to carry a balance" in your "My Credit Card Profile".
Annual Fee ? -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00
* Annual fee costs are only deducted from your total savings when a card includes an annual fee. Credit cards that waive the annual fee for the first year have also been accounted for in our calculations.
Totals $210.57 $205.57 $205.57 $621.71
* Credit card savings displayed are based on estimates as calculated by Creditnet.com, are not endorsed by any credit card issuer, and are for comparison purposes only. Savings vary based upon individual factors such as spending & payment habits and how long you expect to maintain the card.

Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students

Intro APR
0%
7 months*
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
Balance Transfer
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
Ongoing
Average Savings
$266.50
Over 1 year Apply Now View Savings Info
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4.75
Expert Rating

Your Average Savings

Year One Year Two Year Three Total
Interest Savings on Balance Transfers ? $30.05 $30.05 $30.05 $90.15
* For Interest Savings on Balance Transfers calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". For calculation purposes, please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Interest Savings on Balance for New Purchases ? $170.05 $72.12 $72.12 $314.29
* For Interest Savings on Balance Carried on New Purchases calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". Please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Reward Points ? $86.40 $86.40 $86.40 $259.20
This card offers 5% cash back ($.05) on up to $1,500 spent in rotating categories that change each quarter. We assume cardholders spend 35% of their total purchase balance on these 5% cash back options. We then assumes that consumers earn 1% cash back on the remaining 65% of their monthly purchase balance.
Balance Transfer Cost ? -$20.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$20.00
* For Balance Transfer Cost calculations, we take the specific balance transfer fee associated with a card to determine the cost. Once this balance transfer cost is calculated, we deduct this value from the total savings amount. Please note that we only factor in this cost if a user intends to transfer a balance, as determined by selecting "Yes" under "I want to carry a balance" in your "My Credit Card Profile".
Annual Fee ? -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00
* Annual fee costs are only deducted from your total savings when a card includes an annual fee. Credit cards that waive the annual fee for the first year have also been accounted for in our calculations.
Totals $266.50 $188.57 $188.57 $643.64
* Credit card savings displayed are based on estimates as calculated by Creditnet.com, are not endorsed by any credit card issuer, and are for comparison purposes only. Savings vary based upon individual factors such as spending & payment habits and how long you expect to maintain the card.

If you are under 21, you will need to have "sufficient income" to be approved for a student credit card. Unfortunately, exactly what is considered "sufficient income" is not specified in the law. If you are worried your income will not be deemed "sufficient", apply with an adult co-signer such as a parent. You will still build credit using a joint credit card.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Intro APR
0%
7 months
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
Balance Transfer
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
Ongoing
Average Savings
$253.70
Over 1 year Apply Now View Savings Info
Show More Info
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4.5
Expert Rating

Your Average Savings

Year One Year Two Year Three Total
Interest Savings on Balance Transfers ? $30.05 $0.00 $30.05 $60.10
* For Interest Savings on Balance Transfers calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". For calculation purposes, please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Interest Savings on Balance for New Purchases ? $170.05 $72.12 $72.12 $314.29
* For Interest Savings on Balance Carried on New Purchases calculations, we use the amount you input in your "My Credit Card Profile". Please note that as of February 2010, the CARD Act requires credit card companies to use customer credit card payments to pay off the highest APR portion of their balance first, which is more favorable for the customer.
Reward Points ? $48.60 $48.60 $48.60 $145.80
We assume that 35% of purchases made with this card are on dining on entertainment. These premium purchases are worth 2 points per dollar spent. We then assume that the remaining 65% of purchases qualify for the standard one point per $1 spent ($.01)
One Time Bonus ? $25.00 $0.00 $0.00 $25.00
This one-time bonus will only display in your savings calculations if the monthly purchases entered into your "My Credit Card Profile" meet this qualification.
Balance Transfer Cost ? -$20.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$20.00
* For Balance Transfer Cost calculations, we take the specific balance transfer fee associated with a card to determine the cost. Once this balance transfer cost is calculated, we deduct this value from the total savings amount. Please note that we only factor in this cost if a user intends to transfer a balance, as determined by selecting "Yes" under "I want to carry a balance" in your "My Credit Card Profile".
Annual Fee ? -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00 -$0.00
* Annual fee costs are only deducted from your total savings when a card includes an annual fee. Credit cards that waive the annual fee for the first year have also been accounted for in our calculations.
Totals $253.70 $120.72 $150.77 $525.19
* Credit card savings displayed are based on estimates as calculated by Creditnet.com, are not endorsed by any credit card issuer, and are for comparison purposes only. Savings vary based upon individual factors such as spending & payment habits and how long you expect to maintain the card.

Creditnet 101: Intro to Student Credit Cards

If you’re a college student getting ready for the upcoming semester, or you’re in search of a student credit card for your son or daughter, consider these student credit card tips before applying online...

  • Bonus Programs 101

Our favorite credit cards for students include incentives for paying your bill back each month on time and in full. (Aside from the obvious incentives, like building your credit and avoiding late fees.) Whether it’s cash back rewards or gas rebates, anything free helps when you’re in college and there are some excellent cash back student credit cards available.

We also like student credit cards that remind you when you bill is due by texting and emailing bill pay alerts, so there’s no danger (or excuse) of “forgetting” to pay your credit card bill. Plus, interactive student credit cards often provide you with access to your credit score, that way you can watch your credit build each month and give students an idea of exactly how to build their credit.

Before applying for a student credit card online, we recommend checking out all the bonus programs available to determine which card offers the most incentives for you or your college student.

  • Intro to APR

Students applying for a credit card should first be aware of APR and interest rates. Here’s the just: APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate - this is the interest you’ll pay on your card once your intro period expires. Easy enough, right?

Basically, the smaller the APR you pay, the better. However, APR’s can fluctuate based on prime rates and credit history. This can get complicated, which is why Creditnet.com always recommends paying your bill on time and in full each month. That way, you’ll NEVER pay interest. 0% interest is a simple equation, whether you’re a math major or not.

That being said, if you DO plan on carrying a balance then consider the intro period of a student credit card. The longer the intro period, the longer you’ll go paying 0% interest. For students, most intro periods last anywhere from 6 to 9 months; just make sure you’re aware of when your intro period ends so you’re not shocked when you see that dreaded APR tacked on at the end of the month.

  • Final Exam: Cash Back Rewards

Finally, cash back rewards are yet another perk to consider when applying for a student credit card. If you’re a student, odds are you’ve got A LOT on your mind (Beer, pizza, parties … occasionally homework. WOW do we miss college...), which is why we recommend cash back programs that are simple and don’t require you to enroll.

Admittedly, cash back enrollment plans are pretty easy to participate in. (It rarely entails more than a click of the mouse or a text.) However, there are a number of cash back credit cards for students that don’t require enrolling in quarterly programs if you’re not willing to risk it.

If you’re still not sure about sending your son or daughter off to college with a student credit card, consider a secured credit card for students or a prepaid debit card. These cards limit the possibility of your college student falling into debt (in that there is NO danger with those cards). However, the rewards aren’t quite the same, and the opportunity to build credit can be limited or non-existent.