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Student Credit Cards

It's more important than ever to start building an excellent credit history when you're young.  The key to building good credit is to use credit responsibly by living within your means and always paying your credit card bills on time and in full. 

So, the best credit cards for students really serve two important purposes:

1.) They teach you or your college student about responsibly using a credit card.

2.) They help you build credit early by reporting your payment history to the major credit bureaus.

The good news is that credit cards for college students are available today and don’t require an established credit history, making it easier for young adults in college to get approved. In addition, a number of student credit cards include cash back rewards programs on the things students are most likely to buy plus extended intro periods during 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.  Happy searching!

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Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
14.24%-23.24% *Variable
Balance Transfer
15 months
0%
Within 45 days of account opening

Upromise World MasterCard® Highlights

  • Earn up to 10% total cash back as a Upromise member when you use your Upromise MasterCard on eligible purchases at online retailers and travel partners through Upromise.com
  • 2% cash back on eligible in-store and movie theater purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99%
Balance Transfer
N/A
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.24(V)
Balance Transfer
Ongoing
20.24 (V)

Your credit score is like your credit "GPA". To build good credit, we recommend doing the following: Get some credit, then Pay your bills on time, and finally, Always pay balances in full.

Creditnet 101: Introduction 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.  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 your 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.

 

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.  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, APRs 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 up to par, and the opportunity to build credit can be limited or even non-existent.