Student credit cards offer a great opportunity to test out card features and see if they align with your lifestyle, so make sure to pick one with features that match your spending habits.
Chase recently debuted its first credit card designed for students – the Chase Freedom® Student – adding a new competitor to the space. This new addition can be a great choice for certain cardholders, but it makes choosing a starter credit card even harder.For students new to credit cards, it can be hard to know what kind of card is best for your spending. Student credit cards offer a great opportunity to test out card features and see if they align with your lifestyle, but they can vary greatly. So how do you decide which one is best for you?
Student cards are built with those new to credit in mind, so they often come with more modest earning rates and higher interest rates. Nevertheless, many offer valuable benefits that can help you learn how to make on-time payments, build your credit history and score and start earning points or cash back.
Decide what feature is best for you
The first step before choosing a student card is deciding what feature is most important to you. Since student credit cards are designed for new cardholders, they are built to help users get the hang of rewards and monthly payments. Some offer introductory rewards programs that let you rack up points or cash back and others have more manageable interest rates and fees – as a baby step into credit card payments. Unfortunately, student cards typically excel in one of these areas and not both.
Depending on which card features make the best sense for your spending – whether you are seeking practice budgeting and making monthly payments or the ability to stockpile rewards – you can then narrow down your options.
See related: Student credit cards: The definitive guide
Best student cards for low rates and fees
If you are looking for an introduction to credit card ownership that won’t charge you steep rates and fees while you get accustomed to making monthly payments, the following student cards might be best for you.
|Card||Rewards rate||Other things to know|
|Discover it® Student chrome|
|BankAmericard for Students||None|
|Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa card|
All of these cards offer good introductory APRs so you can get used to making payments without worrying about racking up significant interest charges. Additionally, none of them charge a penalty APR, so your rate won’t skyrocket if you miss a payment. However, while some of these cards do offer a rewards program, none of them are particularly lucrative.
Best student cards for rewards
If you aren’t as worried about the rates and fees and are excited to begin earning card rewards, there are also plenty of cards that introduce students to the rewards card space. Whether you prefer flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points or cash back, there are plenty of student cards that offer good earning rates.
|Card||Rewards rate||Other things to know|
|Chase Freedom® Student||1% cash back on every purchase|
|Discover it® Student Cash Back|
|Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card|
|Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®||1% cash back on all purchases|
These cards are all great options for rewards seekers as they offer good rewards rates or an introduction into some of the most valuable card rewards programs. On the downside, many have higher APRs or fees than cards without a rewards program.
What if you don’t qualify for a student card?
If you are brand new to credit and don’t qualify for one of these student credit cards, you still have a few other options. If a parent is willing to add you to one of their credit cards as an authorized user, that is one way to boost your credit history without qualifying for a credit card for yourself.
See related: What’s the minimum age to be an authorized user?
Many secured credit cards are also available to users with no credit history. While these cards usually don’t have any sort of rewards program and require a deposit, they can help steadily improve your credit history, so you can qualify for a better card down the line.
While there aren’t as many cards available for students as there are general rewards cards, there are still plenty of good options for new cardholders. Whether you are looking for a card that teaches good credit habits and goes easier on the fees or one that lets you start racking up rewards, you can find a student card that matches your lifestyle.
The Bank of America content in the post was updated on Dec. 2, 2019.