Student Credit Cards

Jumpstart your credit score with a credit card tailored for students. From cash back on good grades to discounts on streaming services, find the perfect card for your student life with these offers from our partners. Federal Laws impose restrictions on issuing credit cards to individuals under 21 unless the applicant has the independent ability to repay debt, or has an adult co-signer who agrees to accept joint liability for the account.

See offers from our partners below.

Discover it® chrome for Students

626 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter-no sign-ups needed. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% for 6 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Fair Credit
See Rates & Fees

Discover it® for Students

Discover it® for Students

1,096 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% for 6 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
14.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Fair Credit
See Rates & Fees

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students

Apply Now Credit Needed
Limited/No Credit
  • 1% unlimited cash back on All purchases
  • Deserve will pay for Amazon Prime Student, get free Video, Music, and Reading (Up to a life-time total of $49)
  • Up to a $5,000 credit line
  • $0 annual fee
  • No security deposit or co-signer required (No SSN required for international students)
  • Builds credit history
  • Use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted with no foreign transaction fees
  • Mastercard Platinum Benefits like Price Protection, Travel Assistance, ID Theft Protection, Extended Warranty and Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Apply Now at Deserve's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Limited/No Credit

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Apply Now Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Apply Now Credit Needed
Good Credit
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • 2,500 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $25 in gift cards, electronics and other great rewards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*
Apply Now at Citi's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0%* for 7 months on Purchases*
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0*
Credit Needed
Good Credit

What Students Need to Know About Credit Cards

Updated: January 15, 2018

CreditCards.com's Top Student Credit Cards - January 2018

  • Discover it chrome for Students - best at restaurants and gas stations
  • Discover it for Students - best for online shopping at Amazon.com
  • Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students - Deserve will pay for Amazon Prime Student
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One - no foreign transaction fee
  • Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students - best sign up bonus

Student credit cards are tailored to the beginning consumer, giving you the opportunity to sign up when you don’t have the most robust credit file or when you have a thin file. There are also cards that offer no annual fee and even cashback rewards.

Here, we look at:

  • How can college students build credit?
  • How to use your credit cards as a student
  • How credit cards work
  • Why college students should have a credit card
  • How to get your first credit card

Learn more about building your credit as a college student:

How can college students build credit?

  1. Check your credit reports. There are 3 major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Check them to make sure they have started a file on you. Also check for accuracy. You can pull your TransUnion report for free at creditcards.com each month, or you can check all three for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  2. Check your credit score. A score is created from each credit bureau’s report by FICO and VantageScore. You can check your VantageScore for free at CreditCards.com or all three FICO scores for about $20 each at MYFICO.com. Ideally, you want a score of at least 670 out of a scale of 300-850, with 850 as the best.
  3. Look at credit cards. The easiest and fastest way to build credit is with a credit card. Just make sure you apply for one you are likely to get – that’s why you need your credit score.
  4. What to do if you are under 21. If you are under 21, then your options are limited, but there are a couple of ways to do this. If you have your own income, you can get your own card. Your best bet is a card that allows for thin credit or a secured card, which requires a refundable deposit. If you don’t have income, you can be an authorized user on a more experienced consumer’s card or even open an account with a cosigner/joint cardholder who is at least 21 years old. Either way, make sure your credit habits will be sent to the credit bureaus.
  5. Pay on time and in full. These 2 things are among the most important habits you can have when building credit. Also, put a small charge on the card each month to keep the account active.

How to use your credit cards as a student

  1. Pay on time. This is the most important part of your credit score. One missed payment can drop your score into the next tier, and it can take months to recoup. But pay on time and your score will climb in months.
  2. Pay in full. Instead of using your card as a loan, use it to build credit. That will keep you from incurring prohibitive interest charges.
  3. Put a small charge on the card. This keeps the account active month to month, and allows you to build a history, one of the factors in your score.
  4. Ready for rewards? If you are doing Nos. 1-3 on a regular basis, you may be ready for using rewards. The trick is to put as much on your card as possible while paying in full each month. This allows you to maximize earning cash back or points. Watch out for convenience fees, though – for example, some colleges charge a percentage for using a credit card to pay for tuition.

How credit cards work

  1. What credit cards are for. Credit cards are for convenience and building credit. In fact, proper use of a credit card is the fastest and easiest way to build credit.
  2. What credit cards are not for. Don’t use a credit card as a long-term loan. The interest rates can be prohibitive.
  3. How to get a card. First off, make sure you know what your credit score is, because you don’t want to apply for cards you likely won’t land. Look at annual fees, rewards, foreign transaction fees and benefits before choosing a card.
  4. Why on-time payments are important. The most important aspect of your score is whether you pay on time. One late payment can drop your score, and it can take months to get it back to where it was.
  5. Why you want to pay in full. When you carry a balance on your card, you are paying high interest rates on the balance, which are accrued daily. This means you can end up paying thousands of dollars in interest fees, depending on the balance. By paying in full each month, you can avoid the interest.
  6. How to use the card. Whatever you do, don’t put it in a sock drawer and forget about it. If you don’t plan to use it on a daily basis, put a small charge on it each month (and pay in full before the due date). That way, you keep the account active, which helps your credit.

Why college students should have a credit card

A credit card is the easiest and fastest way to build your credit. It has to do with how the scoring models are set up. But college students can be limited in how they access a card. If you have an income, you can get your own card. If not, look at becoming an authorized user on an experienced consumer’s account. Either way, make sure the card’s paying habits are sent to the 3 major credit bureaus.

How to get your first credit card

  1. Check your credit reports. Reach out to the credit bureaus if your credit file is incomplete or inaccurate.
  2. Check your credit scores. This will help you decide which card to apply for.
  3. Research available cards. Look at fees, including annual fees, as well as rewards opportunities.
  4. Apply for one card at a time. Multiple “hard pulls” (checks that are reflected on your score) on your credit reports can appear to lenders as though you are desperate for cash. Only apply for a card if you are reasonably sure you can get it.
  5. Tell the truth. You will be asked to provide personal information and your income. Don’t lie, because if you are caught, you can lose the account.
  6. Pay on time and in full each month. These are the two most important aspects of your score.

Join the Discussion

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See the online credit card applications for details about the terms and conditions of an offer. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's web site.

* For additional rates, fees and costs see issuer's website for detailed pricing and terms.