Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Student Credit Card Finder
The best student cards for cash back, travel and more.
Compare student credit cards
The student credit card market has been heating up, and you have several strong options to choose from. A $0 annual fee is standard. Plus, you may find solid rewards and attractive signup bonuses.
Best student credit cards
Quick look to best student credit cards
Each of the following products can serve you well as your first credit card. You won’t pay an annual fee for any of them.
Best for flat-rate rewards and no foreign transaction fees
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students
Min. credit score
Points welcome offer
- Rewards points. Earn 1.5x points on every purchase.
- Signup bonus. Earn 25,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
- Helpful extras. Monthly FICO score and no foreign transaction fees.
- No 0% APR on balance transfers. You get a 0% intro APR period on purchases, but not on balance transfers.
|Purchase APR||0% intro for the first 12 billing cycles (then 14.99% to 22.99% variable)|
|Balance transfer APR||14.99% to 22.99% variable|
|Welcome offer||25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days|
|Rewards||1.5x points on all purchases|
Best for overall cash back
Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students
Min. credit score
- Cash back. Earn 3% cash back in an eligible category of your choice and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Earn these rates on the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%.
- Signup bonus. Earn $200 cash rewards bonus after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
- Intro APR. Get 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 statement closing dates from account opening. After that, 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
- Foreign transaction fees. Avoid using this card abroad or online with foreign merchants or you'll pay 3% of the amount of each transaction.
- Balance transfer limitations. To use the 0% intro APR period, complete your transfers within the first 60 days when you open your account.
|Purchase APR||0% intro for the first 15 statement closing dates (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)|
|Balance transfer APR||0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)|
|Welcome offer||$200 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days|
|Rewards||3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category, grocery and wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%|
Best for international students
Deserve® Edu Card
Min. credit score
- Rewards. Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
- Low requirements for international students. No Social Security number required if you're an international student.
- Amazon Prime credit. Get credit for your Amazon Prime Student subscription, up to a lifetime total of $59.
- No intro APR period. You don't get a 0% intro APR period on purchases or balance transfers.
- No signup bonus. There's no bonus to earn when you signup for the card.
|Purchase APR||18.74% variable|
|Balance transfer APR||N/A|
|Welcome offer||Amazon Prime Student subscription credit up to $59|
|Rewards||1% cash back on all purchases|
Best for rebuilding credit
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Min. credit score
- Security deposit. Deposit $49, $99 or $200, according to Capital One's discretion, and get an initial credit line of $200.
- Potential credit limit increase. Pay your first five monthly payments on time and get a credit limit increase.
- No foreign transaction fees. Purchases made abroad or online with foreign merchants won't cost you any foreign transaction fees.
- No rewards. You won't earn any rewards on purchases made with this card.
- No intro APR period. You don't get a 0% or a low-rate intro APR period on purchases or balance transfers.
|Purchase APR||26.99% variable|
|Balance transfer APR||26.99% variable|
Ace in the hole: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Students 3% cashback category
Each month, you can set the category in which you earn 3% cash back. These categories include:
- Online shopping
- Drug stores
- Home improvement and furnishings
This is an excellent perk because of its flexibility. You can set your top cashback category based on where you spend the most money — a luxury you won’t find with other cards.
To select our picks for student cards, we compared products on the market with related benefits and rewards. We narrowed the winners to cards with additional standout features.
- Best for flat-rate rewards and no foreign transaction fee. We picked the card that offers the highest flat-rate rewards and is billed as a student product.
- Best for overall cash back. We picked this card based on the top non-quarterly-rotating rewards rate — in this case, 3% cash back for Bank of America’s card — and flexibility of reward earnings.
- Best for international students. We looked for a card that allows international students to apply without a Social Security number. Rewards and additional student-focused benefits tipped the scales.
- Best for rebuilding credit. We consider credit building the most important use of a secured card. That said, we picked a product that incentivizes members to pay on time. The security deposit is typically an onerous requirement for consumers, and Capital One’s product offers a chance to lessen that burden.
- Best for rotating cash back. We looked for a card that offers the highest rotating cashback rate and is billed as a student product.
Our pick for students that are new to credit
Deserve® Edu CardRead more
Why get a student credit card?
- Better odds of approval.
Right now, you might have a thin credit report, which means you’ll have trouble getting approved for most credit cards. Student cards are an exception, however, as they’re geared toward those who are just getting started with credit.
- Learn how to responsibly use credit.
Now’s a great time to build strong credit habits. Try to keep your balance low — preferably, under 30% of your credit limit — and to pay off your balance in full each month. Most importantly, make every payment on time, which will go a long way toward protecting your credit score.
- Start building your credit score.
A good credit score is a valuable asset when you need a loan, as it could lead to lower interest rates. It’s also helpful when you’re applying for housing or a job. The earlier you start building your credit score, the better it may be by the time you really need it. Also, strong credit will help you get better cards, such as those that offer cash back or travel rewards.
How to get a student credit card
If you’re relatively new to credit cards, don’t be afraid to take it slow. Take the time to select a card that you might keep for the next few years. And above all, consider whether you’re ready to use credit responsibly.
- Compare features that are important to you.
You can find many student products without annual fees. Compare major features such as rewards and signup bonus. If you want to make a fairly large purchase and pay for it over time with no interest, consider a card with an intro APR. But keep in mind you always have to pay back what you spend on your card. Now’s the time to take special care not to get into debt. If you think you’ll be traveling internationally — perhaps to study abroad — you might compare credit cards suited for international students.
- See if you’re eligible for a credit card.
Many providers require a Social Security number, and you must show income or assets that prove you can pay your card bills. You must be at least 18 years old to get a card on your own. If you can’t independently pay your card bill, consider applying with a cosigner.
- Apply for a credit card.
On your card application, you’ll need information like your address, contact details, date of birth, total annual gross income, Social Security number, and monthly housing or rent payment. Also, submit other information that the card provider requires.
- Wait for approval.
You may be approved instantly. If the provider needs to review your application, you may need to wait a few days to a few weeks to hear back. After approval, you’ll typically receive your card in the mail within seven to 10 days.
Credit cards for high school students
You can set yourself up for financial success by getting an early start on building credit. There are great benefits to having a good credit score, including:
- Higher approval odds for an apartment application, car loan, etc.
- Lower insurance rates.
- Access to credit cards with better rewards and more benefits.
It’s slightly tougher to get your own credit card if you’re under 21, but it’s doable. You must be at least 18 years old. You must also prove your ability to pay your own card bill, or apply with a cosigner.
If you’re under 18, you can’t get a credit card on your own. But consider asking a parent to add you to their credit card account as an authorized user.
Do’s and don’ts of student credit cards
Start building great credit habits now to pave the way for a smooth financial journey ahead. If you’re still unsure whether you’re ready for a credit card, check out our full guide for more information.
How to properly use a card
- See your card as a loan you must pay back — not as a blank check.
- Always keep your credit utilization under 30%.
- Pay your balance on time and in full each month.
- Avoid loaning your card to friends.
- Check your card’s pricing table and understand fees you might pay.
Mistakes to avoid
- Getting too many credit cards.
- Consistently maxing out your credit limit.
- Not paying your card bill in full each month.
- Paying your card bill late.
- Applying without a reliable source of income.
To find the right student credit card, compare features such as rewards, signup bonus and student-focused benefits. Above all, look at your card as a chance to build great financial habits. Use it well and you’ll be well prepared for choosing a great second credit card.
If you’d like to get up to speed on credit cards, check out our beginner’s guide.
Frequently asked questions
Read more on this topic
Sally Beauty Rewards Credit Card review Earn rewards on your Sally Beauty purchases and redeem them for store coupons.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured review Earn cash back on your purchases and build your credit.
cred.ai Visa card review A no-annual-fee card with tools to protect your funds and build credit.
Destiny Mastercard review An unsecured card for building credit.
Bellwether Smart Rate Card review Get a balance transfer offer and potentially low-interest rates with this credit-builder card.
Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® review Earn Emirates miles on your purchases without paying a high annual fee.
Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® review Earn Emirates miles on your purchases and enjoy premium benefits with this airline credit card.
X1 Card review This metal card adjusts your limit based on your income.
Which credit cards have gotten better during COVID-19? Earn more rewards on select categories or get an extension of some travel perks.
BMW MINI Card review A decent rewards card for MINI and BMW fans.
Ask an Expert