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How to successfully apply for a student credit card

Start building your credit history from the get-go with a student credit card

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Getting a student credit card can be an exciting first step toward building credit. While paying on plastic might give you a sense of financial freedom, it’s important to also understand the responsibilities that come along that freedom.

Before applying, learn the features, benefits and drawbacks of student credit cards.

What is the purpose of a student credit card?

A student credit card can be a useful tool to purchase items. If you pay off your purchases on time and use the card responsibly, a student credit card can also help you cultivate financial discipline and build stronger credit. With better credit, you can eventually graduate to a credit card with stronger rewards.

What factors should I consider when comparing student credit cards?

When comparing student credit cards, consider these factors:

  • Fees.
    As a rule of thumb, the more basic the card, the lower the annual fee. As we go up the value chain of credit cards, the annual fees start increasing.
  • Interest rates.
    As a student, it’s ideal to look for low or 0% interest rate cards. Some credit cards offer low interest rates for an initial period of 3 to 12 months. After that intro period, you’ll pay the revert rate.
  • Extra features.
    If you are planning on traveling in the near future, you can look at cards offering complimentary travel insurance. Also, other features such as purchase protection insurance, lost card insurance and extended warranty insurance can be quite useful.
  • Rewards.
    Some card companies provide rewards points or cash back on certain purchases.
  • Credit history.
    Student credit cards are typically the first introduction to a line of credit. However, if you’ve used other credit products and have less than perfect credit history, look for secured cards to rebuild your credit.
  • Online account management.
    The credit card should have an easy online management system where you can quickly access the expenses, limits, interest rates and also get to know about any new offers.

What information will I need when applying?

The information required differs from bank to bank, but you’ll probably need to provide these details:

  • Personal details.
    Full name, date of birth, contact details, email and more.
  • Cosigner details.
    This is a person who would act as collateral or insurance, in case you are unable to pay off the debt. This can be your guardian, parent or any family member.
  • Student details.
    Information about your university, course, current year and more can be asked. You would also need to provide your student ID details.
  • Present financial details.
    Your current income and expense details are required during application. They might also ask about your current income or assets.

Do you have to be a student to get a student credit card?

Generally speaking, student cards are reserved for students. Most require you to input and have confirmation of your student status in order to apply. If you’re not a student but you’re looking for a way to start building credit, consider applying for a card with a cosigner.

How can I apply?

The application process is customized by banks according to their requirements. The general process for applying for a student credit card is:

  • Do thorough research.
    The first step should always include thorough research. You can compare the cards on this page to get an idea of various cards’ benefits and features.
  • Decide on a card.
    After comparing, you need to pick a card that’s suitable for your needs. You should check the eligibility criteria for the card and make sure you meet the conditions.
  • Apply online.
    If you select a card from finder.com, you can click on Go to site on the page. This link will securely redirect you to the online application form. Filling out the form generally takes around 10 minutes. Make sure that all the information is correct and then submit the form to the bank. Most banks will respond within a couple of minutes indicating that they have successfully received the form.
  • Wait for approval.
    The final verification of details and other documents can take three to five business days. Once your application is verified, the credit card company will contact you. If you’ve been approved, you should usually expect to receive your card within seven to 10 days.

Did you know?

Credit card companies will look at your past credit history while processing your application. A major aspect of past credit history includes your recent applications. If there are several rejections for applications of a credit card, it would reflect poorly on your credit rating. So it’s important to conduct research to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before firing several credit card applications off.

Our pick for students that are new to credit

Deserve® Edu Card

  • Amazon Prime Student on us for a year (Lifetime Value worth $59)
  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Cellphone protection
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits
  • $0 annual fee
  • No international transaction fees
  • 20.24% variable APR (Prime + 15.49%)
Read less
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Compare student credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter values Minimum deposit required Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
300
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Deserve® Edu Card
N/A
18.74% variable
$0
580
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.
Jasper Mastercard®
N/A
15.49% variable
$0
New to credit
Credit card for professionals relocating to America without a US credit history.
Petal® Visa® Credit Card
N/A
12.99% to 29.49% variable
$0
New to credit
Build your credit with rewards and no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
N/A
22.99% variable
$0
580
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or get 1.25% cash back for months you pay on time.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Student credit cards can be a good way for cardholders to kickstart their credit history. Generally, these cards have a lower fee structure because of the limited repayment capacity of the students. If you use the card appropriately, by only making necessary purchases and paying your bills on time, you could start building a good credit history which will benefit you later in life.

As there are many student credit cards on the market, it’s worthwhile to compare your options to find the right student card for you.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ViswatejaMarch 12, 2018

    I want credit card

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloMarch 15, 2018

      Hi Viswateja,

      Thanks for leaving a comment on finder.

      If you are a student and looking to get your first credit card, the information above has everything you need to get approved. Please make sure to read the eligibility criteria, features and the relevant PDS/ T&Cs of the card before submitting your application.

      Cheers,
      Joel

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