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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Student credit cards can be the first step up on the credit ladder. While paying on plastic gives a sense of financial freedom, this liberty comes with responsibility.

Here we look at the features, benefits and drawbacks students should consider before jumping on the credit card bandwagon.

Our pick for students that are new to credit

Petal® Visa® Credit Card

  • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, international fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee
  • Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments
  • Variable APRs 14.49% - 25.49%
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
  • Up to 10% cash back from select merchants
  • Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
  • Cash flow technology may help applicants without credit history get approved
  • $500 - $10,000 credit limits
  • Petal's mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No deposits required
  • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC
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Compare student credit cards

Updated January 18th, 2020
Name Product Filter values Minimum deposit required Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Starting at $200
23.99% variable
A no annual fee secured card for people who are new to credit or have limited credit history with a fair to average credit score.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
26.74% variable
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or get 1.25% cash back for months you pay on time.
CardMatch™ from
See terms
See issuer's website
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Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
26.74% variable
Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.
Petal® Visa® Credit Card
14.49% to 25.49% variable
Build your credit with rewards and no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.

Compare up to 4 providers

What is the purpose of a student credit card?

A student credit card can provide easier purchase management and simpler repayment options while cultivating financial discipline. With credit cards being everywhere, it’s no wonder that students are attracted to them.

What factors should I consider when comparing student credit cards?

We look at some of the major factors you can consider when comparing student credit cards:

  • Fees.
    As a rule of thumb we can say that 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 is ideal to look for low or 0% interest rate cards. Some credit cards offer low interest rates for an initial period of three to twelve months after which they revert to a higher 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 like purchase protection insurance, lost card insurance and extended warranty insurance are also quite useful.
  • Rewards.
    Some card companies also provide reward points or cash back on certain purchases.
  • What is my credit history like?
    Student credit cards are typically the first introduction to a line of credit. However, if you have used other credit products and have less than perfect credit history, you would need to look for secured cards to rebuild your credit.
  • Can I manage my account online?
    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.

How to avoid massive student credit card debt

What information will I need when applying?

The details required would differ from bank to bank. Some of the most common information required by banks while processing student credit cards includes:

  • Personal details.
    Full name, date of birth, contact details, email and more.
  • Co-signer.
    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.

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:

  • Thorough research.
    The first step should always include thorough research. You can compare all the cards provided on this page to get a complete idea of the various benefits and features of the cards.
  • Decide on a card.
    After comparing, you need to pick a card which is suitable for your needs. You should check the eligibility criteria for the card and make sure you meet the conditions.
  • Applying online.
    You can select a card from and click on ‘Go To Site’ on the page. This link will securely redirect you to the online application form and 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 past credit history while processing the application and a major aspect of past credit history also includes the recent applications sent by the individual. 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.

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 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.


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