Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Which Credit Card Is Best For Students

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Chase Freedom Student Credit Card

The Best Credit Card For College Students

Best student card for benefits

  • This card is best for: Students who are looking for a good ongoing rewards rate and an easy-to-earn welcome bonus.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Someone with good to excellent credit who can qualify for a higher-earning Chase Ultimate Rewards card, like the Chase Freedom Flex.
  • What makes this card unique? Youll earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening when meeting credit criteria. This feature encourages good financial habits and may help improve your credit score. Youll also earn a $20 Good Standing Reward after each account anniversary for up to 5 years.
  • Is the Chase Freedom® Student credit card worth it? With no annual fee and a relatively good cash back rate, this card is worth getting for credit card newcomers. However, those with good to excellent credit may qualify for higher-earning Chase cards.

Jump back to offer details.

Best Student Credit Cards 2021

Recommended card
Offer not available on this site
Recommended card
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students


To make choosing the right card easier, we’ve looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best rewards credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the additional value you can earn with the cards including the rewards value, cost of ownership and value of benefits such as travel and purchase protections, lounge membership and airline companion passes. Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

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How We Picked The Best Student Credit Cards

Although credit cards made specifically for students only make up a small fraction of all credit cards, weve thoroughly analyzed 109 of these student credit cards in order to choose the few best options for you. To arrive at the top 5 picks above, we used a robust set of criteria that included annual fee, regular APR, foreign transaction fee, sign-up bonus, credit needed, rewards rates and categories, redemption options, ease of application, student-specific benefits, customer service, and more.

How To Get Your First Credit Card

What Are the Best Student Credit Cards in 2020? Ultimate Guide

When youre ready to get your first credit card, do your homework. Check your credit reports, find your credit score, and research cards that fit your needs. There are a number of student credit cards available, most with unique features and conditions. Take special notice of annual fees, rewards offered, and APRs.

Narrow your selection and apply to only one card. Every time you apply for a credit card , its noted on your credit report. Multiple applications can negatively impact your credit score and make it more difficult to get approved for a card.

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Student Bmo Air Miles Mastercard

Our pick for a no-fee student card that earns Air Miles

  • Our take

    Why we like it

    Students can start earning travel rewards on everyday purchases with this no-fee and easy-entry Air Miles card.


  • Generous intro offer and the ability to earn rewards on everyday purchases.
  • Your Air Miles membership will help you earn miles twice as fast at Air Miles partners when you pay with your BMO AIR MILES credit card.


  • Air Miles are not transferable to other accounts or programs.
  • The 19.99% interest rate might be an industry standard, but its a pretty high interest rate if this is your first credit card. If a lower rate is important to you, consider the nearly-identical BMO Air Miles Mastercard, which comes with a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months.
  • Product details
  • Earn 1 Mile for every $25 spent on credit card purchases.
  • Earn 3 Miles for every $25 spent at participating Air Miles Partners, including Safeway, Sobeys, Shell, Foodland and more.
  • Your Air Miles membership will help you earn miles twice as fast at AIR MILES partners when you pay with your BMO Air Miles credit card.
  • Redeem Air Miles for Air Miles Cash Rewards, Travel Rewards, or Dream Rewards, including movie tickets, events, etc. Air Miles do not expire as long as your account is active and in good standing.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Save up to 25% on rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations.
  • You can use the Air Miles you earn to upgrade to Gold or Onyx status.
  • Look For The Magic Word: Pre

    Before you fill out the first blank field on any application, be sure to look for pre-qualified offers.

    To see if you pre-qualify, a credit card issuer will perform whats known as a soft credit inquiry. This way, you can find measure how likely you are to be approved for the card before you actually apply and the issuer performs a hard credit inquiry that will ding your credit score.

    Every time you apply for a credit card, your score will briefly drop by about 5 points, so its best to do it as few times as possible. If youre denied, take steps to improve your credit and apply for another card in a few months.

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    Discover It Student Chrome

    Best for gas, dining and large purchases

    • This card is a good fit for: Students who commute or take road trips often.
    • This card is not a good choice for: Students who live on campus or have a university meal plan.
    • What makes this card unique? Discovers Cashback Match is a one-of-a-kind bonus that can offer even more value than a traditional sign-up bonus, depending on how much you use your card. Discover will automatically match all of the cash back youve earned at the end of your first year, so a first-year cash back total of $350 becomes $700.
    • Is the Discover it® Student chrome worth it? In terms of rewards structure, this card is essentially identical to the Discover it® chrome. However, the credit requirements are much lower with the student version of the card. For that reason, its a great deal for those whose spending aligns with the bonus categories.

    Jump back to offer details.

    How To Apply For A Student Credit Card

    5 BEST Credit Cards For COLLEGE STUDENTS 2021! (Best Student Credit Cards)

    Applying for a student credit card is pretty simple, although there are a few eligibility issues to keep in mind.

    • Youll need to be the age of majority in your province. Thats either 18 or 19 .
    • If you dont earn an income, you may need to provide proof you receive some form of financial support, such as allowances from your family or a scholarship.

    As a new credit card holder, its a smart idea to review your options before you apply. Check out what different banks are offering and choose a card that best matches your lifestyle and spending habits. As each application affects your credit score, you want to avoid applying for multiple credit cards. Stick with one card as you learn the ropes and start building your credit history.

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    Hdfc Bank Forexplus Card:

    • The HDFC Bank ForexPlus Card is a boon for students who study abroad and require easy access to funds in multiple currencies. This offering by HDFC is a prepaid card which works similar to a credit card, where the amount is debited directly from the card.
    • For students living abroad, currency fluctuations are a constant problem. This card protects cardholders from this as money can be deposited in the card in all major foreign currencies. Withdrawals and transactions made through the card would also be protected from exchange rate fluctuations if the transactions are conducted in the currencies that the card is available in.

    How To Find A Student Credit Card That Makes The Grade

    Despite sometimes taking on the label of a junior card, many student cards are just as useful and valuable as general rewards cards. With benefits tailored to credit-building needs, these cards are a great way for students to establish themselves financially. Plus, you can shop for anything new you may need for at-home and hybrid classes, like digital textbooks, a laptop upgrade or a comfier desk chair.

    Check out our top picks for student credit cards and learn more about making your entry into the world of credit. Then get ready to choose the card that youll carry with you through 2021, and possibly beyond.

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    Bank Of America Cash Rewards Credit Card For Students Vs Bank Of America Travel Rewards Credit Card For Students

    While the fundamental difference between the two Bank of America student cards is the redemption options, there are plenty of other features to consider. From its earnings rate to sign-up bonus, youll want to select the card that will reward you better for your spending habits.

    Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for StudentsBank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
    Rewards3% cash back in the category of your choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases
    Sign-up bonusOnline $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
    Foreign transaction fee
    13.99% to 23.99% variable13.99%-23.99% variable

    The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students lets you redeem your points to pay down travel purchases such as flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees. If you dont usually travel, then you should go with a traditional cash back card, like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students. You can redeem your cash back in $25 increments.

    How To Decide: What Is The Best Credit Card For Me

    5 of the Best Credit Cards for College Students in 2020

    To decide which credit is the best for you, you need to look at your priorities. If you normally carry a balance or you want to reduce your debt, then a low-interest or balance transfer card should be the only types you consider.

    People who always pay off their full balance every month need to decide whether a travel or cash-back card makes more sense for them. Travel cards can offer lucrative rewards, but if you dont like to travel, theres no point in you getting a travel credit card. If this sounds like you, then a cash-back card may be the way to go.

    Now that youve got your category of card selected, take a look at the earn rate, additional, benefits and which type of points you earn for each card. If you happen to spend a lot on gas and groceries, then look for a card that has a high earn rate for those categories.

    The annual fee should also be a consideration in your decision making, but if you think youre getting good value out of your additional benefits and youre making more back than you paid with the fee, then it shouldnt be a big deal.

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    Do Student Credit Cards Graduate When You Do

    There is really no reason to part with a student credit card once you graduate unless it carries an unusually high interest or fees. Indeed, theres actually a strong case to be made for hanging on to the account. Thats because an individuals credit score is based in part on the average age of their various credit accounts, and a student card account is likely to be the longest-standing piece of credit history most people will ever have. Card issuers often have a graduation strategy for student credit cards that essentially converts them into regular consumer cards with higher credit lines and other valuable features. In some cases, you can upgrade to a different card the issuer offers while retaining the same account, with its long and beneficial credit history.

    Petal 1 No Annual Fee Visa Credit Card

    Best for local cash back offers

    • This card is a good fit for: Aspiring credit builders looking to avoid security deposits or annual fees.
    • This card is not a good choice for: Someone looking for a consistent cash back program.
    • What makes this card unique? In the Petal 1 mobile app, you can find local offers near you that earn between 2% and 10% cash back at select merchants.
    • Is the Petal® 1 No Annual Fee Visa® Credit Card worth it? The unique cash back offers are a nice bonus, but perhaps more valuable to a credit novice are this cards credit-building features. Using Petal 1s user-friendly app, you can set and track a monthly budget, keep tabs on your credit score and calculate interest costs. Through the app, you can also enable AutoPay and make sure you never miss a payment. If your focus is building healthy credit habits, this card makes it easy.

    Jump back to offer details.

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    Bmo Cash Back Mastercard

    The BMO Cash Back Mastercard is a no-annual-fee credit card that fits in well in the student cash back rewards category. It offers:

    • $0 annual fee
    • Earn 3% cash back on grocery purchases, 1% cash back on recurring bill payments, and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. The 1% and 3% cash back categories are subject to a maximum spending of $500 per month
    • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases after the bonus period
    • 1.99% balance transfer rate for 9 months
    • Extended warranty and purchase protection
    • Up to 25% discount on car rentals

    Is It A Good Idea For College Students To Have A Credit Card

    5 Best Credit Cards for College Students 2020

    Like any tool, a credit card can become problematic if not used responsibly. And students have little experience with credit to draw on in order to card in moderation. That said, for most students, the benefits of receiving a credit card outweigh its drawbacks. Theres the convenience of ongoing credit for starters. Also, building a positive credit history during ones college years can lend a student a huge head start in qualifying for other types of credit once they graduate. Future credit needs include car loans and mortgages, certainly, but even prospective landlords and employers often check credit reports and credit scores. Its possible that a bad experience with a student credit card could be costly, both financially and in terms of the student’s credit history. But thats a risk worth taking for the potential benefits of acquiring a credit card early in adult life.

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    How Do I Build My Credit As A College Student

    When used responsibly, a student credit card can be a great tool for building your credit history. Its just imperative that as a college student, youre on top of your spending and you know what it takes to stay on track financially. Here are some good tips to keep in mind as you begin your credit journey:

    A secured card, which requires a refundable deposit, can also be a good choice. In some cases, they have rewards and even no annual fee. Ideally, you want a student card with no annual fee that isnt secured, but a secured card is a good Plan B. You can build credit with a secured card, and in some cases, the issuer will consider advancing you to an unsecured account for good credit habits.

    Koho: Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card

    Our pick for a reloadable prepaid Visa card that earns interest and builds credit

    • Our take

      Why we like it

      KOHO offers two tiers of prepaid cards: a standard card and a premium card. Both combine the benefits of a debit card and a credit card with cash back rewards, limited fees and the ability to build credit. Plus, KOHO doesnt charge interest instead, they let you earn interest on every dollar you save in your KOHO account.


    • An app that tracks your spending, helps with budgeting, offers free financial coaching, and the ability to earn 1.2% interest on your entire account.
    • Access to a credit building service that reports your payments for only $7 per month a rare feature for a prepaid card.


    • KOHO is a tech-focused company, so if youre uncomfortable with digital banking, it may not be the right choice.
    • KOHO isnt a credit card, which means you cant borrow any money. You can only access the funds already in your account.
  • Product details
  • Standard KOHO Prepaid Visa card
  • 0.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Up to 10% cash back at select KOHO partners.
  • Cash back is instantly added to your KOHO Savings account.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • Eligible for a joint account.
  • Ability to round up purchases to the nearest dollar and have the difference added to your savings account.
  • KOHO Premium Visa
  • Up to 10% cash back at select KOHO partners.
  • 2% cash back on transportation, groceries and restaurants.
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else.
  • $9 monthly fee/$84 annual fee, + a 30-day free trial.
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