Credit is one of the most basic building blocks for the future that’s difficult to come by. Banks want long-term customers, but they don’t want to lend money to people who can’t pay it back. According to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, Credit cards cannot be issued to anyone under the age of 21 unless a parent or guardian cosigns for them, or they have an independent income. However, you can get student credit cards with lower credit limits and rewards that can serve as a bridge to more valuable credit offers in the future. In this article, we will be discussing How to get Best credit cards for students in 2022.
What is a Student’s Credit Card?
A student credit card is a starter card that can be used to pay for textbooks or unexpected expenses while also establishing credit. Student credit cards are intended to assist you in the process of establishing credit. They work in the same way as regular credit cards, but with lower credit limits and few to no rewards. Depending on the issuer, you don’t have to be a student to qualify for a student credit card. However, depending on your age, you will still need to meet eligibility requirements.
Types of Student Credit Cards?
Students can use rewards credit cards to earn cashback, miles, or points as an incentive to pay with plastic rather than cash. Some cards give you extra points for specific purchases, while others give you a flat rate of cashback – say, 1% – on everything you buy. Sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars in cash back or travel rewards may be available to new cardholders.
1. Reward Cards for Students
Students who use rewards credit cards earn cash back, miles, or points as an incentive to pay with plastic rather than cash. Some cards give you extra points for specific purchases, while others give you a flat rate of cashback – say, 1% – on everything you buy. Sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars in cash back or travel rewards may be available to new cardholders.
2. Student Card Cash Back Programs
A cashback credit card gives you a percentage of your purchases back. When compared to flat-rate cards, cards with bonus categories – some of which are fixed and others which rotate – can increase your earnings for spending in specific categories. A cashback card with bonus categories is the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students.
It gives you 3% back in your chosen category, such as gas, online shopping, travel, dining, drugstores, or home improvement and furnishings; 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs; and 1% back on everything else. Each quarter, you’ll get 3% and 2% cashback on up to $2,500 in the combined choice, grocery, and wholesale club category, respectively, followed by 1%.
3. Points And Mileage Programs
Other types of student credit card rewards programs allow you to earn points or miles that can be redeemed for travel, such as flights or hotel stays, as well as merchandise or gift cards.
4. Secured Credit Cards
If you don’t qualify for a traditional unsecured credit card, a secured credit card may be an option. A secured card is distinguished by the fact that it requires a refundable cash deposit as collateral, and your credit limit is usually equal to your deposit. A secured credit card is just as good as an unsecured credit card for building credit.
Top 10 Best Credit Cards for College Students
The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers a one-of-a-kind combination of high earning rates and a welcome bonus not commonly found in student cards. Cardholders can earn a lot of money if they use their cards correctly.
Rewards: Earn 5% cashback on everyday purchases at Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and when you pay with PayPal each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Additionally, earn an unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases. Discover will automatically match all cash back earned at the end of the first year as part of the welcome offer. There are no restrictions on how much you can spend or how much you can earn.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: If you plan to use Discover overseas, it is not as widely accepted as Mastercard, Visa, or even American Express. For students who travel or study abroad, this is a disadvantage. The quarterly bonus categories may or may not correspond to how you spend, so you may not be able to maximize your earnings every quarter.
We recommend the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students not only because it has no annual fee, easy-to-learn rewards, and a good welcome bonus, but also because it has no foreign transaction fees.
Rewards: 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, anywhere, at any time, with no expiration. After making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, you’ll get 25,000 bonus points.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: It’s simple to use Bank of America Travel Rewards points: Each point is worth one cent toward a statement credit that can be used to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, car rentals, or baggage fees. There are no foreign transaction fees with this card, which is beneficial if you plan to study abroad or take an international spring break.
We wish it included travel protections such as lost baggage assistance or travel insurance, but it does not—students will have to wait until their credit allows them to get better travel reward cards.
The Discover it® Student chrome card offers a consistent category bonus on restaurants and gas, making it ideal for those who can’t stand their roommates’ cooking and those who commute to school. Even better, it gives you a welcome bonus by doubling your cashback earnings after your first year as a cardholder.
Rewards: Earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter. Additionally, earn an unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases. Discover will automatically match all cash back earned at the end of the first year as part of their welcome offer. There are no restrictions on how much you can spend or how much you can earn.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: While the Discover it® Student Chrome offers consistent rewards categories, most students will find the Discover it® Student Cash Back to be more lucrative due to the ability to earn higher rewards on some purchases, as long as they can spare the mental bandwidth above and beyond studying for classes to activate the quarterly bonus four times per year.
This card may make more sense for those who plan to travel home every few months or who commute and eat out frequently.
The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card has great benefits and cashback, but its high APR, lack of a welcome bonus, and lack of an introductory APR keep it from being at the top of our list. The rewards are big on dining, entertainment, and grocery stores with fantastic cashback, but the risks of rapidly-accumulating debt if not paid off on time—every time—are also quite high. This can be dangerous for students, especially as they learn the ins and outs of a notoriously harsh lending system.
Rewards: 3% cashback on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), and 1% on everything else. Plus, through January 2023, Vivid Seats is offering 8% cashback on tickets. There is no welcome bonus available with this card.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: This card, like other Capital One student cards, has a variable APR of 26.99 percent. This is a high APR, and those who don’t understand how credit card APRs work should avoid it. Make sure you understand what APR is and how it works before applying for this card.
However, the high APR may be justified due to the card’s exceptional benefits for students, including extended warranty protections for eligible purchases, price protections, MasterRental® Coverage, and cell phone protection for eligible repairs. With this delectable, but potentially poisonous card, students should carefully consider whether the risks are worth the high reward.
The Chase Freedom family of cards is one of Forbes Advisor’s favorites, but the rewards for students pale in comparison. The benefits of this card, which include purchase protection, travel insurance, and extended warranty protection, make it worthwhile to investigate. The card also has a lower annual percentage rate (APR) than many other student cards.
Rewards: All purchases earn 1% cashback as a reward. $50 bonus if you make your first purchase within the first three months of opening your account.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: The Chase Freedom Student card’s simplicity—a flat rewards rate and no annual fee—makes it a simple entry into the Chase card system, which offers a plethora of much more powerful cards for those with the credit to obtain them—someday. For qualified cardholders, Chase offers a $20 annual fee for keeping the account in good standing for the first five years as a cardholder, as well as a credit line increase after five on-time payments in ten months.
It also has a $50 welcome bonus if you make your first purchase within the first three months of opening your account. Purchase protection, travel cancellation/interruption insurance, and extended warranty protections are among the additional benefits.
The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students has a good rewards rate for a student card and a great low introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. The lack of major benefits that are common with rewards cards is its weakest link.
Rewards: Get unlimited 1.5% cashback on all purchases. After making at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening the account, you’ll receive a $200 cash bonus.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: The Bank of America®’s Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students account’s most notable feature is its 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, followed by a standard APR of 13.99% to 23.99% variable. A balance transfer fee of 3% of the transaction amount (minimum $10) is charged. This card has foreign transaction fees, so it’s not ideal for students planning to study abroad.
With good flat-rate cash back rewards for a student card and a great set of benefits like price protection, cell phone protection for covered events, and extended warranties for eligible purchases, this card (like other Capital One student cards) comes with a high 26.99% (Variable) APR and won’t be near the top of our list anytime soon. The card’s cash back rewards, lack of foreign transaction fees, and lack of an annual fee make it worth considering, but only for those who are confident in their ability to pay on time, every time and are aware of the risks associated with a high APR.
Rewards: Cardholders receive 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases. There is no welcome bonus available with this card.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: Through MasterRental® Coverage, the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card provides extended warranty protection on eligible purchases, price protections, cell phone protection for eligible repairs, and an auto collision damage waiver. It also has a high APR of 26.99% (Variable). This card offers a credit line increase to those who make on-time payments for six months.
Cardholders of the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students earn 3% cashback in a category of their choice, with the option to change categories monthly. While the card’s headline is appealing, the card’s 2% cashback at grocery stores and wholesale clubs may prove to be more profitable in the long run.
Rewards: Earn 3% cashback in the category of your choice, plus an additional 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Each quarter, cashback is limited to $2,500 in the 3% and 2% categories combined. On all other purchases, you can earn an unlimited 1%. After making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, you’ll receive a $200 cash rewards bonus.
Fee: $0 per year
Other Advantages and Disadvantages: Gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvement/furniture are among the 3% cashback categories available. You can change categories monthly, but it takes time and effort. When it comes to rewards, cash reigns supreme, but if you plan to use any of your points for travel, the Bank of America Travel Rewards student card is a better option.
This card, in addition to being the self-proclaimed “best credit card for international students” (a title it lives up to, if only due to a lack of competitors), also has benefits for American students. A social security number, credit history, or a cosigner are not required for the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students. There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees with the Deserve EDU Mastercard.
Rewards: Earn 1% cashback on all purchases as a reward. After spending $500 in the first three billing cycles on Deserve, new cardholders will receive one year of Amazon Prime Student (a lifetime value of $59).
Fee: $0 per year
Deserve EDU Mastercard offers an extended warranty, purchase insurance up to $10,000, price protection, travel assistance services, cell phone protection, and roadside assistance through Mastercard Platinum. After spending $500 in the first three billing cycles on Deserve, new cardholders can get a year of Amazon Prime Student (a lifetime value of $59).
What to Look for in a Student Credit Card
“Adulting” is a difficult task. College students who are newly independent but not completely self-sufficient are frequently undervalued. Yes, “public acknowledgment” credit is valid, but we’re talking about “financial trust” credit here. The type of credit we’re talking about—a person’s track record of financial trustworthiness—is a foundational element of a healthy financial future, and older teenagers and younger adults often lack the experience necessary to qualify for financial products like credit cards.
Banks want long-term customers and recognize the importance of getting bank-branded plastic into your wallet as soon as possible—but they don’t want to give credit to people who can’t pay it back. As a result, they create and sell student credit cards. Student credit cards, with lower credit limits and incentives tailored to college students, can serve as a bridge to more valuable credit offers in the future.
You can build a credit profile that will make getting a car loan or a mortgage much easier and less expensive when you need one by paying your bills in full and on time every time. However, there’s a risk of taking on too much too soon: These student credit cards are not toys, and they can destroy or damage credit just as easily as they can help build it.
How different is a student credit card from other credit cards?
Unlike traditional credit cards, college student credit cards are tailored to students with little or no credit history. When used responsibly, a student card can help you build credit and even earn benefits. The average student card is unsecured, meaning the issuer does not require a deposit to open the account. Other characteristics that distinguish student credit cards from traditional credit cards are:
- Lower credit limits: Because students do not have a track record of repaying large balances, student cards may have lower credit limits than traditional credit cards. Depending on the card, you may be able to get a higher credit limit after making several on-time payments.
- Limited rewards: In certain spending categories, student credit cards may earn cashback. Traditional credit cards, on the other hand, offer more generous benefits like sign-up bonuses, airline miles, and access to airport lounges.
- Special benefits for students: Credits for maintaining good grades or paying bills on time could be among them. You may be able to view your FICO credit score for free if you have a student credit card.
If you want to get a credit card while in college, make sure you’re ready for the responsibility. Cards are an excellent way to establish credit, but you must keep your balances low and pay your bills in full and on time each month. Consider options like a student and secured credit cards, which require little to no credit history. You can narrow down your options by comparing APRs, security deposits, annual fees, and rewards programs. Look for prequalification credit cards and don’t apply for too many at once. Your applications will result in hard inquiries, which can negatively impact your credit.
I hope you found this article on How to get the Best credit cards for students in 2022 helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you have to be to get a student credit card?
If you are 18 years old and can show proof of independent income or have a co-signer, you can apply for a credit card in your own name. Many issuers, however, do not allow co-signers, and those who do will expect co-signers to have excellent credit.
Do I need a job to get a student credit card?
A job may assist you in obtaining a student credit card. A co-signer or proof of income (whether from a job, an allowance, or something else) is required.
Can I still get a credit card as an international student?
Yes. However, credit card applications that require a credit check (which is the vast majority of them) will ask for a social security number. Although there are additional steps and the process may be more difficult, getting a credit card as an international student is still possible.
What do you do with a student card after graduation?
Do not cancel your credit card, as this will shorten your credit history and negatively impact your credit score. The length of time you’ve had credit accounts for 15% of your FICO credit score. Begin by updating account details such as your graduation date, income, and contact information with your credit card company. If your income has increased, you may be eligible for a credit line increase, which you can request via your issuer’s mobile app or online account.
Discover will reclassify your card so that it is no longer a student credit card once you graduate. You can request a card upgrade if you have a student card from another issuer with good payment history. You could also request a transfer to a better-suited product, which would transfer your account history to a new card rather than closing your old student credit card.
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