By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting a credit card as a college student can be a smart move, because credit card companies are actually more likely to approve you while you’re a student than after you graduate. (Makes no sense, but it’s often true.) So, provided you can use the card responsibly (and not rack up debt), a student credit card can help you establish a credit history and build a credit score, which will be valuable to you later on when you want a car loan, mortgage, etc.
That said, here are our recommendations for the best student credit cards:
- Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card for Students – This no-annual-fee student credit card offers good rewards and the possibility of a sweet upfront bonus as a new cardholder. Let’s start with that bonus: you’ll get a $200 bonus as a new cardholder IF you spend at least $1000 with this card in the first 90 days after you open the account, so it’s best to apply when you know you can hit that level of spending early on. Beyond the bonus, you’ll get nice cash-back rewards: 3% cash back in a purchasing category of your choice (from a category list that includes online shopping, gas, dining out, and more), 2% at grocery stores and warehouse clubs, and 1% everywhere else. Note that there is a cap on those 2%/3% purchasing categories of $2500 in combined purchases — any spending you do in those categories beyond $2500 in a calendar quarter would still earn 1% on those purchases. (For example, if you spent $1500 on dining as your 3% category in the calendar quarter from January through March, and $1500 at grocery stores, you’d get the regular 3% or 2% reward on the first $2500 of those $3000 in combined purchases, while the last $500 would earn a 1% rebate.)
- Capital One SavorOne Student Card – A nice no-annual-fee cash back credit card with enhanced rebates in categories where students often spend. You’ll get 3% cash back at grocery stores and restaurants, as well as on entertainment purchases and most streaming services. (Be sure to check their website to see what purchases qualify in those categories.) All other purchases earn 1% cash back. The card has no foreign transaction fees, so if you travel outside of the U.S., you won’t pay anything extra on your purchases. (Many credit cards charge an extra 3% on foreign transactions.) However, this card does have a high 26.49% interest rate, so make sure you pay your bills in full each month to avoid interest charges.