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The Best Credit Cards for College Students

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Over the last three years, there has been a strong initiative to reform the banking industry in terms of attracting and maintaining credit card customers. Student credit cards have seen many of the changes. Gone are the days of marketing on college campuses for free t-shirts, and if you’re under 21 without a reliable source of income, you’ll need a parent’s permission to obtain a credit card. The debate will continue about whether college student credit cards are appropriate tools for students, but no matter which side of the fence you sit, it’s beneficial to inform students about the best college student credit cards.

If you’re a college student looking to finance your needs on campus or on break, then a college student credit card may be the right choice for you. I recommend saving to cover your expenses as you want to graduate with as little debt as possible to start your career on the right foot. Working to earn money often takes a back seat to education during college, and credit card use is common to smooth out the income you might earn over the summer.

Some student credit cards offer great rewards while other others offer low interest rates.

Editor’s choice

Discover it for Students: This card is very similar to the Discover it card. It offers 5% cash back on $1,500 of spending in specific categories each quarter, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. It also offers a $20 good grade bonus each school year for a 3.0 GPA or higher. A unique perk is that it also offers cardholders free access to their FICO credit score. There is no annual fee.

Discover it chrome for Students: The chrome version of Discover is similar to the above card, with one notable exception–no 5% cash back categories. Instead, you earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter (no sign-ups needed), plus 1% cash back on all your other purchases. There’s also no annual fee.

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: This student card rewards on-time payments. It pays 1% cash back on purchases, but increases the reward to 1.25% if you pay on time. Capital One will also increase your credit limit after 5 monthly on-time payments. There is no annual fee. Get more details here.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students: Citi offers several rewards. Earn 2 ThankYou points for every dollar spent at restaurants and on entertainment. Get 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in the first three months. You also get 0% on purchases for the first seven months. There is no annual fee.

Updated April 6, 2018 and originally published August 11, 2010.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

What about using your personal banks student credit card?

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avatar 2 Luke Landes

The best thing to do is compare your bank or credit union’s student credit card offer with the others listed here. If your bank offers a better product, you might as well go with a card from a bank with whom you have an existing relationship.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

What is the best credit card for a student studying abroad?

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