Did you know as a student you can get a credit card designed specially for you? Sounds great right! But, before you go rushing to sign up for one, take a moment to understand what it all entails. The good thing is the information is readily available to you. With this article, you can learn what the card is and which types are available.
In case your line of study has a lot of traveling, a travel credit card can be a good choice as well.
What is a Student Card?
To better understand something, it’s essential to have the basics. For a student card, you must understand what it is and its purpose. This comes first before you can apply for any that you come across. Student credit cards are not necessarily for students. Yes, this is a fact despite the name. They are a type of credit card designed for customers with little credit history.
Note that the term is limited credit history and not poor credit history. With a limited one, it means you haven’t been out of school for that long to accumulate more. These cards can be used by those who are still in school as well. Everything about them from the rewards to bonuses is tailored to benefit a student. They are not all fun and games as some come with pretty hefty penalties attached.
The only students who are permitted to get these cards are above the age of 21 as per the law. Before even 18 year olds could apply for these cards but come 2009, the Credit Card ACT changed the rules. Still, not every 21 year old can apply for the credit card. Be ready to prove you have a livable income or ask your parents to co-sign the card for you. The credit card companies are no longer permitted to market their services to anyone under the age of 21.
When in college, you can apply for a credit card but it has to be for the right reasons. Remember this is a form of debt that you must pay back with interest. Using it for parties and unnecessary purchases will only bury you in debt. Only those who are responsible enough with their finances should get one. You can plan your payments, especially if you work part or full time while in school.
Rules for Student Credit Cards
Getting a credit card as a student shouldn’t be a solution for quick but worthless purchases and spending. This is worth repeating more than once. Be sure you need the card before you sign up for one.
a) Limited Spending
While in school, or right out of school, you may not have a high paying job. This limits the amount you can pay back to the credit card company. The best solution is once you get the card, limit your spending. Only make those purchases that are necessary and reduce how much entertainment you charge on the card. Pay bills using the card as this helps build your credit score.
b) One or Two Cards is Enough
The truth is, you can apply for many cards from different companies. But, should you? Each card has extra charges and fees that add up. It’s advisable to keep this in mind before you sign up for several cards. One card as a student is enough. You have limited bills and must tighten your spending as well.
The lure of having multiple cards is only superficial because at the end of the day you must pay all of them back. Multiple cards can easily land you in a financial hole that getting out of is not easy. Did you know having numerous credit cards can affect your credit score negatively?
This negative effect is mainly because of the ratio of credit utilization. Most of the cards you have even though you don’t max them out, you get pretty close. This is taken by the credit card company as a potential problem that is waiting to happen. Most credit card companies must see you spend less than 50% of the limit to regard you as a good borrower. Getting to the limit every time even if you pay is taken as potentially disastrous.
c) Low-Interest Rate Cards Only
Not every student card is good for you. Learn about the interest rates and seek out only that card that offers low rates. The fact is, as a student you don’t have a long credit history. Most credit card companies give customers with good credit history lower rates. Do some shopping around to get one with the same for students. This is because most companies have high interest rates for students.
d) No Annual Fees
Get a card that requires you to pay less at the end of the year. Some cards charge an annual fee. Choose the one that doesn’t charge. If you can get one that charges no foreign transaction fees as well, the better.
Important Student Cards Information
Apart from these important rules, there is some additional information you should know. In case you’re not of age or don’t qualify for a credit card, you can ask your parents to make you an authorized user of their cards. After graduating, there is no point in using the card unless it’s one specified for both students and non-students.
Best Student Cards
|Card Name||Regular APR Variable %||Purchase Intro APR %||Balance Transfer Intro APR %||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee %|
|Discover It Student Cash Back||14.49-23.49||0 for 6 month||10.99||$ 0||0|
|BankAmeriCard||14.49-24.49||0 for 15 months||0 for 15 months||$0||3|
|Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card||11.15-21.15||0 for 6 months||0 for 6 months||$0||3|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||16.49-25.24||0 for 15 months||0 for 15 months||$0||3|
|Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students||16.49-24.49||0 for 12 months||0 for 12 months||$0||0|
|Capital One Journey Student Card||26.99||N/A||N/A||$0||0|
|Citi Rewards Student Card||14.49-24.49||0% for 7 months||N/A||$0||3%|
|Deserve Edu Mastercard||18.74%||N/A||N/A||$0||0|
Get to enjoy paying no annual fees once you sign up for this particular credit card. Some great reward that comes with it includes cash back on normal daily purchases of 5%. This is for activities in grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and the like. This is given to customers quarterly. All other purchases made using the card get you a 1% cash back reward.
For the best student who gets good grades, there is another reward waiting for you. With a GPA of 3.0 and above, you get $20 credit for 5 years. The first late payment you make comes with no additional late fee charged on it. Your APR won’t change in case you delay payment as well.
The variable APR for this card is 14.49% to 23.49%. The intro balance transfer APR is 10.99% for the first 6 months. The purchase intro APR, on the other hand, is 0% for 6 months from the day of signing. No foreign transaction fee applies. However, you must pay a balance transfer fee of 3% on the first one and 5% for those that follow.
- Good cashback rewards on purchases made
- Good grades credit
- Intro purchase APR of 0%
- High regular APR variable starting at 14.49%
- Balance Transfer fee charged
The credit card is from the Bank of America. This bank has won the award for ‘Best Bank for Students’. It makes the credit card one of the best options for any student in need of one. There are no annual fees charged on it. You can register for online banking and get access to better and simpler services in online banking.
This bank has created a special banking app for students who hold accounts with it. Manage your finances and make necessary payments from anywhere at any time. The regular variable APR that you can expect is 14.49% to 24.49%. The actual percentage is determined by your creditworthiness.
One of the best advantages for qualifying students is the 0% intro APR that lasts for 15 months. The same is expected with the balance transfer intro APR that charges 0% for 15 months. For the first two 2 months, you pay no transfer fee. Past these, you pay only 3% of the amount being transferred.
- No annual fees
- 0% intro APR for Purchases
- 0% intro APR for a balance transfer
- Higher regular APR variable starting from 14.49%
- Foreign transaction fee of 3%
With this card, you can start building a good credit history while still in college. You earn great rewards in the process. Enjoy 3% cash back on purchases made up to $2500. These are normal purchases made every day like groceries, gas, medicine among others. This applies to the card for the first 6 months after signing up.
Foreign purchases get a foreign transaction fee charged that is 3 % but no annual fees apply on this credit card. The variable APR is 11.15% to 21.15% but for the first 6 months, you enjoy an introductory APR of 0% for purchases. The same is experienced with balance transfer that has an intro APR of 0%. You don’t get charged a penalty on the first missed payment.
In case you want a cash advance, the fee charged is 5% of the amount you want advanced to you. For balance transfer, a fee of 3% of the balance applies for the initial 120 days of the card. After that, the fee rises to 5% of each amount you transfer.
- 3% cashback on purchases of $2500 and above in the first 6 months
- No annual fees
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfer for 6 months
- No penalty APR increment
- Balance transfer fee is charged
- Foreign transaction fee applies
The card comes with a great bonus of $150 in the first 3 months. This bonus applies once you spend $500 and above in this duration. However, all purchases you make using this credit card gets you cash back of 1.5%. The cash back has no set limit therefore you can enjoy it indefinitely.
The regular APR variable you can expect once the introductory period elapses is 16.49-25.24%. An offer of 0% intro APR applies in the initial 15 months of owning the card. This applies to all purchases made at this time. For balance transfer, the intro APR is also 0% for 15 months. The balance transfer incurs a fee of 5% for each amount you transfer.
When you delay payment, there is no penalty APR added to your normal rate. All cash advances are charged a fee of 5% of the advanced amount. Foreign transactions incur a 3% fee.
- $150 bonus for purchases of $500
- Cash back of 1.5%
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfer
- Foreign transaction fee of 3% charged
- Balance transfer fee of 5%
When you decide this is the card for you, expect a good welcome bonus to follow. The card comes with bonus points summing up to 25000. These are redeemable at $250 that you can use as you travel to make purchases. For every $1 you spend, you get 1.5 points and there is no limit to the number of points earned. In case you book your trip using the Bank of America Travel center, you get an additional 1.5 points for each $1 spent.
The regular variable APR is set at 16.49% to 24.49%. The intro APR for purchases is 0% and it lasts for the first 12 months. After that is when the variable APR kicks in. For balance transfers, the offer is the same with an intro APR of 0%. No annual fees apply to this card. You won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees as well.
- Great welcome bonus
- Intro APR of 0% for purchases and balance transfer
- No annual or foreign transaction fees
- High regular variable APR starting from 16.49%
- Shorter intro APR period
It’s not only students who can get this card. It is created especially for those with little to no credit history and is looking to build some. Use it for smart purchases and watch as your credit rating rises. There is no annual fee charged once you sign up for it. No fee is charged for foreign purchases as well.
The regular APR charged is quite high set at 26%. This might not matter if you make minimal purchases and can meet your payments on time. All purchases made using this credit card earn you 1% as cash back. If you pay on time then you get a bonus of 0.25% of the amount paid. The credit line is set at a minimum of $300. This limit seems small but after 5 months of regular use and on-time payment, it increases.
- Ideal for students or customers with no credit history
- Great rewards and bonus
- No annual or foreign transaction fees charged
- High regular APR variable set at 26%
Get the best card form Citi that accords you 0 caps on every purchase made. This is after it’s been rounded up to the nearest 10 automatically. This is the only credit card that has this feature for its customers. There is a bonus available for you after you spend $500. The bonus comes in the form of 2500 points in the initial 3 months which you can redeem as $25.
This card has an intro APR of 0% on purchases for the first 7 months. There is no balance transfer permitted as this is viewed as a first time card. After the 7 months have elapsed, you get a regular variable APR of 14.49% to 24.49%. The advantage to enjoy is no fee charged on both foreign transactions and annually.
- Great bonus reward in the initial 3 months
- 0% intro APR for 7 months
- No annual and foreign transaction fees
- High regular variable starting from 14.49%
With this card, you can expect no intro APR for either purchase made or balance transfer. If this matters to you then shop for another option. The regular variable APR is 18.74%. Expect a 1% cashback on all purchases made. The advantage is you mustn’t pay any annual fees. The same applies to foreign transactions. Unfortunately, there are no other rewards or bonuses that come with this credit card.
- No annual or foreign transaction fees
- 1% cash back on all purchases
- High regular variable APR of 18.74%
You can get a credit card as a student as there are so many options available but be sure of its purpose. With this card, you can build your credit history by making regular payments. Avoid getting many cards as this can taint the history instead of building it. Only those above 21 with independent sources of income qualify.