Student credit cards are designed for US college students over the age of 18, and are, in my opinion, something that each college student should have so that they can start building up a credit history and have a good credit score by the time they graduate (which is essential for employment checks, housing rental, and mortgage loans). A credit card will also come in handy when paying for everyday expenses such as groceries and utilities.

GET.com's best student cards

Best ForCredit Card
5% cash backDiscover it® for Students
Gas & restaurantsDiscover it® chrome for Students
Bonus offerCiti ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
Flat rate cash backJourney® Student Rewards from Capital One®

What I like most about student cards is that many of them offer a rewards system and additional incentives when students get good grades and pay their bills on time. Some cards even offer a points system that gives you points for every dollar you spend. You can even find some student cards that offer 0% introductory APR (annual percentage rate) on purchases, which lets you hold a balance from one month to the other without incurring interest for a predetermined period of time.

To help you choose the right student credit card for yourself, we've put together a list of our 5 best rated student credit cards currently available in the US. All the cards below have no annual fee.

Best For Up to 5% Cash Back

  • Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year - automatically. Only for new cardmembers.

    Why we like it
    • Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year - automatically. Only for new cardmembers.
    • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com, Sam's Club and more, on up to $1,500 in purchases every quarter you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
    • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
    • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & FICO® Credit Scores for free on statements & online.
    • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 13.24% - 22.24%.
    • Click "Apply Now" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
    APPLY NOWAt Discover's secure website

    Intro APR

    0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months

    Regular APR

    13.24% - 22.24% Variable*

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Credit Required

    Fair
    APPLY NOWAt Discover's secure website
    Why we like it
    • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
    • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com, Sam's Club and more, on up to $1,500 in purchases every quarter you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    What we would avoid
    • No 0% intro APR for balance transfers.

    Intro APR

    0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months

    Regular APR

    13.24% - 22.24% Variable*

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Credit Required

    Fair
    Why we like it
    • Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year - automatically. Only for new cardmembers.
    • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com, Sam's Club and more, on up to $1,500 in purchases every quarter you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
    • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
    • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & FICO® Credit Scores for free on statements & online.
    • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 13.24% - 22.24%.
    • Click "Apply Now" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
    APPLY NOWAt Discover's secure website

Discover it® for Students, issued by Discover Financial, lets you earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500, such as gas, restaurants, Amazon and more. You have to sign up for each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Offer for new cardmembers only: Receive $20 cash back each year in which your GPA is above or equal to 3.0, for up to the next 5 years. Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, (13.24% - 22.24% variable purchase APR thereafter), and 10.99% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 6 months (13.24% - 22.24% variable purchase APR thereafter). This student card has even made it to our list of Best Credit Cards for the year. Choose your card design. No annual fee.

Read our review of Discover it® for Students here.

Best For Gas & Restaurants

Discover it<sup>®</sup> chrome for Students

Discover it® chrome for Students

  • Our Rating:
  • Our Rating:
  • 4.20/5
Rate This Card
APPLY NOWAt Discover's secure website

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.

WHAT WE WOULD AVOID

  • No 0% intro APR for balance transfers.

INTRO APR

0% on purchases for 6 months

REGULAR APR

13.24% - 22.24% Variable*

ANNUAL FEE

$0

CREDIT REQUIRED

Fair

CARD DETAILS

  • Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year - automatically. Only for new cardmembers.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & FICO® Credit Scores for free on statements & online.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 13.24% - 22.24%.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

Discover it® chrome for Students is a good credit card to use if you have a car and spend money on gas, or if you eat out a lot. You earn 2% cash back for up to $1,000 of combined purchases you make at gas stations and restaurants every quarter. You earn 1% cash back for all your other purchases, so every time you make a purchase with this card you earn cash back. Keeping track of your credit score is indispensable to building good credit, and this card lets you track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free online and on monthly statements, in an easy-to-read chart. Benefit from 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, with 13.24% - 22.24% variable purchase APR after that. This card now comes with good grades rewards so you can earn $20 cash back each school year in which your GPA is 3.0 or higher (for up to the next 5 years). At the end of your first year the cash back you have earned will be matched, this offer is only for new cardmembers. This card has no foreign transaction fee, no overlimit fee, and no annual fee.

Read our Discover it® chrome for Students review here.

Best Bonus Offer

Citi ThankYou<sup>®</sup> Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

  • Our Rating:
  • Our Rating:
  • 4.00/5
Rate This Card
APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.

WHAT WE WOULD AVOID

  • No introductory APR offer on balance transfers.

INTRO APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 7 months

REGULAR APR

14.24% - 24.24%* (Variable)

ANNUAL FEE

No annual fee

CREDIT REQUIRED

Good

CARD DETAILS

  • Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment.
  • 1 ThankYou® Point on other purchases.
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students gives you 2,500 bonus ThankYou points when spending $500 on this card within the first 3 months of card membership. You'll earn 2 points for each dollar you spend on entertainment and dining at restaurants, as well as 1 point for each dollar you spend elsewhere. Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 7 months (14.24% - 24.24% variable APR thereafter). No annual fee.

Read our review of Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students here.

Best For Flat-Rate Cash Back

Journey<sup>®</sup> Student Rewards from Capital One<sup>®</sup>

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

  • Our Rating:
  • Our Rating:
  • 3.90/5
Rate This Card

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.

WHAT WE WOULD AVOID

  • No introductory low APR period.

REGULAR APR

20.24% (Variable)

ANNUAL FEE

$0

CREDIT REQUIRED

Fair

CARD DETAILS

  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards don't expire
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® gives you 1% cash back on all your purchases, and rewards you with a 25% bonus on the cash back you earn each month as long as you pay your bills on time. That means you can earn a total of 1.25% cash back. There's no limit to what you can earn and you can redeem your cash back any time you want. Cash back doesn't expire. Busy students will be pleased to know that you can even set up automatic redemptions. Enjoy a higher credit line after you make your first 5 monthly payments on time. No annual fee.

Read our review of Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® here.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa<sup>®</sup> card

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® card

  • Our Rating:
  • Our Rating:
  • 3.40/5
Rate This Card

INTRO APR

0.00% for 12 months for purchases and balance transfers

REGULAR APR

11.15% to 21.15% variable APR

ANNUAL FEE

$0 Annual Fee

CARD DETAILS

  • Learn more about establishing good credit and how it can help you achieve your financial goals, visit wellsfargo.com/pathtocredit.
  • View our current fees and rates
  • Enjoy $0 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, and drugstore net purchases for 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other net purchases everyday.1

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® card lets you earn 3% cash back on gas, grocery and drugstore net purchases for the first 6 months after you sign up, after that you earn 1%. You also get 1% cash back for all other purchases. Cash back can be redeemed in increments of $25, either as a deposit into your savings or checking account, as a check, for rewards or as credit. You also get a 0% introductory purchase and balance transfer APR for 12 months, after that, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR will be 11.15% to 21.15% variable APR. Since the ongoing APR you get depends on your creditworthiness, if you don't have a (good) credit history yet you should be prepared to get a high APR. If you make your payments on time, you won't only avoid paying APR but will also build a good credit record. Benefits include chip-based technology, which gives you more security and lets you use this card outside of the US, and zero liability for fraudulent transactions. $0 annual fee.

Student Card Tips

Student credit cards are a great way for you to build good credit, which will be very important for you in the near future when you want to get a mortgage or loan. Apart from building a good credit history, having a student credit card will give you access to a line of credit and cash, some cards even let you earn rewards or cash back when you make purchases.

Some student cards reward you if you have a good GPA and pay your bills on time and most cash back student cards let you earn between 1%-5% cash back when you make purchases with the card. Remember to always read the terms and conditions of the cards you're comparing in order to find the one that will give you the most rewards on the things you spend more money on.

Many credit cards for students offer a 0% introductory APR period for purchases, which is something you should keep in mind when looking for a credit card and planning on holding a balance (in case you make a large purchase that you can't pay off in full before the due date). Remember that this introductory interest rate expires after a number of months, after which you will have to pay the APR which tends to be high, starting from 12.99% or more. So you shouldn't use your card as a supplemental student loan.

If you are careful, your student credit card will be a huge advantage to you, now and in later life. To see our full selection of Student Credit Cards click here.

Why Do I Need A Student Credit Card?

A student credit card serves a dual purpose. On the one hand it gives you all of the benefits that come with a credit card, like earning rewards, getting insurance coverage for purchases, and being able to make purchases and pay for them later. On the other hand, a student credit cards serves as an efficient credit building tool if used correctly. You should always make your payments in full on time, to build a solid credit history.

What Should I Expect From A Good Student Credit Card?

The exact benefits you should look for when checking out student credit cards will depend on your situation and how you go about your spending. But there are a few basics that good student credit cards should offer:

  1. Free Access To Credit Scores

    Since having a student credit card is all about building your credit history and raising your credit score, being able to regularly check on your progress is a must. Not all student credit cards give you access to your credit score, so I suggest you stick to the cards that do have this benefit.

    Discover it® for Students, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® and Discover it® chrome for Students all let you access your credit score.

  2. Rewards

    With many good student cards offering cash back or points on your purchases, there isn't much point in getting a card that doesn't have this benefit.

    Discover it® for Students lets you earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter (like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more). You earn that cash back up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 when you sign up. All other purchases earn 1% cash back, so you can earn rewards on every purchase you make.

  3. No Annual Fee

    As a student you probably don't have money to waste on an annual fee. These days you can get very rewarding credit cards without paying any annual fee. Save your money for something better.

  4. Security

    Student life has enough challenges. The last thing you need are worries about a misplaced credit card distracting you during study hours. Security is a very real issue. If somebody were to use your credit card to make crazy expensive purchases, the damage to your credit score could stick with you a long time.

    Discover Financial Services includes a neat Freeze It® on/off switch feature that lets you instantly freeze or enable your card account right from your phone. Freezing your account prevents anyone from making new purchases, balance transfers or getting new cash advances using your misplaced card. That can give you a lot of peace of mind if your card is misplaced or stolen.

There are other benefits you should look for, like travel and shopping benefits. Some cards give you travel insurance when you use them to make a purchase. Price protection and guaranteed return are two shopping benefits to look for.

Some student cards have special benefits that encourage good credit behavior. Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® lets you earn a 25% bonus on the 1% cash back you earn, each month that you make your payment on time. So paying your credit card bill on time can help you earn a total of 1.25% cash back.

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