4 Best Credit Cards for College Students

by Sean Bryant on May 28, 2012

Heading off to college is a big step in life. For most it’s the first time away from home and brings on full independence. While some might still be supported by Mom and Dad, it’s the perfect time to take on some financial responsibility. One of the best ways to do this is with a college student credit card.

In 2009, the US government passed the Credit Card Act which made it a little harder to receive a credit card at an early age. Rather than anyone over 18 being allowed to apply, they now require that you must be over 21 years old or have a parent’s signature.  Applying for a credit card is something that everyone should do when they arrive at college. Most credit cards for college students allow you to have a lower credit score which makes it the best way to build credit with no credit.

Before you apply for a credit card make sure you check to your current credit score. Even though you can have a lower credit score to be approved for a college student credit card, you still should have a score above 600. If you are declined for the card, it could further reduce your credit. I always suggest using Credit Sesame to check your credit because it is free to use.

4 Best Credit Cards for College Students

Below I have picked out four of the best credit cards for college students. These are based from consumer reviews, rewards and APR.

1. Discover it® for Students – The best college student credit card is the Discover it™ Student card. With this card you will not need to worry about an annual fee. You will receive 0% APR for the first six months and then it will be a variable APR of 12.99% – 21.99%.

The Discover it™ Student credit card offers up to 5% cash back it categories that change throughout the year up to $1,500.  For everything else you will receive 1% cash back  You will need to have at least a fair credit score to receive this card.  Lastly they offer a great benefit to students who have a lot on their plate as it is.  You won’t be charged a late fee on your first late payment.

Sign up for the Discover it® for Students

2.  Journey Student Rewards from Capital One – This card is designed specifically for helping students build good credit. They will give you a 25% bonus each month that you pay your bill on time.  You will also receive 1% cash back on all purchases that you make.  The card has a $0 annual fee and comes with a 19.88% APR.  You will need to have at least an average credit rating to receive this credit card.

Sign up for Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

 3.   Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card for College Students – With this credit card you will receive a 0% APR for the first seven months and then after that it will be 13.99% – 21.99% Variable APR.  For the first six months you will earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases at grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, convenience stores and utilities. After the initial six months, you will earn 1% cash back on everything and 2% cash back on rotating categories. There is a $0 annual fee but you will need a good credit rating in order to receive this credit card.

Sign up for Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card for College Students

4.  Citi Forward Card for College Students – This Citi card is another one that will help to build credit by rewarding for timely payments. You will receive 100 ThankYou points each billing cycle you pay on time and stay under your credit limit. You will also receive 1,000 bonus ThankYou points when you sign up for paperless statements with the first three months. You will receive 0% APR for the first seven months and then it will be a variable APR of 13.99% – 22.99%. There will be a $0 annual fee but you will need a good credit score to receive this credit card.

Sign up for Citi Forward Card for College Students

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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