Six Best Student Credit Cards

The Best Student Credit Cards Have No Fees and Low Rates

These credit cards made our Best Student Credit Card list because they don't carry annual fees and have the lowest APRs in the sector.  Some offer rewards for spending, but we caution students to put learning responsible spending and credit behavior first,  rewards second.  But for those who want rewards, some of these cards offer generous, easy to understand programs.

Students and young people looking for a credit card shouldn't limit themselves to cards with the "student" label. There are better cards out there that you may qualify for - shop around. Cards targeted at students don't always offer the best deals.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

Buying online with credit card.
Best Credit Cards for Students. Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

This card is an excellent first credit card for young people. It also has a good rewards program that's easy to understand: a full 1% cash back on spending.  You can redeem your rewards online or by phone when you earn at least $25. Rewards are deposited in your bank account, credited to your card statement, or sent to you by check. 

Interest rates are fairly reasonable, especially if you already have good credit: 7.9% to 13.9% for the first six months, then 13.15% to 20.15% after that. There's no annual fee, and the balance transfer fee is a low 3% of the balance.

Wells Fargo also offers an online “Student Credit Education” course on its website. More

Capital One Journey Student Rewards Credit Card

Capital One used to have five different credit cards aimed at college students and young adults. Two made our list of the Worst Student Credit Cards. But this is one of the best.

There's no annual fee, and the APR is a competitive 19.8%. The rewards package is both simple and generous: 1% on all spending, plus a 0.25% bonus each month you pay your bill on time. So, all in, you get a cash-back rebate of 1.25%, which is very competitive with most other cash-back cards, not just student cards. 

Cash-back redemptions start at $25, payable by check or a credit to your account. You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards starting at $20. Rewards don’t expire and there’s no limit on how many you can earn.

Discover Student Credit Card

The card carries the standard Discover cash-back rewards program of up to one percent cash back on purchases. In addition, you can earn five percent back on purchases in selected categories that change every quarter, although you must sign up for them in order to earn the rewards. The rewards can be redeemed for cash or gift cards, which are usually sold at less than face value, which provides you with an extra benefit.

There’s no annual fee, and the APR is relatively low, especially if you can qualify for the best rate of 12.99%.  In addition, there is zero percent interest on purchases for the first six months.

U.S. Bank College Visa Credit Card

This is a nice, simple, no-frills card appropriate for students and young people.

While some people might be turned off by the lack of rewards, people just establishing their credit histories need to be focused on paying their bills in full and on time, not spending to earn rewards. This card helps you avoid temptation and focus on good bill payment. Once you’ve established those good habits, then you can start to focus on earning rewards.

The card is not without its good points. There’s no annual fee, and the APR is as low as 11.99% – if you qualify, of course. The balance transfer fee is a modest 3% of the balance, below the industry average.

Bank of America Student Platinum Plus Visa Card

Like U.S. Bank’s student card, this plan vanilla card carries no rewards but makes sense as a first Visa card for students looking to build their credit histories with the largest consumer bank in the country. If you do well with this card, it will make it easier later on to get an auto loan or a mortgage.

The card is reasonably priced: There’s no annual fee, and the APR is a relatively low 14.24%, a little higher than U.S. Bank’s best rate  The balance transfer fee is a low 3% of the balance, the same as U.S. Bank’s.

As BofA’s website says, the card helps you to “be financially responsible while you learn to manage your credit.”

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students

We included this card in our Best Of list because it is one of the most generous and understandable rewards cards aimed at students.  But we caution that it’s not for everyone, particularly students who haven’t learned good credit habits yet.

For the first six months you get 5% cash back on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, convenience stores and utilities, 1% after that. There’s a 0% APR on purchases for the first six months, followed by 11.99 to 20.99% after that. There's also no annual fee.

That’s a pretty generous offer – as well as a powerful incentive to overspend and ignore your bill. If you can't handle that, the U.S. Bank or BofA cards may be more appropriate for you.