Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Student Credit Cards

Barret WilliamsJanuary 7, 2022

We receive compensation from advertisers, however, all opinions and analysis on this page are independent of payment considerations. Learn more about how we review products and learn about how we work with partners in our advertiser disclosure.

 

The Best Student Credit Cards


Banks have become more and more interested in taking over a spot in a college student's wallet. Why? You represent lifetime customer value. If they can bring you in to their ecosystem now, you're likely to remain a customer for years to come.

This means that the banks have incentive to sell you their cards. This can mean valuable welcome offers - inline with those typically reserved for those with established credit. To help you narrow down your search, we've identified some of the best credit cards for students that are currently available. 


Quicksilver Rewards for Students

5 / 5 Stars

Best Student Card for Flat-Rate Rewards
- 5 / 5 Stars - Best Student Card for Flat-Rate Rewards

Earning 1.5% back on all purchases is a best-in-class rate for student cards.

Apply Now
at Capital One's Website

  • APR:  26.99% Variable APR
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit: Fair
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • Cardholders are automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months

It was a tough call between the SavorOne student card and the Quicksilver for top pick. Most spenders are likely to benefit more from a flat 1.5% back on all purchases, but if you spend heavily in the 3% categories offered by SavorOne, that may be a better choice.

Rewards aside, these cards offer almost identical perks. You'll pay no foreign transaction fee and get access to many of the same benefits. Perks include virtual card numbers, travel accident insurance, extended warranties on eligible purchases and $0 fraud liability. 

Read our Quicksilver Rewards for Students Review.



SavorOne Rewards for Students

5 / 5 Stars

Best Student Card for Socialites
- 5 / 5 Stars - Best Student Card for Socialites

The SavorOne offers high rewards to those that enjoy social experiences like dining out and entertainment. High rewards can also be enjoyed by those that stay in and spend on streaming services and cooking.

Apply Now
at Capital One's Website

  • APR:  16.99% Variable APR
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit: Fair
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), with 1% on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 26.99% variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fee

Capital One is quickly becoming one of our favorite credit card issuers (and J.D. Power agrees, naming Capital One the best bank for customer satisfaction). The rewards available on the SavorOne student card are top-notch for students that spend as much time investing in experiences as they do studying. Capital One also offers great benefits like virtual card numbers, extended warranties for eligible purchases, travel accident insurance and charges no foreign transaction fee. The only gripe we have is the high APR. If you're planning to carry a balance month to month on your student credit card, we suggest looking elsewhere. 

Read our SavorOne Student Rewards Review.



Petal 1 Visa Card

5 / 5 Stars

Best Unsecured Card for Building Credit
- 5 / 5 Stars - Best Unsecured Card for Building Credit

Start building your credit without being weighed down by hidden fees. There is a Petal card for those with damaged credit, or a version with better rewards earnings for those that are new to credit or have established credit. See which version you are prequalified for today.

Apply Now
at Petal's Website (Petal 1 is Issued by WebBank, Member FDIC)

  • APR:  19.99% - 29.49% Variable APR
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit: Poor - Fair
  • No Annual Fee
  • $300 - $5,000 Credit Limit
  • 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants
  • Petal 1 looks beyond your credit score to create a Cash Score based on your banking history.
  • A Cash Score shows your creditworthiness and can help you qualify for more credit at better rates.

Where other credit cards for bad credit have bogged their customers down with hidden fees and high APRs, Petal, whose cards are issued by WebBank (Member FDIC), has released a card with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Even better, your good behavior can be rewarded with a higher credit limit in as little as 6 months by paying your bills on time and keeping your credit score within a personalized range. 

Read our Petal 1 Review.



Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

4.8 / 5 Stars

Best APR + Bonus Offer for Students
- 4.8 / 5 Stars - Best APR + Bonus Offer for Students

New customers can earn a $50 bonus earned after making their first purchase within the first 3 months from account opening. The APR offered on this card is also very competitive for a student card.

Apply Now
at Chase's Website

  • APR:  14.99% Variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: $50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Recommended Credit: Good to Excellent
  • Earn a $50 bonus after making a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • $0 annual fee
  • Receive a $20 reward with qualifying grades each account anniversary year for up to 5 years
  • Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening when meeting credit criteria

Chase is the go-to name when it comes to talking about rewards, and their student card does not disappoint.  The $50 welcome bonus for new customers is nice, and the 1% cash back on all purchases is a standard offering on the best student cards (but there are higher rates available). While Chase doesn't offer the highest rewards rates, they rank among our best credit cards for students thanks to their APR. While Capital One bests Chase in the rewards department, Chase's interest rate is nearly half that offered by Capital One, which is significant for those that may need to carry a balance from time to time. 

Read our Chase Freedom Student Review.



Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

4.8 / 5 Stars

Best for Cell Phone Protection & International Students
- 4.8 / 5 Stars - Best for Cell Phone Protection & International Students

Enjoy up to $600 in cell phone protection when you use your card to pay your phone bill. For international students, a social security number is not required to apply.

Apply Now
at Deserve's Website

  • APR:  18.74% Variable APR
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: 
  • Receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles with your EDU card (Lifetime Value of $59).
  • Recommended Credit: Limited or No Credit
  • Receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles with your EDU card (Lifetime Value of $59).
  • Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you’ll automatically start earning cash back on all purchases.
  • Feel secure with cell phone protection up to $600.
  • No deposit required. No annual fees.
  • There are no international transaction fees on purchases abroad, so you can travel with confidence.
  • No social security number is required for international students to apply.
  • See if you prequalify with no impact to your credit score in minutes.
  • Cards are issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC.

Deserve EDU is our FinTech entry on the list. This card doesn't offer the highest rewards, but 1% on all purchases is respectable. It is also packed with benefits. Cell phone protection is uncommon on student cards, and the Amazon Prime Student membership for a year is a nice plus. 

For international students looking to study in the U.S., the ability to apply for this product without a SSN is a breath of fresh air.

Deserve's cards are issues by Celtic Bank (Member FDIC).

Read our Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students Review.



Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

4.9 / 5 Stars

Best-in-class Secured Card Rewards
- 4.9 / 5 Stars - Best-in-class Secured Card Rewards

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a very competitive flat earning rate for a secured credit card. The card also offers solid additional perks, like extended warranties on eligible purchases.

Apply Now
at Captial One's Website

  • APR: 26.99% variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit Score: Building
  • Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 1.5% cash back
  • See if you're preapproved before applying
  • No annual fee
  • Security deposits as low as $200

When it comes to cards for those with bad credit, good rewards options tend to be a rarity. That's not the case with the Quicksilver Secured card. With an earning rate of 1.5% cash back on everyday purchases and no annual fee, it competes with some of the more popular cards offered to those with good credit. While the card doesn't have an annual fee, be mindful of the  pay your balance off in full each month or your interest charges will quickly outpace your payments thanks to the high APR. 

Read our  Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.




Summary of The Best Student Credit Cards

Top 6 Best Student Credit Cards

(Swipe table to see more)
ProductRatingWhy?
Quicksilver Rewards for Students
5 / 5
Best Student Card for Flat-Rate Rewards
SavorOne Rewards for Students
5 / 5
Best Student Card for Socialites
Petal 1 Visa Card
5 / 5
Best Unsecured Card for Building Credit
Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card
4.8 / 5
Best APR + Bonus Offer for Students
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
4.8 / 5
Best for Cell Phone Protection & International Students
Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
4.9 / 5
Best-in-class Secured Card Rewards

How to Pick the Best Credit Card for Students


When you're trying to decide what student credit card might be right for you, here are some things you might want to consider.

1. Is your goal to get an unsecured credit card? 

We included one secured card on this list. Why? Because as a student that is new to credit, you might find yourself at risk of overcharging on your card. If you aren't disciplined, you might find that a secured card helps you limit your risk of running up a balance you can't pay off while still helping you learn responsible credit habits. 

2. Do you plan to carry a balance?

As a student, you might find yourself carrying a balance from time to time. Specifically, when you have to buy books for the semester. If this sounds like you, consider a card with a low APR. Interest charges will quickly balloon your balance, if you let them. 

3. Will you travel internationally?

If your studies will take you abroad, consider a card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. Common foreign transaction fees are about 3%, which can really add up while traveling. 


Methodology


In order to compile our list of the best student credit cards, we reviewed the following factors:

  1. Fees: Students can be especially susceptible to fees. We balanced the fees each card charges against the potential benefits.
  2. Rewards: Rewards can be a nice to have, especially if you're using credit responsibly and paying your bill in full each month. 
  3. Bonuses: A welcome bonus for getting a new card is a good perk, and normally reserved for those with the best credit.
  4. Knowledge Centers: Giving students access to credit tools and a free credit score so that they can expand their credit knowledge while in school is a plus in our book.


FAQs


Can I get a student credit card with no credit?

Student credit cards are available to those with little or no credit. However, the Card Act does require that students either have sufficient income to cover their bills or have an eligible cosigner in order to qualify for a card. 

If you're unsure if you'll get approved, use a bank's preapproval tool to check for eligibility before submitting an application. 

Do I have to be in college to get a student credit card?

Many banks will request proof of being a student when you apply for a credit card for students, however, not all. Take a look at the bank's website to check eligibility requirements. 

If you're not eligible to apply for a student card and are building your credit, check out our best fist credit card page.



Advertiser Disclosure

We partner with financial institutions, lenders, and other advertisers to better provide you with the most up-to-date product information that can help you make the important decisions in your life, but our content is not financial advice. Your personal situation is unique to you.  We never allow our advertisers to influence our opinions, analysis or influence our star rankings.

Your trust in our process is essential, and we strive to maintain transparency when it comes to our advertiser partners. You can find a list of our current partners in our advertiser disclosure

 

© 2021 The Penny Jar
Best OverallBest Dog InsuranceBest Cat InsuranceBad CreditFirst CardRebuild CreditSecured CardsStudent CardsEmbraceLemonadePetInsuranceQuotes.comPets BestWagmoOpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit CardPetal 1 Visa Credit CardCapital One Platinum Secured Credit CardChime Credit Builder Secured CardQuicksilver Secured Rewards from Capital OneSelf Secured VisaQuicksilver Rewards for StudentsSavorOne Rewards for StudentsDeserve EDU Mastercard for StudentsChase Freedom Student