As a student, your credit score likely isn’t the best, and you’re likely to have no credit card at all. That can make it difficult to qualify for a regular credit card. That’s why banks created dedicated student credit cards with lower eligibility requirements.
But just because you are a student with less-than-stellar credit doesn’t mean you have to settle for a sub-par card. The market is competitive, with many student cards offering excellent terms and promotions. Here is a list of the best student credit cards on the market.
Best Credit Cards for Students
In this article, we’ll explore 7 options that are good fits for a first credit card for students. Each card offers slightly different features, promotions, and terms, but all are well-suited for college students.
- 🏆 Best Overall Student Card – Capital One SavorOne Student
- 🏆 Best Cashback Card – Discover It Student
- 🏆 Best Flat Rate Rewards Card – Quicksilver Student
- 🏆 Best Credit Building Card for Students – Chase Freedom Student
- 🏆 Best Travel Rewards Card – Bank of America Travel Rewards Student
- 🏆 Best Low Fee Non-Student Unsecured Card – Petal 2
- 🏆 Best Secured Credit Card – Discover It Secured
Next up, we’ll present the highlights of each card, summarize the pros and cons, and give a brief overview of each card’s terms and promotions.
1. Capital One SavorOne Student
🏆 Best Overall
Capital One offers a student version of their Savor credit card with decent terms, great cashback earning opportunities, and numerous Capital One-specific benefits. This earns this student card the top spot on our best student credit cards list.
The cashback earning opportunities on the card include 3% back on dining out, groceries, entertainment, and streaming services, as well as 1% cashback on everything else. Plus, you can earn 10% back on Uber purchases and 5% back on travel purchased on Capital One’s website.
The student card also comes with an intro offer of $50 if you spend $100 in your first 3 months of holding the account.
As students often don’t have great credit, the APR range is a bit high, topping out just shy of 30%, but as an upside, at this APR, Capital One will not charge you a fee on balance transfers.
And, as an upside, the card offers access to CreditWise to help you track your credit score.
|Min/Max Credit Line||Undisclosed|
|APR||19.24% – 29.24%|
|Cashback Rewards||3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services, and grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases|
|Intro Offer||$50 bonus on $100 in purchases in the first 90 days|
|Other Benefits||5% cashback on Capital One travel, no balance transfer fee, 10% cashback Uber promo, no foreign transaction fees, access to CreditWise, and Capital One mobile app|
- High cashback earning opportunities
- Intro offer
- Preapproval tool
- High max APR
2. Discover It Student
🏆 Best Cashback Card
Discover offers a variety of its famous It cards, including the Discover It student card. This student card, with its high 5% cashback rotating categories, 1% cash back on all other purchases, and 2X cashback earnings your first year, win it the best cashback card award.
In addition to the cashback earning potential, the student card comes with a promotional offer of 0% APR for 6 months on purchases plus 10.99% APR on balance transfers for 6 months. After the promotion, the APR for purchases and transfers is set at 17.24% – 26.24%.
As part of the student card program, your starting credit limit might be low, but Discover offers you the chance to enter your income once you graduate for the chance of a credit limit increase.
In addition to these card-specific benefits, Discover offers a variety of benefits across all of their cards, including access to a free FICO score and various fraud protection features like card lock and dark web scanning.
|Min/Max Credit Line||$500+|
|APR||17.24% – 26.24%|
|Cashback Rewards||5% on rotating categories plus 1% on all other purchases|
|Intro Offer||0% APR for 6 months and 2X cashback in the first year|
|Other Benefits||Low APR balance transfer offer, free FICO score, identity monitoring, and account access through the Discover mobile app|
- 2 X cashback first year
- 0% APR promotion
- Keeping track of rotating categories
3. Capital One Quicksilver Student
🏆 Best Flat Rate Rewards Card
One of the downsides to cashback rewards is keeping track of how much you earn and where. But the Capital One Quicksilver Student takes out all of the guesswork by offering 1.5% cashback on all of your purchases.
In addition to this flat rate cashback, Capital One has an Uber promotion running with 10% cashback on Uber rides, and Uber Eats purchases, as well as 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Capital One website.
The Quicksilver student card also offers an intro promotion of $50 after you spend $100 on the card within 3 months of account opening.
Unfortunately, the APRs are not that great, starting at 19.24% and topping out at just shy of 30%. That said, you get access to all of Capital One’s standard card benefits, including access to CreditWise and account management through the Capital One mobile app.
|Min/Max Credit Line||Undisclosed|
|APR||19.24%, 25.24%, or 29.24%|
|Cashback Rewards||1.5% on all purchases|
|Intro Offer||$50 on the first $100 in purchases in 90 days|
|Other Benefits||5% cashback on Capital One Travel, no balance transfer fee, 10% cashback Uber promo, no foreign transaction fees, access to CreditWise, and the Capital One mobile app|
- 1.5% flat rate rewards
- Intro offer
- High max APR
4. Chase Freedom Student
🏆 Best Credit Building Student Card
Despite offering a large number of credit cards, Chase only offers one student card, a Freedom card. Still, this single card is packed with many benefits, including great credit-building features like a $0 annual fee, high credit limits, credit tracking, and automatic credit limit increases.
When you open the card, the minimum credit limit you can receive is $500; this would be the Platinum level. But, if you qualify for the Signature level card, your minimum credit limit will be $5000. And after 5 on-time payments, you can qualify for an automatic credit limit increase.
This student Freedom card also lets you earn 1% cash back on all purchases made and offers a $50 after 1st purchase promotion. Plus, you’ll qualify for a $20 on every card anniversary, and Chase offers bonus earning opportunities with Lyft, Instacart, and Doordash.
Chase also offers access to Credit Journey with all of their credit cards. This tool offers free credit score and identity tracking.
|Min/Max Credit Line||$500 – $5000+|
|Cashback Rewards||1% on all purchases|
|Intro Offer||$50 after 1st purchase in 90 days|
|Other Benefits||$20 anniversary statement, automatic credit limit increases, Credit Journey, delivery service partnerships|
- High Credit Limits
- Automatic Credit Limit Increases
- $20 anniversary credit
- Intro offer
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- Balance transfers may not be available
5. Bank of America Travel Rewards Student
🏆 Best Travel Rewards Card & Best Intro Offer
If you intend to do some traveling as part of your education, then a travel rewards card like the Bank of America Travel Rewards Student might be a good choice. This card offers no foreign transaction fees and the ability to redeem points for statement credit on travel purchases. This is a good choice if you plan to study or travel abroad.
In addition to being a great travel card, this student card also comes with a lucrative intro offer. Upon approval, you’ll be eligible to receive 25,000 bonus points if you purchase $1,000 or more in your first 90 days. This is worth a statement credit of $250.
Plus, you’ll get 0% APR for 18 months on all purchases made in the first 60 days of account opening.
In addition to the travel rewards (1.5 points back on all purchases) and intro offer, this student card offers several other Bank of America benefits. This includes a free FICO credit score plus features for linked checking accounts, like overdraft protection and preferred rewards.
|Min/Max Credit Line||Undisclosed|
|APR||18.24% – 28.24%|
|Cashback Rewards||1.5 points on all purchases|
|Intro Offer||25,000 bonus points after $1k in purchases in the first 90 days plus 0% APR for 18 months on purchases made in the first 60 days|
|Other Benefits||Free FICO credit score, mobile banking, no foreign transaction fees, overdraft protection, preferred rewards|
- Great intro offer
- Bank of America banking benefits
- No foreign transaction fee
- Travel-focused rewards
- Earn points instead of cashback
- No preapproval
6. Petal 2
🏆 Best Low Fee Non-Student Unsecured Credit Card
Student cards are great if you are currently enrolled in college, but what if you aren’t enrolled yet, are taking some time off, or are about to graduate? Then a card like Petal 2 that caters to those with no credit and thin profiles might be a better choice.
This unsecured credit card looks at other factors beyond your credit score. Your income and banking history are just as important. This can make this card a good choice for college-age students that are likely to have poor credit or no credit.
Another factor that makes it a good 1st credit card for those starting out is the lack of fees. Petal does not charge any annual fees, foreign transaction fees, or late payment fees. Plus, all of the Petal cards come with the Leap program, which lets you automatically increase your credit limit.
As part of the Petal portfolio, the Petal 2 also includes bonus cashback at select retailers and free credit score tracking through Petal’s app.
|Min/Max Credit Line||$300 – $10,000|
|APR||17.49% – 31.49%|
|Cashback Rewards||1% – 1.5% on all purchases plus bonuses for select retailers|
|Other Benefits||Credit leap, no late payment fees, credit score tracking, no foreign transaction fees, mobile app|
- High max credit limit
- Credit leap program
- No fees
- High max APR
- No intro offer
7. Discover It Secured
🏆 Best Secured Credit Card
Another student card alternative worth considering is a secured credit card like the Discover It secured card. Secured cards can be a good choice if you don’t have enough credit, income, or the proper student status needed to qualify for a student card.
This secured card from Discover is one of the best options on the secured market. This card offers no-credit-needed preapproval, a $0 annual fee, an upgrade path, and rewards-earning potential. You’ll even earn 2X cashback in your first year.
The minimum security deposit is $200 and can be refunded in as little as 7 months with good payment history.
And as a part of Discover’s portfolio, you get access to free FICO credit scores and account management through the Discover mobile app.
|Min/Max Credit Line||$200 – $2,500 (with refundable security deposit)|
|Cashback Rewards||2% on gas stations and restaurants, plus 1% on all other purchases|
|Intro Offer||2X your cashback the first year plus 10.99% APR for 6 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days|
|Other Benefits||Free FICO score, identity theft monitoring, and access to Discover’s mobile app|
- No annual fee
- Rewards earning
- Path to upgrade
- Requires security deposit
- Low minimum credit limit
A Comparison of the Best Student Credit Cards
There were several features that all of the cards that made our “best of” list shared, such as having a $0 annual fee, offering credit score tracking, and account management through a mobile app. These cards differed in the rewards, promos, and terms they offered.
Below is a comparison table of all 7 of the best credit cards for students that we reviewed.
|Card||Cashback||Preapproval||APR||Intro APR||Bonus Offers|
|Discover It Secured||2% on gas and dining plus 1% on everything else||Yes||27.24%||10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers||2X cashback first year|
|Petal 2||1% – 1.5%||Yes||17.24% – 31.24%||No promo||Extra cashback with select retailers|
|Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students||1.5 points earned on all purchases||No||18.24% – 28.24%||0% APR for 18 months on first 60 days purchase||25,000 points after $1k in purchases in 90 days|
|Chase Freedom student||1% on all purchases||No||19.24%||No promo||$50 after 1st purchase plus $20 anniversary credit|
|Capital One Quicksilver Student||1.5% on all purchases||Yes||19.24%, 25.24% or 29.24%||No promo||$50 on first $100 in purchases in 90 days|
|Discover It Student||5% rotating categories plus 1% on everything else||Yes||17.24% – 26.24%||0% APR for 6 months||2X cashback first year|
|Capital One SavorOne Student||3% on dining, entertainment, streaming, and grocery, plus 1% on everything else||Yes||19.24% – 29.24%||No promo||$50 on first $100 in purchases in 90 days|
How to Choose the Best Student Credit Card
When choosing the right fit from the best student credit cards, 2 factors are important to consider; how the card can help you build credit and how well the product fits your lifestyle.
Can This Card Help You Build Credit?
One of the biggest benefits of a student credit card is the lack of a minimum credit score requirement. The banks know that if you are a college student, you likely don’t have very good credit if you have credit at all.
That said, because you don’t have great credit yet, you’ll want a student card that can help you build good credit.
Some parts of building credit depend on your actions. For instance, on-time payment history makes up more than a 3rd of your credit score.
But other factors can be influenced by the card you choose. For instance, utilization. Utilization is calculated using your balance versus your credit limit. For example, a $500 balance on a $1000 credit limit would be 50% utilization.
So choosing a card that offers a high credit limit or provides you a path toward credit limit increases can help boost your credit score.
Other credit-building card features to look for include preapproval tools, credit score tracking, and low fees.
Does This Card Have Rewards That Fit Your Lifestyle?
Another great benefit of student cards is that they are often junior versions of the regular credit card. For instance, the Discover It Student has the same benefits as the standard Discover It card. The only difference is usually in the APR and promotional offers.
Considering this, choosing a student card that will fit your life beyond your student years might be best.
So you’ll want to pay close attention to cashback categories, rates, and other features like annual fees, APRs, and brand partnerships. For instance, getting extra cashback on Uber now might seem great, but getting a card that partners with your bank might be better long-term.
This said, your spending habits and needs will likely change when you graduate. So you could also choose a basic flat-rate rewards card now and get a second card after you graduate that better fits your lifestyle.