Best Credit Cards For College Students
March 23, 2016 / Sara Davis / Prepare for College Financially
Credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score. Because of this, it's a good idea to be building credit when you're young, such as when you're in college.
Many young adults get their first credit card in college. Even if they don't have a lot of extra spending money, they can still use it to buy necessities and begin building their credit and payment histories.
But it's not always easy to know which card to go with. There are a wide variety of options, and the application process can be daunting or confusing.
However, there are some credit cards that may be a perfect fit for the average college student.
Discover it For Students
One of the best cards for students is the Discover it card. U.S. News & World Report explained there are no annual fees, among plenty of other benefits, including:
- No late fee on your first late payment
- Double cash back at the end of the first year
- Rewards for good grades
- Free FICO scores
To someone who is just beginning to build his or her credit, all of these perks are a bonus. Those free FICO scores will help you keep track of your credit score. Not charging you for the first late payment is nice, since the monthly payment might be an adjustment for some students.
Plus, making a late payment doesn't increase the APR, which is between 12.99 and 21.99%t.
NerdWallet explained this card also allows a co-signer, something many credit cards don't allow. This is beneficial to those college students under the age of 21 who don't have a regular income.
Capital One Journey Student Rewards
Another ideal credit card for college students is the Journey Student Rewards card from Capital One.
NerdWallet named this card the best for responsible students. This is because when you make your first 5 payments on time, you'll receive an increased credit line and your rewards will go up to 1.25% back for every purchase, an increase from the base rate of 1%.
The card gives students the ability to choose the date that payments will be due every month, which makes getting the payments in on time even easier.
Money Crashers reported there aren't any fees related to balance transfers, over-limit purchases or foreign transactions. There also isn't an annual fee.
This card isn't just good for college students. According to NerdWallet, non-students can also qualify for it. This is good for those with average credit looking for a rewards card that can help them bring their score up.
Bank Americard Cash Rewards
A sign-up bonus is always welcome to the college student looking for some extra cash. This card has a pretty sizable one: $100 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months, according to U.S. News & World Report. But keep in mind, this is only available if you sign up online.
Cash back is also a much sought-after feature in a credit card, and BankAmericard Cash Rewards has a strong one.
Gas purchases will earn you 3% back, and groceries will give you another 2%. And when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account, you'll get another 10% bonus.
The card's APR is between 12.99 and 22.99%. However, for the first year, there isn't any interest for purchases. This time period for 0% APR is longer than other similar cards with an introductory 0% introductory rate.
Another good option for students is a secured card, which works by essentially pre-paying the card.
You'll make a deposit to the bank from which you received the card. Then, they can spend only up to the amount you deposited.
This will allow someone to build credit while minimizing risk of going over-budget or getting stuck with an interest rate they can't afford.
U.S. Bank offers good secured cards, as well as Capital One.
Each of these card options give students a good start at building their credit history, which can help bring them a high credit score later on.
This will be valuable when the time comes to take out their first loan for a car or a home.
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