Best Student Credit Cards of 2017

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by parag
Last Updated: March 2nd, 2017
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KEYWORDS:#credit cards #tips #rewards #cash back
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It’s important to have a credit card as a college student. You’re far from home and emergencies can happen. Having a credit card can give students and parents peace of mind. It also helps young people to establish a credit history which is important for everything from renting an apartment to getting a car loan. 

It’s not as easy for college students to get a credit card as it once was, but it’s still possible. College students generally won’t be able to qualify for the really sexy rewards cards that have big sign up bonuses and travel rewards. Most student cards that offer rewards offer cash back. But cash back will be a lot more useful when you get tired of eating Ramen noodles than airline miles would be! 

We read the fine print for you and these are the best student credit cards. 

 

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Rewards: This is a cash back card. You get 1% cash back on all purchases. It comes with a nice bonus. If you make the first five payments on time, you will get an increase on your cash back percentage to 1.25% and you will receive an increase in your credit limit. This is a great perk, having a higher credit limit helps to increase your credit score.

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fee so if you are planning to study abroad, this is a good card. The APR is 20.24%

Credit Score: You only need a score of “Average” to qualify for this card, a score between 650-699.

 

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

Rewards: This is another cash back card. You get 3% back on gas, groceries, and drug stores and 2% back on all other purchases in the first six months you have the card. After that, it’s 1% back on all purchases. 

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card but a 3% foreign transaction fee. There is a 0% APR for the first six months, after that the APR is 11.40-21.40%. 

Credit Score: You only need a score of “Fair” to qualify for this card, a score between 630-689.

 

Bremer Bank College Rewards

Rewards: This is a cash back card too, but you can get some travel rewards with this one! You get 1 point for every dollar you spend and a 25% bonus on all points earned every month. You can redeem the points for cash back, merchandise, travel and gift cards. 

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. There is a 0% APR for the first six months, after that the APR is 9.99-20.99%.

Credit Score: You only need a score of “Average” to qualify for this card, a score between 650-699.

 

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students

Sign Up Bonus: Finally, a card for students that comes with a sign up bonus! You will get 2,500 Thank You points after spending $500 in the first three months. 

Rewards: This is a cash back card that also has travel rewards. You get 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. The points can be redeemed for cash back, merchandise, travel, and gift cards. 

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. There is a 0% APR for the first seven months, after that the APR is 14.24-24.24% .

Credit Score: You only need a score of “Average to Fair” to qualify for this card, a score between 630-699.

 

Discover it for Students

Rewards: This is a cash back card but it has some really nice additional rewards! You get 5% cash back on categories that change quarterly and include gas, restaurants, and home improvement stores. You get 1% cash back on all other purchases. At the end of your first year, Discover matches all cash back earned! The card also rewards all that hard work you put in studying. Each year for up to five years, you get $20 cash back if your GPA is 3.0 or higher. You will also get a free FICO credit score each month. 

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fee. There is no late fee charged if you are late on your first payment and a late payment won’t raise your APR. There is a 0% APR for the first six months, after that the APR is 13.24-22.24%.

Credit Score: You only need a score of “Average” to qualify for this card, a score between 650-699.

 

Upromise by SallieMae

Sign Up Bonus: You will receive a $50 cash back bonus after making your first purchase on the card within 90 days.

Rewards: If you like to shop on-line, this is the card for you! You can earn as much as 10% cash back on purchases. You shop through Upromise’s on-line “mall” which has hundreds of retailers. You can buy everything from hotel stays to anything Amazon sells (which is pretty much everything!) to rental cars. Each of those retailers will give you a percentage of cash back and when you use your Upromise card to make those purchases, the credit card gives you an additional 5% cash back.

You get 2% cash back at eligible department stores and movie theaters and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

There are various ways to redeem the rewards too, you can request a check, contribute to a 529 College Savings Plan, deposit it into a Sallie Mae savings account, or use it to pay eligible student loans. 

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card and a 3% foreign transaction fee. There is a 0% APR for the first 15 months, after that the APR is 14.24-23.24%.

Credit Score: You only need a score of “Average” to qualify for this card, a score between 650-699.

 

Secured Credit Cards

If you’re a student unable to qualify for a traditional credit card, you still have options. You can apply for a secured credit card. You provide a deposit to secure the card. After that, a secured card works much the same way a regular credit card works. These cards don’t come with rewards but they have the ability to help build or rebuild your credit. 

Capital One Secured MasterCard

Deposit: The deposits are $49, $99, or $200 depending on your credit worthiness. 

Credit Line: The credit lines range from $200-$3,000. The minimum deposit of $49 will get you a $200 line of credit. If you deposit more money before the credit account is opened, you will be eligible for a higher credit limit. The limit can also be increased if you have a good payment history with no additional deposit required. 

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card which is not always the case for secured cards. There is no foreign transaction fee. The APR is 24.99%.

Credit Score: Because secured cards are designed for those with less than stellar credit, you can qualify for this card with a “Bad” credit score, a score below 550. 

This card comes with a monthly credit score and reports to the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. This is important. Not all credit cards report to all three agencies and if you have a good payment history, this will help build or improve your score more quickly. 

 

BankAmericard Secured Visa

Deposit: The minimum deposit is $300.

Credit Line: The credit lines range from $300-4,900 and is based both on your deposit and your income.

Fees: This card has an annual fee of $39. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee. The APR is 20.24%.

Credit Score: You can qualify for this card with a “Bad” credit score, a score below 550. There are two big benefits to choosing this card. They report to all three credit bureaus and after one year of responsible use, you may be eligible to get your deposit back and to be upgraded to an unsecured credit card.

 

What’s the Verdict?

If you are eligible for a traditional credit card, Discover has long been known to be a good starter card for anyone, but they have some nice perks for students with this card. The cash back on rotating categories is 5% which is pretty high; they match your cash back the first year and give you $20 for making good grades! Each statement also comes with your credit score and it’s good to get into the habit of monitoring it. 

If you can’t qualify for a traditional card due to past mistakes or the newness of your credit file, the BankAmericard Secured Visa is a good choice. It will help build or repair your credit and you can upgrade to an unsecured card as a reward for responsible use. 

There are two big benefits to choosing this card. They report to all three credit bureaus and after one year of responsible use, you may be eligible to get your deposit back and to be upgraded to an unsecured credit card.

It’s important to have good credit. The better your credit, the better interest rates lenders will offer you when it comes time to buy a home or a car. These cards can help you achieve that. Happy credit building!

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