Top 5 Student Credit Cards

If you are studying at college, one of the most important lessons you can learn is how to manage your money. Having access to a credit card can help you learn how to manage credit and your finances more efficiently. It seems like every credit card company has a card tailored for students, but how can you find the best card? Which cards offer the best student deals?

There are several types of cards to look at and see which offer the best student deals. Rewards cards are popular because they provide a reward to card users. The more you use your card, the more points you get to buy rewards. Another popular type of card is the cash back card that provides a percentage in cash back to the cardholder depending on how much they spend. This cash back can come in very handy for students on a tight budget, especially between semesters. Finally, some cards forgo rewards and cash back to provide a low interest rate.

Here’s a list of the top 5 student credit cards. You’ll certainly find one or more than can help you achieve your financial goals.

Capital One Journey Student Rewards

The first card on the list is one from Capital One. The Capital One Journey Students Rewards card is the flagship student card for Capital One. As a major credit card issuer and auto finance company, they are an important company for students to build a relationship with. There are several good benefits to the Capital One Student card.

  • 1% cash back on all purchase, pay on time and it increases to 1.25% cash back
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Higher credit line after 5 on-time payments in a row
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited Credit Score access

If you are planning to do a study abroad semester or year, the Capital One Journey Student Rewards card could give significant savings because it’s set up for international travel with their zero foreign transaction fees. Another bonus is the higher credit line and cash back percentage just from making your payments on time.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students

Next up is a student card from Bank of America. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students is a cash rewards card designed for students. The card is designed to provide solid cash rewards as students learn how to use credit responsibly. Check out some of the benefits of this card:

  • Get 1% cash back on all purchases, 2% cash back on groceries and 3% cash back for gas purchases
  • Get $100 in a welcome bonus after spending $500 on your card in the first 90 days.
  • Free FICO Score
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% Interest for the first 12 billing cycles

The cash rewards seem pretty standard for a cash rewards card and FICO score is becoming standard for credit cards. The 0% interest for the first 12 billing cycles is a very good deal. It not only applies to purchases but also any balances transferred in during the first 60 days the account is open. The $100 Welcome Bonus is very good if you make the BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students card your main card.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards for Students

Citibank has an interesting rewards card for students. The Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards for Students credit card is touted by Citibank as their best card for students. The card awards Thank You points for purchases on the account. These Thank You points can be used for rewards like gift cards, travel rewards, and even cash.

Like other Citi cards, it comes with Citi Private Pass. It’s an entertainment pass that gives you access to tickets to special events. It also comes with Price Rewind that can automatically provide you with a refund if a purchase of yours is found cheaper.

Here are some of the features of this card:

  • 2500 bonus Thank You points by spending $500 within the first 3 months
  • 0% APR for the first 7 months
  • No Annual Fee

While the points can be converted to cash, most of the value for the Thank You points are in using them to purchase the rewards. The 2500 Bonus points are useful if there are rewards that you want to buy and certainly are worthwhile. The 0% APR for 7 months is not as generous as other offers, but it does represent some good savings.

The biggest reason to get a student credit card with Citibank is that you’ll start building a credit relationship with them. They are one of the premier credit card issuers.

US Bank College Visa

US Bank isn’t that well known when it comes to credit cards, but they have a Visa card that makes the grade. The US Bank College Visa is a very basic Visa card focused on students. It doesn’t have any rewards or cash back, but it does provide a few basic card features. It’s a card for students wanting to build their credit who might already have a US Bank relationship.

The main features of the card follow:

  • No annual fee
  • Variable Interest rates as low as 12.24%
  • Easy integration with US Bank account

The interest rate range on the US Bank College Visa is a little lower than the other cards in this list make it a low interest rate card. The controls and easy payment options, especially if you have a US Bank account, make it very easy to make your payments on time and build your credit.

Discover IT for Students

The Discover Card may not have the name recognition that Visa or Mastercard does, but it’s still one of the four major credit card companies in the US. They have one of the best credit cards for students. It’s the Discover IT for Students. It’s got a load of features that are very consumer friendly. For students, it’s a great choice.

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 5% cash back on rotating categories and 1% cash back on everything else
  • First-year cash back matching for new card members
  • Cash Back for good grades
  • Switch your card on or off from an app
  • No Late fee on first late payment

These are just a few of the features that sets the Discover IT for Students card apart from other cards. With multiple ways to earn cash back and not needing to worry if you misplace your card, they have the features that students expect in a card.

There is a trade-off when it comes to places that accept Discover Card. The big retailers all take the Discover IT card including Walmart and Amazon. Your school may or may not accept it, though Discover says they can be used in nearly as many places in the US as Visa or Mastercard cards.

While there are no foreign transaction fees, Discover card acceptance outside the US is abysmal. One notable exception is Mainland China. Generally outside of the major Chinese cities, Visa and Mastercard cards simply don’t work. Because of its agreement with UnionPay, Discover cards are accepted anywhere UnionPay cards are accepted which is pretty much everywhere in Mainland China. If you are doing a study abroad in China, you need the Discover IT student card.


It may be hard to figure out which card is the best for your personal situation in college from these top 5 student credit cards. Don’t worry, you aren’t limited to just one choice. You can choose more than one card to help get your financial education started. By paying attention to the features that make the most sense to your situation, you can ensure that you have the cards you need to build your credit and prepare to start your career after university.

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