5 Great Credit Cards for College Students

Signing up for a credit card is one great way to establish good credit in college, which can help you in the future when it comes time to rent your own apartment, or apply for a car loan or lease, for instance.


If you’ve been thinking about signing up for a credit card or think that it’s something you may be ready for in the near future, there are certain credit cards that can be particularly advantageous to the college student. This article will highlight 5 credit cards for college students that you may be a good fit for you.

If you are unfamiliar to some of the jargon associated with credit card terms and conditions, or just want to learn more about credit cards from the perspective of a college student, you may find our article “Getting a Credit Card in College: What to Know” helpful before browsing the list below.

5 Great Credit Cards for College Students

  1. Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® Card – This credit card was designed to help college students become financially responsible. Well Fargo’s My Money Map allows you to map your financial plan, track spending, and track progress toward short and long-term budgets. Additionally, you have access to free online credit education courses and tips in order to help develop your financial independence and to plan for the future. In terms of rewards, this card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, and 3% cash back on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases for 6 months. Cash rewards can be deposited automatically to a Wells Fargo account in $25 increments. Lastly, this card does not have an annual fee, and has 0% APR for the first six months.
  2. Discover It® Student Credit CardIf under the age of 21, applicants may have a co-signer, which is helpful if this is your first credit card. Also, this credit card has no annual fees, and has no penalty for a first missed payment. This card rewards students for having a GPA of 3.0 or higher each year (up to the first five years) with $20 cash back. Cardholders earn 2% cash back for restaurant and gas station purchases, and 1% cash back on other purchases. After the first year of having the credit card, cash back rewards are doubled. Furthermore, this credit card provides ongoing access to monitor and track your FICO credit score – great for seeing how fiscal responsibility pays off over time!
  3. Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®This credit card also does not charge an annual fee, and allows access to a credit tracker to monitor your credit score. On-time payments are very positively rewarded with this credit card, with a %25 increase (from 1% to 1.25%) in cash-back rewards for purchases per month. Also, after your first five on-time monthly payments, you will receive a credit line increase, which can positively affect your credit score. If you’re planning to study abroad, this would be a good credit card to consider to make managing finances abroad more convenient. It does not charge a foreign transaction fee, and Visa cards are widely accepted worldwide!
  4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card for StudentsThis credit card offers a travel rewards program, which could also be advantageous for students who want to travel or study abroad, and also does not charge fees for foreign transactions. For each $1 you spend with this card, you accrue 1.5 points, which can be redeemed for travel-related purchases such as hotels, flights, and train fares (10,000 points = $100 travel credit). The credit card is currently offering an online promotion which awards its cardholders 20,000 points ($200 travel credit) after spending at least $1000 on the card in the first 90 days. This could be an easy way to accrue a large amount of travel credit very quickly!
  5. City ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students – This credit card is a no annual fee credit card good for gaining reward points which can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, cash, and travel credit. ThankYou® points are gained at a rate of 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and entertainment establishments, and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. Moreover, if you spend $500 in the first 3 months of opening an account, you will gain 2,500 ThankYou® points. This card also offers 0% APR for the first 7 months, which could work well for making larger purchases at the beginning of a school year!

Responsibility is important

Keep in mind that having a credit card in college is a major responsibility. Our article “How to be Financially Responsible in College” highlights some great general tips and recommendations for keeping ahead of the game when it comes to finances as a college student. You may find that these tips and recommendation will help you as you move forward with signing up with a credit card.

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The Author

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman, SHRM-CP, has a background in human resources, anthropology, and international education. His experience teaching English abroad during a gap year as an undergraduate student in Spain ignited his passion and advocacy for student travel. As a human resources professional, Dave is interested in helping students prepare for future career growth, and for helping facilitate social & cultural inclusion in the workplace.