Best Student Credit Cards

Choosing your class schedule for next semester may seem like a top priority, but now is also the time to make some important decisions about your financial future. Using a credit card can be a fun way to earn travel or cash back rewards, as long as you’re thinking about your credit score as you spend.

 Our team has compiled the list below of the best student credit cards of 2019.

Best student credit card for high achievers:  Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Why it’s best

If you’re the type of student who is always excelling, then this student credit card will guarantee that your efforts don’t go unseen by crediting you $20 every year for up to 5 years if you keep a 3.0 or higher GPA .

This student credit card has the coveted perk of up to 5% cash back on purchases from certain categories that change every quarter, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll have to take the time to activate your category bonuses and make sure you’re spending in those categories each quarter, but for a high achiever, that’s child’s play.

Bonus Points

  • $20 statement credit each year for students that maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher
  •  Exceptional rewards rates
  • Cashback Match on the first anniversary of opening the account

Best student credit card for pocket money:  Citi Rewards+℠

Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
The Citi Rewards+℠ Card – the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase – with no cap.

Why it’s best

A cup of coffee here, a slice of pizza there, and that 6-inch sub—what do all of these things have in common? They could have each netted you at least 10 reward points each. The Citi Rewards+ card has a one-of-a-kind feature that will always round up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase. 

Accumulate these points and use them to get gift cards to your favorite stores, travel rewards or even towards concert tickets. With bonus categories of gas stations and grocery stores paying 2 points per dollar spent, it’s not hard to see why this was the chosen card for the best card to reward your pocket money spending.  

Bonus Points

  • 15,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening
  •  15 months paying 0% APR
  •  No annual fee

Best student credit card for learning about credit:  Chase Freedom® Student

Why it’s best

Biology, art history, calculus—the vast amount of learning you will be exposed to in the next few years is definitely exciting. However, don’t forget to also learn about using your credit responsibly. 

Did you know that the amount of time you have a credit card affects your score? The Chase Freedom Student credit card keeps you up-to-date on your credit score, and gives you helpful hints on how to improve it. It also rewards you for keeping your account in good standing and increases your credit line automatically after making five monthly payments.

Bonus Points

  • $50 offer if you sign up at a Chase branch
  • $20 Good Standing credit every year for up to 5 years
  • 1% cash back on all purchases

Best student credit card for studying abroad:  Journey® Student Rewards

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.

Why it’s best

Earning your degree is a journey that takes many years, and the Journey Student Rewards card makes a great traveling companion. Capital One doesn’t believe that people should be charged a fee only because they choose to use their card outside of the U.S., so this card has no foreign transaction fees. 

This is great news for students, since a high percentage travels abroad throughout their college years. Choosing this card will also give you benefits like Fraud Coverage, Travel Accident Insurance and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.  

Bonus Points

  • No foreign transactions fees
  • 1% cash back that is boosted 25% when you pay on time
  • No annual fee

Best student credit card for busy bees:  Discover it® Chrome Student

Discover it® Student chrome
Discover it® Student chrome
Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Why it’s best

Paying attention in class, socializing, and intramural sports is enough to keep you busy. The last thing you want is to worry about which categories give you the most credit card points this month.

That’s why the Discover it Chrome Student has taken all the guesswork out of earning points and gives you a flat 1% cash back on all purchases. Also, you will always earn 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases. You deserve to stay focused on your studies, which is why this card will also give you a $20 credit for maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA.  

Bonus Points

  • 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $20 yearly credit (up to 5 years) for students who keep a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Handful of free security features, like Social Security number alert

Best student credit card for credit champions:  Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Why it’s best

If you are new to college but not new to the credit card world, you may be interested in this credit card. This highly rewarding card requires established credit, but is such a superior rewards structure for student spending, we had to include it.

Earn 3% cash back on every single purchase during the first year of owning this card on up to $20,000 in purchases, and earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases after that. This means you can get up to $600 cash back just for using your card. 
If you are new to college but not new to the credit card world, you may be interested in this credit card. This highly rewarding card requires established credit, but is such a superior rewards structure for student spending, we had to include it.

Bonus Points

  • Earn 3% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases the first year, and 1.5% on all purchases afterwards
  • 15 months paying 0% APR
  • No annual fee

Best student credit card for Wells Fargo Families: Wells Fargo Cash Back College

Why it’s best

Establishing credit doesn’t have to be impossible, and with the Wells Fargo Cash Back College card, it isn’t. Having a good credit score might not seem that important right now, but it will be once you start applying for car loans, student loans and a mortgage. If you already bank with Wells Fargo, or your family members have Wells accounts, stretching that family tie works to your advantage in gaining access to perks and privileges.

Wells Fargo allows you to link your accounts to track your overall financial picture.  They will make sure to report your good financial habits so that your credit score rises quickly. 

Bonus Points

  • 0% APR for the first 6 months
  • Up to 3% cash back on purchases
  • Helpful tips on building and maintaining a good credit score

Best for Students with Sallie Mae Loans: Sallie Mae Accelerate Credit Card

Why it’s best

It’s no secret that the majority of students take out student loans to pay for their education. Very soon you will be able to use points to pay off your student loan more quickly, as this card will be available shortly. The Sallie Mae Accelerate Credit Card will be available soon, and will earn 1% on every purchase much like many students cards out there. 

However, when it comes time to redeem your points, you can choose to use them towards paying off your loan and make them worth 25% more. You can also unlock additional perks after showing responsible financial behavior, like making your payments on time, and will never have to worry about an annual fee. 

Bonus Points

  • Get 25% more when using your points to pay down your student loans
  • 12 months paying 0% APR
  •  Cell phone protection

Dan Marzullo

Personal finance writer and the founder of Marzullo & Associates

Dan lives in Colorado Springs, CO and typically spends his days buried in a booth at a local coffee shop. Ideas flow best with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other.