The best Visa credit card for students is Journey Student Rewards from Capital One because it has great cash back rewards, gives you extra for paying on time and doesn’t charge an annual fee. But there are a lot of good options to consider. For example, Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students is great for 0% interest at the start, and the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students has terms well-suited to study abroad.
In general, despite having little credit experience, college students can expect better-than-average rates, fees and rewards because they have high earning potential and many years of financial needs ahead of them. Banks want to get in early, in other words. And you can take advantage of that by getting a great student credit card and saving lots of money.
Best Visa Credit Cards for Students
Most Cash Back – Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: The normal cash back rate is 1% but you can get 1.25% if you pay your bill on time. There’s no annual fee and you don’t need a credit history in order to be approved.
Intro APR – Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students: This card won’t charge you any interest for 12 months, both on purchases and on balance transfers. You get 3% cash back on your first $2,500 in gas, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on everything else. There’s also a $200 bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. And there’s no annual fee, nor do you need a credit history.
Travel Benefits – Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students: If you’re planning to travel often, this card is for you. You get unlimited 3 points / $1 at the Bank of America Travel center and 1.5 points / $1 on all other purchases. And you get 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. The card doesn’t have an annual fee and there’s no credit history necessary for approval.
Bonus Cash Back – Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card: This card gives 3% cash back on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months. After that, you’ll earn 1% back on all purchases. The Wells Fargo Cash Back College card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Any of these choices are good for students, but Journey Student Rewards and Bank of America Cash Rewards are probably the best two because they offer cash back rewards and don’t charge annual fees. You’ll be able to get the most consistent value out of them. But it’s good to look at cards from networks other than Visa, too. Some of the best choices include Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Capital One Secured Mastercard.
I like the Journey from Capital One, too. You get cash back for all your purchases and the rewards don't expire, there's no annual or foreign transaction fee, and you get fraud coverage in case your card gets lost or stolen.
The best Discover student credit card is the Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card because it gives 5% cash back on different types of purchases each quarter (up to $1,500 spent quarterly, and $6,000 annually) in rotating categories that require activation. That bumps up the card’s earning potential to the top tier of student credit cards. You have to sign up for the new categories each quarter, but there’s an extra cherry on top for those who do: Discover it Student Cash Back will match the cash back that new cardholders earn the first year. That can be a huge benefit if you’re maxing out the card’s 5% back categories. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.… read full answer
The other Discover student card contender is the Discover it® Student chrome, which gives a consistent 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants combined each quarter. All other purchases get 1% back. While this rewards setup could work to a commuting student’s advantage, the maximum a cardholder can earn in normal bonus rewards annually is $80. On the plus side, this card won’t make you register for cash back every quarter. Discover it Student chrome also doubles the first year’s cash back, though the bonus has less earning potential than with the Discover it Student Cash Back card.
Best Discover Student Credit Card: Discover it Student Cash Back vs Discover it Student chrome
Discover it Student Cash Back: 5% back on up to $1,500 spent per quarter in rotating categories that require activation.
Discover it Student chrome: 2% back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter at gas stations and restaurants combined.
Features on Both Cards: 1% cash back on non-bonus purchases, first-year’s rewards doubled, $20 annual statement credit for a 3.0 GPA, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, 0% intro APR for the first 6 months on purchases, and 12.99% - 21.99% Variable regular APR.
Overall, students who are organized and eager to enter the world of credit card rewards will do well getting the Discover it Student Cash Back card. The Discover it Student chrome card might be the better option for commuting students who spend a lot at gas stations and restaurants, but the cash back opportunities aren’t quite as promising.
The best travel credit card for students is the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card for Students. It offers 3 points per $1 spent at the Bank of America Travel Center and gives 1.5 points per $1 on everything else. It also has an initial bonus of 25,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, the card gives 10% extra points when you have a BofA checking account, and there’s an introductory APR of 0% for 12 months on purchases. On top of all that, the card has a $0 annual fee and a $0 foreign transaction fee.… read full answer
Another good option is Journey Student Rewards from Capital One. There’s a $0 annual fee and a $0 foreign transaction fee. It gives unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases, or 1.25% if you pay on time.
One last choice to think about is Discover it Chrome for Students. Like the other cards, its annual fee is $0 and there’s no foreign transaction fee. But the rewards are pretty high - 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants per quarter; 1% all other purchases. And Discover matches all rewards earned during the first year on your first account anniversary. You also get a $20 bonus each year you have a 3.0+ GPA.
The best Chase student credit card is the new Chase Freedom® Student credit card, which launched in June 2019. This card has a $0 annual fee and gives 1 point per $1 on all purchases.
It has some nice rewards bonuses, too, starting with 5,000 points bonus points ($50 cash back) simply for making a single purchase within three months of opening an account. Plus, keeping your account in good standing by paying your monthly bills on time is good for a $20 bonus each year for up to five years.… read full answer
In addition to these, you earn 5 points (5% cash back) per $1 on Lyft rides through March 2022. Plus, you get a complimentary 3 months of DashPass and after that 50% off the DashPass for the next 9 months (activate by December 31, 2021).
Those rewards rates and fees are pretty good, though not quite on par with the best student credit cards on the market right now. Chase Freedom Unlimited®, one of the best cash back credit cards overall, was never officially branded as being for students. But Chase recommended it for these scholarly credit newcomers on its website for a while.
Now, however, things are looking up for college students shopping for a credit card. Chase, one of the largest credit card companies around, has now officially re-joined the ranks of student credit card issuers. As a result, 6 of the 7 biggest credit card issuers in the U.S. have at least one credit card offer for college students.
Bank of America Travel Rewards if you love to travel and you have the money for it or Capital One Journey if you want a well-balanced card.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.