Chip Lupo, Credit Card Writer
To qualify for a student credit card, an applicant must be a student, at least 18 years old, and capable of affording monthly credit card payments. Proof of enrollment at a college or university may be needed, too, though specific documentation requirements vary by card issuer.
What's Needed to Qualify for a Student Credit Card?
Minimum age requirement of 18 years.
You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or legal resident to apply for a student credit card. A Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is required in most cases, although international students who do not have an SSN might still qualify for a card such as Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students if they meet the issuer's other requirements.
Proof of independent income.
Applicants under 21 years old must demonstrate an ability to pay the monthly credit card bill with their own source of income. Savings or wages from a part-time job would meet this requirement. Another option, if you can find an issuer that still allows it, is to have a co-signer who is at least 21 years old guarantee payment on the account.
Limited or no credit history.
Student credit cards are designed for people with limited or no credit, so if you have a bad credit score of 639 or less, your application will likely be rejected. Before you apply, you can sign up for a free WalletHub account to check if you have a credit score yet.
Verification of enrollment.
Most issuers will request some proof that you're a student, such as a college e-mail address. Though not all student credit cards require specific documentation, you should still be truthful when you apply.
Avoid too many recent credit inquiries.
It's important to minimize the number of times you apply for credit in a short period of time, particularly if you have limited or no credit. When you apply for a student credit card, issuers will perform a hard pull of your credit report, and if your credit history turns up frequent credit inquiries, or hard pulls, an issuer may view you as a credit risk and reject the application. So, don't apply for a bunch of cards all at once.
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