Student credit cards work like other credit cards, except they’re designed for college students with limited credit who are at least 18 years old. Student credit cards are the best starter credit cards for eligible applicants, giving students the opportunity to build credit while enjoying surprisingly good terms.
Student cards typically have $0 annual fees and good rewards because banks and credit unions want to get in early with potentially profitable, long-term customers. Plus, student credit cards are unsecured cards, meaning they don’t require a security deposit to open the account.
How Student Credit Cards Work
Student credit cards build credit just like non-student credit cards
Like any other credit card, student cards report account details to the credit bureaus every month. The key to building credit with any credit card is to pay the bill on time, and preferably in full, every month while maintaining a low credit utilization ratio.
Students must meet an issuer’s standard eligibility requirements for approval
Credit card issuers are more inclined to approve student applicants than others with limited credit because of students’ presumed higher earning potential. As a student, you still must meet eligibility requirements common to all credit cards, though.
For example, you must be at least 18 years old, and if you’re under 21, you’ll need to provide a verifiable independent source of income. Any documentation needed to verify that you’re a student, such as an official transcript or college e-mail address, will likely be listed on the application.
Student credit cards may offer better features than other starter cards
Student credit cards tend to offer $0 annual fees and rewards on purchases, perks which aren’t available on all credit cards for people with less-than-good credit. Some student credit cards even give bonus rewards for timely payments or good grades.
Not all student credit cards are created equal, so check out our editors’ picks for the best credit cards for students to help narrow your search.
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