The main difference between a student credit card and a regular credit card is that student credit cards offer better rewards, rates, and fees than other credit cards for people with limited or no credit. Student credit cards are also meant for college and graduate students, while other cards don’t have the same requirement. Otherwise, student credit cards work the same way as most other credit cards.
Student credit cards usually offer better terms than other starter credit cards because students tend to be young and have above-average earning potential. Credit card issuers want to attract them for future business and might offer a better deal than a student may deserve based solely on their current income and experience.
Student Credit Card vs. Regular Credit Card
Student Credit Cards
Regular Credit Cards
Credit Levels Accepted
Limited, fair, good, excellent
Bad, limited, fair, good, excellent
$300 - $5,000
$200 - $50,000+
Reported to Credit Bureaus?
Must Be a Student?
$20, on average
Student-specific benefits, such as a statement credit to cardholders for good grades
Valuable perks, such as airport lounge access or extensive travel insurance
While student and regular credit cards are similar to one another in most respects, student cards are better for people with limited credit history than most other credit cards for no credit. To see great options in both categories, check out WalletHub’s picks for the best student cards and the best starter cards currently on the market.
The top student credit card benefits are rewards in important spending categories for students and 0% APR periods. College students in the U.S. spend a whopping $11 billion per year on food, which means student credit cards with dining or grocery store rewards categories will benefit college students in a big way. The same goes for rewards on gas—the average college student spends between $1,000 and $5,000 on gas annually. About 75% of college students use credit cards, and many carry a balance from month to month, so a student card with a long 0% intro APR period could be a godsend to a student eager to pay off a lingering debt.… read full answer
The Bank of America Cash Rewards card for Students seems to hit all of those notes. It offers 3% cash back in a chosen category—gas and dining are two options—and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. The card has 0% APR for 15 months, and a $200 bonus for spending $1,000 in 90 days.
Cash back for good grades and rewards for paying your bill on time are perks, but in the long run, students will find ongoing rewards and lower APRs far more beneficial.
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