A student credit card is a credit card branded specifically for use by college and graduate students with limited credit history or better. Student credit cards are easier to get than the average credit card, and they usually have $0 annual fees, rewards equal to at least 1% cash back on purchases, and minimum credit limits of $300 or so. Some student credit cards offer low introductory APRs, but the regular APRs on student credit cards tend to be above average.
Students generally have less credit history and less income than professionals and older adults. But students also come with assumed future earning potential, so credit card companies are more willing to approve a student with no credit history than a non-student newcomer. Student credit cards work just like regular credit cards, however, because they are regular credit cards. They’re just aimed at students.
Student credit cards can help students with fair, limited, or no credit build their credit history. The right student card can also teach responsible credit card habits to people who are new to the game. For example, some give bonus rewards for on-time bill payments and/or good grades.
You’ll need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a student credit card—or any credit card— on your own. If you’re under 21, you’ll need an independent income that the credit card company can verify. Income from even a part-time job will help your approval odds. And of course, you should be a student; you’ll most likely be asked about your school information on the application. Limited or no credit history usually is not an issue with student cards, but if you already have bad credit, you may not get approved. In that case, you may want to aim for a secured credit card, like the Discover it Secured card.
It’s important to remember that student credit cards are definitely real credit cards. Like all unsecured cards, you can get in over your head if you aren’t using it responsibly. And the higher APRs of student cards can be a big extra weight if you carry a balance.
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