The best credit cards for graduate students with limited credit include Journey Student Rewards from Capital One and Discover it Chrome for Students. Both offer solid rewards, and neither charges an annual fee (or a foreign transaction fee). The best credit cards for more experienced graduate students who’ve already built good credit are even better. They include Citi Double Cash and Capital One Venture, which give you 2% back on all purchases (and then some).
So you should check your credit score before doing anything else. If you had a credit card as an undergrad, or you spent some time in the real world before going back to school, it’s certainly possible that you have good or excellent credit now. If not, student credit cards usually have better terms than other cards for people with limited credit. And they’re not reserved for undergrads, or anything like that, either. Anyone who is enrolled at a college or university (or still has an active “edu” email address) can get a student credit card. Alternatively, if you made some mistakes and now have bad credit, you can put down a deposit on a secured credit card to start rebuilding.
Here are the best credit cards for graduate students:
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: 1% cash back on all purchases, or 1.25% if you pay on time. No annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Available with limited credit.
Discover it Chrome for Students: 2% cash back on your first $1,000 per quarter spent at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% on all other purchases. $20 cash back per year for up to 5 years if you have a 3.0+ GPA. 0% APR on purchases for 6 months. No annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Available with limited credit.
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card for Students: 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. 3 points per $1 at the BofA Travel Center and 1.5 on all other purchases. 10% more points when you redeem for a deposit into a BofA bank account. 0% APR on purchases for 12 months. No annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Available with limited credit.
Citi Double Cash: 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% when you pay. 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months (3% fee). No annual fee. 3% foreign transaction fee. Good credit needed.
Capital One Venture Rewards: 50,000 miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. 10 miles per $1 at hotels.com/venture and 2 everywhere else. $95 annual fee waived the first year. No foreign transaction fee. Good credit needed.
If you don’t yet have a credit history, you should have no trouble qualifying for student cards as long as you have proof of enrollment. But if you’ve been building your credit, you’ll probably have a shot at even better deals.