A college student and credit card company logos
Source: Getty Images/Discover/Chase/Bank of America (Twitter)

The 4 Best Credit Card Students Can Get to Build Credit History

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Mar. 9 2022, Published 2:49 p.m. ET

Establishing credit isn’t an easy thing to do when you’re on the verge of exiting high school or new to the college scene. But having a positive credit history is essential to your financial future if you plan on financing a vehicle, buying a home, or accessing additional lines of credit. So, how do students establish a credit history? Well, you can start by obtaining a credit card for students.

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Although there are plenty of companies out there that are willing to provide you with access to a line of credit, some student credit cards are better to start with than others. After carefully reviewing dozens of options, we’ve narrowed down the four best credit cards for students.

Looking to establish a positive credit history? These are some of the best credit cards for students.

Woman holding credit card
Source: Unsplash
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The Discover It student credit card is a good option.

Discover has two credit cards available for students to apply for — the Student Cash Back card and the Chrome for Students card. Upon assessing both, we’ve found that Discover’s student cash back card has more benefits. Here’s a look at some of the perks you’ll get when you apply and get approved for a Discover It student credit card.

  • No annual fee
  • No credit score is needed to apply
  • Low APR. You’ll start with 0 percent APR for six months, then 12.99 percent–21.99 percent after.
  • 5 percent cash back on everyday purchases
  • For every dollar you earn in cash back, Discover will match it during your first year as a cardholder.
  • Access to free credit score monitoring
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Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a solid choice.

The Chase Freedom® student credit card is another solid choice for students looking to build or establish a credit history. Here’s a look at the perks of being a Chase cardholder:

  • No annual fee
  • 14.99 percent APR
  • $50 bonus awarded after your first purchase. The catch is the purchase must be made within the first three months of you opening your account.
  • Good standing reward. If you keep your account in good standing, Chase will give you a $20 reward for the first five years of you being an account holder.
  • Earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase
  • Free credit score monitoring
  • Get three months free of DoorDash’s subscription plan, DashPass. This offer may only last for a limited time.
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Source: Twitter

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is good for students.

Bank of America’s cash reward student credit card is an excellent choice for college students looking to build credit and get rewarded in the process. With Bank of America’s customizable student credit card, you’ll gain access to these benefits:

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  • No annual fee
  • 3 percent cash back on a category of your choosing on up to $2,500 spent each quarter. Gas, online shopping, and travel are a few categories the financial institution allows you to choose from. Your cash back reward then drops to 1 percent.
  • $200 bonus. If you spend a minimum of $1,000 in the first 90 days of your account opening (and pay on time), you’ll be entitled to receive a $200 cash rewards bonus.
  • Access your FICO score for free
  • Introductory APR of 0 percent (for 15 billing cycles). Then, the APR increases to 13.99 percent–23.94 percent.
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Deserve® EDU Mastercard is a good starter card for students.

The Deserve® EDU credit card is another good starter card for college students, even those without a Social Security number (SSN). Below is a list of the benefits Deserve offers its cardholders:

  • 1 percent cash back on all purchases
  • Free Amazon Prime Student membership for a year
  • Cell phone protection up to $600
  • No annual fees
  • No SSN for international students
  • 18.74 percent APR

There are ways to raise your credit score after obtaining your first student credit card.

Once you apply for and get approved for a student credit card, you’ll want to be careful with how you spend. The goal of a student credit card is to build a positive credit history and credit score. If you misuse your credit card and spend more than you can afford, it could have an adverse effect and impact your chances of getting additional lines of credit.

To ensure your student credit card helps your credit score rather than hurt it, consider implementing these tips:

  • Keep your balances below 30 percent of your credit limit.
  • Pay your bill on or before the due date. Payment history has the greatest impact on your credit score.
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