Going to college involves a number of firsts in the lives of students. For many, it's the first time they are living away from home and taking control of their financial lives, including obtaining their first student credit card. College is where many people establish and build their credit history, an enterprise that will have a profound impact on their ability later on in life to purchase a house and other major items.

However, a student's ability to get a credit card wasn't always a slam dunk. That's due to the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Prior to the Act, students would often encounter card issuers on campus, hawking credit cards sweetened with free gifts such as clothing and Frisbees. Campus mailboxes were frequently stuffed with flyers offering credit cards.

The Act outlawed a number of abuses having to do with interest rates, payments and fees that had the effect of making cards less profitable for banks. This, along with tight credit, made it hard for people with scant or poor credit histories to qualify for credit cards.

Eight years have elapsed since the start of the Great Recession, and the credit card market has loosened up quite a bit. Today's students have a pretty good shot at acquiring a credit card. For one thing, students can get pretty good offers from issuers, including generous rewards along with other benefits. Also, there are a few ways to get a credit card:

  • Qualify on your own by showing proof of income
  • Find someone to co-sign your credit agreement
  • Be designated as an authorized user on someone else's account
  • Get a secured credit card, in which your bank account collateralizes your credit line

Banks started to transition from reluctant to enthusiastic card issuers in 2014, and this certainly helps students obtain full-featured cards. In fact, many issuers offer special cards for students. A good card might provide a number of attractive features, including:

  • Cash back on purchases, with bonus cash back at places where students are likely to spend money, such as restaurants
  • Double cash back as the introductory year ends
  • Special cash-back bonuses based upon their grade point average
  • No annual fees and low late-payment fees
  • An introductory period of 0% APR
  • Bonus points for signing up and/or for spending a certain amount on purchases within a fixed time period

What Now, College Students?

As a good student, it makes sense to research the best credit card deals available. If money is tight, look for a cash-back card with a low APR. It would be ideal if a card gave you a good cashback deal on school supplies, though.

Anyhow, we at GET.com have taken the initiative to suss out some amazing student credit cards that you might want to consider while you shop around for the right card that best suits your needs and preferences.

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least likeCredit RequiredRelated links
Journey<sup>®</sup> Student Rewards from Capital One<sup>®</sup>

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, to manage your account via text, receive alerts, and shop safer online
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone

N/A

26.99% (Variable)

$0

Why we like it
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
We least like
  • No introductory low APR period.
Average, Fair, Limited

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least likeCredit RequiredRelated links
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • No annual fee
APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website

0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months

15.99% - 25.99% (Variable)

$0

Good