Student credit cards of old had jacked-up interest fees, next-to-nothing in terms of rewards, and they really didn't offer incentives for young cardholders to learn how to use credit responsibly.
The good news for students is that's all changed, and student credit cards today are actually some of the most coveted on the market. And in an age of stagnant lending, establishing credit early is more of a priority than ever, giving college students all the more incentive to apply for a credit card.
So, which credit cards for students are worth applying for? Here are the best of the best in 2013.
Discover it™ Card for Students
Discover's newest credit card for students is one of the very best available today. Combining a great rewards program with next-to-nothing in fees, the Discover it Card for Students bills itself as one of the most flexible around.
Cardholders will enjoy a 0% intro period of nine months in which they'll pay no interest on purchases. Students can earn 5% cash back on rotating categories – including entertainment and dining out through March, 2013 – and they'll earn another 1% on all other purchases made.
This credit card is particular generous to college students learning how to use credit responsibly; they'll waive the first late payment fee ($35 thereafter), and allow students to choose their own due date and allow up to midnight EST to pay online or by phone. The ongoing APR variable is one of the lowest available to students (12.99%-18.99%) and there's no annual fee. This is one of the best available credit cards for students in the near year – especially for those interested in cash back rewards.
Journey (SM) Student Rewards from Capital One®
The most important feature that makes this Capital One card for students stand out from the rest is that they'll reward on-time payments with a cash back bonus each month. That's right – simply for making a payment on-time, Capital One will give you a 25% bonus of the cash back you earned that month.
Another reason this credit card is great for building credit is that it includes access to your credit score at no additional charge. That way, students can track their progress as they build credit over time. They'll even alert you via email and text when a payment due date is approaching, so there's really no excuse for missing a payment.
While the rewards program on this student credit card isn't as lucrative as the aforementioned Discover card, cardholders will still earn a full 1% on cash back purchases, and points never expire. The only other draw-back is that there's no intro period, either.
However, there's also no annual fee, so all of the credit-building tools attached to this card are essentially free. This makes the Journey Rewards Card another great option for college students hoping to improve their credit score early.
Citi Dividend Card for College Students
Lastly, this student credit card from Citi is similar to the aforementioned cards because of its excellent rewards program. Like the Discover it™ Card for Students, members can earn 5% cash back on rotating categories, and 1% on all other purchases. There is a cap ($300) on the number of Dividend Dollars® you can earn per year, however
There's no co-signor required with this student credit card, either, and the 0% intro period of seven months applies to purchases. However, you may become ineligible for the intro period if you miss a payment – don't do this! And like the Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One, cardholders will be privy to some useful credit building tools that make understanding credit easier.
Overall, each of the three credit cards for college students listed above can go a LONG way towards building credit early. And since an established credit history and good credit are imperative for getting low interest rates in your 20's and 30's, there's no better time than the present to apply for a credit card if you're a student.
Trust us when we say you'll save tons on interest in later years the earlier you begin building your credit.