The Credit Card ACT of 2009 has made life more difficult for students looking to apply for a credit card. Previously, if you were a college student, there was no age limit on whether or not you could obtain a credit card. In an effort to protect students from the dangers of credit cards, Congress passed a law requiring all students under the age of 21 to have a parental cosigner OR show sufficient income when applying for a credit card.
As a result of the Credit Card ACT of 2009, credit card rewards and offers have suffered a bit and this has certainly filtered through to college student credit cards. Still, there are a good number of solid student credit card offers represented below. If you own a student credit card you feel deserves to be on this list, let us know and we’ll gladly add it.
But before we get to the list, it’s important to mention that a student must have OK credit in order to be approved for the cards below. If you have bad credit (defaults, many late payments, collections) then applying for a credit card is only going to hurt you. If you do not know your current credit score, both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma offer totally free accounts to check your credit score. Signing up takes one minute, requires no credit card and does not trick you into paying for anything. No free trials or sneaky business, just 100% free credit score accounts.
PT’s Pick for Best College Student Credit Card
Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students – The Citi Dividend Card for College Students is our best overall college student credit card. The card sports a 0% intro APR on purchases for seven months, only requires good credit to be approved and carries no annual fee. As with all Citibank student credit cards, the Citi Dividend Card for College Students does NOT require a cosigner.
Perhaps the greatest feature on the Citi Dividend Card for College Students is it’s cash back potential. Cardholders earn bonus cash back each quarter on new must-have categories like department stores, travel and more, with enrollment. 1% cash back can be earned on ALL other purchases and if you’re unable to pay off your credit card in full each month, the after intro APR is a respectable 13.99% – 23.99% variable.
Citi Forward® Card for College Students – The only credit card that rewards good behavior, the Citi Forward Card for College Students offers up to a 2% APR reduction on your credit card if you make a purchase, keep your balance under your credit limit and pay on time for three months in a row. In addition, the Citi Forward Card for College Students offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for seven months and 5 ThankYou Points for every $1 you spend at restaurants and on entertainment; 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.. The Citi Forward Card for College Students does not have an annual fee and 100 Thank-You points are earned each month you pay your credit card on time and stay under your credit limit.
Capital One® JourneySM Student Rewards – The Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card is another great option for students in need of credit. While the card does not carry an introductory offer, it does offer 1% cash back on all purchases. The Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card only requires average credit for approval, does not have an annual fee and has a 19.8% (V) APR on purchases and balance transfers. In addition, students get a 25% bonus on the cash back they earn each month when they pay their bill on time.