The Best Credit Cards for College Students of 2015

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

Do you have a college student in your house? Chances are he/she is looking at getting a credit card. Check out PT's top 3 picks for a credit card for college students in 2015. Make sure your student is making smart decisions with their card and their finances.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students – Earn 2,500 Bonus PointsThankYou Preferred Citi Image – The only credit card that rewards good behavior, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students – Earn 2,500 Bonus Points offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for seven months, 2x ThankYou Points on dining and entertainment and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students – Earn 2,500 Bonus Point does not have an annual fee and you can earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.

Discover it for StudentsDiscover it for Students (w/ $20 Bonus) – The big draw from the Discover it for Students card is the $20 up front bonus all new cardholders receive after making just one purchase.  Also included is 5% cash back on rotating categories throughout the year and 1% cash back on all other purchases.  There is no annual fee to own the Discover it for Students card and another benefit of owning is 10.99% APR on balance transfers for the first six months (standard purchase APR is 12.99% – 21.99% variable)

Journey Student Rewards from Capital OneJourney Student Rewards from Capital One – For students with average credit, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is the best student credit card available (all other cards on this list require good credit).  A 1% cash back bonus is given on all purchases; with a 25% awarded each month you pay your bill on time.  This means that effectively, the bonus is 1.25% on all purchases, also the highest on this list.  There is no annual fee on this college student credit card and the variable APR is 19.8% variable and the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One also gives access to your monthly credit score, plus an interactive tracking tool to help monitor your credit.

Last Edited: July 9, 2015 @ 2:37 pm The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.