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Student Credit Cards

Student Credit Card Deals: July 2014

We've compiled a list of the Student Credit Card Deals currently available on CreditDonkey.

Student Credit Cards

Compare credit cards for college students from our partners
Student credit cards can be a powerful financial management tool for college students. They can help students build a credit history, and they provide a convenient way to pay for purchases. Although student cards typically offer fewer perks than other cards, college students should still compare rates and features to find the card that's best for them.


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How to Choose a Student Credit Card

As a college student, you want to build credit and make smart healthy financial decisions. With so many college student credit cards available, how do you pick the best offer for you?

Credit Card Deal for College Students

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
Apply for Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
The best student credit card on CreditDonkey is the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students according to our analysis.

Why We Like the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

  • 2,500 bonus points: If you spend $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership, you'll earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou points. You can redeem ThankYou points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, and cash.

  • 0% intro APR on purchases: This card offers 0% intro APR on new purchases for 7 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% to 23.99% depending on your creditworthiness.

  • Rewards: Earn 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment (two student-friendly categories).

  • Visa Student: Since it's a Visa credit card, it has widespread acceptance among merchants -- useful if you tend to shop/eat at small mom-and-pop businesses.

  • No Annual Fee

Other Offers Worth Considering

Discover it for Students
Apply for Discover it for Students
If you plan to pay your balance in full each billing cycle, look to maximize rewards with a cash back credit card like the Discover it® for Students, which offers 1% cash back on most purchases.

With the Discover it Student Card, you'll earn 5% cashback bonus (up to the quarterly maximum) in categories that change throughout the year like gas, restaurant, movies, and more. Signing up is free and easy each time. There is no annual fee.

There are two Discover student credit card offers available:

  • Discover it® for Students offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 12.99% - 21.99%.

  • Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus does not offer an introductory APR; instead it offers a $20 cashback bonus when you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval. If you don't plan to carry a balance, this is a great deal!

Citi Dividend Card for College Students
Apply for Citi Dividend Card for College Students
If you plan to carry a balance, look for a card with a promotional interest rate like the Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students, which has a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 7 months. After that, the APR will be 13.99% - 23.99% variable based on your creditworthiness.

With the Citi Dividend Card, you can also earn bonus cash back in popular rotating categories (enrollment required). Plus, there is no annual fee.

Discover it chrome for Students
Apply for Discover it chrome for Students
If you spend the most on gas and at restaurants, consider the Discover it® chrome for Students, which offers 2% cash back automatically on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter (no sign-ups needed). You earn 1% cash back on all your other purchases.

With the Discover it chrome for Students, you also get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. After the intro period, the variable purchase APR applies, currently 12.99% - 21.99%. There is no annual fee.

If you are under 21, you will need to have a co-signer or be able to prove that you have the resources (i.e. income) to make payments when you apply, due to the CARD Act of 2009.


Credit Cards for First Time Users

Choosing your first credit card is a major decision not one be taken lightly. Your credit history has a huge impact on your ability to rent an apartment, buy a house, get a car loan, or even land a job. How you use a credit card can make the ...

How to Choose

Credit cards are a fantastic tool to have in your wallet as a college student. They are an easy payment method, and, when used properly, help you build a positive credit history, a key area that lenders will be looking for when you need to borrow money later in life, such as for a car or mortgage. Credit cards are also safe and secure, helping to minimize the impact of fraud on your finances. But with so many credit cards to choose from, the prospect of picking one can seem daunting.

Thankfully, some credit cards are designed specifically with students in mind. And there are ways you can ease the decision-making process. Follow these five steps when choosing the best student credit card for your wallet:

  1. Research, research, research. Put your experience doing research for term papers to work. Those skills will come in handy when it’s time to choose a credit card. Each credit card has different features and costs, so you will need to take your time reviewing the options. If you simply settle with the first credit card you come across, you may be selling your wallet short.

  2. Ask yourself: “Will this be a long-term or short-term relationship?” When reviewing card features, think about both your current needs and your future goals. Student credit cards are obviously designed for students, but you won't be a student forever. Consider if the features will meet your needs when you graduate and whether that matters to you.

    If you do decide that you want a “short-term” card, keep in mind the impact this may have on your credit score. You get “points” for the length of your credit history – the longer the history, the better the score.

  3. Make the decision: Sponsorship or Free Agent. Thanks to the Credit CARD Act, consumers under 21 have to meet additional credit card lending qualifications. This change can make it a little tricky for students to qualify for credit cards, especially when they have limited income. So, many college students tend to take one of two routes: obtain a cosigner or show proof of income.

    Having a cosigner means that your parent or another adult has agreed to take on the responsibility of your debt should you default on your payments. This is a big request to ask of your parent—if you miss your payments, it will not only affect your credit score but might affect theirs as well.

    If you have income from a job, you may be able to qualify for a credit card on your own.

  4. Learn the Costs. Ever hear the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Well, that statement holds true when it comes to credit cards. But don’t be discouraged—with a little research, you’ll likely find a card with minimal costs. Here are the key costs you should pay attention to:

    • Interest Rate: The rate that is charged on your credit card balance, expressed as the APR (annual percentage rate). Usually, if you pay your balance in full within the designated grace period, you won't be charged interest. Funds transferred from another credit card (balance transfers) typically have a separate rate.

    • Annual Fee: Some cards charge you a fee once a year simply for the privilege of having the card. For college students, it's usually best to look for a student credit card with no annual fee.

    • Late Fee: The fee charged when you don't make your payment on time. Hopefully, you will never face this fee. However, you should know the cost of a late payment in case it happens. Moreover, look into whether a late payment will trigger a higher interest rate.

    • Over-the-Limit Fee: This fee is charged to card holders when they make a charge that puts them beyond the stated credit limit.

  5. Find the Perks. Many student credit cards come with rewards or cash back options. When evaluating these perks, do a cost-benefit analysis. Often, rewards credit cards have higher interest rates, so you’ll need to decide if those potential costs are worth the value of the promised rewards. If you think you'll carry a balance, you’d probably be better off finding a low-interest credit card without a rewards program. Don’t forget to look for other perks like extended warranties on eligible products and car rental insurance; many credit cards offer these and other complimentary services.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwised endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: Discover is a paid advertiser of CreditDonkey.

Infographics: Build Credit for Students

How to Build Credit for Students

Rising student loan debt and high unemployment among young adults has made establishing good credit more challenging than ever. Good credit can help demonstrate to lenders your ability to manage debt and to be financially responsible.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
Apply for Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
  • Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment.
  • 1 ThankYou® Point on other purchases.
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*
StudentIntroductory Bonus Reward PointsPoint RewardsDining RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 7 months
N/A
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
$0

Discover it for Students
Read ReviewApply for Discover it for Students
  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
  • Human. Talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Looks out for you-since each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.*
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards and other information
StudentCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Our Review: College students looking to build credit, earn cash back, and pay no annual fee should consider the Discover It for Students. With the combined generous rewards program, intro APR on new purchases and no late fee on the first late payment, it's clear to see why this Discover student credit card is among the most popular offers for college students on the market today... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
See Terms
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
$0

Citi Dividend Card for College Students
Read ReviewApply for Citi Dividend Card for College Students
  • Build credit while earning cash back fast
  • Earn 5% Cash Back in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
  • Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.
  • Choose your payment due date
  • No Annual Fee
  • Click Apply Now for pricing details
StudentCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityEmergency Assistance Identity Theft Assistance
Our Review: Free of annual fees, the Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students offers 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. Cardholders also receive an introductory purchase APR and a variety of extra protections. Because this card does not require a co-signer from students who have an income, it can be a good pick for a first credit card... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 7 months*
N/A
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
$0*

Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus
Apply for Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus
  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
  • Human. Talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Looks out for you-since each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.*
  • Experience our cash rewards with $20 Cashback Bonus® after you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval.*
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards and other information
StudentIntroductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/ASee Terms
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
$0

Discover it chrome for Students
Apply for Discover it chrome for Students
  • No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee*.
  • 2% cash back automatically on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter - no sign-ups needed*. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • APR won't go up if you pay late.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on your monthly statement so you can track your score's progress*.
  • Free text alerts can remind you when your payment is due. And free mobile app helps you stay on top of your account.
  • U.S. based customer service - anytime, day and night.
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards and other information.
StudentCash Back RewardsDining RewardsGas Rewards
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
See Terms
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
$0

Disclaimer: Discover is a paid advertiser of CreditDonkey.


Student Benefits

7 Benefits of a Student Credit Card

from a Parent's Point of View

College life is the time for your son or daughter to establish freedom and individuality – and a time to start establishing a good credit profile. College students are a big target for credit card companies. However, with the right attitude and strategy, your student can receive many benefits from a student credit card as a new consumer in the spending world.

  1. Establishing Good Credit
    The most important benefit of acquiring a credit card as a student is the chance to firmly establish a credit history. Believe it or not, the first steps taken with a credit card can determine a credit history, good or bad, for possibly decades to come.

    An excellent strategy for your student is for him or her is to make small purchases and pay them off immediately, usually within a month. First, small purchases keep the available credit higher, and that’s a positive mark on a credit report. Second, making frequent payments to keep the balance at zero or just above zero shows that your student “pays as agreed” on his or her report.

  2. Low Interest and No Annual Fee
    Many credit card companies that offer college student credit cards have great deals with a zero percent introductory offer and zero annual fees. These benefits can help your student start smart by not being saddle with excess costs when using his or her first credit card.

  3. Budgeting and Financial Management
    Credit cards come with new responsibilities but they also offer good financial practice. Once they have a credit card, students must learn to budget and prudently manage their finances. Help your student set up a spending guideline that can be met each month. The figure takes into account what type of expenses should be charged, how much money should be used toward credit card debt, if applicable, and, regardless of the credit limit, the most they should charge on the card each month in your view.

  4. Low Initial Credit Limit
    Often, credit cards for college student will come with a low limit, which helps prevent overspending and overcharging.

  5. Financial Buffer
    Students often run out of money. Having a credit card for college students can be a financial “buffer” for when they need a tank of gas to get home or a sack of groceries after they have spent their monthly budget.

  6. Convenience
    Convenience is another benefit of top student credit cards. Charging gas, textbooks, or even groceries keeps students from having to carry cash all the time. However, be sure to help your student keep careful track of all receipts so he or she does not overspend.

  7. Help Secure a Future Job
    Some employers now use an individual’s credit score as a factor in making their hiring decisions. In other words, students who successfully manage one or more credit cards during their college career could be rewarded with employment over someone with similar qualifications that doesn’t have a strong credit history.


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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.