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Some of the Best First-Time Credit Cards For Students

Some of the Best First-Time Credit Cards For Students

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College is an important time in your financial journey. Besides pursuing your degree, college reveals financial issues in the real world. For starters, you have to learn how to budget if you’re studying away from home. Your family may provide monetary support, but misusing this money can affect your academic performance and even present long-term consequences after school.

Additionally, college is an opportunity to build your credit score, and what better way to do this than getting a credit card? Apart from covering day-to-day expenses, a student credit card cushions you from emergencies such as unexpected hospital bills, natural disasters, and car problems. Even so, picking the best first credit card might be confusing, considering the numerous options available. Not to worry, however, read on for the best credit cards for students.

Discover it® Student Chrome

This is one of the best credit cards for anyone who loves to travel. With high rewards at restaurants and gas pumps, the Discover it® Student Chrome card offers convenience on road trips and other outings with your buddies. Moreover, the card doesn’t include foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for students studying overseas.

Only U.S. citizens above 18 years old can get this card. You should also be in a four or two-year college program to qualify. Remember to pay balances on time to avoid interest and enjoy full benefits.

Product Details

  • 0% starting APR for purchases in the first six months
  • 13.24%-22.24% variable purchase APR takes effect after six months
  • Unlimited cashback match intro offer
  • No credit score needed to start
  • Opportunity to build credit with no annual fee
  • Bonus statement credits for successful referrals and approvals
  • 2% cashback on the first $1000 paid to standalone gas pumps and restaurants every calendar quarter


  • Accommodates average credit
  • Introductory APR period
  • Zero annual fees
  • Cashback programs


  • Some student cards offer higher rewards
  • Not widely accepted internationally

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

By eliminating social security number and credit history requirements, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students makes it easy for anyone to get a credit card. However, you still need a checking account despite the minimal approval requirements. You should also be a college student aged 18 and above and own a United States bank account.

Although the card has a basic 1% cashback, cardholders enjoy $59 in Amazon Prime statement credits upon spending $500 in their first three billing periods. The Amazon Prime statement credits vary with how you pay for your membership. For instance, you receive a one-off $59 reward when you pay the annual fee at once. You could also get nine $6.49 monthly credits when you pay monthly. 

Product Details

  • 1% cashback per purchase
  • Amazon Prime Student benefits for one year after paying $500 in your three opening billing cycles
  • $30 bonus for you and your referral upon successful card approval, activation, and use
  • Ability to check your qualification status in minutes without affecting your credit ratings
  • International students without a social security number can apply


  • Zero annual fees
  • Zero foreign transaction charges
  • Mastercard Platinum rewards such as vehicle rental insurance and cell phone protection
  • User-friendly app to manage your account


  • High APR for purchases

Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

Its flat rewards rate and zero annual fee makes the Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card perfect for building a credit history and cultivating responsible spending habits. Thanks to zero fraud liability, you won’t incur any charges from unauthorized transactions. Cardholders also benefit from purchase protection, interruption insurance, and extended warranty covers.

Product Details

  • $50 reward when you make your first purchase within three months of opening the account
  • Bonuses don’t expire provided your account remains open
  • $20 annual anniversary reward for five years if your account maintains a good standing
  • No minimum requirements to redeem cashback
  • Credit limit rises after five timely monthly payments within 10 months of opening the account


  • Zero annual fees
  • 1% cashback on every purchase
  • Sign-up bonuses
  • Free credit history access to monitor your financial progress


  • Lower cashback rates than other starter cards 

How to be safe with your credit card

By reducing the amount of cash you carry around, credit cards offer convenience while reducing the risk of theft. However, you’re not safe from fraud if the credit card falls into the wrong hands or someone hacks your account. According to a past Federal Trade Commission study, credit card fraud remains the leading form of identity theft. Apart from ruining your credit score, card fraud invites hefty charges.

Fortunately, you can take several measures to safeguard your student credit card. The first one is protecting your physical cards. Stay with your cards everywhere you go and don’t lend them to other people. If you rarely use the card, stash it away in a lockbox or other secure place.

Another measure is protecting your card details. First off, don’t give your card number to everyone. Unless you made the call, never share credit card information over the phone. Similarly, don’t email the information or put it down on paper. It’s not uncommon for cybercriminals to break into unencrypted mediums.

Likewise, don’t share pictures of your card online. You may cover some details, but hackers can still commit fraud with the visible numbers. When it comes to online transactions, resist the temptation of using public Wi-Fi. You can activate cellular data when making purchases away from home. At the same time, confirm the site is secure by looking for a padlock icon and “https” symbol at the beginning of its URL. If you lose the card or detect suspicious activity from your transaction alerts, contact the issuer to prevent liability. 

Consider your employment status and ability to pay yearly fees before choosing a student credit card. Your best first credit card also depends on whether you have a credit history or are building credit from scratch. Whatever the case, choose a card that matches your needs and financial status. With the numerous credit issuers, you can always find a card with favorable terms.

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