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Top 5 Picks for Student Credit Cards

An inarguable fact about higher education is that it comes at a great expense. And no, we’re not only talking about tuition.

Books, meals, accessories, lodging, clothing, entertainment — it certainly isn’t cheap.

A great way to manage expenses and spend smartly while earning credit is to use a credit card that has benefits and perks that are specifically geared towards students. If, and only if, of course, you spend within your limits and follow a controlled budget — making on time payments, fighting temptation — you know the drill.

So, we’ve scoured the internet for some of the best and current offerings for student credit cards. Here are some of the best options we found:

Discover it Student Cash Back

With no annual fee, this card is specifically designed for students in college and beyond, and it even offers a reward for good grades. Users can earn a $20 statement credit each school year that they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher for up to five years. That’s $100 for good grades! Additionally, the card has a 5% cash back feature on everyday purchases including grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. And, for the first year, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned.

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

This card markets itself as being the only card that rounds up to the nearest ten points, which automatically increases your bonus point earning power over other competitors. It offers an ideal opening bonus of 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 within the first 3 months of opening the account (equivalent to a $25 gift card) and provides 2x point earning at supermarkets and gas stations, with 1x points on all other purchases. Plus, eligible account owners will receive a 0% introductory APR on all purchases for the first seven months, with a varying APR thereafter, depending on credit worthiness.

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DeserveEDU Mastercard

When it comes to student credit cards, the perks are important. This DeserveEDU card not only provides 1% cash back on all purchases, but it also includes a free year of Amazon Prime for the first year, which can be an invaluable resource for college students. (And, an annual Prime membership typically costs $119/year, or $59 for students.) The card also has a $0 annual fee and even offers cell phone protection so that if the cardholder has an eligible cellular wireless telephone, they are protected against damage or theft of up to $600 for eligible claims.

Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students

With no annual fee and up to 3% cash back on purchases, new cardholders to this Bank of America offering also receive a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which is lower than with many other competitors. It also provides free access to your FICO score monthly to help you keep tabs on your financial health, and it integrates seamlessly if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account.


This is an ideal card for those who are brand new to the world of consumer credit cards. Because there is sometimes a learning curve for student spenders, this card has NO fees – even late fees or international fees (ideal for students studying abroad!). Members also receive 1% cash back on all purchases and up to 10% from select participating merchants. It gives a credit limit between $500-$10,000, which encourages mindful spending, and it has an easy-to-use mobile app for monitoring on the go.

*As with all credit cards and matters of finance, it’s important to make wise and informed decisions. If you have any questions or concerns, speaking with your family members or a trusted financial advisor can help you to make the right financial decisions for your unique situation.

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Author: Erin Nicole Celletti

Erin Celletti is a freelance journalist and the Director of Communications at Integration Charter Schools. With seven years of classroom teaching and leadership experience, Erin has a BA in Journalism from Quinnipiac University, as well as a M.S.Ed. in Childhood and Special Education from St. John's University, and a M.S.Ed. in School and Building Leadership from Wagner College. Erin lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband, and baby girl on the way. Her work has also appeared in BRIDES, Teen Vogue, Allure, and TODAY Parents.