College Student Credit Cards With No Credit

For those with no credit, international students with no SSN or even bad credit

Below is a list of student credit cards from the main credit card issuers. You can use our filters and narrow down the type of credit card that you want. There are also a couple of issuers that will issue credit cards to international students who do not have an SSN. It is a good idea for a student to start building a credit history and getting a student credit card is one of the easiest ways to do so. This will come in handy when you graduate and need to rent an apartment or take an auto loan. You should be able to find a student credit card from this list.

AskMrCreditCard.com's Best Student Credit Cards For 2019

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Discover it Student

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 13.74% to 22.74% *(V) 
13.74% to 22.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
0% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% - 6m 
0% - 6m 
Intro APR (BT): 10.99% - 6m 
10.99% - 6m 
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Discover it Chrome Student

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Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 13.74% to 22.74%*(V) 
13.74% to 22.74%*(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee:  
 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% - 6m 
0% - 6m 
Intro APR (BT): 10.99% - 6m 
10.99% - 6m 
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Citi ThankYou Preferred For College Student

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 14.99% to 24.99% *(V) 
14.99% to 24.99% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% 
3% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% - 7m 
0% - 7m 
Intro APR (BT): N.A. 
N.A. 
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Capital One Journey

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 20.74% *(V) 
20.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
0% 
Intro APR (Purchase): N.A. 
N.A. 
Intro APR (BT): N.A. 
N.A. 
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BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card For Students

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 13.74% to 23.74% *(V) 
13.74% to 23.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% 
3% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% -12m 
0% -12m 
Intro APR (BT): N.A. 
N.A. 
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BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card For Students

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 15.74% to 24.74% *(V) 
15.74% to 24.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
0% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% - 12m 
0% - 12m 
Intro APR (BT): N.A. 
N.A. 
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BankAmericard Student MasterCard

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 12.74% to 22.74% *(V) 
12.74% to 22.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% 
3% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% for 15 months 
0% for 15 months 
Intro APR (BT): 0% for 15 months 
0% for 15 months 
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Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 12.15% to 22.15% *(V) 
12.15% to 22.15% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% 
3% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% - 6m 
0% - 6m 
Intro APR (BT): 0% - 6m 
0% - 6m 
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SelfScore Achieve MasterCard

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 19.74% *(V) 
19.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
0% 
Intro APR (Purchase): 0% - 15m 
0% - 15m 
Intro APR (BT): 0% - 15m 
0% - 15m 
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SelfScore Classic MasterCard

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 19.74% *(V) 
19.74% *(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
0% 
Intro APR (Purchase): N.A. 
N.A. 
Intro APR (BT): N.A. 
N.A. 
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State Farm Student Visa

Picture of Item Reviewed
Annual Fee: $0 
$0 
APR: 12.24% to 19.24%*(V) 
12.24% to 19.24%*(V) 
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% 
3% 
Intro APR (Purchase): N.A. 
N.A. 
Intro APR (BT): N.A. 
N.A. 
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I am a freshman in college. How can I get a credit card if I have no credit history?

I am a freshman in college. How can I get a credit card if I have no credit history?

Once you are 18 years old, you can apply for a credit card. Most students have either very little or no credit history. However, if you can show that you have income (either part time) or have a parent co-sign a credit card with you, you can qualify for a student credit card. Most credit card issuers would also like to see that you have a college or university email address.

I will use my son as an example. In his senior year in high school, he worked part time. I also added him as an authorized user on my credit card for a couple of months before he went off to college. When he started his college, he applied for both the Discover it® Chrome Student Card and the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card for student. He has a credit line of $500 and $1,000 on both those cards. He also also applied for more cards but has been declined!

Why should college students have credit cards?

Why should college students have credit cards?

The two main reason are to build a credit history and also to instill good money habits.

The best time to build your credit history is when you are college student. The reason is because this is the only time when credit card issuers will give you a credit card with no annual fee, possibly a reward program and does not require any security deposit.

For most people who have no credit history and are not a college student, they would likely have to apply for a secured credit card, where they would have to put a security deposit (which acts as their credit limit).

The reason why it is so important to build a credit history is because when you get into your junior year, you might want to move out of the dormitory and rent an apartment with a few friends. Some landlords are really picky and want to see a credit history of folks he or she is renting their place to.

The second reason to get a credit card when you are a student is that this is a great time to learn about money management and building good financial habits. You can learn things like setting up autopay to avoid late payments. Should you have a late payment, you will learn of the consequences of having a late charge fee.

Can you apply for a credit card at 17?

Can you apply for a credit card at 17?

No, you cannot. You can only apply for a credit card on your own when you are at least 18 years old. At 17, you can only get a credit card as an authorized user. For example, your parents could put you as an additional card holder on one of their credit cards. They could set a limit for your card and they will assume the responsibility of paying for your spending on the card.

Why do I keep getting denied even I apply for so-called "student credit cards". What should I do?

Why do I keep getting denied even I apply for so-called "student credit cards". What should I do?

There could be several reasons. The first is probably your income. Even though "student credit cards" are meant for students and they give you low credit limits, they still want to know what is your income. If your stipend is not deemed enough, you might get denied for the application.

You could consider taking a part time job in college (like helping out in the library, giving tuition or helping out in the gym) and make some extra income. This could help increase your chances of getting approved for the next card that you apply for.

Another reason could be that you have too much student loans. I noticed this with my son's credit card application. During his freshman year, he managed to get two student credit cards. However, once his student loans (FAFSA) started reporting, he was declined by a couple of cards and his student loans was the reason given. In the case of excessive student loans, I am not too sure what you can do about this other than apply to issuers who have not declined you. If you get a good summer paying job, that might help too when you apply later and can declare a higher income.

My son will start his co-op soon so I'll report back if he has any other success with his credit card application.

 

Why are you encouraging students to get credit cards?

Why are you encouraging students to get credit cards?

I am not encouraging students to get credit cards. Having said that, credit cards are a good tool to build a credit history. We encourage students to understand how credit cards work first before they apply.

Many folks may hate credit cards. But they are so essential in today's world. For example, most many people do the bulk of their shopping online these days. And for the most parts, you need a credit card to pay for your online purchases.

Credit Cards are also ideal to use at places like gas stations where so much fraud occurs with ATM skimmers. Having a credit card helps protect you because even if your credit card number gets skimmed, you can report fraudulent charges and most credit card companies will take care of it.

If you need to travel or rent a car, you will almost certainly have to book your hotels, airline tickets or car rental with a credit card. It is almost impossible to do so without one.

So as you can see, credit cards are becoming really essential in our lives today.

Is simply having a student credit card enough to build a credit history?

Is simply having a student credit card enough to build a credit history?

For the most parts yes.Some folks recommend getting a credit card and an installment loan. However, the last thing I would want for any student is to take up a "loan" for the sake of building a credit history.

The best example I will use is my son who is at present a sophomore in college. He has got two student credit cards. One of them is a Discover it Chrome, which allows him to check his FICO score online or through his app. His score was about 710 after six months getting his credit card. BTW - he also pays in full every month.

So yes, from my experience, just having credit cards will be enough to build your credit history.

How can I make sure I do not fall into the trap of carrying balances?

How can I make sure I do not fall into the trap of carrying balances?

The most important thing is to really that have the mentality you will not carry a balance unless you face an emergency expense. That is three quarters of the battle won. The second thing to really remember is that credit cards is simply a convenience tool.

There are several steps you can take to help remind you about your credit card spending limits.
 

  1. You can and should set a budget - If you actually bother doing that, chances of you overspending declines dramatically because you will be watching what you spend.
  2. Download Your Credit Card Issuers App - Make sure you download and use the credit card app. When you have your app on your phone, you are usually alerted when an item is charged to your card. This will help you watch what you charge to your card like a hawk.
  3. Set Up Alerts - You should set up alerts to remind you of your due date.
  4. Pay Your Credit Card Bills Ahead of Due Date - Some folks get into the habit pay off their bill twice a month or after they have charged a certain amount to the card regardless of their due date.

 

Credit cards always ask for income when I apply. What can I include under income?

Credit cards always ask for income when I apply. What can I include under income?

You could include what you made for your part-time jobs, or what you made during your summer internship. Many issuers accept it if you include your stipends.

I got approved for the first two student credit cards I applied. Why have subsequent applications been denied?

I got approved for the first two student credit cards I applied. Why have subsequent applications been denied?

There could be a variety of reasons. I'll just list a few possibilities.
 

  1. You may have applied for a credit card too soon. You will know if this is the case if the reason given was "too many inquiries". The solution to this is to wait for maybe 6 months to a year before applying for your next credit card.
  2. Certain student credit cards are harder to get - Some issuers are just simply easier to get for some folks. You may apply for five credit cards simultaneously and maybe get approved only for two. Though issuers use mainly FICO scores for applicants, it is only a starting base and many will have their own approval criteria
  3. You may have applied for a non-student credit card - Student credit cards that are specifically targeted at college students are easier to get approved than regular credit cards. It's not that you cannot get approved for regular credit cards, it is just that your chances of approval are lower.
  4. You got student loans - My son got rejected for a JetBlue credit card he applied for and the reason given was that he had student loans and "too much debt". He actually works part-time on campus and is paying off his student loans early. But depending when his credit report was pulled and what the snapshot was at that moment, the issuer (BarclayCard in this case) rejected his application even though his FICO was above 700.

 

My daughter is a senior in high school and going off to college in six months. Should I get her a credit card as an authorized user to help her build her credit?

My daughter is a senior in high school and going off to college in six months. Should I get her a credit card as an authorized user to help her build her credit?

My answer would be yes because I was in the same situation as you. I put my son as an authorized user on one of my credit cards. I made it clear to him what the limit was (quite low like $100). He was only to spend it on certain expenses which we agreed on. I also took the time to explain to him how credit cards work and everything he needed to know. I was essentially preparing to have his own credit card in college.

By the time he was a freshman in college, he had sometime to build his credit history. He applied for two student credit cards and was approved for both. He also found out that his FICO score was 705 when he got approved for his own credit cards. Therefore, in a span of six to eight months, he had built up his credit history to have a pretty decent score.

Bear in mind that my own FICO score is 805 thereabouts and I pay in full. So in a sense, he got the benefit of his dad having a great score and kind of passing it on in the form of him being an authorized user.

Not everyone may want to do what I did. You have to understand your own kid and how they handle money. It also may not make much sense if you credit score is really bad.

However, for the vast majority of folks and parents, I see no harm in giving your college bound kid a credit card to start building his credit history and money habits.

After looking at the credit cards listed on this "student credit card" page, I think I'd rather apply for some other rewards card from your other pages like the "cash back" page. Will those cards approve students?

After looking at the credit cards listed on this "student credit card" page, I think I'd rather apply for some other rewards card from your other pages like the "cash back" page. Will those cards approve students?

You can absolutely apply for "regular" credit cards that are not targeted at students. Many college students have success with that.

You just have to bear in mind that it is just harder to get approved for regular credit cards compared to credit cards targeted at college students. Your chances of approval for regular credit cards are also better if you already have a bit of credit history (perhaps you should apply in your junior year?) and also if you have a decent income from any summer internships you have. That is the reason students in their junior and senior years have a better chance of getting regular credit cards.

When is the best time to apply for a student credit card?

When is the best time to apply for a student credit card?

There is really no best time to apply for a credit card. What I can say is that if building a credit history is your goal, you should apply as soon as you get to college and have a college email. It would also be better if you apply after you have secured a part-time job on campus (so you can say you have income). Most of you will probably choose to stay outside campus during your junior year so two years is plenty to build a decent credit history and credit score.

Many students also apply for their second or third credit card during their sophomore or junior year. Most of the time, the reason is that they find that their present credit card does not meet their needs and they have found another student credit card that fits their spending patterns and needs better.

I am studying abroad in Europe. What is the best student credit card to get?

I am studying abroad in Europe. What is the best student credit card to get?

There are two features that you should look for in a credit card if you are studying abroad in Europe and want a US based credit card. They are:

  1. Should be a Visa or Mastercard - While American Express and Discover have both excellent customer service, Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards in Europe. You should definitely be looking for either a Visa or Mastercard or even both.
  2. No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card - Since you will be using your credit card abroad, you definitely should get one which does not charge any foreign transaction fee. Most US based credit card charge a foreign transaction fee of around 3%. Getting a credit card that does not charge any foreign transaction fee will save you a boatload over time.
  3. Consider an airline credit card - You might also want to consider an airline credit to help you earn miles so you might be able to get a free ticket back once in a while during your holiday breaks. If you do not intend to spend a lot on your credit card, then it probably does not makes sense. But if you work part time and can earn enough miles from your spending to offset your airline tickets, you might want to consider a credit card that earns you airline miles.
  4. The credit card we would recommend in this instance is the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card for Student. It has no annual fee, is a Visa, has no foreign transaction fee and allows you to earn reward points.

 

I am a foreign student studying in the US. I have no SSN. Are there any credit cards that will approve me?

I am a foreign student studying in the US. I have no SSN. Are there any credit cards that will approve me?

Credit card issuers in the US require either a social security number (SSN), Individual Tax Identification NUmber (ITIN) or passport (only certain issuers) before they will issue you a credit card.

International students who have F-1 and J-1 Visas can apply for a Social Security Number. Students who will not work on campus but who receives taxable scholarship can apply for ITIN.

Once you have gotten your SSN, you can apply for any credit card in the US although the student credit cards listed on this page are more likely to approve you. Some issuers like Citi, Wells Fargo and US Bank will issue you with a credit card if you open a bank account and provide details from your passport.

What should I do with my student credit card when I graduate?

What should I do with my student credit card when I graduate?

Many student credit cards issued by mainstream issuers like Citi and Discover will graduate you to their regular credit card version. In fact, most of the time, you may not even notice it. They will simply replace your card in the mail when renewal is up. You might also give you a credit limit increase when you "graduate". Your credit card number and account will also not change.

In fact, if you look at the features of many of student version of these cards, you will find that their fees and rewards are the same. For example, the Discover it for student has exactly the same features and rewards as the regular consumer version. The Discover it Chrome for student is also essentially the same card as the regular version. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards and the Citi ThankYou student version is also the same the regular consumer version.

So the short answer is that most cards will graduate with you and you do not have to do anything.

Should I have more than one student credit card?

Should I have more than one student credit card?

The short answer is that over time, you should probably have more than one student credit card. Whether you choose to have two or three is up to you. And I'll explain the reasons here.

The most important reason to have more than one card is that in the event that you lose your wallet or one card, you always have another as a backup and spare. No matter how good the customer service of the card issuer is, it will still take a couple of days to have your new credit card shipped to you.

The second reason is that an issuer could simply close your account for whatever reason. It seldom happens but when it does, you want to have another credit card to use.

The third reason to have more than one student credit card is that I believe it is important to have credit cards with different networks. For example, you may have gotten a Discover card as your first student credit card. It would be a good idea to get a Visa or Mastercard just in case Discover is not accepted at certain merchants. Though Discover is universally accepted in the US, they are not accepted everywhere worldwide. If you do travel during your breaks, it is a good idea to have a Visa or Mastercard.

Most of you will get more than one student card eventually. And the simple reason is that your first credit card will probably not be the most ideal one. You will probably just apply for the anyone and take whoever approves you. As time goes by, you will get a better sense of your spending and perhaps choose another card that will give you better rewards. You might also get a second credit card if you are not happy with customer service of a certain issuer and do not like their app.

So to conclude, you should probably get more than one credit card (you do not have to do that immediately) for the reasons I have mentioned above. But there also is a high likelihood that you will get a second card for other reasons as well.

What happens if I miss a payment?

What happens if I miss a payment?

If you miss a credit card payment, a few things will happen:

  1. Your balance will accrue interest
  2. You will be charged a late fee. If this is the first time you have missed a payment, there is a chance that the late payment fee might be waived.
  3. Credit card issuers normally report a late payment to the credit bureaus after 30 days. If you could pay it off within the 30 days, then there is a good chance your late payment will not be reported to the credit bureaus (though there are no guarantees). But if you miss the 30 day period, your late payment will be reported and your credit score will take a hit.

The best advice we can give is to never be late. There are a few things you can do to help with this:

  1. Set up autopay on your credit card via your app - If you set up autopay, you will never have a late payment unless your bank account does not have enough money.
  2. Set up alerts - If you do not want to set up autopay, then make sure you set up alerts before your due date.
  3. Pay your credit card before due date - some folks like to pay off their balances even before due date or after they make a purchase. That is an absolutely fine practice as well though I prefer the set and forget autopay method

What happens if I do not pay off my balance in full

What happens if I do not pay off my balance in full

If you do not pay off your balance in full, you will not accrue any interest. Your credit card is simply a convenience tool. However, if you do not pay in full, then the balance will accrue interest. The amount of interest accrued will depend on the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and the method which is used to calculate your interest. Most credit card issuers will use the average daily balance method to calculate the interest.

How of much my credit limit should I use?

How of much my credit limit should I use?

According to both Experian and VantageScore, a good general rule of thumb is not to exceed 30% of your available credit on a per card and total utilization basis.

For example, if your student credit card has a credit limit of $1,000, you should not exceed charging $300 a month on the card. If you have two credit cards with $1,000 credit limit on each, it is better to charge $250 on each card than $500 on each card and nothing on the other. In both cases, your overall utilization is 25% but your utilization on each card is different. In the first case, it is 25% and 25% respectively. In the second case, it is 50% and 0% respectively.

What makes a good student credit card?

A good credit card for college student will have the ideal characteristics:

  1. No Annual Fee - As a student, your budget is tight and you should be trying to minimize unnecessary expenses. The credit card you choose should have no annual fee.
  2. Rewards - Your credit limit may be small (probably about $500) for college students who get a credit card. So you won't be earning a lot of points or cash back. But having rewards is a perk that you should get.
  3. No Foreign Transaction Fee - Many colleges offer study abroad semester programs and many of you will actually take advantage of it. When you do abroad, you should definitely carry a credit card and you will want one with no foreign transaction.
  4. Student-specific Benefits - Some cards give you extra points, rewards or cash back for having good grades or achieving a certain GPA. I think cards like that are great for helping to incentivize you to study harder!
  5. Free FICO score - Some issuers provide a you with your FICO score for free from one of the major credit bureaus. In my opinion, this is really important since I think it is very important that students get into the habit of monitoring their FICO scores.
  6. User-friendly Apps - Most major credit card issuers have apps that allow you to monitor your accounts, make payments etc. While you think this should be taken for granted in today's connected world, the reality is that there are still many banks who are behind the curve. That is the reason our recommendations are mainly from well-known mainstream credit card issuers.

Our Comments the Student Credit Cards We have Chosen

Discover it® Students

- We like Discover as a credit card issuer because they have excellent customer service. This card has a cash back program which will appeal to many students. You can earn 5% cash back on certain spending categories (which changes every three months). This is termed as rotating category in the industry. You will earn 1% for regular spending and purchases. Discover will double the cash back you earn during your first year.

Discover also has a fantastic app and they also give you access to your FICO score for free. If you get a GPA of 3.0 or above, you will also get a $20 statement credit. Because this card is similar to the regular Discover it, nothing will change when you graduate from college and you do not need to apply for a separate Discover card.
 

Discover it® Chrome for Student

- The Discover it® Chrome for Student is also a cash back credit card. You will earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 per quarter). This card is so useful since many of you eat out as students and it is nice to earn extra cash back at restaurants.

This card also have good grades rewards where you can get a $20 statement credit every year (for 5 years) that you achieve a GPA of 3.0 and above. You also get your free FICO score.
 

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

- The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One hits most of our criteria for being a good credit card for college students. It has no annual fee and you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases. Furthermore, if you pay on time, you will get an extra 0.25% cash back making this a 1.25% cash back card. This is a very nice incentive for you all to pay on time.

This card also has no foreign transaction fee and it actually makes for an ideal card for those of you who intend to do a semester abroad because it is also a Mastercard (which is almost universally accepted worldwide).

This card will also very likely increase your credit line after you have paid on time for your first 5 monthly bills.
 

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

- The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card for Student is another great card. It has no annual fee and allows you to earn 1.5X reward points. For those looking to use this card when you are studying abroad, there is no foreign transaction fee and it is also a Visa (which is accepted universally).
 

Best College Student Credit Cards For 2019 - Recap

 

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