College students used to, in years gone by, basically be unable to get a decent credit card – or any credit card at all. But times have changed, and today, students have both greater need and greater opportunity to get their own (usually their first) credit card.
Which are the best credit cards for students? That’s debatable. There are numerous factors to look at. The main distinctions to look for here are quick credit-building potential and special student-related perks. Otherwise, you want the same positive features students and non-students alike would want.
What Defines The Best Credit Cards For Students?
The best credit cards for students are not a monolithic category, nor is it a single-dimension one. But we can quickly identify the top handful of most important factors to look for.
First of all, students normally have little to no credit history, which makes them a bigger risk in the minds of credit card companies. This can result in tighter controls and smaller credit lines. Find the freest, highest credit limit offer you can, but don’t make that your priority.
You can use the card to build credit and earn a higher credit limit. Ask about how fast you can get your limit raised though making on-time payments.
Also, you want a card company that reports all on-time payments to at least one of the major credit bureaus. Ideally, look for a card issuer that reports to all three main credit bureaus.
Secondly, look for student related “perks.” These include things like annual cash back for a 3.0 or higher GPA (often doubled the first year as a sign-up bonus), cash back on gas, restaurants, groceries, entertainment, and other items card issuers think students spend a lot on, and bonuses for paying your monthly bills on time or in full.
Some cards will also offer cash back on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees (great for studying abroad), frequent flyer points, and discounts on specific stores and products.
And of course, you want to get as low an APR as possible, low fees, and (if possible) no annual fee. It might be tough to get out of the annual fee for students, but it’s not impossible. First, there are credit cards out there that won’t charge you an annual fee even if you have poor or nonexistent credit. Second, you can often “threaten” to drop the card just before the fee is due and get it waived if you’ve been an on-time payment maker all year.
How Can You Find Your Best Student Credit Card Offer?
A credit card doesn’t have to say “for students” on it in order to be a great card for college students to own. And even if you Google search based on “credit cards for students,” there are too many offers that are going to populate your screen for you to stop and research out each one of them.
That’s why Bonsai Finance exists. We have a database with hundreds of credit card offers and companies in it and that can scour the Web based on your chosen search criteria. Our system lets you spend only a few minutes searching for your new card before you’ve already whittled down the options to the best few.
At that point, you can do a little research on only the top contenders, and you can get additional help and advice from Bonsai’s knowledgeable staff.
Once you’ve made an informed decision on which student credit card you want, we can help you apply. The application process generally takes only a few minutes, and acceptance is often instantaneous. If you have bad credit, we can help you identify the best credit cards for students that accepts bad credit applicants without credit checks.