USA Student Credit Cards

Any student nowadays would require a credit card for establishing credit, making travel arrangements or for payment conveniences. Today, there are many professional “student credit cards” whose benefit sets are designed to simplify your budget and payments, and help you build good credit.

Many US college and university students are already under considerable financial strain. They have to handle student loans, living expenses, jobs, education, and essential expenses on a very limited budget. The right card does help in managing finances and tracking your expenses if you know how to use it correctly. Fortunately, many financial establishments offer credit cards specifically tailored for college attendees. Let’s explore some of the best student credit cards in the USA:

Choosing the best credit card for American students in 2021 with various options with multiple features and various benefits can be a difficult decision. So, if you want to know which credit card is best for American students, you have come to the right place. Here, we have compiled a list of the best student credit cards in the United States for 2021 based on research data on cash back, rewards, and travel credit cards.

GET STARTED with the detailed information below on your journey towards student credit cards. Compare features of our unbiased analysis of the best USA student credit cards for 2021

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Want to build a stable credit score that may help you down the line? This card can help and make handling essential expenses easier. The card comes with interesting advantages like earn cashback upto 5% on online purchases or at restaurants, in gas stations or while using Paypal. Attractive features include:

Top Features:

  • Helps to gain the required experience in managing credit cards and chances to gain unlimited 1% bonus on other purchases.
  • Best for: Students with average credit scores.
  • 5% cash back earned for spending up to $1,500 every three months. The reward drops down to 1% once that mark is crossed.
  • Works on popular platforms like gas stations, Amazon, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.
  • A handsome welcome bonus equivalent to the total cashback generated in the first year of use.
  • No need to deal with an additional annual fee. 0% introductory APR for the six months after you first activate the card.
  • Regular APR ranges from 12.99% to 21.99%.
  • Students with fair or new credit can apply.
  • The card also has a Good Grades rewards program. You can get $20 in statement credit every year if your GPA is consistently above 3.0.
  • Introductory offer: Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earned at the end of the first year! There is no minimum fee.
  • Rewards for good grades: With a grade percent average(GPA) 3 or higher you can get a statement credit for upto 5 years.
  • Security: This card offers good security settings. You will be alerted when you SS number (Social Security number) is on any of the Dark Web sites

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students

It is always good to get something for what you have spent. This card helps you to build your financial future by earning 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases.

Top features:

  •  The points do not expire. 
  •  Flexibility to redeem points to pay for flights, hotels,  
  •  rental cars or as baggage fees

Card Details:

  • You can use the card on any airline, hotel or at any time with no blackout dates.
  • Introductory APR is 0% for 12 billing cycles.
  • Points can be leveraged for all purchases.
  • Annual fee is 0%.
  • Access to banking from anywhere with our mobile application.
  • Potential fraud activities are detected when there are abnormal activities. Always get a $0 Liability Guarantee for fraudulent transactions.

Discover it® Student chrome

It is helpful for students who would like to build a good credit history

Top features

  • It is a very respectable rewards program and has a reasonable APR.

Card Details:

  • No annual fee: There is no late payment fee for the first late payment. There is no APR change for late payments.
  • Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earned at the end of the first year!
  • Easy to use in all categories.
  • Electronic deposits to the bank account
  • Gift cards, ranging from $5 to $200 and in increments of $5
  • Charitable donations from the cards to select organizations
  • Pay with cash back at designated merchants such as Amazon.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

With this card you can actually win upto 3% cash back in any category of your choice such as online shopping or off-campus dining. This card comes with no annual fee.

Top features

  • Helps to gain the required experience in managing credit cards.
  • Enjoy no annual fee.

Card Details

  • You have a chance to earn upto 3% cash back from online shopping to off-campus dining or in any category of your choice
  • You can gain upto 3% cashback on gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement or furnishings category
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all the other purchases
  • With the help of this card you can start your journey towards establishing good credit habits
  • Introductory APR is 0% for 15 billing cycles
  • You can redeem your points anytime easily
  • Automatic redemption starts at just 25 dollars

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

This card is a technologically innovative card which gives the opportunity to build good credit history. It is helpful for gaining basic cash back rewards.

Top features

  • After spending 500 dollars in the first 3 billing cycles you will receive 1 year of Amazon Prime Student.
  • Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases.
  • No deposit required.
  • Cell phone damage and theft coverage.
  • Pre qualification check within minutes.

Card details

  • No annual fees
  • Unlimited referral bonuses
  • No international transaction fees on purchases abroad
  • Manage and track your spending online
  • In App automatic payments
  • Securely freeze your card in the app when required

Chase Freedom® Student credit card

This card is best for students with average credit scores. It helps to build credit and earn rewards.

Top features

  • You can earn upto 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Opportunity to earn a credit limit increase within the first 10 months of account opening.
  • Redeem anytime with no minimum amount for redemption
  • Potential fraud activities are detected when there are abnormal activities

Card details:

  • Chance to earn upto 1% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening
  • 50$ bonus when your First Purchase is in the first 3 months from account opening

A quick comparison of top student credit cards

Card for
Credit Scores
Annual fee
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Cash Back
Fair/New to Credit
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
Wide Choice of Categories
Card for
Credit Scores
Annual fee
Discover it® Student chrome
Easy to use Categories
Chase Freedom® Student credit card
Best for DoorDash and Lyft
Excellent/Good Credit
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
International students

What is a student credit card?

Student credit cards are designed for high school and college students. A student credit card is similar to a regular credit card, with balances, interest rates, minimum payments due, etc. However, a student credit card also typically includes features that are designed for younger cardholders.

Choosing a credit card

While building credit and earning points a credit card is used to make purchases in a convenient way. There are a number of things to remember while choosing the best credit card for American students.

Read more about the things to remember while choosing a credit card.

Interest rate

Higher Interest Rate: Student credit cards generally have a notorious interest rate. Student credit cards are usually issued to those with little or no credit history, which means companies take on a higher risk. This results in a higher interest rate in some student credit cards.

Credit Limit

Lower Credit Limit: Student credit cards include a lower credit limit than others, often between $500 and $1,000. This is to help students learn about careful financial management, while limiting any potential loss to the credit card issuer.


Student credit cards have programs which help to earn cash back for gas, groceries or everyday purchases. Rewards are the best way to give more value to your card.

Know more about why a student needs a credit card

Idea behind student credit cards

Student credit cards help students to spend conveniently on various expenses and also helps students to be responsible with their finances and thereby establish a credit score.

Building credit

A good credit helps the student to receive larger loans such as a mortgage or an auto loan, with the addition to better interest rates. It is important to start small since building credit takes a lot of time. Banks usually check if you have borrowed responsibly in the past before providing a larger loan. One of the best and easiest ways to accomplish this is by using a credit card.

 Paying necessary expenses

Students can use their card to pay for rent, groceries and other important needs. Even small purchases help in effectively building credit over time. The use of credit cards for purchases are rewarded with points or bonus which inturn can be redeemed.

Developing good financial habits

When used responsibly, student credit cards can help in developing good financial habits. Setting a routine to pay your balances will be good practice for years to come when you have more responsibility to take care of which includes everything from car payments to other bills.

In case of emergency

Life is unpredictable. Everyone needs to be ready during an emergency and a credit card is sure to help during such testing times.

Fraud or Refund protection

Moreover, student credit cards can offer the student fraud or refund protection. This security net can help prevent a student from getting ripped off in Internet scams or by identity thieves who are eager to prey on a student’s vulnerability. Also, the best student credit card will offer extended warranty protection over and above the standard warranty that comes with the product that he buys. Student credit cards can serve as documentation of what your child is spending money on, making the card extremely helpful for tax purposes. The credit card, after a careful review from both of you, should, after all, be a learning process and a fun experience.

Now that you are aware that a credit card is necessary. Let us now look at how students can avoid credit card debt

  • Do not postpone payment and keep your liabilities to a low value at any given point of time. If you fail to do this, there is a high chance that you will forget all about it and will be in the hands of unnecessary arrears. It is better to stay on the safe side and keep credit card arrears at bay. It is always better to use cards that do not charge too much.
  • More importantly choose the right card for you. Our team has done a lot of the research by compiling our top picks of the best credit cards for students in the US from our partners available on the market today. Have a look at these cards and choose the right one for you.

Look at our compiled list of USA Student credit cards for 2021 to see which one suits the best for you.

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