4 Best Credit Cards for Students

4 Best Credit Cards for Students

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After 20 hours of research evaluating 120 products, we picked Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students as the Best Rewards Card for College Students.

It’s difficult to focus on furthering your education when you’re hungry, yet approximately 50% of college students confess they often can’t afford healthy food. Combine that with the fact that the average college textbook costs $82 and one year of tuition at an in-state public college comes to around $25,000, and it’s easy to see why many college students rely on credit cards to help them survive.

Even if you’ve got a generous financial aid package, you may still need money to study abroad during the summer, head home to visit loved ones on holidays, or simply pay for basic necessities like soap and shampoo. Plus, you probably need funds for health care, eye exams, or dental visits. And we haven’t even talked about the cost of maintaining a social life or outfitting yourself in school-appropriate attire.

But wait…

Right now, a handful of you are probably scrolling through this text and muttering, “Just get a job!” Well, some colleges don’t let students work. For example, students tackling a teaching degree at Western Governors University can’t work once their demonstration teaching program begins. You may also find it difficult to work if you’re involved in a full-time externship or internship while you take a bunch of classes.

There’s also a chance that you have a job but hope to find a better one after college. Some employers run credit checks, and your current score might attract rejection letters rather than employment offers. You may also feel it’s important to establish a line of credit so you can buy a house or get a car loan in the near future.

Now, we’re not saying it’s right or wrong for you to get a credit card for any of these reasons. We just realize that more than half of college students carry credit cards, so we want to help you make informed choices about your financial future. After thoroughly researching hundreds of student-friendly credit options, we feel confident recommending the following 4 cards as the best credit cards for college students.

Hey, before we go…

Please make sure you don’t apply for too many credit cards. Doing that won’t help your credit score - or your bank account when you’re stuck juggling all those monthly payments. Oh, and check out our list of the best secured credit cards if you can’t score approvals for any of our favorite cards for college students. Regardless of what you're looking for, we guarantee we’ve got you covered!