The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Saturday, February 24, 2024

8 Credit Cards for Students with Bad Credit & No Deposit (Feb. 2024)

Credit Cards For Students With Bad Credit No Deposit
Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a masters in business administration from New York University and a masters in finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Navigating the credit card world can be tricky, especially for students with bad or not-so-great credit. It’s not just about snagging some extra spending power. Choosing the right student card is a big step in laying a solid financial base. Getting the lowdown on credit card choices is important for students facing credit challenges.

We’ve got the scoop on some unsecured credit cards that may be just what you need. Whether you’re a student looking for that first card or just trying to navigate poor credit, there’s likely a card out there to help you tackle your credit woes.

Unsecured Cards for Students with Bad Credit

Many students need help with their eligibility for credit cards, especially those with a bad credit history. Unsecured credit cards, which don’t require a security deposit, can be an excellent option. These cards offer the convenience of credit and the chance to rebuild credit scores.

Milestone® Mastercard® Review

at Milestone Mastercard®’ssecure website

  • Greater access to credit than before – $700 credit limit
  • Get a Mastercard accepted online, in store and in app
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • $0 liability* for unauthorized use
  • Access your account online or from your mobile device 24/7
  • *Fraud protection provided by Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. If approved, you’ll receive the Mastercard Guide to Benefits that details the complete terms with your card.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Fair/Good

The Milestone® Mastercard® from the Bank of Missouri considers applications from individuals with imperfect credit. You can apply for this unsecured card in just a few steps. Note that the credit card issuer may direct you to another bank’s credit card if it can’t offer you one of its own.

The card imposes an annual and foreign transaction fee but no monthly maintenance fee. The issuer automatically protects you against a lost or stolen card, and you can enjoy mobile access with the card’s app.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Continental Finance’ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Monthly Credit Score – Sign up for electronic statements, and get your Vantage 3.0 Score Credit Score From Experian
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000 (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
29.99% APR (Variable)
$75 – $125
See website for Details*

The Surge® Platinum Mastercard® is this group’s best unsecured credit card for students with poor credit. You may qualify for a credit limit increase after six months of on-time payments, subject to credit approval. This unsecured credit card reports to all three major credit bureaus, helping you build credit. 

Additionally, it provides free access to your credit score, allowing you to track your credit-building progress. The card has an annual fee and a potential monthly maintenance charge after the first year. Still, its credit-building potential may outweigh these costs.

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Continental Finance’ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★

4.4

OVERALL RATING

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000 (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% APR (Variable)
$75 – $125
Bad, Fair, or No Credit

The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® can accommodate students with less-than-ideal credit histories. It recognizes and rewards financial responsibility by offering a modest initial credit limit and a possible increase after a period of consistent, timely payments. 

This credit card charges several fees, including an annual payment and potential monthly service charges. You can prequalify for the card without a credit check or impact on your credit score.

Destiny Mastercard® Review

at Destiny Mastercard®’ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★

3.5

OVERALL RATING

  • All the benefits of a Mastercard, without a security deposit
  • 24/7 access to your account, even on mobile!
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Less than perfect credit is okay, even with a prior bankruptcy!
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Poor to Good

The Destiny Mastercard® caters to consumers struggling with bad credit or previous bankruptcies. The issuer tailored it to help cardholders rebuild credit, and the card requires no security deposit. It is the runner-up in the best unsecured credit card category.

While it does charge an annual fee, the opportunity to improve your credit profile through responsible use may balance out the cost. The card reports to major credit bureaus, which is a crucial feature that enables cardmembers to see the impact of their financial habits on their credit scores.

Unsecured Cards for Students with No/Limited Credit

Students with limited credit often need help obtaining traditional credit cards. However, unsecured student cards can provide a stepping stone to establishing a solid credit foundation, helping you manage your finances more effectively.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 cash back into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 18.24% – 27.24% applies.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
18.24% – 27.24% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is this group’s best credit card for students beginning their credit journey. It offers a generous reward system using rotating categories such as gas stations, restaurants, and retailers upon quarterly activation, subject to a spend limit. You also get a low introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers, after which the regular APR applies.

The card also provides new cardmembers a Cashback Match™ at the end of the first year, doubling the reward amounts earned. There’s no annual fee, and the card has a grace period for the first late payment, making it forgiving for credit newbies. Moreover, it reports to the three major credit bureaus, helping cardholders establish their credit history.

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it’s misplaced, lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is ideal for students with limited credit history seeking a simple yet rewarding credit card option. This card offers a flat cash back rate on all purchases, with no limits or category restrictions, making it a straightforward and potentially lucrative choice.

It also includes a modest one-time cash bonus after spending a certain amount within the first few months of account opening. This no-annual-fee card offers travel accident insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver, providing students with additional value.

Discover it® Student Chrome Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 cash back into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 18.24% – 27.24% applies.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
18.24% – 27.24% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

Discover it® Student Chrome emphasizes simplicity and ease of use. It offers bonus cash back on gas and dining, making it suitable for students who spend frequently in these categories. You can apply for the card even if you have no or limited credit.

The end-of-year Cashback Match™ feature doubles the cash back earned by new cardmembers throughout the first year. As with its counterpart, it has no annual fee and offers leniency on the first delinquent payment. You also get an introductory 0% APR before the standard interest rate kicks in.

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), with 1% on all other purchases
  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card caters to students interested in earning rewards while building credit. This Capital One Bank credit card offers cash back on all purchases, with higher rewards for spending on dining, entertainment, streaming services, and groceries. 

It includes a one-time sign-up bonus after you meet the spending requirement in the initial months. The card charges no foreign transaction fees, making it suitable for students studying abroad. With no annual fee and access to Capital One’s CreditWise tool, it’s an excellent choice for financially savvy students.

Why You Should Consider a Secured Card Instead

Students with bad credit often overlook secured credit cards, which are a valuable option. Unlike unsecured cards, secured cards require a refundable security deposit, typically equal to your credit limit. These cards help with building credit (or rebuilding credit), as they usually offer easy approval (not guaranteed approval) and report to the major credit bureaus.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit history.
  • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate for free.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
28.24% Variable APR
$0
New/Rebuilding

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card requires a security deposit but provides cash back on restaurant and gas station purchases and a Cashback Match™ for new card members at the end of the first year. 

This secured card reports to each credit bureau, aiding in credit building with on-time payments. Discover will automatically review your account to see if you qualify for a deposit refund, making it a great transitional tool to earning an unsecured credit card.

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you’re approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
30.74% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card may be this group’s best credit card and an excellent student starting point. It requires a refundable security deposit but provides an initial credit limit that may be higher than your deposit, which is known as being partially secured.

The card also promises an automatic credit line review after several months of responsible use, potentially increasing your credit limit without an additional deposit. With no annual fee and reporting to each major credit bureau, it’s an effective tool for building credit with responsible usage.  

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees, and you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. See if you’re approved in seconds
  • Put down a refundable $200 security deposit to get a $200 initial credit line
  • Building your credit? Using a card like this responsibly could help
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
30.74% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card combines the benefits of a secured card with the rewards of an unsecured credit card. It offers cash back on all purchases and a low initial deposit requirement.

As with the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, this card also allows a credit limit increase after several months of responsible use. The secured card has no annual fee and reports your credit activity to the major credit bureaus, helping you build credit while earning rewards. 

Can I Get Approved for a Student Credit Card with Bad Credit?

Do you feel like getting a student credit card is a no-go because your credit has seen better days? Don’t worry; it’s easier than it seems. If your credit history isn’t shining, you may think your choices are slim. 

But many credit card companies have options for students like you. The trick is to get to know the credit landscape and how a subprime starter card works.

Student credit cards are often open to applicants with zero, limited, or poor credit. That’s because issuers hope you’ll stick with them even after you toss your grad cap into the air.

These cards can be a great tool to start building up your credit. They come with lower credit limits, higher interest rates, and extra fees. This setup helps the card company reduce its risk while giving you a chance to show you’re trustworthy.

Screenshot from Discover website
Source: Discover

Before diving in, it’s crucial to understand what credit really means. In a nutshell, it’s a trust-based system. Lenders give you money or resources, betting that you’ll pay them back later, with interest. It doesn’t mean you’re locked out forever if you’ve had a bumpy credit past. It just means you need to rebuild that trust.

When you apply for a card, you’ll need to show you’ve got some cash coming in — maybe from a job, a scholarship, or even from your parents. This shows the credit card issuers you can handle paying back what you borrow.

Pro tip: Check your credit report before you apply. Mistakes in your report can hurt your score, and fixing them can boost your chances of getting approved.

When you get your starter card, that’s when the real work begins. Use it wisely to help your credit score grow. That means paying on time, keeping your balance low, and using the card often but carefully. Handling a student credit card correctly can turn your bad credit into fair or even good credit over time.

And remember to look ahead. Once you graduate and start working full-time, a better credit score will open doors to better credit options. Using a student credit card responsibly is your first step toward financial freedom and a bright future.

What Are the Typical Credit Limits For Student Credit Cards?

Understanding credit limits is critical when diving into the world of student credit cards. A credit limit is the maximum amount a credit card company allows you to borrow at any time.

These limits are typically lower for students, who are generally newer to the credit game and often lack a significant income. But your limit will vary based on many factors, such as who’s issuing the card, your credit history, and how much money you make.

Here are some of the factors issuers take into account when deciding your credit limit

  • Issuer’s policies: Different card companies have their own rules about credit limits. Some may have a fixed limit for all student cards, while others tailor limits to fit each student’s situation.
  • Credit history: If you have a credit history, whether good or bad, it can play a role in determining your limit. Showing responsibility with credit could land you a higher limit.
  • Income level: How much money you make is also a big deal. A steady job or solid financial backing may mean you can handle a higher credit limit.
  • Educational institution: Credit issuers sometimes look at where you go to school. They may think students from well-known universities could earn more down the line.
  • Typical credit limit range: Student credit cards have limits ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If you’re new to the credit world, start around $500. But if you have a credit history or a decent income, you could see limits up to $2,000 or $3,000.

Tempting as it may be to max out your card, responsible use is very important. High credit utilization can mess with your credit score. But your limit may increase over time if you’re careful with your card. Here’s how:

  • Automatic increases: Some card companies will bump your limit if you make timely payments and use credit wisely.
  • Requested increases: You can ask for a higher limit, but this could mean a hard inquiry on your credit report, which may complicate your score.
  • Reallocated credit: If you have more than one card from the same issuer, you could shuffle your limits around. It won’t increase your total credit, but it can boost one card.

Navigating student credit cards isn’t just about the freedom to spend — it’s a crucial part of your financial education. Handling a credit limit teaches you about budgeting, the need for on-time payments, and how credit utilization works. These skills are priceless as you transition from college into the real world.

How Should I Choose a Student Credit Card?

Choosing the right credit card can seem similar to navigating a maze. With so many features available, your head may swim. We’ve got a chart to make this whole process a breeze. 

FEATUREDESCRIPTIONSIGNIFICANCE
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)The interest rate charged on balances carried over from month to monthLower APRs are preferable to reduce the cost of borrowing.
Annual FeeYearly fee for using the cardCards with no or low annual fees are cost-effective, especially for students on a budget.
Credit LimitThe maximum amount you can charge to the cardA manageable credit limit helps maintain a low credit utilization ratio, which is crucial for building a good credit score.
Rewards and IncentivesBenefits such as cash back, points, or other rewards for using the cardRewards can offer additional value but should not encourage overspending.
Foreign Transaction FeesFees on transactions you make in foreign currency or outside your home countryEssential for students who travel or study abroad — cards with no foreign transaction fees are preferable in such cases.
Introductory OffersSpecial offers such as a 0% APR for a set period after opening the accountThese offers are Beneficial for initial large purchases or balance transfer transactions, but be aware of the regular APR post-offer.
Credit Builder ToolsFeatures such as free credit score access, credit education resources, and reporting to credit bureausTools are useful for students new to credit and helpful in understanding and building credit.
Security FeaturesLook for protections such as fraud monitoring, zero liability for unauthorized purchases, and emergency card replacementCan ensure safety and peace of mind in case of lost or stolen cards or fraudulent activity.

When choosing your student credit card, honing in on specific features is essential. That’s because some features are especially relevant to what you, as a student, need financially and what you aim to achieve with your credit.

Think of our chart as your personal guide. It will help you make an intelligent choice that fits your financial needs and your credit-building goals. So, get ready to match your requirements with what’s out there.

How Do Students With Bad Credit Improve Their Score Using Credit Cards?

If you’re a student with not-so-great credit, credit cards are far more than a convenient way to spend money. They are potent tools for bumping up your credit score.

Your credit score is a number that tells lenders how trustworthy you are with credit based on your past credit habits. It may sound challenging to improve, but you can with a few intelligent moves.

First, you must know what a credit score is all about. The FICO score is the big one, ranging from 300 to 850. Here’s what affects it:

  • Timely payments: This is huge. It makes up 35% of your FICO score. Paying your bills on time — even small ones — can help your score.
  • Credit Utilization Ratio (CUR): This is about how much credit you use compared to what you’ve got. It is good to keep it under 30%, but under 10% is even better. If your limit is $1,000, keep your balance between $100 and $300.
  • Avoiding multiple credit applications: Applying for a card or loan can increase your score. So, don’t try to get a bunch of new cards at the same time.
  • Credit card balance management: Try to minimize what you owe on your cards. Having a lot of debt can hurt your score. Paying off your entire balance each month is best.
  • Monitoring credit reports: Check your credit reports regularly. You want to spot and fix mistakes that may be dragging down your score. You can get copies of your credit reports weekly from AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Credit history length: The longer you’ve had credit, the better — it’s 15% of your FICO score. So, keep those old accounts open, even if you’re not using them much.
  • Diversifying credit types: A mix of different credit types can help your score. But only do this if you’re sure you can handle it.
  • Credit card upgrades: As your score improves, you may qualify for better cards with more amicable terms, such as lower interest rates or higher limits. Getting an upgrade can also improve your credit mix.

Remember, improving your credit score is a slow and steady process. It takes patience and good habits, including paying on time and keeping your balances low. By using your credit card wisely, you can fix your score and build solid financial habits. And down the road, that can create way better credit options for you.

Can International Students Apply For Student Cards?

If you’re an international student, you may be wondering if you can jump into the world of student credit cards. Good news — you can! But your application process may be a bit different from domestic students.

Most credit card companies in the US ask for a Social Security number (SSN) when you apply. But if you’re an international student without an SSN, don’t sweat it. Some issuers let you use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead. And if you don’t have that, some issuers may accept other identification documents, such as your passport or student visa.

Screenshot from Discover website
Source: Discover

When you fill out that credit card application, you need to show who you are, where you live in the host country, and maybe proof of your income. Cash flow could be a scholarship, a job offer, or a letter from someone who’s backing you financially.

It’s vital to understand the terms and conditions of the credit cards you consider. They may be different from what you’re accustomed to. Keep an eye out for cards with low fees, reasonable interest rates, and those that report to your host country’s credit bureaus. That way, you can build a solid credit history back home while studying abroad.

What Happens to My Student Credit Card After Graduation?

Most issuers want undergraduates to turn in their student cards after graduation. The following chart explains what can happen next:

OUTCOMEDESCRIPTION
Conversion to Regular CardMany issuers automatically convert student credit cards to regular credit cards post-graduation. This practice allows for continued use and maintains a seamless credit history.
Credit Limit IncreaseUpon graduation, issuers may review accounts for credit limit increases, reflecting improved financial stability and potentially higher income levels.
Rewards and Terms AdjustmentSome issuers adjust rewards and terms to better align with the new financial status of a graduate, offering more mature credit products.
Closure of AccountIn some cases, if the card is specifically student-oriented, issuers may close the account post-graduation, requiring the graduate to apply for a new card.
Continued Use with Same TermsGraduates can occasionally continue using their student credit cards with the same terms if they find the card’s features still suitable for their needs.

Your upcoming graduation requires many decisions about your future. While choosing a new credit card is by no means at the top of the list, you should consider your options ahead of the big day.

What Credit Card Fees Should Students Expect?

Stepping into the world of credit cards means coming to grips with the different fees. These fees can add up and significantly increase the cost of using a credit card. For students just starting out with credit, knowing about these fees is important to keep your finances on track.

Here’s the rundown of the main fees you may see:

  • Annual Fees: This is a yearly charge for using the card. While some cards charge this fee, many student cards don’t, which is excellent news if you’re watching your budget.
  • Interest Charges: You’ll face interest charges if you don’t pay off your balance each month. The rate, or APR, varies based on the card and how solid your credit is. Try to find cards with lower APRs and aim to pay your balance in full to dodge these charges.
  • Late Payment Fees: Miss a payment? That’ll cost you. Late fees can be hefty, and being late often will hurt your credit score. Setting up automatic payments or reminders is a smart move to avoid this.
  • Over-the-Limit Fees: Some cards charge you if you spend more than your limit. Keep an eye on your spending to stay within your credit boundaries.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: These fees on overseas purchases can stack up for students studying abroad or traveling. If you’ll be globetrotting, look for cards without these fees.
  • Cash Advance Fees: Taking out cash from your credit card is expensive. You’ll pay a fee, usually a percentage of the amount, and the interest rates for cash advances are high and kick in right away.

Becoming savvy with credit card fees is a big part of handling your finances like a pro. The key is choosing the right card, using your credit wisely, and always knowing what’s in the fine print. Regularly checking your credit card statements can help you stay on top of any fees and catch anything that looks wrong.

Students Have Several Credit Card Options

If you’re a student trying to figure out credit cards, you have many choices to match your financial circumstances and what you need to build credit. Secured credit cards are a solid first step if you’re new to credit. They require an upfront deposit, which sets your credit limit and reduces default risk.

Unsecured student credit cards don’t ask for a deposit and usually come with lower limits. Plus, they often have helpful tools and tips to show you how to use credit wisely. 

Rewards cards are perfect for students who’ve got their money management down. They can make everyday purchases more rewarding with perks such as cash back on what you spend. Plus, using these cards is a great way to build a good credit history, which you’ll thank yourself for later when trying to navigate loans or mortgages.

Each card type has its own perks, so pick the one that best aligns with your financial habits and goals. It’s all about finding the fit that works for you.

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