Top Student Credit Cards for Building Credit in 2024

Establishing a solid credit history is a vital step for students preparing for their financial future. The right student credit card can help you build credit while offering rewards and benefits tailored to your needs. Here are the top student credit cards for 2024 that can help you build your credit effectively:

1. Discover it® Student Cash Back

Key Features:

  • Rewards: 5% cash back on rotating categories (up to the quarterly maximum), 1% on all other purchases.
  • Intro Offer: Cashback Match at the end of the first year.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: Variable 15.24% to 24.24%
  • Other Benefits: Good Grade Reward – $20 statement credit each year for a GPA of 3.0 or higher, up to five years.

This card is ideal for students looking to earn substantial cash back and get rewarded for academic success. The Cashback Match program is particularly attractive as it doubles your earnings in the first year.

2. Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Key Features:

  • Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases, increasing to 1.25% for on-time payments.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 29.99% variable
  • Other Benefits: Higher credit line after making five on-time payments.

This card is designed to promote responsible credit use by rewarding on-time payments. It’s a great choice for students who want to build good financial habits while earning cash back.

3. Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Key Features:

  • Rewards: 3% cash back in a category of choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter), 1% on all other purchases.
  • Intro Offer: $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 18.24% to 28.24% variable
  • Other Benefits: Free access to your FICO® score.

This card offers flexible rewards and a lucrative sign-up bonus, making it a versatile option for students with varying spending habits.

4. Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Key Features:

  • Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 20.24% variable
  • Other Benefits: Amazon Prime Student reimbursement (up to $59), no Social Security number required for international students.

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard is perfect for international students and those who value simplicity and additional perks like the Amazon Prime Student reimbursement.

5. Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

Key Features:

  • Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • Intro Offer: $50 bonus after making your first purchase within three months.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 19.49% variable
  • Other Benefits: $20 Good Standing Reward each account anniversary for up to five years.

This card offers a straightforward rewards structure and additional incentives for maintaining good standing, making it a solid choice for students new to credit.

6. Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

Key Features:

  • Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases, increasing to 1.5% after 12 on-time payments, 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 17.24% to 31.74% variable
  • Other Benefits: No fees, including late fees and foreign transaction fees.

The Petal® 2 Visa stands out for its no-fee structure and increasing cash back rewards, making it ideal for students who want to avoid fees and maximize rewards.

Benefits of Student Credit Cards

  1. Credit Building: Responsible use of a student credit card helps establish a credit history, crucial for future financial activities like loans or renting an apartment.
  2. Rewards and Cash Back: Many student credit cards offer rewards such as cash back on purchases, which can help offset some costs of student life.
  3. Financial Education: Using a credit card teaches students about budgeting, interest rates, and financial responsibility.
  4. Emergency Fund: A credit card can provide a financial safety net in case of emergencies, covering unexpected expenses when needed.

How to Choose the Best Student Credit Card

Consider the following factors to find the best student credit card for your needs:

  1. Annual Fees: Opt for cards with no annual fees to keep costs low.
  2. Rewards Programs: Select a card that offers rewards suited to your spending habits.
  3. Interest Rates: Compare APRs. While paying off the balance each month is ideal, a lower interest rate can save money if you carry a balance.
  4. Credit Limit: Start with a low credit limit to avoid overspending and gradually request increases as your credit history improves.
  5. Additional Benefits: Look for perks like free credit score access, Good Grade Rewards, or fee waivers for international students.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Student Credit Cards

Avoid these common pitfalls to maintain good credit health:

  1. Overspending: Set a budget and stick to it to avoid accumulating debt.
  2. Ignoring Statements: Review your monthly statements for errors and to understand your spending habits.
  3. Missing Payments: Late payments can negatively impact your credit score. Set up automatic payments or reminders.
  4. Maxing Out Credit Limit: Keep your credit utilization ratio low by not maxing out your card.

Maximizing Rewards with a Student Credit Card

Here are tips to get the most out of your student credit card:

  1. Understand Reward Categories: Use your card for purchases in categories with higher rewards.
  2. Combine Cards: Use different cards for their highest reward categories.
  3. Pay in Full: Avoid interest charges by paying your balance in full each month.
  4. Take Advantage of Sign-Up Bonuses: Plan larger purchases to meet the spending thresholds for sign-up bonuses.


Choosing the right student credit card can set the foundation for a strong financial future. The Discover it® Student Cash Back, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, and Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students are all excellent choices for those looking to build credit while earning rewards. Additionally, cards like the Deserve® EDU Mastercard and Petal® 2 Visa offer unique benefits for international students and those seeking a fee-free experience. By using these cards responsibly and avoiding common mistakes, students can establish good credit habits that will benefit them for years to come.


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