10 Best Credit Cards for College Graduates 2022

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So, you’ve finally graduated college and now facing the grim challenge of paying your student loan debt, bills, and other purchases that every other adult needs.

Well, we give you no judgment if you don’t want to talk about credit and finances, especially those along the lines of credit cards, credit history, and credit scores since they can really drive anyone nuts regardless of age.

But how long can you avoid those? And more importantly, should you?

Sure, irresponsible handling of your finances can really put you in tight spots, but after reading this guide, you’ll be well on your way to building a good credit score.

We will give you details on our top picks for the best credit cards for college graduates, their pros and cons, and the answers to frequently asked questions.

10 Best Credit Cards for College Graduates

We’ll evaluate the best credit cards for college graduates by looking at their intro offers, annual fees, intro annual percentage rate (APR), regular APR, and recommended credit scores.

We’ll also give you the pros and cons of choosing that particular credit card.

Before we proceed with the evaluation, let’s first give you a quick refresher on the terms you’ll encounter in this article:

  1. Intro offers are perks or incentives that banks give to their new cardholders.
  2. An annual fee is an amount charged to your account annually to maintain the use of your card.
  3. An intro annual percentage rate (APR) is the incentivized APR lower than the regular APR for a limited time after opening an account.
  4. Regular APR is the annual interest charged for your credit.
  5. Credit scores are the credit card issuer’s way to know your “creditworthiness” or how likely you’ll pay them back in time.
  6. Credit history is the record of how responsible you are when it comes to credit repayment.

For your easy reference and navigation, you may also consult the table below for the summarized information on the credit cards.

Credit Card NameIntro OfferAnnual FeeIntro APRRegular APRRecommended Credit Score
Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit CardNoneNoneNone13.24% to 27.24%630 or higher
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Earn an additional 1.5%  cashback added to your purchases’ original cashback on your first yearNone0% for the initial 15 months15.24% to 23.99%670 or higher
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card20,000 miles when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 monthsNone0% for the initial 15 months15.24% to 24.24%690 or higher
Citi® Double Cash CardNoneNone0% for initial 18 months14.74% to 24.74%690 or higher
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit CardNone$39None26.99% variable
580 or higher
Citi Simplicity® Card
NoneNone21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers made within the first four months and 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases15.49% to 25.49% Variable670 or higher
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit CardNoneNoneNone27.24% variable350 or higher
American Express Cash Magnet® Card$200 cash back after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 monthsNone0% on purchases and balance transfers within the first 15 months14.74%-24.74% variable670 or higher
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students$200 cash rewards after making $1000 worth of purchases for the initial 3 monthsNone0% for the first 15 transactions within the initial 90 days13.99% to 23.99% variable580 or higher
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature CardAmazon gift card worth $100None, but you need to have an Amazon Prime membership worth $139 annuallyCan choose between 0% promo APR for 6-18 months on purchases $50 and up or cashback
14.49% – 22.49% variable670 and above

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

An ideal choice for those with limited credit, without credit, and without credit history, the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card may be the overall best one for you.

This particular credit card also does not have any fees, be it annual fees, late fees, over-limit fees, or foreign transaction fees.

Just keep in mind that if you have bad credit history, this will still factor in when they check your background for approval.

You can also automatically earn 1% cash back on valid purchases that can be stretched to 1.5% cash back should you be able to pay 12 on time payments.

Their “Petal Offers” also lets you know which merchants can give cash backs ranging from 2% to 10% based on your location.

Arguably the best choice if you simply want to build credit without a prior history, the Petal 2 also provides you with your regular Visa perks when traveling, such as vehicle insurance, without worrying about paying foreign transaction fees.

Key Features

  • Intro Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR:  13.24% to 27.24%
  • Recommended Credit Score:  630 to 850


  • No fees at all
  • Credit history is not required
  • No security deposit required
  • Credit limit rates from $300 to $10,000
  • Eligible purchases earns you 1% cash back immediately


  • No intro offer
  • No financing offers
  • Opening an account with a bad credit report is difficult

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

This credit card is a great choice if you’re looking for reliable rewards cards while building good credit history since Chase Freedom Unlimited lets you earn cashback without any annual fee.

Its noteworthy intro offer allows you to get an additional 1.5% cashback in addition to your purchases’ original cashback for up to $20,000 in your first year.

To state it clearly, this gives you an impressive additional $300 cashback.

Aside from this, other bonus rewards include 5% cashback on travel purchased through their travel portal and Lyft rides and 3% on drugstore and dining purchases.

You also get additional benefits such as extended warranties, purchase protection, car rental collision damage deferral, emergency, and travel assistance, and, best of all, trip interruption and cancellation insurance.

You’d also be glad to know that your rewards do not expire as long as you have this card.

If you like to travel around, this card may not be for you unless the 3% foreign transaction fee doesn’t bother you.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cashback added to your purchases’ actual cashback on your first year
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for the initial 15 months
  • Regular APR:  15.24% to 23.99%
  • Recommended Credit Score: 670 or higher


  • Good welcome offer
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards don’t expire
  • No minimum required redemption amount


  • Foreign transaction fee

3. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

If you want one of the best credit cards for recent college graduates that rewards you with miles instead of cash rewards, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card may be the one for you.

The VentureOne comes with 20,000 miles of signup bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.

The intro APR stands at 0% on balance transfers and purchases within the initial 15 months and charges you with a 15.24% to 25.24% variable APR after that.

This credit card also rewards you with an unlimited five miles per dollar spent on rental cars and hotels booked through their Capital One Travel.

The appeal of this credit card, aside from the bonuses mentioned above, is that it doesn’t have an annual fee and that you can transfer your earned miles to eligible hotels and airlines.

Doesn’t it appeal to you just yet? This means that rewards normally valued at 1% per mile would potentially be worth more.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: 20,000 miles when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for the initial 15 months
  • Regular APR:  15.24% to 24.24% variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 690 to 850


  • No intro APR
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards you with a 20,000 miles sign-up bonus
  • Grants free access to Capital One Travel’s exclusive miles rewards and program


  • Highly travel-focused

4. Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card
Image Source

If you’ve got a good enough credit history upon graduating college, you may qualify for the Citi® Double Cash Card, our top choice in credit cards with no annual fee.

This credit card provides you with one of the longest intro APR periods at 18 months with 0% APR while the regular APR comes at 14.74% to 24.74%.

The Double Cash Card also has one of the highest rewards available among credit card issuers having 2% cashback on all purchases divided into two steps.

You’ll acquire 1% during your actual purchase, and you’ll gain the other 1% after paying your credit card bill.

You’ll also find this card useful for online shopping since cardholders are eligible for two-day shipping for free at selected online merchants with ShopRunner.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for initial 18 months
  • Regular APR:  14.74% to 24.74%
  • Recommended Credit Score: 690 to 850


  • Cashback program has an unlimited spending cap with no activation
  • 2% cashback on eligible purchases
  • Intro period is at 18 months


  • Cashback redemption requires a minimum amount
  • No welcome bonus rewards
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

5. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Another pick if you want to build credit while earning rewards, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card accepts even those with only fair credit and gives you cash back on every eligible purchase.

A unique feature about this card is that it automatically sets you up for a higher credit line as early as six months after having your account made, given that you pay on time.

Capital One also gives you free access to their CreditWise, which lets you monitor your credit score.

Do you want more? This card also gives you access to Capital One’s generic features such as 0% foreign transaction fee, 0% Fraud Liability, and emergency credit card replacement.

Hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel will earn you unlimited 5% cashback, while all purchases grant you unlimited 1.5 % cashback.

You may opt to redeem your rewards through statement credit, check, or gift cards. Note, however, that statement credits cannot be used in meeting the required minimum payment.

Unfortunately, this card has no intro offer, no intro APR, and comes with a $39 annual fee.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 26.99% variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 580 or higher


  • Automatic consideration for a higher line of credit within six months
  • Good rewards credit card
  • No foreign transaction fees


  • $39 annual fee
  • No intro offer
  • No intro APR

6. Citi Simplicity® Card

The Citi Simplicity® Card is your best choice if you’re looking for a way to pay an outstanding credit card debt, given that it’s one of the best balance transfer credit cards out there.

To start, balance transfers made within the first four months have a 21-month 0% intro APR and a 12-month 0%intro APR on purchases. After that, you’ll have a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49%.

Unfortunately, this card doesn’t have any intro offer or rewards points, making this card unsuitable if you’re not looking to pay any balance off.

Furthermore, once your intro period finishes, the balance transfer fee waived by the initial offer will now be charged at 5% or $5 per transaction, whichever is higher.

However, you may find comfort in the fact that this card won’t charge you for late payments or give your penalty APRs.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers made within the first four months and 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Regular APR: 15.49% to 25.49% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 670 to 850


  • No annual fee
  • 21-month low-interest period on balance transfers
  • No additional fees or penalty APR for late payments


  • No rewards
  • High balance transfer fee after intro APR
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

7. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Image Source

One of the best secured credit cards that accept those with bad or limited credit and has flexible deposit requirements, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is something you’d want to look at.

Secured credit cards like this one require refundable security deposits after certain terms have been met. However, what sets this credit card apart is that it allows even those with lower deposits to be approved.

Your deposits can go from as low as $49, $99, or $200 for an initial credit line of $200 that can be boosted up to $1000 should you go above the minimum deposit.

But wait, there’s more. Within 35 days after approval, Capital One lets you pay your deposit in installments of $20 at the minimum should you not have enough money for the security deposit just yet.

You could also apply for a higher credit line in just six months, provided that you pay your fees on time.

You’ll also be happy to know that this card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees and annual fees, but it comes with penalties of up to $40 for late payments.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 27.24% variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 350 or higher


  • Security deposit can be paid in installments
  • Credit limit can be larger than the initial security deposit
  • No annual fees
  • No foreign transaction fees


  • Low initial credit limits
  • Requires a bank account
  • No intro offers
  • No rewards program

8. American Express Cash Magnet® Card

If you’re looking for a simple cash rewards credit card that grants you access to Amex Offers and travel benefits, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card may be best.

The credit card itself offers an average of 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases through Cash Magnet, but you may be able to find better cash back offers through different companies.

The appeal of this credit card comes from its longer intro APR period of 15 months from the account opening. Afterward, a 14.74%-24.74% variable APR then applies.

Its welcome bonus reward includes $200 cash back after spending $2000 worth of purchases within the first six months.

Your rewards will also not expire; however, you can only redeem them in the form of statement credits with a minimum redemption amount of $25.

Other benefits of this card include the free addition of authorized users (more on this later), a car insurance program, fraud protection, a global assist hotline, and fraud protection, among others.

The aforementioned benefits may be of interest to you if you plan on traveling within the country. Still, they may not be as appealing due to the foreign transaction fee of 2.7% post-conversion.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: $200 cash back after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first six months
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers within the first 15 months
  • Regular APR: 14.74%-24.74% variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 670 and above


  • No expiry of rewards
  • Flexible payment options
  • Unlimited cashback
  • No need for category enrollment
  • No annual fee


  • Minimum redemption of $25
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

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

American Express Cash Magnet® Card
Image Source

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students is another good option if you want a simple cash rewards credit card with no annual fee and lets you choose a category for an eligible purchase.

Its welcome bonus rewards you with $200 cash rewards after making $1000 worth of purchases for the initial 90 days.

Your APR on balance transfers and purchases is also waived for the initial 15 purchases.

The rewards program is a bit more complicated due to its customizability. You can get up to 3% cash back on your chosen category.

It may include online shopping, gas, travel, and dining.

Additionally, 2% cash back is earned at select wholesale clubs and grocery stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases not belonging to the aforementioned.

And to top it all off: your rewards will never expire.

However, a downside to this is that upon meeting the accumulated rewards cap of $2500 from the combined cash back rewards, all succeeding purchases will only give you 1% cash back until the quarter ends.

Also, if you’re planning on studying abroad, this card may not be for you because of its 3% foreign transaction fee.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: $200 cash rewards after making $1000 worth of purchases for the initial three months
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for the first 15 transactions within the initial 90 days
  • Regular APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 580 or higher


  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 transactions
  • Relatively achievable intro offer
  • High value rewards


  • Rewards have a quarterly cap
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

10. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Image Source

Another good option, if you’re looking for a great rewards credit card for online shopping, is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card exclusively available to Amazon Prime members.

It’s an ideal first credit card after college since it offers some of the highest cash back rewards at a whopping 5% for every purchase from Whole Foods Market and

Outside its namesake website, you’ll still earn a decent cash back rate at 2% from gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores. Other purchases get you 1% cash back.

What’s more, is that it’s easy to redeem rewards through this credit card. You can use earned rewards as direct deposits, a statement credit, and even payments to other Amazon purchases.

You may even use your rewards for travel and gift cards, but it comes with the extra step of coordinating with Chase.

However, since Chase may not give the best travel offers out there, we suggest that you redeem your rewards and book your travels on your own.

If you’re planning on purchasing your electronics through, you’ll be happy about this next perk. Eligible products purchased with this card from entitles you to an additional one-year warranty extension if the original warranty falls short of three years.

Wait, there’s more. You also get protection against damages and theft for 120 days up to $500 per product claim, limited to $50,000 per account.

Since this is also a Visa Signature Card, travel perks belong to its strong suit, given the fact that you’re not really paying for any annual fee except for Amazon Prime’s annual subscription worth $139.

The Visa Signature Card hotel collection also gives additional perks at over 9000 hotels around the world, ranging from late check out and free breakfast to outright free upgrades of your room.

Other travel perks include car rental collision damage waiver, reimbursement for lost luggage, and delay insurance.

You’ll also gain access to travel emergency services, but you’ll have to pay extra for the actual services.

To make this the ultimate travel companion should you wish to study abroad, this card also doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

Key Features:

  • Intro Offer: Amazon gift card worth $100
  • Annual Fee: None, but you need to have Amazon Prime membership worth $139 annually
  • Intro APR: Can choose between 0% promo APR for six to 18 months on purchases $50 and up or cash back
  • Regular APR: 14.49% to 22.49% variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: 670 and above


  • Gives instant $100 gift card as an intro offer
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No minimum balance to redeem rewards
  • Unlimited 5% back at and Whole Foods
  • Visa Signature benefits


  • 5% back non-inclusive of foreign Amazon sites
  • APR can be high
  • High balance transfer fee

How to Know Which Credit Card Suits You Best

Now that you know the best choices there are for your first or next credit card, it’s time to choose what among them best fits you based on your lifestyle, needs, and wants.

If you’re still unsure which to choose, we prepared some additional guidelines to help.

1. Know Your Credit Report and Credit Score

Credit card companies decide on your application’s approval by looking at your credit report and credit score.

Fortunately for you, there are various ways you can check them in advance, even before you file for your credit card application.

The three major credit card bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, for example, are required by law to give you a free credit report annually.

Other than them, you may check with other resources, such as Credit Karma and Capital One’s CreditWise.

It’s also important to know your credit score in advance to avoid wasting some of your precious points due to hard credit inquiries that credit card companies make every time you apply for a credit card.

You can learn more about hard credit inquiries in FAQ number 8.

Moreover, knowing how high your credit score dictates what credit cards you can apply to, as some credit cards require a higher credit score than others.

Different scoring models typically measure credit scores, but FICO is used by 90% of the companies you might encounter.

Below are their ranges classifications:

  • Very poor: 300 to 579
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Very good: 740 to 799
  • Excellent: 800 to 850

Once you get your credit card, your credit score will also decide on the variable regular APR that you’ll be charged.

2. Know the Different Types of Credit Cards and Pick What You Need Most

There are typically three types of credit cards to choose from:

  1. Cards that earn you rewards through cash backs and other programs. They’re generally the best option if you have good enough credit with no other huge debts to pay. They’re also a good choice if you travel or shop a lot since these credit cards yield high value rewards the more you use them.
  2. Cards that can help you raise your credit. They may be the most applicable to you as a fresh graduate with no existing credit card accounts.

As previously stated, a good credit score is key to the best value offers, such as low APR and additional benefits on your credit. A good credit score also translates to other non-credit card transactions, such as higher approval chances for loans and mortgages.

Secured credit cards are typically the way to go if you’re still starting on your credit journey. What you lack in credit score can be offset by providing collateral money upfront or in installments.

  1. Cards that can help you pay other debts. These are essentially cards with a good intro APR, but the best ones are typically reserved for those with good or excellent credit. Purchases with high amounts are best put in 0% APR accounts since you can save your supposed interest fees for other functions.

3. Pick the Card With the Best Offers

By now we’re sure that you understand that the best offers are reserved for those with high credit scores. However, no matter how high or low your credit is, you should still research and aim for the best possible offers that you can have.

Depending on which among the three general types of credit cards you choose, consider those with the:

  • longest intro period for 0% APR if you’re looking to pay off a huge purchase,
  • most bonus categories if you’re looking for good rewards,
  • and the best credit tools if you’re looking to build your credit.

So, What Is the Best Credit Card for You?

Adulting can be tough if you go through it on your own, and luckily you won’t have to. The age of information made it easier for young people like you to spread their wings more confidently and explore.

One of the modern rites of passage to becoming an adult is choosing your first or next credit card. This is crucial as it is a significant step towards financial independence. Whether you go upwards or downwards is up to you.

Based on what we’ve presented above, the top two contenders for the best credit cards for college graduates seem to be the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

If you’re starting with no credit history and the benefit of having no fees appeals to you, then we advise that you get Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card.

If online shopping and traveling appeal to you, and you feel like you’ll benefit from the other features of Amazon Prime, then Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is the choice we say you go for.

Ultimately, however, the question of what credit card you’ll choose is up to your preference and needs, and we hope to have helped give you a more informed decision.

Credit Cards for College Graduates FAQs

1. Is it easy for a college student to get a credit card?

Getting a credit card without a job, credit history, and being under 21 can be quite tough but not impossible.

The Credit Card Act of 2009 ensured that college students under 21 years old wouldn’t be drowned in debt in their early years by making it tough for them to get their first credit card after college.

Before the law was enacted, credit card issuers could easily have college students sign up for their first credit cards.

Your best course of action now would be to apply for a student credit card. It functions like regular credit cards but usually has little or no rewards and lower credit limits.

Don’t be fooled by the term “student” since you don’t really require to be enrolled in any university to be eligible.

However, you must still meet some, like the age requirement and other requirements depending on the credit card issuers.

If you’re over 21, you’ll only need to prove that you earn income regularly to fulfill payments on time. You can also pool in your spouse’s income for this.

If you’re under 21, it could be even tougher since you’ll be less likely to be employed. Fortunately, you could ask your parent or legal guardian to sign on your behalf to meet the necessary amount.

2. Why is it a good idea for college students to have a credit card?

Having good credit history will make your life easier. It can get you into jobs easier, get utilities and insurance, and have your own apartment.

You can also earn cash through rewards in the form of cash backs, making things a little bit more affordable for you.

Having your own credit card also grants you additional consumer protection. A stolen credit card won’t drain you of your savings compared with a similar incident happening with a debit card.

Credit cards also make it easier for you to get your money back should a merchant charge you more than the actual amount of your purchase.

Take our word for it: your future self will be thanking you for responsibly owning a credit card as early as you can.

Take note of the word “responsibly”, though, as it can be easy to get carried away once you get your hands on that little plastic wonder. Make sure that you only bite what you can swallow, and you’ll be fine in the long run.

3. Why can’t I get approved for a credit card as a college student?

Credit card companies take the applicant’s approval process very seriously. After all, it’s their money that is lost when you fail to pay them back on time.

Moreover, credit card companies are bound by the Credit Card Act of 2009 to be more strict when dealing with student applicants.

If your credit card application as a student gets rejected, it might be due to the following reasons:

  • You’re Under 21 With Little to No Income

This is most likely why your credit card application did not get approved.

Since young adults drowning in debt was becoming a common problem in pre-2009, the government required those under 21 to have a regular income. Should this be the case, credit card companies could allow you to ask your parent or legal guardian to co-sign on your behalf.

  • You Have Little or No Credit History

The first credit card after college is usually the hardest to get approved since it could be a bit difficult to find a credit card company that suits you.

Luckily, among the companies listed above is the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card that addresses this specific concern.

However, you could still find it difficult to get another credit card even after getting your first one. It might be because you’ve only got it for a short time, and you don’t have enough time to build good credit history yet.

Have your first card breathe first, and let your time as a cardholder pass before moving on to the next one.

Normally, there are more reasons your credit card application has been rejected, but these are the important things to consider if you’re getting your student credit card.

4. Do student credit cards expire after graduation?

If you’re about to graduate and you worry that you’ll have to leave behind your credit card that says “student” on it, don’t worry. You don’t.

Your credit card company will let you hold on to your card for as long as you like, and we advise that you do just that.

Keeping your account open even if you decide to open another account is a good way to increase your credit score and build a strong credit history.

If you’re lucky enough, your credit card issuer could upgrade your card, giving you better perks and rewards.

5. Is the Apple card worth it for college students?

Generally, the Apple Card gives you no welcome bonus, no intro APR, no balance transfer fee, no foreign transaction fee, and no annual fee.

Its regular APR goes at a 10.99% to 21.99% variable. Its rewards program gives you 3% cash back on purchases directly from Apple and other select merchants.

If you want a card that goes well with the Apple Ecosystem, go for it as it integrates well with the existing programs and applications Apple already offers, such as the Wallet app.

But suppose you’re not really into Apple products or want a credit card with 0% introductory APR and is relatively more widely accepted. In that case, you should try looking at the alternatives we’ve included in this list.

6. How can I build my credit at 18?

The world of credit cards, along with the complicated terms, can be very scary at first. 

To go through it as early as 18 years old will be hard considering the steep learning curve, but it sure is worth it.

To do so, you should first know all you can about what credit is and how it works. Credit reports are maintained by the three major credit bureaus, namely Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®.

These three must give you a credit report for free once a year. Your credit score and report will help your chosen credit card issuer whether or not they will accept your application.

Your credit score will also be the deciding factor on how much interest rates your credit card issuer will give you.

A bad credit score gives you higher interest rates, while a good credit score gets you lower interest rates.

Your credit score is typically calculated using credit score models such as VantageScore 3.0® and the most widely used FICO®. 

The key factors contributing to your FICO® credit score are credit utilization, payment history, credit mix, new credit, and length of credit history.

After learning about how credit works, you should now try to apply for a student credit card.

As previously stated, a student credit card grants you the benefits of having a regular credit card, albeit with a lower credit limit and fewer rewards.

Applying for a student credit card could be done even if you’re under 21 if your parents agree to cosign the necessary documents. Just holding to the card is enough to raise your credit score.

If you still don’t meet the requirements needed for the card you like, you should try asking your parents or a close relative if they could make you their authorized card user.

As an authorized user, you can use that person’s card.

Being an authorized user on someone else’s card, provided that they are in good standing, helps you improve your credit.

After securing your way to use a credit card, you should start small by ensuring that you pay your debts on time.

Late payments significantly impact your credit score, and you should avoid that, especially at your age. Enrolling yourself in an autopayment system ensures that you don’t miss payments.

7. What percent of college students have credit cards?

The slightly more complicated process of acquiring a credit card when still studying seems to be not enough of a challenge for some college graduates and students.

According to a 2019 Majoring in Money report by Sallie Mae, 57% of 810 college students from ages 18 to 24 have their own credit cards.

College graduates were also shown to be more aware of their credit scores than those still studying and those who didn’t finish their degree.

College graduates also are more likely to save for emergency funds and invest their savings in higher-yielding savings accounts.

8. What should I do if my credit card application is rejected?

Your first credit card application as a student is likely to be rejected. Don’t worry about it, as it’s normal for credit card companies to be picky with their clients.

The first thing you should do is find out why your application was rejected. Knowing if you’re not approved is fast, but knowing why you’re not approved can take seven to ten days.

Lucky for you, credit card issuers are required by law to send you an adverse action notice to explain your rejection making the whole process easier.

As stated in the third FAQ, there are generally two main reasons you were rejected as a college student or fresh graduate.

Your next course of action is to build upon what you lack, whether it be a reliable source of income or good credit history. Also, you shouldn’t worry too much about getting your application denied, as it won’t affect your credit score.

However, don’t celebrate yet as there is a thing called hard credit inquiries which is when credit card issuers, landlords, or lenders look at your credit history to check for your payment reliability before purchasing.

This could strike off a few points on your credit score. They are essentially what you should look out for when applying for a new credit card.

9. Is it bad to have two or more credit cards as a student?

The answer to this really depends on how well you know and trust yourself and how much you want to raise your credit.

Owning more than one credit card has its obvious risks, such as drowning in debt, but it can also be rewarding if done properly.

For example, owning multiple credit cards can help you raise credit by keeping your credit utilization ratio lower than if you only use one credit card.

Essentially, the credit utilization ratio is how much of the credit limit you use. So if you have a credit card with a $1500 limit, and you use up to an average of $1350 a month, then it’s 90% credit utilization.

In summary, high credit utilization can negatively impact your credit. Multiple credit cards allow you to diversify your expenses between your cards resulting in a lower ratio.

Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader. He has a wide variety of interests and enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.