Student credit cards 1 September 2023

7 Best Graduate Student Credit Cards

Graduates may be on a tight budget, still paying off student loans, or looking to build credit. That’s why a graduate student credit card can be helpful, provided you can afford the monthly payments. Here are our top choices for graduate student credit cards.

7 Best Graduate Student Credit Cards in 2023

Graduate school can be a great adventure and it’s a challenge that not many students undertake. But it’s a lot of hard work and can be, depending on the field you’re in, very expensive. Plus, many graduate programs don’t provide financial support to their students.

Since most students are typically on a tight budget, saving where they can is often a top priority. With the right graduate student credit card and smart planning, you can earn rewards on every purchase and even maximize your earnings for extra value.

We’ve rounded up the best graduate student credit card options, along with their fees, benefits, and eligibility requirements. Here are our top recommendations.

Best Graduate Student Credit Cards

LenderScholaroo ratingRegular APRCredit Score

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best for low interest rates

Visit website
4.8/520.24% - 28.99%Good (690 - 850)

Discover It® Secured Credit Card

Best for rewards and upgrading

Visit website
4.6/527.99%No minimum credit score

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for flat-rate cash back

Visit website
4.5/518.99% - 28.99%Average/Good (630 - 850)

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Great secured card with cash back rewards

Visit website
4.4/525.74%No minimum credit score

Petal 2 Visa Credit Card

Best for no fees

Visit website
4.2/517.99% - 31.99%N/A

Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card

Best for everyday spending rewards

Visit website
4.1/519.99% - 29.99%Good (690 - 850)

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards

Best for cashback rewards

Visit website
4.0/519.99% - 29.99%No minimum credit score
Lender

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best for low interest rates

Scholaroo rating
4.8/5
Regular APR
20.24% - 28.99%
Credit Score
Good (690 - 850)
Visit website
Lender

Discover It® Secured Credit Card

Best for rewards and upgrading

Scholaroo rating
4.6/5
Regular APR
27.99%
Credit Score
No minimum credit score
Visit website
Lender

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for flat-rate cash back

Scholaroo rating
4.5/5
Regular APR
18.99% - 28.99%
Credit Score
Average/Good (630 - 850)
Visit website
Lender

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Great secured card with cash back rewards

Scholaroo rating
4.4/5
Regular APR
25.74%
Credit Score
No minimum credit score
Visit website
Lender

Petal 2 Visa Credit Card

Best for no fees

Scholaroo rating
4.2/5
Regular APR
17.99% - 31.99%
Credit Score
N/A
Visit website
Lender

Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card

Best for everyday spending rewards

Scholaroo rating
4.1/5
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99%
Credit Score
Good (690 - 850)
Visit website
Lender

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards

Best for cashback rewards

Scholaroo rating
4.0/5
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99%
Credit Score
No minimum credit score
Visit website

1. Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best for low interest rates

Apply now

Chase Freedom Flex℠

4.8
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR20.24% - 28.99%
Annual Fee$0
Rewards$200 bonus when you spend $500 in three months
Credit ScoreGood (690 - 850)
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card has no annual fee, great cardholder perks, and one of the most flexible cashback rewards programs available. You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases that rotate quarterly. You’ll also earn 5% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining, and 1% on all other purchases.

Chase doesn’t release the quarterly categories in advance, but some of the past categories included PayPal, Walmart, movie theaters, gas stations, Amazon.com, and streaming services.

There is no annual fee and a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and transfers. The card comes with rates between 20.24% and 28.99% APR.

Pros

  • Travel rewards are among the best in the market
  • No annual fee
  • Flexible rewards redemption
  • Welcome bonus

Cons

  • Requires a good credit score
  • Cardholders must enroll in rotating quarterly bonus categories
  • Good credit score (690-850)
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • $200 bonus when you spend $500 in three months
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides
  • 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories up to a $1,500 maximum
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and transfers

2. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Best for rewards and upgrading

Apply now

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

4.6
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR27.99%
Annual Fee$0
Rewards2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations up to $1,000 per quarter
Credit ScoreNo minimum credit score
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

The Discover It® Secured credit card requires no credit history to qualify and it’s a great card for anyone looking to improve their credit. You can earn rewards while you build credit and it reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

The card comes with no foreign transaction fee and no annual fee, and starts at 27.99% variable APR. There’s a 10.99% intro APR on balance transfers for the first six months and a welcome bonus of an unlimited cashback match on all purchases during your first year.

The card requires a minimum security deposit of $200. This is a good option if you have a larger security deposit available and want a credit card for bad credit with guaranteed approval and a $1,000 credit limit. After seven months, your account will be reviewed to see if you qualify for moving to an unsecured credit card and a deposit return.

You also earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations for purchases up to $1,000 per quarter. Thereafter, you earn 1% cash back.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No credit history needed to apply
  • Possibility of upgrading to an unsecured card after seven months
  • Unlimited cashback on all purchases during the first year

Cons

  • Requires a security deposit
  • High ongoing APR
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must have a bank account
  • Must pay a security deposit
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations up to purchases of $1,000 per quarter. All other purchases earn 1%
  • An intro bonus of an unlimited cashback match on all cash back you earn during the first year

3. Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for flat-rate cash back

Apply now

Citi® Double Cash Card

4.5
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR18.99% - 28.99%
Annual Fee$0
RewardsEarn 2% on every purchase
Credit ScoreAverage/Good (630 - 850)
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

The Citi® Double Cash Card is ideal for cardholders looking for a flat-rate cash back. There is no 0% introductory period for purchases, but the card comes with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months.

You earn 2% cash back on every purchase; 1% when you make the purchase and another 1% when the purchase is paid off. This is a good option for cardholders who make their minimum payments on time and there is no limit on the amount of cashback that can be earned.

The card has no annual fee, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee and interest rates vary between 18.99% and 28.99% APR.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR period for balance transfers
  • No limits on the amount of cashback earned

Cons

  • There is a foreign transaction fee
  • No 0% introductory APR on purchases
  • Must have a good credit score (630 – 850)
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Earn 2% cash back on all purchases – 1% when the purchase is made and 1% when the purchase is paid off
  • No limits on the amount of cashback that can be earned

4. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Great secured card with cash back rewards

Apply now

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

4.4
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR25.74%
Annual Fee$0
Rewards2% cash back on your first $2,500 at grocery stores
Credit ScoreNo minimum credit score
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card is good for borrowers who want to improve their credit. It also offers great cashback rewards, making it a great option for those looking to earn rewards. You can have a credit limit between $200 and $5,000, depending mainly on your security deposit.

You can get up to 2% cash back at grocery stores as well as 3% cash back in your choice of categories: dining, online shopping, gas, travel, drug stores, and home improvement. After your first $2,500 spending in any category, you will earn 1% back on purchases.

Other perks include checking your FICO credit score for free and the ability to move to an unsecured card with a refund of your security deposit.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Up to 3% cash back rewards
  • Flexible credit limit

Cons

  • Security deposit of $200 (minimum)
  • No welcome bonus
  • Requires a security deposit
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Up to 3% cash back on gas, online shopping, dining, travel, or home improvement
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in purchases, then earn 1%

5. Petal 2 Visa Credit Card

Best for no fees

Apply now

Petal 2 Visa Credit Card

4.2
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR17.99% - 31.99%
Annual Fee$0
Rewards2% - 10% cash back at select merchants
Credit ScoreN/A
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

The Petal® 2 Visa® Credit Card is a great option for starters and international students without an SSN. The card comes with up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases and reports your payments monthly to three major credit bureaus.

Card rates start at 17.99% variable APR and there is no annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees although the card doesn’t allow for balance transfers.

Pros

  • No membership fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Doesn’t require a security deposit
  • Earn up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases

Cons

  • No balance transfers allowed
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Can apply with an ITIN
  • Sufficient income to afford bill payments
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
  • 2% – 10% cash back at select merchants

6. Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card

Best for everyday spending rewards

Apply now

Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card

4.1
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR19.99% - 29.99%
Annual Fee$0
RewardsEarn unlimited 2% cash back on purchases
Credit ScoreGood (690 - 850)
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card is a great option for cardholders looking for cash back on everyday spending. It offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

The card comes with a 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months and 0% APR on qualifying balance transfers for the first 15 months. You also get a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first three months.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa® Card also comes with added benefits like up to $600 in mobile phone protection against theft or damage when you pay your monthly mobile bill with your card. There is no annual fee, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Pros

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR intro period for 15 months on purchases and transfers

Cons

  • Requires a good credit score
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%
  • Good credit score (690 – 850)
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Earn $200 cash back when spending $500 in the first three months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back on purchases

7. Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for cashback rewards

Apply now

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

4.0
Scholaroo Rating
Regular APR19.99% - 29.99%
Annual Fee$0
RewardsUnlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases
Credit ScoreNo minimum credit score
Why We Like ItPros and ConsEligibility RequirementsBenefits and Rewards

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards card is a good option for international students without a credit history. The card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee and comes with several rewards, including an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

You’ll get $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months, and 10% money back on all purchases from Uber and Uber Eats. You may also refer family and friends who qualify for the card, and make up to $500 annually.

Pros

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Rewards don’t expire

Cons

  • Potential high interest rate
  • Late payment fee of up to $40
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Can apply with an ITIN
  • Have a steady income
  • Be enrolled as a student

Cash Back

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases

Early Spend Bonus

  • Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months

Referral Bonus

  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring family and friends

What Is a Graduate Student Credit Card?

A graduate student credit card is a type of credit card specifically designed for students who have recently graduated from a college or university. These cards are tailored to help new graduates transition from student life to professional life.

They generally offer features like lower interest rates, no annual fees, and rewards that are attractive to individuals entering the workforce.

The eligibility criteria for these cards often require proof of graduation or employment. The issuing banks aim to help new graduates build or improve their credit history as they move into the next phase of their financial lives.

Can I get a credit card after graduation?

After completing your studies, it may be possible for you to apply for a credit card. Just like student credit cards, you may be eligible for one.

However, the interest rate or APR offered to you and the terms of the credit card will depend on your individual circumstances, like your credit score and income.

In case you have a low credit score due to insufficient credit history, obtaining a credit builder credit card could be beneficial in improving your credit score.

FAQs

What is the best credit card for graduates?

The best credit card for graduates depends on your personal circumstances and what you’re looking to use it for. Good options are the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, especially if you want to build your credit.

Are graduates often accepted for credit cards?

Getting accepted for a credit card is determined by a variety of factors such as your income, expenses, and credit score. Each card provider has its own policies and criteria for lending to customers. As a recent graduate, if you have never owned a credit card before and have a low income, it could be difficult to qualify for the best credit card offers available.

Is it hard to get a credit card as a student?

Student credit cards may have more flexible credit requirements for approval, but they often come with lower credit limits and average to high APRs. However, students can apply for these credit cards on their own and typically earn approval with proof of college enrollment and some income.