Best Student Credit Cards for College | No Credit Options in 2019

College students need a credit card to establish a credit history. Some of the best student credit cards can be found below.

Mike Brown
Mike Brown
Updated: June 3, 2019

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Once you hit the age of 18 and become a college student, it’s time to start building your credit. Student credit cards can be used to establish a positive credit history that can lead to a good credit score post-graduation. Having a positive credit history is essential to buying a car, renting an apartment, getting approved for loans, and, in some cases, finding employment.

Of course, it’s important to be careful not to spend more than you can afford, as you don’t want to get deeply in debt and struggle to pay back what you owe. You also don’t want to sign up for just any random credit card. Since there are many college credit cards to choose from, it’s important to find the best credit cards for students out there.

The best student credit cards are generally easy to qualify for, have no annual fees, and even offer rewards for spending. Since it can be hard to find the perfect card, LendEDU analyzed the top credit cards for college students using weighted averages across eight data categories to determine which ones had the most to offer. Here are our top picks.

LendEDU's 9 Best Student Credit Cards of 2019

Discover it Student Cash Back

Discover it Student Cash Back

$0 annual fee Cash back is matched at the end of your first year

Discover it Student Cash Back

  • Earn 5% cash back on rotating purchase categories each quarter, up to a quarterly maximum of $1,500 in purchases, plus earn an unlimited 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Discover matches your cash back at the end of your first year
  • Good grade reward: receive a $20 statement credit for every year your GPA is 3.0 or higher (for up to 5 years)
Apply Now

on Discover's secure website

Intro APR

0% for six months

Regular APR

15.24% to 24.24% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

New/Average

Card Highlights

The Discover it Student Cash Back card is one of our top picks thanks to no annual fee and a cash back match at the end of the first year. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on rotating purchase categories each quarter, plus an unlimited 1% cash back on general purchases. Students also benefit from a $20 statement credit each school year their GPA is 3.0 or higher (for up to five years).

APR & Fees

In addition to no annual fee (and no late fee on your first late payment), the Discover it Student Cash Back card offers a 0% promotional APR on purchases for the first six months after opening your account. After that, the card has a standard variable APR for purchases of 15.24% to 24.24% based on creditworthiness. Balance transfers are assigned a 10.99% intro APR for six months from the date of first transfer (must post to your account by July 10, 2019).

Bottom Line

In addition to cash rewards, the Discover it Student Cash Back card offers quite a bit to students who want to develop good credit habits during their college years.

Discover it Chrome for Students Card

Discover it Chrome for Students Card

$0 annual fee Cash back is matched at the end of your first year

Discover it Chrome for Students Card

  • 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Discover matches your cash back at the end of your first year
  • Good grade reward: receive a $20 statement credit for every year your GPA is 3.0 or higher (for up to five years)
Apply Now

on Discover's secure website

Intro APR

0% for 6 months

Regular APR

15.24% to 24.24% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

New/Average

Card Highlights

The Discover it Chrome is an ideal choice for students who want to earn rewards without having to worry about managing rotating cash back categories. The card offers similar benefits to the Discover it Student Cash Back, including a $20 statement credit during any school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher and a cash back match at the end of your first year as a cardmember.

Its rewards program is a bit less generous, however, as you get 2% cash back on gas and restaurant purchases (up to $1,000 per quarter) and 1% back on all other purchases.

APR & Fees

In addition to no annual fee (and no late fee on your first late payment), the Discover it Chrome offers a 0% promotional APR on purchases for the first six months after opening your account. After that, the card has a standard variable APR for purchases of 15.24% to 24.24% based on creditworthiness. Balance transfers are assigned a 10.99% intro APR for six months from the date of first transfer (must post to your account by July 10, 2019).

Bottom Line

If you primarily spend money on gas and dining out, the Discover it Chrome for Students card could be a good choice. You’ll get bonus rewards for the spending you do the most while also enjoying 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll also benefit from six months of interest-free purchases as well as having all your cash back matched after a year of being a cardholder.

Bank of America Cash Rewards Card for Students

Bank of America Cash Rewards Card for Students

$0 annual fee $200 sign-up bonus

Bank of America Cash Rewards Card for Students

  • Get a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice, including gas, online shopping, travel, dining, drug stores, or home improvement
  • Earn 2% back on spending at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • An excellent choice for students who want flexible options for earning cash back
Apply Now

on Bank of America's secure website

Intro APR

0% for 12 months

Regular APR

16.24% to 26.24% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

Good

Card Highlights

The best feature of the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students is you can customize your bonus rewards category. You can choose to earn 3% cash back on gas, online shopping, travel, dining, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. You also get 2% back on spending at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% on all other purchases. Bonus cash back is limited to a $2,500 quarterly maximum.

The card also comes with a signup bonus of $200 in cash rewards if you make at least $1,000 in purchases during the first 90 days your account is open.

APR & Fees

There’s no annual fee for the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students. You’ll also benefit from a 0% promotional APR on both new purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. The 0% rate applies for 12 billing cycles, after which the standard variable APR of 16.24% to 26.24% applies. A balance transfer fee of 3% applies.

Bottom Line

If you want ultimate flexibility when it comes to earning cash back, this card is a great choice — especially because you can change your 3% category every month based on your spending habits.

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

$0 annual fee 2,500-point sign-up bonus

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

  • Get a 2,500-point bonus offer after spending $500 within three months of account opening
  • Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 in annual spending, plus 1x points on all other purchases
  • Points round up to the next 10 points
  • Receive 10% of redeemed points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year
Apply Now

on Citi's secure website

Intro APR

0% for seven months

Regular APR

16.74% to 26.74% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

Good

Card Highlights

The Citi Rewards+ Student Card offers a feature other student cards don’t: It rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase with no caps. This small bonus is in addition to 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 in annual spending, with 1x points on all other purchases. You’ll also score 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year (i.e. if you redeem 15,000 points, you’ll get 1,500 back).

With no annual fee and a flexible, generous rewards program, this card is a great option for many students.

APR & Fees

This card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for seven months from the date of account opening. After that, a standard APR of 16.74% to 26.74% applies, depending on creditworthiness. The card charges no annual fee.

Bottom Line

For students who spend regularly at gas stations and supermarkets, the Citi Rewards+ is an ideal card choice. You also get a signup bonus of 2,500 points when you spend $500 within three months of opening your account, so can start off with a hefty points balance so long as you hit this spending requirement.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

$0 annual fee 3% cash back on select purchases for the first six months

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

  • Earn 3% cash back on up to $2,500 in purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores for the first six months
  • Earn 1% cash back on general purchases
  • You must have an existing Wells Fargo account to apply
Apply Now

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Intro APR

0% for six months

Regular APR

13.4% and 23.4% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

New/Average

Card Highlights

Although you’ll need an existing Wells Fargo relationship to apply for this card online, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card offers 3% bonus rewards for up to $2,500 spent on gas, grocery, and drug store purchases for the first six months. You'll get 1% cash back on all other purchases. You also get access to credit education tools offered through Wells Fargo Online.

APR & Fees

In addition to no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card offers a 0% intro APR for six months for both purchases and balance transfers. After that, you’ll pay a variable APR between 13.4% and 23.4% based on creditworthiness.)

Bottom Line

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is a good option for college students who want to build their credit history while going to school — plus earn rewards on purchases at the same time.

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students

$0 annual fee 1% cash back on purchases

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Get a free 1-year subscription to Amazon Prime Student
  • Cell phone insurance, travel and roadside assistance, price protection
  • Maximum credit limit of $5,000
Apply Now

on Deserve's secure website

Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

20.99% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

New/Average

Card Highlights

The Deserve EDU Mastercard is open to applicants without an established credit history or even a Social Security number. No deposit or cosigner is required, either. The card provides 1% cash back on all other purchases as well as a free year of Amazon Prime Student membership. Other perks include cell phone insurance, travel and roadside assistance, and price protection services.

APR & Fees

The Deserve EDU Mastercard charges no annual or foreign transaction fees, but there’s no 0% promotional rate on purchases or balance transfers. The standard variable APR is 20.99%.

Bottom Line

If you don’t plan to carry a balance and want to take advantage of the Amazon Prime Student membership, the Deserve EDU Mastercard is worth considering. The fact the card doesn’t require a Social Security number also makes it an ideal choice for international students.

BankAmericard for Students Credit Card

BankAmericard for Students Credit Card

$0 annual fee 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

BankAmericard for Students Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • No rewards program
  • Pay 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles, as long as balance transfers are made within 60 days of account opening
  • Free FICO credit score reporting
Apply Now

on Bank of America's secure website

Intro APR

0% for 15 months

Regular APR

15.24% to 25.24% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

New/Average

Card Highlights

The BankAmericard Credit Card for Students doesn’t offer rewards, unlike many of the cards on this list. It does, however, have a longer 0% promotional APR period than most competitor cards. Bank of America also provides access to credit education, as well as a free FICO score updated monthly.

APR & Fees

The BankAmericard student credit card has no annual fee. You’ll also get a 0% intro APR on purchases and any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening for an impressive 15 billing cycles, after which you’re charged a standard APR of 15.24% to 25.24% depending on creditworthiness.

Bottom Line

If you don’t care about earning rewards for spending and need to transfer existing high-interest credit card debt, the BankAmericard Credit Card for Students could be a good choice. But if you’d prefer to be rewarded for your spending, you should look elsewhere for a card.

Journey Student Rewards From Capital One

Journey Student Rewards From Capital One

$0 annual fee Up to 1.25% cash back

Journey Student Rewards From Capital One

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Boost cash back rate to 1.25% each month if you pay your bill on time
  • Access a higher credit limit after five months of on-time payments
  • Free FICO credit reporting from CreditWise
Apply Now

on Capital One's secure website

Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

Average

Card Highlights

The Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One lets you earn 1% cash back rewards on all purchases. Cardholders who pay on time can boost that rewards rate to 1.25% for that month. Capital One also provides credit-building tools, including unlimited access to your credit score with the CreditWise app and access to a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time.

APR & Fees

There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees with the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One card. There’s also no promotional 0% APR, and you’ll pay a standard purchase APR of 26.99%, which is fairly high compared to some other student cards.

Bottom Line

If you plan to carry a balance, this card could get expensive — especially since there’s no intro rate on purchases or balance transfers. However, making on-time payments can get you access to a rewards bonus and higher credit line, which helps your credit utilization ratio and makes building credit easier.

State Farm Bank Student Visa Card

State Farm Bank Student Visa Card

$0 annual fee Up to 3x points per $1 spent

State Farm Bank Student Visa Card

  • Earn 3 State Farm Loyalty Rewards points for every $1 spent on the first $4,000 on eligible insurance premiums each year
  • Earn 1 point per $2 spent on other purchases
  • Visa Auto Rental Collisions Damage Waiver
Apply Now

on State Farm's secure website

Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

17.49% to 25.49% Variable APR

Annual Fee

$0

Credit Needed

New/Average

Card Highlights

The State Farm Student Visa offers one State Farm Loyalty Rewards point for every $2 spent on eligible purchases and three points for every $1 spent on insurance premium payments, up to $4,000 per year. You’ll also get access to student discounts provided by Visa. However, most students would likely be better served by a card that provides bonus rewards for something other than insurance premiums.

APR & Fees

The State Farm Bank Student Visa Card charges no annual fee. There’s no 0% introductory rate, and a standard variable APR of 17.49% to 25.49% applies to all purchases and balance transfers. The specific APR you’ll pay depends on creditworthiness.

Bottom Line

If you want a free card that provides triple points for money spent on insurance premiums, the State Farm Student Visa could be right for you. The card provides straightforward rewards on everyday purchases, and points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, air travel, hotels, or State Farm products, so it’s a good choice if you like versatility.

Best Student Credit Cards Comparison

CardRewardsAnnual Fee
Discover it Student Cash BackDiscover matches all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year$0
Discover it Chrome for Students CardDiscover matches all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year$0
Bank of America Cash Rewards Card for Students$200 after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening$0
Citi Rewards+ Student Card2,500 points after spending $500 within the first three months$0
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card3% cash back on select purchases for the first six months$0
Deserve Edu Mastercard for StudentsNo bonus, but earn 1% cash back$0
BankAmericard for Students Credit CardN/A$0
Journey Student Rewards Credit CardNo bonus, but earn up to 1.25% cash back$0
State Farm Bank Student Visa CardNo bonus, but earn up to 3x points on eligible expenses$0

What Students Should Know About Credit Cards

Credit cards work very differently than debit cards, which simply allow you to swipe your card and pull money directly from your bank account. When making a purchase with a credit card, though, you’re not spending your money upfront. Instead, you’re adding debt to an account in your name with the credit card issuer.

You are expected to pay this money back, typically by making minimum monthly payments based on a percentage of your balance. Ideally, though, you would pay your balance in full each month to avoid accruing interest and getting into debt.

Who Issues Credit Cards?

Banks and credit unions both issue credit cards. Banks are for-profit institutions, but credit unions are member-owned nonprofits — so credit union credit cards tend to have lower interest rates.

Credit card networks also sometimes issue credit cards, although they also handle the transaction processes for cards offered by other issuers. It’s the credit card network that processes transactions and to which cardholders make payments.

What Are Interest Rates?

Interest is what you pay to borrow. Credit card interest rates vary depending on creditworthiness and the market. If you pay your balance on time in full each month, you won’t be charged interest.

Credit cards have different interest rates, including the following:

  • The general purchase interest rate is a percentage applied to most transactions made with a credit card. Let’s say you buy $100 of supplies during a billing cycle and your general interest rate is 15%. The interest owed would be $15 in addition to the $100 that was spent; however, this interest is not applied if the balance on the loan is paid in full during the billing cycle.
  • Balance transfer interest rates are assessed whenever you transfer debt between credit accounts. Some cards offer promotional 0% balance transfer rates, so a balance transfer can temporarily reduce the interest paid on debt.
  • Cash advance interest rates apply when you use your credit card to access cash, either from an ATM or a check issued by your card servicer. The interest rate is usually higher on cash advances than for general purchases.

What is a Credit Limit?

A credit limit is the maximum amount of money you can borrow from your credit card issuer. With a credit card limit of $1,000, you are only able to spend up to $1,000 on that card. These limits are set to keep consumers from borrowing too much. Cardholders with good credit histories and steady income are typically assigned higher credit limits.

Make sure you know the difference between your total credit limit vs. your available credit. In general, most starter credit cards for first-time applicants have very low limits.

Are These Fees Associated With Credit Cards?

Different cards charge different fees, which may include the following:

  • Annual fees, which is a charge for simply having the credit card (note: there are also credit cards with no annual fees)
  • Over-limit fees, which are assessed when you exceed your credit limit
  • Foreign transaction fees, which equal a percentage of any purchases made outside the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions About Student Credit Cards

How to Get Approved for a Student Credit Card

Credit cards — including student cards — are only issued to applicants aged 18 or over. Would-be cardholders between the ages of 18 and 21 must provide additional documentation that verifies their income and ability to repay.

If you’re old enough, applying for a student credit card can usually be done online within. minutes. Applications typically ask for your name, address, phone number, email address, and Social Security number. Applications also typically inquire about your employment status and salary.

When you apply for a card, card issuers will verify this information and will also check your credit score. You may have a limited credit history, but card issuers take this into account for student cards, so approval is more likely if you’re going to school.

After the approval process is completed, you are either approved or not approved. If you are not approved, you’ll receive an adverse action notice that outlines the reason for the denial. If you are approved, then you will be assigned a credit limit; the credit card itself will be sent in the mail within two weeks.

For those who can’t get approved for a standard credit card, there’s also another option: a secured card. Secured credit cards require a security deposit for approval and don’t offer as many perks and benefits as standard cards — but for a new credit card applicant, this type of card may be the only option. The good news is secured cards help you establish a credit history that could later qualify you for some of the best unsecured credit cards.

How to Properly Use Student Credit Cards

When using your first credit card, it’s imperative you make all payments by your due date and in full to avoid incurring late fees, paying excessive interest charges, or damaging your credit. To make sure you can afford to do so, avoid excess spending and use your card only for necessary purchases. You should also take advantage of the tools offered by many student cards that make it easier for you to track both expenses and your credit score as you demonstrate responsible use.

Look for a credit card offering generous rewards to earn free airfare, cash back, or other perks. Some of the best cash back credit cards offer bonus rewards in certain spending categories, such as gas stations, grocery stores, or restaurants.

Dangers of Misusing a Credit Card

Damaging your credit score by maxing out your card or making late payments is one of the biggest dangers of misusing a student card. If you damage your score, you could have a hard time renting an apartment or qualifying for future loan products, such as a mortgage or auto loan, with favorable terms.

Charging too much is a big risk, as you could end up wasting thousands of dollars in interest and taking many years to pay back what you owe. And if you get too deeply into debt, you may become unable to dig yourself out of the hole. This could lead to collections calls, lawsuits, and — in some cases — bankruptcy.

How Do You Upgrade Your Student Credit Card?

A student credit card is helpful while attending school. But after graduation, it may be beneficial to upgrade to a non-student credit card with a higher credit limit or better rewards.

You may be able to upgrade to a new card after college by requesting a different credit card from the same bank or issuer. Some credit card issuers require a new application to qualify for different rewards credit cards, while others may simply accept the request for a change so long as you’ve maintained a positive account history.

Can You Add an Authorized User to a Student Credit Card?

An authorized user is a secondary cardholder who can use the card to make purchases but isn’t responsible for making payments. Authorized users can help you earn additional rewards with their spending, but most student credit cards do not give cardmembers the opportunity to add an authorized user, at least at first.

Your credit card agreement should provide information about authorized users, including when they’re allowed and the process for adding one.

Is a Cash Advance Available on a Student Credit Card?

A cash advance allows you to access cash from your credit card. Although cash advances are available with many credit cards, student credit cards are less likely to offer them.

Your credit card agreement will lay out the terms of cash advances, including how much is available to borrow, applicable fees, and the interest rate charged (which is usually higher than the rate applied to regular purchases). Some credit card issuers may only let you obtain cash advances up to a certain percentage of your available credit line.

Students should only use a cash advance as a last resort in emergency situations.

Can You Get Approved for a Student Credit Card If You Have Fair or Bad Credit?

Most student credit cards are designed to meet the credit needs of borrowers with little to no credit history. If a student has not had any accounts reported to the credit bureaus, their credit history will be minimal. Credit card issuers understand it takes time to build a strong credit profile, so they often have less stringent qualifications for student credit cards than they do for other cards.

However, a record of bad credit could make it difficult to qualify for even a student card. Missed payments, accounts in collections, or other credit missteps make getting any new credit card a challenge.

Can You Apply for Multiple Student Credit Cards at Once?

Students should take their time to determine the student credit card that best fits their needs instead of applying to several cards at once. Although you technically can apply for more than one student credit card at a time, you likely won’t need to have more than one — especially if you’re trying to avoid going into too much debt.

Each time a credit card application is submitted, it creates a hard inquiry on the student’s credit report. When too many hard inquiries appear on a credit report over a short period of time, creditors could consider you too much of a risk and may decline your application. To avoid problems, research how long you should wait to apply for another credit card.

What Should You Do If You've Been Denied for a Student Credit Card?

Although most student credit cards have less strict credit qualification requirements than other credit cards, you can still get denied. If this happens to you, review your credit history to see how you can improve the odds of approval next time.

You may also have the option to add a cosigner to your application or submit a deposit to secure the credit line. These options vary from issuer to issuer but may be a viable solution to getting approved for a new student credit card.

Should You Consider Student Credit Cards from Credit Unions or Community Banks?

Student credit cards are available from a variety of lenders and issuers, including community banks and credit unions. These financial institutions are often more locally focused, so they take the time to get to know their customers and their financial needs.

If you get a student credit card from a community bank or credit union, you’ll have the ability to build a relationship with that financial institution. You may even gain access to other financial products and services with better terms simply for being a cardholder.

In some cases, having a credit union credit card may mean fewer rewards than other credit card issuers, but the interest rate may also be lower.

Should You Close Your Student Credit Card After College?

Although upgrading your card after graduation is often a good idea, it’s not always smart to close your student credit card in the process.

A student credit card is often the first significant credit account reported to the credit bureaus. Having a long credit history is important to boost your score, so you don’t want to lose the record of this old account. The exception would be if the card has an annual fee — in that case, closing the card might save you money in the long term.

Bottom Line

Now you know why finding the best credit cards for college students is important and you have a guide to help you get started. Check out the cards on our list, find one that’s a good fit, submit an application, and use it responsibly. You’ll be glad you did when your college credit card helps you earn a good credit score that helps you in the future.

College Student Credit Card Survey

LendEDU conducted a study and found that current college students struggle to understand the basics of credit scores and reporting. Our team traveled to three different college campuses to survey even more college students. Over that course of surveying, we asked current college students a series of questions about credit cards.

Credit cards are a powerful tool when used correctly. Student credit cards can help young adults build credit, earn rewards, and learn financial responsibility. However, when used incorrectly, credit cards can be as crushing as high-interest student loan debt. The New York Federal Reserve reported in May 2018 that credit card balances had reached $815 billion.

In our survey, we were able to collect responses from 468 undergraduate and graduate students at three four-year institutions (two public, one private). We surveyed at two colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area and at one institution on the East Coast.

Our goal was to find out what current college students do and do not know about credit cards. Here are the results of our survey:

1. Do you have a credit card in your own name?

38.46% of students surveyed currently had a credit card in their own name.

Questions 2 through 9 were asked only to individuals with credit cards.

2. Do you know the current interest rate on your credit card?

9.44% of students surveyed reported that they knew the current interest rates on their credit cards.

3. Do you know the late payment charges on your credit card?

20.56% of the students surveyed reported knowing the late payment charges on their credit cards.

4. Do you know your current credit card balance limit?

58.89% of the students surveyed reported knowing the balance limits on their credit cards.

5. Do you know the over-limit fee?

28.89% of the students surveyed reported knowing the over-limit fees charged on their credit cards.

6. Do you currently have a balance on your credit card?

67.78% of the students surveyed reported having a credit card balance.

7. Do you know, approximately (within $100), what your credit card balance amount is?

93.33% of the students surveyed reported that they knew their current credit card balance within $100.

8. Does paying your credit card on time impact your credit score?

71.11% of the students surveyed believed that paying their credit card bill on time would impact their credit scores.

9. Do you have more than one credit card account?

23.33% of the students surveyed reported that they currently have more than one credit card account.

Questions 10 through 12 were asked only to individuals without credit cards.

10. Have you considered opening up a credit card account?

43.75% of the students surveyed reported that they have considered opening up credit card accounts.

11. Are credit cards an important tool for building consumer credit?

71.53% of the students surveyed believed that credit cards are an important tool for building consumer credit.

12. Would you consider yourself afraid of the possibility of accumulating credit card debt?

46.53% of the students surveyed considered themselves afraid of the possibility of accumulating credit card debt.

Survey Breakdown

We were surprised to find that such a low percentage (38.46%) of current college students had credit cards. Memories of the financial crisis and rising student loan balances may be deterring young Americans from getting credit cards. Additionally, in 2009, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (aka the Credit CARD Act) clamped down on marketing at colleges and universities and put stronger requirements in place for applicants under 21 to qualify.

Also surprising was the fact only a fraction (9.44%) of current college students with credit cards knew their current interest rates. In another survey, we found that only 7.9% of current college students with student loan debt knew their interest rates. Yet, two-thirds of the students with credit cards reported carrying a balance.

On a positive note, a high proportion of respondents did believe credit cards were important when building credit. However, those two questions (No. 8 & No. 11) were asked in a positive bias.

Though we may be starting to sound like a broken record here at LendEDU, our nation has a serious issue. Personal finance education is crucial for young adults, especially at the high school level.

Special thanks to our surveying team for walking over 100,000 steps to collect these responses.