Today, you can learn about best student credit cards and how to apply for a credit card. Before reading this post, you would have to read the relationship between credit cards, credit score and credit history.

First you would need to have Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for credit cards.

If you have a jobs in the university, you will be able to get the letter from your employer and university to apply for SSN.

Best Credit Cards for Students

Since, you will not have any credit history, you have to hand pick which credit cars to apply.

Don’t apply for several credit cards at once. Every time your credit report is pulled, your credit score will go down by 3 to 4 point.

Read Karthik’s experience – I Got Discover Student Credit Card Without Credit History

Here is list credit cards to pick the best credit card for students with no credit

  1. Check if there is a credit card available for your university.
  2. Bank of America lists credit cards based on college/university.
  3. If your university doesn’t have credit card, then apply for basic/student credit card at the bank where you have your account.
  4. If bank rejected your application, apply for secure credit card with same bank.
  5. Its easy to get retail store credit cards, but its not recommend for students to get retail store cards as their first card.
  6. Citi Bank, Discover Card provide student/entry level credit cards.

Credit Card companies will run your credit report while issuing credit card. Several inquiries will lower your credit score and it will stay in your report for 2  years.

Credit Card Features

Banks make money from credit card customers by charging them interest rates and fees. Before you decide to apply for credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions

  • Find no annual fee card
  • Find low ARP card
  • Learn how interest rates are calculated
  • Late payment fees

You will be tempted to get a card that gives rewards, but for your first credit card, try to get the basic student credit card and after you have built decent credit history, you can get the card that gives you rewards.

Purpose of getting credit card is to build your credit history. Learn to use the card wisely. If you cannot afford to buy something with your Debit card, don’t use your credit card to buy it.

Best credit card for students is not the one that gives more rewards.

Now, you have an idea about credit card process, you can start applying for credit cards and build your credit history.

After you have decided to apply for a card, go to credit card bank’s website and submit your application. Sometimes, bank will require you to send additional documents.

Additional Info from myFICO

Inquiries usually have a small impact. For most people, one additional credit inquiry will take less than five points off their FICO score. However, inquiries can have a greater impact if you have few accounts or a short credit history. Large numbers of inquiries also means greater risk: people with six inquiries or more on their credit reports can be up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with no inquiries on their report.

Inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, although FICO scores only consider inquiries from the last 12 months. FICO scores do a good job of distinguishing between a search for many new credit accounts and rate shopping for one new account.

Which Cards Do you have?

If you already have credit card, share your comments – which cards did you apply and how did you decide to apply for that particular credit card.

Recommended Student Credit Cards – Discover More for Students Card.

  • vish

    Quick word of caution, I am not sure if 00000 is the right thing to do, the right thing is to go inside and pre pay for the pump.

  • vish

    As far as I know it’s not about which NON-US card, its more about which gas station (read as which processor). 00000 works at many gas stations (or atleast used to, I have not tried for many years though).

  • arun

    Have you tried “00000″ at the gas station?? BTW it works! SBI credit card and Amex india credit card both work if you use 00000 as zipcode :) cheers

  • freecreditreport

    I would simply say to you all “awesome information”

  • munna

    The best way to start is to go to the bank where you have you student checking account. Go personally to the bank branch and ask them about applying for Credit Card. If you have a small part time job in University or an assisstantship, tell them that you are working in University. also you ahve have legal status, address and phone number. get a credit card and start your credit journey in USA.

  • vishal

    I have not heard about any card company that hides facts about their charges and interest rates. Its all in the agreements/disclosures, the problem is that people don't want to read anything, everyone just wants to fill out the form quickly and get done.

  • Kenneth Okpara

    I think smart card is a nice technology and easy to use – better than carrying cash all around but the interest and fees can be too much on the high side. Again most of these credit card companies do not give you the whole gist about their products. They hide some facts especially about their charges and interest rate and that is not good at all.

  • lc07

    i think that this is just basic information about credit cards, and students need to know a lot more. I am currently a student right now with 5 credit cards, i have great credit!, but if someone would of told me everything about credit cards that i know now i wouldnt of gotten them. Although you should get a real credit card for your first own, some of the stores or departments store are really good for your credit too if you pay them on time.

    • HSB

      You can always close couple of account. It might lower your score by few points, but in couple of months time, its should be back. If you don't plan to make huge purchases, then you can close few acconts.

      • vishal

        Closing card accounts is never a good idea. It can not do any good to your credit history. It can only reduce your scores as it may increase your utilization percentage.

        For example if you have 5 cards with 1k CL each and your balance is 2k which is 40% util (high but not alarming), now if you close 2 accounts, your util becomes 67% which will destroy your credit.

        "It might lower your score by few points": Can you please help us understand what it means? There was no way your score would drop by closing a account unless your util % went up because of it and if it was util, i wont get back.

  • Aastha

    hey guys.. can anyone plz help me out a little..

    i want to register for GRE and i need a credit card to make that payment which i dont can i register using an international debit card instead?? My dad has SBI gold card which is an international debit card…

    Please post a comment if anyone knows about this..thnx

  • Preetham

    @Vishal-Hey thanks a lot for the info buddy. So, let me summarise what you just said: The chances of indian debit/credit cards getting accepted there in the US are quite low, and even if they do accept, i will have to pay some extra 3% for international currency conversion,…. right?

    How about QNB??? Which is Qatar National Bank, as my parents reside in doha, i have cards from that bank too, which are also international cards.

    • HSB

      Preetham – International cards will work, but plan to use them nly for first couple of weeks or so.

      • vishal

        I agree with HSB totally with just 1 difference. Indian (or any intl cards) often create problem at gas stations and some online merchants.

  • kaustubh

    Can i use International Credit Card of ICICI bank which is on joint account of my father and I for few days in US after getting there?

    • HSB

      Just bring cash. You can use your card, but if you are willing to pay the international transaction fees. You should be able to open bank account within first few days.

      • vishal

        BofA will let you open a checking with them the day you land in the US and give you a temporary (fully usable) check card immediately.

        With all other banks you will need to wait till you get your SSN to open any account (there may be other banks which allow you checking account with no SSN, but I dont know of any except BofA).

        • Sajeewa Pemasinghe

          Chase Bank allows you to open checking accounts without an SSN. You will need your campus ID, I-20 and your passport. That's all. Their website is

  • chloe

    Today i typed in CHANGE UR TRANSFER MARK INTO AA GRADE AND THIS IS WHAT I GOT !!! thank u it really helped ~!

  • Ashutosh Kale

    I am an undergruate and it is generally tough for undergrads to receive credit card in US. As we have nil credit history one should concentrate on improving it by paying rent, electricity bills. As soon as you come to US get SSN as soon as possible.

    Good credit cards are Discover , Citi and Chase. However Discover generally is easier to get. Be sure you have done an oncapus job for 4-5 months before you apply for credit card.

    • vishal

      Your credit history doesn't build with utilities bills or rent or medical payments. All those can screw your history if you miss payments but never add anything positive. They don't show on your credit report at all.

      • HSB

        If you miss the payments, Utility billing company will report it to collection agencies. The collection agencies in return will report that 3 credit bureaus. Once this collection reports to the credit bureaus your credit score will drop about 100 points.

        • vishal

          This is exactly what i also said. You don't gain anything by paying your utilities on time, but if you miss them, they screw up your credit.

  • vishal

    Not a good article, uniformed. Written just based on thoughts, not facts.

    Whole lot of incorrect or incomplete info.


    Credit Card companies will run your credit report while issuing credit card. Several inquiries will lower your credit score and it will stay in your report for 7 years.

    TOTALLY INCORRECT. Inquiries stay on your report for 2 years and impact your score only for 1 year.

    If your university doesn’t have credit card, then apply for basic/student credit card at the bank where you have your account.

    Very bad idea, if you cant get a card easily thru university, you should try a local credit union. No bank will give you card.

    • HSB

      Thanks for correction. Post updated (+ info from FICO). Bank gives credit card for students with no credit history. If you ask around, number of students who received credit cards from bank will be much higher compared to than from credit unions. Reason being location of credit unions (not close to campus).
      If credit union is located close to your campus, then one can definitely open account there. Also, check where most of your roomates/friends have the bank account. It will help with fast/easy online money transfer.

      • vishal

        Thanks HSB.

        Can you also add that they must keep their utilization low (<10% if possible). If they need, they can pay multiple times a month. Utilization is a major key to FICO scores.

        • HSB

          Fair Isaac – "But as a general rule, you want to try to keep your utilization on any one card, and across all of your credit cards, below 50% to avoid the risk of hurting your FICO® score."
          NBC TODAY – "That ratio is best when it's about 40 to 50 percent."

          • vishal

            This section is from the fico article about growing card debit.

            The rule of thumb is that after 50% util you start losing a lot of score but <10% util gives you the highest fico score and also helps you get quality credit from prime lenders in future.

            I have tried this on my on CR and a jump from 5% to 40% util costed me a whole lot of score dip and when I got it back under 10% the next month, I got my score back.

            • HSB

              Two different things here..
              1) using above 50% and paying off entire balance when statement arrivess
              2) maintaining 50%+ balance regularly.

              option 2 is not good. How did you find your score every month, what service are you using?

              • vishal

                I use experian and keep a very strict eye on my credit (looking to buy a home towards the end of this year and am trying to squeeze in every single point to get the maximum points to get a great rate and have been studying about credit for this). In addition to this DCU provides me my Equifax FICO scores every month.

                I also signed up for fico service and the estimator shows a major change in scores with utilization from 5% to 50%.

                • HSB

                  Score above 740 to 760 is sufficient for the best rate. Did you check Citi Credit Monitoring?

  • Preetham


    I just wanted to know whether international cards are fine? i am currently residing in hyderabad and hence have an indian debit card on my name, a credit card under my dad's name and also aQNB card which is also under my name.Note, all these are international cards. So, is it perfectly fine if i use them for all my transactions rather than reapplying when i get there? Pls answer.


    • vishal

      No, its not fine. Many places will decline them.

      Gas stations need you to key in the zip code to use your card. Many online merchants ship only to addresses on file.

      • Ashutosh Kale


        Utilities like electricity bill are do reported by data furnishers to the Credit Beaureaus and missing them do affeects your history, but paying them on time do helps it. This is the case some have to keep a security deposit and some dont.

        • vishal

          Totally incorrect.

          Have you ever seen a credit report? No one can ever find out if you have a utility or not.

          Some have to keep a deposit because they have no credit history.

          Credit history knows positives only from:

          Mortgage (aka home loan)

          Auto loan

          Instalment loan

          Credit cards

          Store cards

          • an

            you got everything rite! You seem to be very well informed :)

    • MB

      1. Indian Debit cards don't work anywhere except India, Nepal Bhutan. The reason being they cannot be charged in USD/GBP or any other currency. If one store can charge in Rupees, then definitely they can be accepted everywhere but that's not the case.

      2. If we talk of credit cards, then yes they might work but you'd end up paying at least 2.5-3.5% over the amount charged as "Currency Conversion fee"

      • vishal

        Indian debit cards (international) do work here, I have used my axis bank card to draw money from BofA ATM. For all purposes, Intl debit cards are exactly same as credit cards.

        The key problem is that you can't use intl ones at gas stations as the pump machine will need you to key in your zip. Many online merchants may also decline them. In addition to this, most shops will keep asking you for ID when you use your Intl cards.