I should begin this post by reiterating my view that those without a source of income should not apply for a credit card — so if you’re a full-time college student with no income whatsoever, I would personally wait until you graduate and have a steady stream of income before getting into the credit game. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.
With that said, most college students (myself included back when I was in school) hold at least one part-time job, if not more. Here are two great credit cards for those who are a) responsible and b) have good credit. I think both of these are a good fit for a student’s lifestyle.
1. Citi Forward VISA — This cool looking credit card (it was designed by famous designer Karim Rashid) comes in three different “styles,” all of them featuring an intriguing wave pattern. It’s the perfect fit for students since it has no annual fee and it rewards responsible behaviour: when you stay under your credit line and pay on time 3 billing periods in a row, Citi will lower your effective purchase APR by 0.25%. You also earn 6,000 bonus points after spending just $250 on a new Citi Forward card within the first three months, another 2,500 bonus points when you enroll in paperless statements within the first three months — plus an additional 100 bonus points every billing period where you pay on time and stay below your credit line.
All those points add up, and it’s cool to see them incentivizing moderate/responsible use of a new card, instead of encouraging you to “max it out.” This way, you’ll develop good credit habits while in school, and can eventually branch out into a second card account down the road if you so desire (the initial credit line for a Forward card tends to be quite small).
2. Chase Freedom — This is a no-frills VISA cash back credit card which offers a full 1% cash back on everyday purchases, plus 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories such as gas, department stores, etc. The simple rewards structure is ideal for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, and if you use the published link located here to apply you will also receive $100 bonus cash back and 0% intro APR for the first six months on new purchases (and 12 months 0% intro APR on balance transfers). As with the Citi Forward card, there’s no annual fee.
View all of my favourite new credit card deals and offers over on Outlaw.
Disclosures: I used to review credit cards for a living. Also, my web site has a financial relationship with certain card issuers, including Chase — we participate in their affiliate program. No financial relationship or position on Visa Inc, Citi or any other firm mentioned in this story at time of publication.