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Is there a credit card that rewards students for being financially responsible? No. There are five.

2 minute read

There’s no college course called “Intro to Not Screwing Up Your Life with Credit Cards.” So how do you learn to use this form of debt the right way? And can students earn while they learn? Which are the best credit cards for students?

Below are the top cards that reward good behavior, forgive bad behavior, and don’t charge an annual fee. In other words, these are the best credit cards for students…

1. Citi Forward for College Students

The perks: For each dollar you spend, you get one point in Citi’s ThankYou rewards program. Your ThankYou points can easily be redeemed online for gift cards, merchandise, and travel reservations. That’s fairly typical. This isn’t: Earn 100 more points for each month you pay on time and stay within your credit limit.  Furthermore, you can earn a .25 percent reduction in your interest rate each quarter you pay on time and stay within your credit limit, up to eight times total.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: Parents love this card because it rewards students for making on-time payments – which encourages their children’s responsible credit card use.

2. Journey Student Rewards (Capital One)

The perks: Receive 1 percent cash back on all purchases  – plus a 25-percent bonus on the cash back you earn each month when you make your payments on time.

Annual fee: None. And here’s an added bonus: No foreign transaction fees for a semester spent studying abroad.

Bottom line: A simple card with valuable rewards, especially for those who use their card responsibly. Also good for study abroad students.

3. The Discover It Card for Students

The basics: Earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases and 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 you spend each quarter at select categories of merchants. You also receive a waiver on your first late payment and never incur a penalty interest rate.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: Cardholders rave about Discover’s great customer service, and their forgiving student-friendly policies make this card a great first card.

4. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

The perks: Earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases, 2 percent at grocery stores, and 3 percent on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery and gas purchases each quarter. You can use mobile banking and text alert features to keep track of your accounts, and you even receive a 10 percent cash rewards bonus when you deposit your rewards into a checking or savings account at Bank of America.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: A great card for students who already hold an account with Bank of America. And if their parents do, too, they can link the accounts online for monitoring.

5. Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

The perks: Earn 3 percent cash back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months – and 1 percent cash back on all other transactions. Cash rewards are redeemed in $25 increments and can be automatically deposited into your Wells Fargo savings or checking account. You also get a cell phone protection plan that covers up to $600 in theft or damage to your iPhone, Android phone, or (ahem) Windows phone.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: Like the Bank of America card above, this is perfect for students who already bank at Wells Fargo.

Every Wednesday, researches the nation’s best credit card offers and shares the results in plain English. Unlike other sites, we don’t get paid to recommend any card. Please note that perks and fees can change on a moment’s notice and without warning. Got a credit card question? Email

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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

I'm one of the country's leading experts on credit cards and have been regularly syndicated by mainstream outlets such as MSN Money and Yahoo! Finance. I live in Denver, Colorado with my wife and two daughters, and we love to travel. We often fly first-class, not because I'm rich, but because I know how to acquire credit card miles in the most efficient way. Keep reading, and I'll teach you, too.

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