The Discover it Chrome for students card, with its student-friendly rewards program and forgiving stance toward first-time late payments, won first place in the CreditCards.com Best Student Credit Cards of Summer 2017 contest. Click here for more information:
Cardholders earn 2 percent cash back at restaurants and gas stations and 1 percent back on everything else, and Discover matches all the first year’s cash back earnings. Discover it Chrome for students also offers a $20 annual cash bonus to students who earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher. It does not charge foreign transaction fees or a first-time late payment fee. In addition, Discover provides a helpful Credit Cards 101 online feature which answers many of the questions first-time card users have.
“Forgiveness and a little knowledge: Those are two things I could have used with my first credit card,” said CreditCards.com Editor-in-Chief Daniel P. Ray. “I got a free Mizzou hat, which when I failed to understand what credit cards really were, became the most expensive hat I ever wore.”
The Bank of America Cash Rewards card for students earned second place. Cardholders receive 3 percent back on gas, 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent on everything else. It also gives a $150 sign-up bonus to those who spend $500in the first three months after opening the account. Student-tailored credit tools include a free FICO credit score and an extensive collection of instructional videos.
The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa placed third. Students who have already built a good credit history can potentially earn an APR as low as 12.15 percent. In their first six months, cardholders earn a healthy 3 percent cash back on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases. Another notable feature is cellphone protection; the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa reimburses for damaged and stolen smartphones (up to $600 per occurrence and $1,200 per 12-month period as long as the card is used to pay the phone bills).
CreditCards.com evaluated some of the top-rated student credit cards and asked a panel of judges to rate the staff’s top three picks. The judges were personal finance expert Holly Johnson (clubthrifty.com), millennial money expert Stefanie O’Connell, personal finance journalist Lisa Gerstner, CreditCards.com Editor-in-Chief Daniel P. Ray and CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz.