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Best Credit Cards for College Graduates

Updated September 18, 2021
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Best Credit Cards for Graduates in September 2021

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Accepted Platinum
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Our Rating:
4 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
  • Intro Offer:
    • No current offer.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    0% Introductory APR.
  • Regular APR:
    None
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    None
  • Details:

    The Accepted Platinum Card is a special card for online shopping.

    The Accepted Platinum card offers fast, trackable and reliable roadside service.

    The Initial cost of membership in the Unique Card Services shopping club is $29.95. The continuing cost is $19.95 per months. The card's NSF check fee is $30 (fee for returned checks or debits, second NSF).

    The card's minimum monthly payment is 15% (of the account balance owed) or $25.00.

    The Accepted Platinum Card has no penalties for prepayment.

  • Pros:
    • No Foreign Transaction Fee
    • No Annual Fee
    • Introductory APR period.
  • Cons:
    • No rewards
    • No Intro APR period on balance transfer
  • Benefits:
    • $1,000.00 Credit Line;
    • No Credit Checks & No Credit Turndowns;
    • 24/7 Roadside Assistance;
    • Low Monthly Payments.
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First Access Visa® The Bank of Missouri
Apply now
Our Rating:
4.2 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
  • Intro Offer:
    • No current offer.
  • Annual Fee:
    $75 annual fee for first year. $48 from the second year.
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    None
  • Regular APR:
    34.99% Regular.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    None
  • Issuer name:
    The Bank of Missouri
  • Details:

    The First Access Card is a true VISA® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.

    The First Access Visa Card's APR: 34.99% (Regular APR).

    The First Access Visa Credit Card is not a secured credit card, meaning applicants don’t have to have the amount of their credit limit as a deposit.

  • Pros:
    • Available to those with bad credit
    • Reports to three major credit bureaus
    • Easy application
    • No security deposit
  • Cons:
    • High APR
    • Several fees
    • Low credit limit
    • No rewards
  • Benefits:
    • First Access Visa credit card accepted nationwide;
    • Rebuild your credit;
    • Easy and Secure Online Application.
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First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Synovus Bank
Apply now
Our Rating:
3.8 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.
  • Intro Offer:
    • No current offer.
  • Annual Fee:
    $49 annually.
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    None
  • Regular APR:
    9.99% Variable.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    None
  • Issuer name:
    Synovus Bank
  • Details:

    The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card is a secured credit card for people with a limited credit history.

    The First Progress Platinum Prestige doesn’t earn a welcome bonus. The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card charges the highest annual fee of the three cards at $49, but it offers the lowest APR, at 9.99% (Variable).

    First Progress reports to all three major credit agencies, so even if you have bad credit, you’ll be able to improve on your credit standing provided you use your card responsibly.

  • Pros:
    • Low APR for Purchases
    • No Minimum Credit Score Required
    • Reports to Three Major Credit Bureaus
    • Suitable Range of Credit Limit
  • Cons:
    • High Annual Fee
    • High Transaction Fees on Cash Advance
    • High Penalty Fees
    • No Bonuses or Rewards
    • Foreign Transaction Fees
    • Unavailability of Card for Certain Geographies in the US
  • Benefits:
    • Accepted Nationwide;
    • No Minimum Credit Score;
    • No Credit History Required.
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Evolve℠ Sallie Mae Bank
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Our Rating:
5 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
Good to Excellent (670-799)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 2% Cash Back on your two highest-spending eligible categories per month.
    • 1.5% Cash Back on everything else.
  • Intro Offer:
    • $200 Earn a $200 cash back reward after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    0% Introductory APR for 15 months from date of account opening.
  • Regular APR:
    12.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    12.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.
  • Issuer name:
    Sallie Mae Bank
  • Details:

    The Sallie Mae Evolve℠ card offers 2% Cash Back on your two highest-spending eligible categories per month and 1.5% Cash Back on all purchases. Plus, earn a $200 Cash Back reward after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

    The card offers 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months, then 12.99% - 24.99% (Variable APR).

    The Sallie Mae Evolve℠ card has no annual fee.

  • Pros:
    • No Annual Fee
    • 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cons:
    • Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Benefits:
    • $200 Cash Back reward;
    • 2% Cash Back;
    • 1.5% Cash Back on all purchases;
    • 25% on Сash Back rewards;
    • $0 liability;
    • Digital Wallets;
    • Cell Phone Protection.
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Discover Bank Discover it® Student chrome best for College

Discover it® Student chrome Discover Bank
Apply now
Our Rating:
4.12 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
No Credit History to Poor (0-579)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 2% Cash Back at gas stations and restaurants.
    • 1% Cash Back on all other purchases like books, groceries and college staples with the student Discover® card designed for your lifestyle in college and beyond.
  • Intro Offer:
    • Unlimited Cashback Match:
    • Match all Cash Back earned at the end of your first year.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    0% Intro APR for 6 months from date of account opening.
  • Regular APR:
    12,99% - 21,99% Variable.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    10,99% The APR for 6 months from date of first transfer. 12,99% - 21,99% Variable.
  • Issuer name:
    Discover Bank
  • Details:

    The Discover it Student chrome gives college and university students a way to establish a credit history.

    With no annual fee, this card is a convenient way to pay for those common purchases, where you’ll get 2% Cash Back rewards when you fuel up or go out to eat. That isn’t a whole lot compared to some other cards. But since Discover will double your rewards in the first year, that makes 4% back on those categories. Plus you’ll get 2% back on every other purchase in that first year, which is better than most cards. That’s pretty good for a card with no annual fee.

    Discover also forgives your first late fee if you fall behind on one payment. Paying late won’t raise your APR, and you won’t incur a fee if you happen to exceed your limit. After excusing that first late payment, the fee going forward is up to $40. Cash advance fees are either $10 or 5 percent of the amount, whichever is greater. Finally, balance transfers have a fee of 3 percent intro balance transfer fee, up to 5 percent fee on future balance transfers, with a 10.99 percent APR balance transfer offer for the first six months. After that the variable APR of 12.99 percent to 21.99 percent applies.

    There are some handy perks for students, like a good grades statement credit and the ability to monitor one of your FICO credit scores. The interest rates and fees are quite favorable too, good for first-time cardholders.

    Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.

    You'll also get $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.

  • Pros:
    • Good Grade Reward
    • Unlimited Cashback Match
    • 0% Intro APR
    • No Annual Fee
  • Cons:
    • There are earning caps on some categories
    • Less coverage outside of the U.S
  • Benefits:
    • 2% Cash Back at gas stations and restaurants;
    • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases;
    • Unlimited Cashback Match;
    • $20 statement credit each school year;
    • FICO credit score;
    • $0 Fraud Liability.
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Capital One Journey Student Credit Card best for Without SSN

Journey Student Credit Card Capital One
Apply now
Our Rating:
4.23 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
Fair (580-669)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • $60 Streaming Subscription Credit.
    • 1% Earn 1% Cash Back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your Cash Back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
  • Intro Offer:
    • No current offer.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    None
  • Regular APR:
    22.99% Variable.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    22.99% Variable.
  • Issuer name:
    Capital One
  • Details:

    Earn rewards today with Journey Student Credit Card. Build credit history for tomorrow with responsible use.

  • Pros:
    • Rewards program with bonus points
    • No annual fee
    • Automatic credit limit increase reviews
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Reports to three major credit bureaus
  • Cons:
    • High APR
    • No bonus categories
  • Benefits:
    • 1% Cash Back on every purchase;
    • 1.25% extra Cash Back;
    • $60 Streaming Subscription Credit;
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees;
    • ATM Location Services;
    • Emergency Card Replacement;
    • Travel rewards cards;
    • Fraud Coverage.
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Celtic Bank Deserve® EDU Mastercard best for Cash Back, Low Interest, Without SSN, Student

Deserve® EDU Mastercard Celtic Bank
Apply now
Our Rating:
1.78 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
Fair to Excellent (580-799)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you'll automatically start earning Cash Back on all purchases.
  • Intro Offer:
    • No current offer.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    None
  • Regular APR:
    18.74% Variable.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    None
  • Issuer name:
    Celtic Bank
  • Details:

    The Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students makes it easy for students to start building credit.

    The card's APR is 18.74% (Variable APR). The late payment is up to $25, while the returned payment is up to $37. Balance transfers and cash advances are not available.

    Students who make purchases totaling $500 within the first three statement cycles of card membership qualify to have their Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursed (a $59 value).

    Students spend a significant amount on school supplies, textbooks and gear each year, and the Deserve EDU Mastercard can earn Cash Back on all of these purchases.

  • Pros:
    • No prior credit history required
    • No SSN Required
    • No Annual Fee
    • No Foreign Transactions Fees
    • No Co-Signer/ Deposit Required
  • Cons:
    • Relatively High APR
    • Fairly Low Rewards
    • Only for Students
  • Benefits:
    • Cellphone Protection;
    • Collision Damage Waiver;
    • Concierge Service;
    • No International Transaction Fees;
    • Priority Pass™ Membership;
    • Mastercard Benefits;
    • No Social Security Number required for international students to apply.
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Discover Bank Discover it® Student Cash Back best for Student

Discover it® Student Cash Back Discover Bank
Apply now
Our Rating:
5 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
No Credit History to Fair (0-669)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • $20 Earn statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next five years.
    • 5% Cash Back on everyday purchases during the school year (and all year long) at different places each quarter, such as Amazon, Grocery stores, Restaurants, Gas stations.
    • 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.
  • Intro Offer:
    • 2x Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    0% Intro APR for 6 months from date of account opening.
  • Regular APR:
    12,99% - 21,99% Variable.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    10,99% The APR for 6 months from date of first transfer. 12,99% - 21,99% Variable.
  • Issuer name:
    Discover Bank
  • Details:

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back card gives you 5% Cash Back on everyday purchases during the school year (and all year long) at different places each quarter and 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. With Cashback Match, get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the Cash Back you've earned at the end of your first year.

    The card gives a $20 statement credit each year if you maintain a 3.0 GPA, free access to your FICO score, and an annual fee of $0.

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers 0% Intro purchase APR and 12.99% to 21.99% variable APR (after 6 months).

  • Pros:
    • High rewards on rotating spending categories
    • Double rewards in the first year
    • Good grades rewards
    • Intro 0% APR for on purchases
    • Low approval requirements for a card
    • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cons:
    • Spending categories rotate every quarter
    • Manual activation of spending categories
    • Limited international acceptance
    • Not available for international students
  • Benefits:
    • Good Grades Reward;
    • Free access to FICO score;
    • Designed just for students;
    • $20 Statement credit;
    • 5% Cash Back on everyday purchases, 1% Cash Back on all other purchases;
    • 24/7 U.S.-based customer service.
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Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students best for 18 year old

Cash Rewards for Students Bank of America
Apply now
Our Rating:
5 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
Good to Excellent (670-799)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 3% Cash Back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings.
    • 2% Cash Back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.
    • 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.
  • Intro Offer:
    • $200 Online $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    0% Introductory APR for the first 15 Statement Closing Dates following the opening of your account.
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.
  • Issuer name:
    Bank of America
  • Details:

    The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students is ideal for students who want to earn cash rewards on everyday purchases, and without paying an annual fee.

    The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers 3% Сash Back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings.

    You’ll also earn 2% Cash Back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. The card also gives you the chance to earn 25% to 75% more rewards if you’re a Preferred Rewards client with the bank.

    You can redeem your rewards for Cash Back in any amount as statement credits made to your credit card account, for a deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or into an eligible account with Merrill, such as a 529 college savings account.

    Once you’re approved for an account, you’ll earn $200 cash rewards after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. Cardholders also get the chance to benefit from a 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles (variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent thereafter).

    If you do decide to transfer a balance, you should know that a 3 percent (minimum $10) balance transfer fee will apply. Other fees to be aware of include: Cash advance fee: 3 percent (minimum $10); Late payment fee: $40; Return payment fee: $29.

  • Pros:
    • $0 annual fee
    • 0% intro APR
    • Rewards for every purchase
    • Intro cash rewards bonus offer
    • Rewards don’t expire
  • Cons:
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Cap on 3% and 2% rewards categories
    • No travel perks
  • Benefits:
    • 3% Cash Back in the eligible category of your choice;
    • 2% Cash Back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs;
    • 1% Cash Back on all other purchases;
    • $200 online cash rewards bonus;
    • FICO® Score;
    • Digital Wallet Technology;
    • $0 Liability Guarantee;
    • Overdraft Protection.
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Freedom® Student Chase
Apply now
Our Rating:
4.24 out of 5
scorer
Recommended credit score
Good to Excellent (670-799)
  • Rewards Rate:
    • 1% Cash Back on all purchases.
  • Intro Offer:
    • $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee:
    None
  • Purchase Intro APR:
    None
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% Variable.
  • Balance Transfer APR:
    14.99% Variable.
  • Issuer name:
    Chase
  • Details:

    The Chase Freedom® Student credit card offers $50 bonus (within the first 3 months from account opening) and $20 Good Standing Rewards (after each account anniversary for up to 5 years). Plus, earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases.

    There is no minimum to redeem for Cash Back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts.

    The Chase Freedom® Student credit card has no annual fee. The card's APR is 14.99% (Variable), 29.99% (Penalty APR).

    If you travel outside of the United States, pay attention to foreign transaction fees. The Chase Freedom® Student card charges 3% on every purchase you make outside of the country.

  • Pros:
    • No Annual Fee
    • Simple rewards program
  • Cons:
    • Foreign Transaction Fee
    • No intro APR on purchases and balance transfer
  • Benefits:
    • $50 Intro Bonus;
    • $20 Good Standing Rewards;
    • 1% Cash Back on all purchases;
    • Zero Liability Protection;
    • Extended Warranty Protection;
    • Gift cards;
    • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance.
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