December 17, 2023

Which Credit Cards are best for a Student with No Money?

Discover the top credit card options designed for students with limited funds. Explore cash-back rewards, no annual fees, and credit-building features. Find the best credit cards for students with no money and kickstart your financial journey responsibly.

For students navigating the complex world of personal finance, credit cards can be a helpful tool and a potential source of financial stress. While credit cards offer convenience and the opportunity to build a credit history, they also come with the risk of accumulating debt if not used responsibly. This is particularly true for students with limited income and still learning the ropes of financial management. 

But before we get into the topic, it is recommended to first read about Best Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit in detail by Bright Money!

This article will explore the best credit card options tailored for students with little to no money, focusing on key features such as low fees, accessible credit limits, and educational resources.

What Type of Credit Card is Suitable for a Student With No Money?

A good credit card should have no annual fees, a low APR, and cash back rewards for students with no money. Accessible credit limits, educational resources, and credit-building features are also valuable considerations.

1. Discover it Student Cash Back

  • No Annual Fee: The Discover it Student Cash Back card stands out for its absence of an annual fee, a crucial feature for students with limited funds. A survey found that 68% of students prioritize credit cards with no annual fees.

  • Cash Back Rewards: This card offers a cash back rewards program, allowing students to earn a percentage of their purchases back in cash.

  • Good Grade Reward: Encouraging academic success, the "Good Grade Reward" provides a $20 statement credit for each academic year a student maintains a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • Competitive APR: With a competitive Annual Percentage Rate (APR), this card provides a reasonable framework for students who may carry a balance.

  • User-Friendly Mobile App: The card comes with a user-friendly mobile app, enhancing the overall experience by giving easy access to account information and management tools.

2. Capital One Journey Student Rewards

  • Tailored for Limited Credit History: This card is specifically designed for students with a limited credit history, making it an accessible option.

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the Capital One Journey Student Rewards card eases the financial burden on students.

  • Cash Back Rewards: Students can earn cash back on every purchase, with the potential for rewards to increase for making on-time payments.

  • CreditWise Tools: Capital One provides CreditWise tools, allowing cardholders to monitor their credit score and gain insights into their financial health.

  • Protective Credit Limit: The lower credit limit serves as a protective measure, helping students avoid accumulating excessive debt.

3. Citi Rewards+ Student Card

  • Rounding-Up Feature: The card stands out with its unique feature of rounding up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase, providing additional rewards for everyday spending.

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the Citi Rewards+ Student Card is designed to be cost-effective for students.

  • Introductory 0% APR: The card offers an introductory 0% APR on expenses for the first seven months, providing a favorable environment for students with limited funds.

  • Regular APR Consideration: It's essential for users to be mindful of the regular APR that takes effect after the introductory period.

4. Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

  • Travel-Focused Rewards: Ideal for students with a passion for travel, this card offers unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.

  • No Annual Fee: The absence of annual fees makes it a cost-effective choice for students.

  • Flexible Point Redemption: The card provides flexibility in redeeming points for travel expenses, catering to students who want to explore the world on a budget.

  • Competitive APR: Responsible credit use is emphasized while enjoying travel benefits to avoid accruing interest charges.

5. Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

  • Cash Back Opportunities: The Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card offers cash back opportunities on purchases, providing financial benefits for students.

  • No Annual Fee: Aligning with student-friendly features, this card comes with no annual fees, making it a cost-effective choice.

  • Credit Education Tools: Chase provides educational resources to help students understand credit and build responsible financial habits.

  • Credit Limit Increase: Responsible use may lead to credit limit increases, providing students with more financial flexibility over time.

6. Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

  • Unique for International Students: Specifically designed for international students and those with limited or no credit history, this card offers an accessible entry into the world of credit.

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard provides a cost-effective solution for students.

  • Cash Back Rewards: Students can earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

  • Access to Amazon Prime Student: The card provides access to Amazon Prime Student for one year, catering to students who frequently shop online.

7. Citi Secured Mastercard

  • Build or Rebuild Credit: Geared towards students looking to build their credit, this card requires a security deposit. According to a study, 68% of college students view building credit as a top priority.

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the Citi Secured Mastercard provides a pathway to transition to an unsecured card with responsible use.

  • Responsible Credit Building: Students should view this card as a stepping stone toward establishing a positive credit history.

8. Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

  • Designed for Limited Credit History: This card is for students with limited or no credit history, offering an accessible option for students.

  • "Cash Back, No Fees" Approach: Petal 2 features no annual fees, late payment fees, or foreign transaction fees, aligning with a straightforward and transparent approach.

  • Innovative Creditworthiness Evaluation: The card uses an innovative approach to evaluate creditworthiness beyond the traditional credit score.

9. State Farm® Student Visa® Credit Card

  • No-Frills Credit Card: This card is suitable for students seeking a no-frills credit card with straightforward terms.

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the State Farm Student Visa Credit Card provides a simple and cost-effective option for students.

  • Low Variable APR: The card offers a low variable APR, ensuring financial flexibility for users.

10. Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card

  • Tailored for College Students: Specifically designed for college students with limited credit history, this card provides a tailored solution.

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is a budget-friendly option.

  • Cash Back Rewards: Students can earn cash back rewards on purchases.

  • Access to My Money Map Tool: The card provides access to Wells Fargo's My Money Map tool, aiding students in effectively tracking their spending and budgeting.


Choosing the best credit card as a student with limited funds requires careful consideration of fees, interest rates, and credit limits. The Discover it Student Cash Back, Capital One Journey Student Rewards, and Citi Rewards+ Student Card are among the top choices, offering features designed to support responsible credit use.

Furthermore, students should take advantage of educational resources credit card issuers provide, enroll in financial literacy courses, and use budgeting apps like the Bright Money App to develop strong financial habits. By combining the right credit card with a commitment to financial education, students can navigate the world of credit responsibly and lay the groundwork for a solid financial future.

Recommended Reads: What’s the Best Strategy to Pay Off Debt?

Top 19 Credit Cards to Boost Credit in 2023


1. What Should Students Look for in a Credit Card if They Have Limited Funds?

Students with limited funds should prioritize credit cards with no annual fees. Additionally, seeking cards with a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is crucial, as it reduces the cost of borrowing if they need to carry a balance. Cash back rewards and credit-building features are also beneficial for financial incentives and establishing a credit history.

2. How Can a Credit Card Help Students Build Credit When They Have No Money?

A credit card can help students build credit by establishing a positive payment history. Even small purchases contribute positively to their credit score when paid off on time. Look for credit cards that report to major credit bureaus, as this ensures that responsible credit use is reflected in their credit history.

3. Are There Credit Cards Specifically Designed for Students with No Money?

Yes, there are credit cards specifically designed for students with limited funds. These cards often have no annual fees, lower credit limits, and may come with features like cash back rewards or educational resources. Some cards also consider factors beyond traditional credit scores, making them accessible to students with no credit history.

4. How Important is it for Students with Limited Funds to Choose a Credit Card with Educational Resources?

Educational resources are essential for students with limited funds who are new to managing credit. Credit cards that offer educational tools can help students understand the basics of credit, budgeting, and financial responsibility. Access to such resources empowers students to make informed financial decisions.


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