At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
A free student credit card generally means there are no annual or monthly fees associated with the card. In some cases, a free student credit card also offers other perks such as low annual percentage rates (APR), rewards and other perks as well as incentives to pay on time. You can choose the best one by comparing these factors and the respective perks offered by each credit card. Students who already have good credit or whose parents are co-signers for the credit card are most likely to get the best deals.
Many students are too young to have a credit history. A good free student credit card typically will not require you to have a credit history. If you have poor credit, however, it will make it more difficult for you to find a free student credit card. You might have a low credit score if you bought a car but were frequently late with the payments, for example.
The best free student credit card will also have an APR, also known as an interest rate, of zero percent. Sometimes this rate will apply only for a limited time. The card’s regular APR depends on a number of factors, including your credit rating.
Look for a free student credit card that offers perks and other incentives. These rewards typically accumulate each time you use the card. Airline rewards, for example, often work by awarding a certain number of free miles or kilometers for each purchase made. The incentives offered by credit cards can be used toward things such as buying airline tickets, paying for hotel rooms or renting vehicles.
When you choose your free student credit card, make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions. Often, a credit card company must give you only a 30-day notice to raise the rate or make other changes to your account. If you do not pay your credit card bill on time, the credit card company can cancel your account or demand payment on the entire balance, in some cases.
Your free student credit card might require a co-signer, which usually will be a parent. There are pros and cons to having a co-signer for a free student credit card. The convenience of having the card is a plus, but if the account is not handled properly, it can negatively affect the credit of both the student and the co-signer.
Be sure to impose some of your own rules for the credit card. Until you are sure that you can manage the money, keep a low limit on the card. Try to use the card primarily for emergency or unexpected expenses, unless you are certain that you can pay off the balance every month. Be aware that there usually are overdraft charges for exceeding the credit limit or late fees for not paying on time.