The best credit cards for college students

Getting a credit card when you’re a student might sound like a bad idea because you’re already in hock to the government for fees and other expenses like your rent and food are being covered by your student loan, but you need flexibility to cover costs when there’s no money. We’ll tell you which provider offers the best credit cards for college students so you can make an informed decision.
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Personal circumstances

The best credit card for you isn’t necessarily the best one for your roommate because personal circumstances and your credit rating play such an important part. A quick look at a comparison site like money.co.uk will show you that credit cards for students can offer anything from 12% APR to 30% plus APR. The interest free period is normally around the 50 days mark and maximum credit tends to be measured in hundreds of pounds rather than thousands, but there’s no telling what the credit card firm will offer you.


Your first port of call has to be your bank. If you haven’t already, change your current account to a student account and then discuss credit with them. A student account will normally come with a nominal overdraft amount and it’ll give you access to a student credit card.

Other lenders

Aside from high street banks like NatWest, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC, you might find a great deal with Aquis, Capital One, Halifax or Aqua. The major supermarkets haven’t got in on the act in the same way as other lenders. As these cards like to attract the card holder by offer incentives when they shop in-store, and as students are traditionally poor maybe the major supermarkets will never see a market in student credit cards.


HSBC are one of the major banks offering incentives to get your signature. Their card offers holiday discounts and 24 hour worldwide assistance so international students should look towards HSBC. NatWest’s card is offered only as a companion to their student bank account. A maximum £500 limit is imposed here but there are no incentives attached to the card because NatWest has loaded them onto the student account you’ll need to open before you’ll be offered the card.

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