Best Credit Cards for College Expenses

Best Credit Cards for College Expenses

April 29, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

LowCards is a Citi partner. These offers, valid when the article was written, may have expired. View our full editorial disclaimer here.

As temperatures cool and football returns, many young adults are starting or returning to college. As students flock back to school, many will need to purchase new books, dorm supplies, and other school products. If you do not have the cash to cover these hefty college expenses, you may need to pay for them using a credit card.

If you do use a card, college students will want to pay off this debt as soon as possible, since student credit cards often charge high interest rates. Some credit cards are better than others for covering college expenses.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

card image
While the Journey® Student Rewards card from Capital One® charges a high 26.74% (Variable) APR, it charges no annual fee and offers cash back rewards. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on purchases, which can increase to 1.25% cash back when the statement is paid on time. Additionally, Capital One offers the card to those with limited credit, so this credit card can be a good way for students to build their credit.

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

card image
The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card is a card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase with no cap. Students receive two ThankYou® Points for every dollar spent at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year in purchases, and then one point thereafter. All other transactions earn one point per dollar. There is also an early spend bonus: 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within three months of opening the account opening–that is redeemable for a $25 gift card at Cardholders receive 10% of their redeemed points back on the first 100,000 ThankYou® Points redeemed each year. In addition, there is a 0% APR for the first seven months on all purchases. This card has no annual fee. The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 25.99% (Variable) depending on your credit worthiness. This card is designed for students with good credit.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back credit card could be a good option if you do not have the money for college expenses at the moment, but you plan on having the money to cover the transactions in the near future. That’s because the Discover it card offers cardholders 0% APR for six months on purchases after opening the account. After that, interest rates increase to 14.74% to 23.74%. There are some other benefits to the card. Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year that your account is open, and pays 5% cash back on rotating categories. All purchases not covered in the rotating category still earn 1% cash back. Discover charges no annual fee for this card, and good students will earn a $20 statement credit every year they carry a 3.0 or higher GPA, for up to five years.

Final Thoughts

Whichever credit card best rewards your spending habits, you will want to only charge expenses that are absolutely necessary. Do not purchase items you do not need, simply because the credit card seems like an easy way to pay for things. You will eventually need to pay for these goods and could rack up massive interest fees if you are not careful. The decisions you are making as a young adult will follow you throughout your life, so it is important to learn to use your credit responsibly.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 29, 2019. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
Top Features : No annual fee; 0% intro APR on purchases for 7 months; only student card to round up rewards to nearest 10 points
Top Features : No annual fee; earn 1% cash back on all purchases; pay on time to boost your cash back to 1.25% for that month