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Building Credit Using A Student Card Rather Than A Secured Card

- Sep 13, 2022 Building Credit, credit2 comments

You can’t build credit without a credit card, but you can’t get approved for a credit card without credit. That is the building credit catch 22. The old school solution was applying first for a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, the bank asks you for a deposit that would cover just in case you default. This was a very common way consumers started building credit. But nowadays, there is a better way.

Student cards

In the last few years, banks have introduced new student cards.  A student card is a regular credit card (non-secured) but is designed for college students who are first starting to build credit. Banks like them because it serves as a great opportunity for them to catch the students early on, helping the banks build a comfortable place in students’ wallets. The banks hope that in the future, once the student gets older, he/she will expand their relationship with them.

Student cards are usually very easy to get approved for, even for newcomers to credit. Even though you do not have any positive accounts or any credit history, banks will approve you for their student product. You should, though, expect to get a low credit limit.  

Having a bank account with the bank will also increase your chances of getting approved for a student credit card, even without any credit.

Why Student cards?

What I like about student credit cards rather than secured credit cards, is the fact that you do not have to lock up any money. Also, a lot of the secured credit cards have an annual fee, while student credit cards are free most of the time.

Do you need to have a student letter to get a student card?

Some banks will require a letter from your college confirming that you are a student there in order to approve you for a student credit card. Discover always asks for the letter and Chase will also often ask for a student letter. If you can’t provide a student letter then I would recommend you apply for a Capital One student card as they don’t ask for any student letters.

The best student cards

I found the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One to be a very easy credit card for students to get approved for. It offers some basic perks like no foreign transaction fees, and more. If your able to provide a student letter then the Discover it Student (or apply for any Discover card and choose the option “Student” when you fill out the application) or the Chase Freedom Student (you must have a Chase bank account for at least 6 months in order to get approved) can both be great options.

Card Details
Welcome Bonus

This card is no longer available for new applicants.

Earn an unlimited match of all cash back earned within the first year, at the end of the year.

Intro 0% APR for 6 months on purchases (after that 18.24% to 27.24% variable).

This card is no longer available for new applicants.


– 5% cashback on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel
– 1% cashback on all purchases

– Plus, get bonus rewards when paying on time for a total of 1.25% on all purchases (bonus 0.25%)

– 5% cashback at rotating categories each quarter
– 1% cashback on all other purchases
– All cashback earned the first year is matched

– 1 points on all purchases

Foreign Transaction Fee

No foreign transaction fee.

No foreign transaction fee.


Get a $20 statement credit every school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher, for up to 5 years.

New! Receive a $10 Instacart statement credit each quarter plus a free Instacart+ membership for 3 months

Trip Cancellation Insurance

Coverage for canceled or interrupted travel due to an unforeseen medical emergency, etc. Max $1,500 per passenger and $6,000 per trip for non-refundable flight tickets.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Get up to $3,000 per person for lost or damaged luggage. Max $2,000 for NY residents.

Extended Warranty Protection

Get your original manufacturer's warranty time matched (up to a year). (Will only cover if the original warranty is for 3 years or less).

Purchase Protection

Get refunded if your purchase is damaged or stolen, up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Max $500 per claim, $50,000 per account.

Get refunded if your purchase is damaged or stolen, up to 120 days from the date of purchase. Max $500 per claim, $50,000 per account.

Anniversary Bonus Points

Receive $20 after every account anniversary if your accounts are in good standing, for up to 5 years.

Frequently asked questions
When opening a secured card, how big of a deposit should I give?
Give the minimum. The higher deposit you give the longer it will take for them to give it back

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Sam Sam has nearly a decade's worth of experience educating his many readers on everything credit. Sam spends his days checking out credit cards for a full report, from the minute benefit details to the shebang of welcome bonuses. Plus studying the ins and outs of building proper credit. It’s his favorite pastime and he loves sharing it with others.

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  1. Wich one do you recommend, the Wells Fargo, chase freedom or capital one for a student with no credit history at all?
    P.s. how do you prove that you’re a student?

    • In my experience, the Capital One Journey is the easiest to get approved for. You usually do not have to prove you are a student


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