It's great to live in the future. When I was a student, I had to remember to march down to my post office box, pick up my bill, write out a check, buy a stamp and send my payment back to the bank. Every month. Today, just about every major credit card issuer offers secure online banking services that include automatic deduction from a linked checking account.
Student credit cards have come a long way in the past few years, too. The best student credit card offers make it hard to miss your monthly payment, using a variety of text and email alerts to ensure that you've got enough cash in the bank when it's time for your payment to clear. Check out some of our editorial team's favorite options for building credit while in college:
Discover it® for Students. Discover's entry into the student loan market gave the company tremendous insight into how college kids save and spend. That knowledge informs their line of student credit cards. Account holders enjoy a 6-month zero percent introductory APR on purchases, followed by a middle-of-the-road APR that's way better than what most issuers offer recent college graduates.
Journey℠ Student Rewards from Capital One®. Like Discover, Capital One looks way beyond your credit report when deciding whether to extend an account. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, this card becomes especially useful if you're planning a study abroad semester before your graduation. Along with a 1-percent cash-back rebate on all purchases, you'll earn a bonus reward on the cash back you earn each month for each month you pay your bill on time.
Both of these cards offer "set it and forget it" account management options that mean you won't wreck your financial future if a final exam distracts you from your bill payment chores. Just be careful to avoid carrying a big balance. Like all cash back reward cards, these two accounts carry double-digit interest rates that can rack up serious finance charges when you're not looking.
Better still, if you can carry a balance of just 1 percent on your new credit card, you'll have the best shot at growing your credit score. That way, you'll graduate with less debt and lower interest rates than many of your peers.