While over a third of Americans have a four-year degree, less than 15% of those over 25 ever receive their master’s or doctoral degree. Just by being a graduate student, you’ve already placed yourself in an elite group. But being a graduate student might not actually feel so elite. Grad students are known for working hard and studying incredibly long hours, while scraping by on a shoestring budget.
When it comes to choosing a credit card, graduate students need to find simple cards that offer outstanding value while they finish their studies. And since nearly all graduate students are at least 21 years old, they don’t have to worry about any of the restrictions imposed on other young adult students that are 18-21.
There is a class of credit cards specifically designed for students, which can make sense for some graduate students. These cards have have less stringent requirements for approval, but will also have less competitive terms. If you are a graduate student without much experience using credit cards, then this is a great way to build your credit history.
Discover it® Student Cash Back. This card offers grad students both rewards and customer friendly policies. You get 5% cash back rewards on up to $1,500 spent each quarter on purchases from featured categories of merchants that can change each quarter - 1% cash back is earned on all other purchases. And after one year, Discover® will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of the year, automatically.
This card also offers you $20 cash back for each school year that your GPA is a 3.0 or higher, for the next 5 years. Other benefits include purchase protection, extended product warranty, and price protection. There’s no annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees. Also, Discover® will automatically waive your first late payment fee, and there’s no penalty interest rate.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One. This card also offers graduate students cash back rewards, while sparing them some of the fees found on other cards. You receive 1% cash back on all purchases, and Capital One increases it to 1.25% when you make your payments on time. This card offers most new applicants a modest line of credit at first, but will give you access to a higher line of credit if you make your first five payments on time.
Benefits include extended warranty coverage and 24-hour travel assistance services. There’s no annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
Other Great Credit Cards For Grad Students
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. This card offers grad students cash back where they need it most. It features 3% cash back on up to $6,000 spent each year at U.S. grocery stores, and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. You earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. It also includes benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. There’s no annual fee for this card.
Citi Double Cash. For grad students who want the simplest way to earn cash back, the Citi Double Cash Card comes through. It offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% cash back. It also includes 18 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. There’s no annual fee for this card.
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