Student Credit Cards

Student credit cards can help you achieve your financial goals and manage your expenses while you’re studying. Compare and find the right student credit card for you.

A student credit card can help you manage your finances while you’re studying for your degree. Designed for students who are 18 and older, you can compare cards for almost every lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to cut costs with no annual fee or low interest rate, need to consolidate a debt with a promotional balance transfer, or have your eye on extra features such as complimentary covers, you can find a student credit card for you. These cards generally come with lower credit limit to help keep your spending in check.

If you need to fork out for text books, school supplies and tuition fees, compare the student credit cards available below to find the right credit card for you.

ME Bank frank Credit Card

Student Credit Card Offer

The ME Bank frank credit card is a great card option for students. It offers a low ongoing interest rate on purchases and cash advances. No annual fee to pay.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • 9.99% p.a. on purchases
  • Cash Advance Rate of 9.99% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum Income Requirement of $25,000 p.a.

Student Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated August 27th, 2016.

Citi Simplicity Card

11.99% for 24 months if you apply and are approved by until 31 March 2017

April 5th, 2016

ANZ First Student Card

Minimum income requirement has been updated from $6,000 to $15,000.

July 27th, 2016

ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer

0% p.a. for 3 months on purchases and 0% for 12 months on balance transfers.

August 1st, 2016

View latest updates

Jonathan Choi Jonathan
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
ME Bank frank Credit Card
A great credit card option for students. No annual fee and a low interest rate on purchases.
9.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Enjoy 0% p.a. for the first 12 months on balance transfers, plus 0% p.a. for the first 3 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 12 months $30 p.a. Go to site More info
Coles Low Rate MasterCard
A low rate MasterCard with a competitive rate on purchases and a low annual fee.
9.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $49 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Student Card
Student credit card with no annual fee for the first year and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
19.74% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Low Rate
A low rate credit card with introductory offer on balance transfers.
13.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee $58 p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Student Credit Card
A card designed for full-time tertiary students, enjoy $0 annual fee for the first year with a low credit limit and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
20.45% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Citi Clear Platinum Card
A low rate platinum credit card with a low interest rate on purchases and balance transfers.
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 14.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 9 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Simplicity Card
Enjoy up to 55 interest-free days and a low interest rate on purchases plus enjoy free bottles of wine from Citibank Dining Program. Offer ends on 31 March 2017.
11.99% p.a. for 24 months (reverts to 19.99% p.a.) $0 p.a. Go to site More info

The Best* Student Credit Cards Comparison

Compare the features of the student credit cards below.

Credit Card
Feature
A credit card for university students and you’ll pay no annual fee for the first year
A $0 annual fee card for the first year designed for tertiary students.
Get a 0% p.a. balance transfer for up to 6 months with the student credit card
This $0 annual fee credit card offers a low purchase rate and access to the CItibank Dining program


Student credit cards review

  • Weigh your options carefully and choose which gives you the most advantage. In Australia, there’s a variety of student credit cards to choose from. Compare features thoroughly before making a decision.
  • Check on additional fees. Read the fine print at all times and carefully analyse other fees associated with your card for spending beyond your limit, late payments, etc.
  • Stay within your budget. As a student, your income can be limited to your part-time job or to an allowance sent by your parents. Don’t go beyond your limit and spend within your means.
  • Compare rates. Some cards are advertised with low fees or a low rate, but closely compare the ongoing rates offered by a number of cards to get a clear idea of how much you will have to pay.
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A guide to student credit cards

Student cards are issued as both debit and credit cards, and you will only be issued a card if you are a verifiable student. A debit card is a great option for you as a student as you are limited to spending the money you already own. Using a debit card prevents you from developing the bad habit of accumulating debt as you could easily do with a credit card.

Guide to Student Credit Cards

What is a student card?

Student credit cards provide you with a low revolving balance, a low monthly repayment amount and a low interest rate. Managing a student credit card should be within your reach given that the repayment amounts are kept small and also because the low credit limit prevents accumulation of a large debt.

The following points are the essential details for you to understand before applying:

  • Having a student credit card allows you the benefits of meeting your expenses without the added burden of quickly going into debt. The credit card limits and the interest rate are purposely low to prevent that from happening.
  • Using the student credit card wisely will allow you to build a good credit history. This can done by not maxing out the credit limit and repaying the balance when required. This will help establish your financial responsibility and will show your bank that you are managing your debt and not living off your credit card.
  • Developing a good credit record in this way will cause other credit card companies to take note and may extend to you credit cards with greater balances and higher interest rates. It may be a temptation for some students to accept additional credit cards offers and then start to accumulate unnecessary debt spread over a number of different cards.
  • If you do not properly manage even a low credit limit credit card with a low interest rate, you can quickly accumulate debt. Using student credit cards over the period of your education in a disorganised way will result in a financial disaster as you max out your card and interest payments on the unpaid balances.

Should you select a student debit card or a student credit card?

The essential difference between a student debit card and a student credit card is that when you use a debit card you are using money that you already have. This money can be used for the purchase of anything, just as a credit card but there is no chance that you will overspend and get yourself seriously in debt.

With a credit card however, your spending involves using other people’s money or money you do not have. There is a much greater risk here of spending excessively and getting yourself seriously into debt. For this reason, it’s a lot safer to use a debit card. Many people use credit cards to cover sudden unexpected emergencies, but better planning for these events involves saving over time.

About debit cards


Before making a student credit card application look at the following:

  • Skip rewards for now Most student credit cards won’t come with a reward system because of their competitive interest rates and annual fee. The main point of the card is so students can learn how to use a credit card and manage their money, and this can be done without the motivation of rewards and points.
  • A student credit card Being offered from your existing bank may not be the ideal card for you. Check around at other places as well to see what’s in the market.
  • Be smart about your use of the card Set up a budget before getting a card and make sure you work it to your advantage. Aim to pay back the balance in full every statement period.
  • Check what any additional fees are on a cardLate payment fees, over limit fees and also what the grace period is as this differs from card to card
  • Don’t fall for the ‘sales hype’ When choosing your card as that is only instant gratification, it is the long term cost of the card which will be the real advantage or disadvantage.

How does a student credit card work?

A student credit card is designed to help students, especially those who will be studying away from home, with their financial needs. Your parents will save time in sending your allowance weekly or monthly and you can have an immediate access to funds in case emergency situations arise. This is a great way to help students establish their credit history and stay above their finances.

Student credit cards work in the same way as regular credit cards, though they usually come with a lower credit limit. Most card companies offer waived annual fees for students and a lower annual percentage rate (APR).

A student credit card can be an effective account management tool for students as you can pay your bills, shop online and buy school supplies. Some student credit cards offer cash rebates on groceries and other purchases, as well as rewards and incentives to encourage spending.

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Tips for using your student credit card

Simple tips to control your student credit cards

  • Make a commitment to use your credit card only on items that are essential. That is needs rather than wants. It can be a good idea to leave the card at home then go back the next day if you still really have a dire need to own the item. This strategy usually stops impulse spending which will run up a credit card in no time.
  • Try to pay cash for all your everyday spending, especially for entertainment. If you don’t have your card on you, you won’t be tempted to spend more than you should. Credit card spends still have to be paid back and if they are not paid on time you will incur fees, and if not fully paid you will have interest to pay on unpaid balances.
  • Have a written monthly budget then break that down to a weekly budget. That way if you spend too much one week you know you will only have to wait until the next week before you can spend again. The same with paying off your credit card. Do it in small frequent payments and you won’t miss it. This is a great strategy that gets the minimum payment done each month. If your expenses outweigh your income you need to realise that a credit card is not the way to make up the difference. Either increasing your income or lowering your expenses is the only way that you can solve this problem without causing further problems at a later date.
  • Try to save a portion of your income in an emergency account. It is usually suggested that 10% is a good figure to put aside each pay. If you can’t make 10% try and make 5% because this will be so helpful should you fall sick or have an accident.
  • When setting up a budget, make sure you have some money in there for self-indulgence. Too tight a budget means that you will probably splurge at some stage and put yourself in an undesirable financial situation.

Avoid using your credit card if the cost is not in your budget

  • You will not have the money to pay it off in full during the next billing cycle. It is possible to pay part cash and part credit.
  • You are spending on a want instead of a need. There is a big difference here and it is often this spending which will blow out your credit card balance.
  • If you are doubling up on items or services just for the sake of convenience. For example, you may have a great student discount on food at your campus, but you can’t be bothered going back for a meal so you buy a meal on credit card off campus.

Student Budgeting


Managing your finances responsibly with a student card

There are several pointers you can follow to help manage your student credit card responsibly.

    • Set your financial goals and realise that you cannot have everything you want right now. You should realise that you will only achieve your larger goals later in life by slowly accumulating a savings fund today for those things. This savings should be added to from every source of funds you acquire. You may decide to deduct 10% or 15% of all money you receive and contribute that to your savings. This should provide some motivation for you to stay clear of debt and to save consistently towards your larger goals. When you discipline yourself this way with your money, it becomes less likely that you will be frivolous with your money and spend it needlessly.

About high interest savings accounts

  • Create a budget for yourself, but be realistic and allow for recreational spending without spending money needlessly. Attempt to live within your means, and only purchase those items that are necessary and that you can afford to pay for when the credit card bill becomes due at the end of the month. Resist the temptation to spend using your student credit card because of the ease of just swiping the plastic to get impulse purchases.
  • Consider emergency situations that may come up and require an outlay of money. Rather than rely on the use of a credit card in such situations, set aside some money to help cope with it. This will prevent you going into debt when an emergency arises. You may already be experiencing stress over the situation, and to have to deal with going into credit card debt to handle the situation, only adds to the emotional trauma you may be feeling.
Student credit card tip

As much as possible, limit your use of your credit card and stay on a cash basis when making purchases. In this way you will only spend cash amounts you have set aside for your purchases and will not create unnecessary debt for yourself.

  • Develop the good habit of paying off your credit card balance in full at the end of each month. This will quickly build your credit rating and will give you a sense of accomplishment in managing your student credit card responsibly. This habit will carry you forward into your adult life beyond college. Developing these good habits will allow you to live your dream life even though you may not have a great deal of money. Your good credit rating will become your way of achieving and getting the things you desire for your life. But those habits must be learned now and practiced consistently and persistently.

Be aware of repayment failure consequences

It is difficult for many students to completely understand interest rates. They need to be sure to always pay the full balance on their accounts and they need to understand that if they only make minimum payments, the interest is going to significantly increase their total debt. A majority of students have no idea that when they do not pay off their balance every time, interest keeps accumulating, and they can run the risk of the lender increasing that interest rate. Also, the chance of going over the allowed spending limit increases and their spending power will decrease. If students and/or parents need help understanding the proper usage of a student credit card, there are many resources online and at schools, local libraries, and credit centres everywhere.

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What happens when payments are missed?

Not making payments on your student credit card will cause your debt to increase very quickly. This is because interest will continue to accrue above the interest and before long you will quickly exceed your limit. This will incur over the limit fees and your bank may even increase your interest rate, which will further compound your debt. Credit lenders will take note that you are accumulating debt and will raise your interest rate based solely on that irresponsible financial behaviour.

Think about your credit history

This situation will cause harm to your credit rating and prevent you from getting additional credit later. Even if you are approved for credit later for a car or for a home loan, you will be charged a much higher rate of interest due to your impaired credit report.

When your credit becomes impaired it is not the end of the world. Bad credit can be repaired by careful planning and working with your creditors to negotiate a repayment plan you will be able to manage to bring your credit back on track. The last thing you should do is not contact your creditors when you feel you are getting over your head in debt.

Creditors have a vested interest in your meeting your financial obligations and they will work with you and help you to pay off your debt. There are several ways they can structure a repayment plan, one of which may involve temporarily reducing your interest rate and also reducing your monthly payment amount.

Healing an impaired credit score now while you are a student will go a long way towards making you financially responsible as an adult. A bad credit score shows that you are a credit risk and lenders will be hesitant to offer you credit in the future. If credit is extended to you with a bad credit score, you will be charged much higher interest rates and fees than a person with a good credit rating.

Credit Rating, Credit Limit and Credit Repair Guide


Dangers of student credit cards

Drawbacks of student credit cards

As a student you will generally have little income and no credit history, that is why you will be asked for requirements that are not commonly asked in applications for other traditional credit cards. Here are some of the drawbacks of student credit cards:

Draw backs and traps of Student Credit Cards

  • Enrolment in an accredited school. Before you will be able to apply for a student credit card, you must be enrolled in an accredited school and should be a full time student. Normally you need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, be over the age of 18 and have a steady stream of income. This could be a part-time job, or a casual job with regular shifts.
  • You may need a co-signer. You may need a co-signer, usually your parent or your guardian, who will be responsible for paying your debts in case you’re unable to do it.

You have the choice whether to apply for a student credit card or not. You need to know how much you’ll need and you also have to weigh-up whether the high interest would justify owning your own credit card or if it would be better to have a supplementary credit card from your parents or guardian. Prior to applying for a credit card, you might also want to compare the features first because different financial institutions offer different features. Credit cards for students do provide a lot of financial freedom for any student, but know the drawbacks first before applying for one.

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Types of credit cards designed for students

  • Low-rate cards. These student credit cards offer a low interest rate on ongoing purchases and up to 55 days interest-free.
  • Rewards cards. Earn rewards every time you use your card, either in terms of cashback offers or reward points.
  • Balance transfer cards. These student credit cards allow a balance transfer at a low interest rate, often 0%.
  • Introductory rate offer. Lower interest rates can be part of your credit card’s introductory offer, while another common promotional offer is a waived annual fee for the first year. Make sure you are aware how long the offer lasts so you can take advantage of it.
  • No-annual-fee cards. Some student credit cards are offered without annual fees as long as you are enrolled as a student in an accredited school or university. This can help you save a significant sum of money but still lets you use your card for purchases.
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Features of these credit cards

  • Fraud protection. Student credit cards enjoy the same security and protection in case of unauthorised usage as other credit cards, provided that there is no contributing negligence on your part and you have informed the bank promptly of any loss.
  • Low interest rate on balance transfers. Some student credit cards offer no interest on balance transfers for up to 12 months so you can take advantage of the interest-free period to pay off your balance. Remember, these are for a specific period so don’t wait until the offer expires. Others offer a competitive rate on balance transfers so you can easily get rid of your debt.
  • Interest-free period. Enjoy an interest-free period of up to 55 days from the start of your statement cycle. This can carried on if you pay your balance in full every statement period.
  • Competitive interest rate on ongoing purchases. Most student credit cards either offer a low interest rate on purchases.
  • Make contactless payments. With Visa PayWave or Mastercard PayPass, you can make contactless payments for minimal purchases so you can save time when you are in a hurry.

How to apply for a student credit card

What to look for when applying

When selecting a student credit card apply for those which provide balance transfers from other branded credit cards and provide a good introductory interest rate, those with low interest rates, those with no annual fees and those that supply security features which may provide a good benefit to you.

When applying for a student credit card, do your due diligence and properly research the many card offerings on the market. Compare the interest rates of the cards available to you and read all the fine print regarding your rights and responsibilities as a cardholder. Establish that you meet all the eligibility requirements and then apply to the card of your choice.

If you have decided to get a student credit card, it’s wise to compare the various options carefully. Once you’ve found the right card for you, click ‘Apply Now’ to begin the application process.

To be eligible for a student credit card, take note of the following requirements and be sure you meet them:

  • Age. You need to be over 18 years of age in order to apply for a student credit card.
  • Australian citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Enrolled in an accredited school or university.
  • Co-signer. You may need to provide a co-signer who can either be your parent or guardian. The co-signer will then be responsible for your debt in case of default.
  • Savings account. You must have a savings account with the bank with which you apply for student credit card.

A student credit card can give you the power to manage your expenses and is a handy financial aid, especially when emergency situations arise. If a student credit card sounds like the solution to your financial problems, apply for one today.

Student Debit Cards

Photo thanks to Alexander Redmon from Texas, US.

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Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes
American Express Essential Credit Card
American Express Essential Credit Card

Interest rate

14.99

Annual fee

0
More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
ME Bank frank Credit Card

Interest rate

9.99

Annual fee

0
More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

149
More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer

Interest rate

19.74

Annual fee

30
More info
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24 Responses to Student Credit Cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    Ursula | April 19, 2016

    My daughter has already a Debit Card from ANZ.

    Is it possible to apply for a Credit Card as well?
    But I want a VISA Credit Card which automatically debits and does not accumulate credits. A VISA credit card is easier to get around aka Uber, etc.

    Is it possible for an international Student with a Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573), if her regular incomes from overseas will be provided by her parents?

    If yes, can we apply at any ANZ bank in town?
    Thank you

    • Staff
      Anndy | April 19, 2016

      Hi Ursula, thanks for your inquiry,

      Please note that finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service and is not ANZ.

      The only temporary resident applications ANZ will consider for a credit card are those that are valid for 4 years or longer. You may want to check your other options here.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    Omar | November 5, 2015

    Just interested in student card to continue my study online when I’m in Australia if visa approved…thanks

    • Staff
      Ally | November 6, 2015

      Hi Omar,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      There are some credit cards being offered to temporary residents in Australia, but do take note that conditions may apply and you need to ensure that you fit their eligibility criteria to get your application approved.

      If you wish to see what the available options might be, kindly check this page.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,
      Ally

  3. Default Gravatar
    shilpa | June 20, 2015

    I am international student, I want an education loan for my semester fees it’s about $8000.
    Can you help me for this concern?

    Thanks

    • Staff
      Jonathan | June 22, 2015

      Hi Shilpa, thanks for your inquiry!

      Paying an education/ student loan via credit card will depend on whether the educational institute accepts credit cards as an eligible form of payment. In addition, the agreement between the credit card company and educational institute will need to specify whether the semester fee’s qualify as purchases. It would be ideal to contact your educational institute before applying for a card. You may also like to refer to the following link for a list of 0% purchase credit cards.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  4. Default Gravatar
    Chris | April 30, 2015

    Hi there

    Is there any credit cards that temporary graduation visa holders can apply??
    ( sub class 485)

    Working as full time staff.

    Thanks

    • Staff
      Jonathan | April 30, 2015

      Hi Chris, thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately at this point of time only temporary residents, permanent and citizens are eligible to apply for credit card services. You may like to refer to the following link for debit cards and offers.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  5. Default Gravatar
    raj | January 8, 2015

    can international student apply for a credit card in anz

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | January 8, 2015

      Hi Raj,

      Thanks for your question.

      There are some cards available for temporary residents, but conditions usually apply. You might want to take a look at this page to see what options might be available to you.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  6. Default Gravatar
    Edin | June 9, 2014

    Hi is there any other student credit cards other than commonwealth bank and westpac in australia because I really want to know ??

    • Staff
      Shirley | June 10, 2014

      Hi Edin,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please refer to the blue product table above – there are cards from ANZ, Coles, NAB and St.George.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  7. Default Gravatar
    Danil | January 13, 2014

    I’m not at college yet. Can I apply for a student card now?

    • Staff
      Jacob | January 13, 2014

      Hi, Danil.

      Eligibility requirements for student credit cards are set out on the above page.

      Thanks for your question.

  8. Default Gravatar
    Stephen | October 31, 2013

    Hi, I applied for a couple of cards 8 months ago, and was declined by all, I only moved to Australia a couple of years ago and have little or no credit history. My credit report just has inquiry’s on it, more recently I applied for a Virgin card, and I was declined again, and they can’t give me a reason, I have been in the same job for three years and I have over enough income. I meet all there standards, is it because I need to have more credit history? Thanks I’m from Ireland by the way, if that helps.

    • Staff
      Jacob | October 31, 2013

      Hi Stephen.

      Thanks for your question.

      Have a look at this article at why credit card applications can get rejected.

      Banks and lenders don’t give you a reason why your application was knocked back, which is part of the problem considering too many applications for credit can be a negative signal to a credit issuer. A good credit history is one of the application requirements, so your lack of a credit record may have been one of the reasons you were declined. Things like phone and Internet contracts as well as credit cards and home loans etc. are recorded on your credit file. It could also be that you applied for too many cards in too short of a space of time. If you have multiple enquiry marks on your credit file it can raise red flags to a lender when you enquire about credit again. It might be worth starting a conversation with your lender about obtaining credit in the future.

      I hope this helps.

  9. Default Gravatar
    Raju | September 18, 2013

    I am Indian citizen I have been in Australia in 6 years I have some credit cards in Australia now I am in other country I am not paying credit cards. What will happen?

    • Staff
      Jacob | September 19, 2013

      Hi Raju.

      The default will stay against your name and you will be held liable for the debt if you return to the country.

      Thanks for your question.

  10. Default Gravatar
    NAOMI | September 2, 2013

    What options do you have with bad credit history?

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated August 27th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
9.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card
Earn up to 70,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend, plus enjoy a 0% p.a. for 6 months offer on balance transfers.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
14.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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