Credit Cards for Students

Updated 1 July 2020

Student credit cards can allow you to extend your cash flow to make day-to-day living that much more manageable as a student, while also offering a number of handy extras.

Life as a student can be tough. When you are studying full time, money can be tight. You may even be managing your money for the first time after moving out of the family home. Which is where a student credit card can come in handy. This type of card is designed to help students manage their money by extending their cash flow, making the day-to-day purchases of noodles and textbooks somewhat easier to deal with.

A student credit card is one that often has a lower minimum income requirement, making it easier for students to get approved if they are not in full time employment. These cards can also feature lower minimum and maximum credit limits, allowing cardholders to get used to dealing with credit while minimising the potential for overspending.

Some cards may have certain restrictions, so are only available to full time students. However, there are a number of other non-branded ‘student’ cards that could work well for students with a lower income. Compare the options on this page to find cards with a low annual fee, that mostly keep things simple, with few features to get your head round.

By checking out the circles (or bars, if you’re on a mobile device), you can see how well each card stacks up on essentials such as purchase rate, balance transfers and annual fees. If you want a bit more info, simply click or tap on the card for full details on fees and features, as well as reviews from users and from us.

Average card rating for this category
410 reviews for 9 cards listed
CreditCard.com.au as seen on
  • 7News
  • 9News
  • Studio 10
  • The Sydney Morning Herald
  • News.com.au

Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

16 reviews
$0 saved over 12 months

Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

304 reviews
$0 saved over 16 months

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Credit Card

26 reviews
$0 saved over 22 months

St.George Vertigo Credit Card

19 reviews
$0 saved over 22 months

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

7 reviews
$0 saved over 22 months

NAB Low Rate Credit Card

26 reviews
$0 saved over 6 months

Bendigo Bank Low Rate First Credit Card

1 review
$0 saved over 6 months

ANZ First for Students Credit Card

5 reviews
$0 saved over months

ANZ First Card

6 reviews
$0 saved over 18 months

Build your credit now to reap the benefits later

As a student, you may be eligible for a credit card. Applying now could help build your credit rating over time, as you work on building a good relationship with credit. But, you need to understand how credit cards work for that to happen. Check out our range of online credit card courses to learn more about credit cards, to then apply for a card that will work for you. Each course takes around 20 minutes to complete – and best of all, they’re all free.

Visit Credit Card EDU

What is a student credit card?

A student credit card is designed especially for students, typically offering low spending limits and a low annual fee. For anyone new to credit, it can be difficult to get approved for a standard credit card. With no history of credit or consistent employment to assess, these applicants may seem too risky for some card providers. Which is where student credit cards come in.

Card providers offering student credit cards tend to offer more lenient eligibility requirements, allowing students who are unable to prove their credit worthiness a chance to apply for a credit card. As these cards are provided to applicants who are untested in the world of credit, they generally don’t offer high credit limits.

With a low or no annual fee, student credit cards also tend to be fairly simple. That means no fancy features and for the most part, no rewards programs. However, this can be of benefit to you if you are new to credit, as it allows you to focus on spending only what you need to spend, to then pay off what you owe before interest starts accruing.

Would a student credit card be right for you?

Just like any other type of credit card, student credit cards won’t work for everyone. So, how do you know if you should apply for this type of card?

  • You are a student. If you choose a student credit card, you will usually have to meet certain requirements set out by the card provider. This may mean you have to be enrolled in tertiary education, you may have to be a full time student, or you may have to meet other specified requirements. If you are unsure, check with the provider before you apply.
  • You are eligible. Aside from stipulations regarding your student status, you will also have to meet certain eligibility requirements. To apply for a credit card in Australia, you typically need to be an Australian resident aged 18 or over. Card providers may also have a minimum income requirement, but for student credit cards, the amount is usually quite low. You may also find the potential sources for that income may be more flexible than on standard credit cards.
  • You understand how credit cards work. Your first credit card is always going to be a learning experience, but you should still understand the basics before you apply. That means understanding that you only spend what you can pay back, and that you should always clear your balance each month to avoid interest accruing.

What can a student credit card offer?

Now you know you can apply for a student credit card, it’s time to look into why you should. Want to know what a student credit card could offer you? Let’s take a look at the highlights.

  • A student credit card can give you access to credit. The main purpose of a credit card is to provide access to credit. That basically means you can use it to buy stuff now, and pay it back later. While using a credit card can take some getting used to, it can be a seriously handy tool. You simply need to make sure you only spend now what you can afford to pay back at the end of the month.
  • A student credit card can offer access to features. While student credit cards tend to be pretty basic, they can offer a few handy features and extras. Whether you opt for a Visa or Mastercard, check out the extras offered by your card issuer, as these may not be fully advertised by your card provider when you apply.
  • A student credit card can help you understand how credit works. Chances are this is your first foray into the world of credit. While the premise behind how credit cards work is quite simple, that doesn’t mean making them work for you is easy. But, with a little practise, you should become more confident with using your credit card correctly over time, to allow you to graduate to a more advanced credit card later on down the line.
  • A student credit card can limit the potential for problems. Student credit cards tend to have a low credit limit, at least to start with. You can also choose to lower your credit limit if you want. With a lower credit limit, there is less temptation to overspend, helping you to keep a handle on your spending.
  • A student credit card can help you build your credit. One of the great things about student credit cards is the potential they provide to help users build their credit. As long as you use your card wisely, you can use it to build your credit over time, to make it easier to get approved for more credit when you apply in the future.

How do you make a student credit card work for you?

Making your student credit card work for you is the key to your success with credit cards, both now and in the future. Here are some tips to keep in mind both when you are using your card, and when you are applying for it.

TIP 1. Understand what your card provider expects of you before you apply. This means checking the eligibility requirements on the card, and making sure you meet every single one of them. Reading the small print will help you understand how the card works, while also helping you to get the most out of it.

TIP 2. Don’t think of your credit limit as a challenge. When you are approved for a credit card, your card provider will provide you with a credit limit it deems affordable for you. But, just because you can spend up to that limit, doesn’t mean you should. Only use your card to pay for stuff you know you can pay back, and avoid stacking up debt on your card that will become unmanageable.

TIP 3. Always pay off your balance at the end of each month. While it can be tempting to only pay the minimum payment, doing so will mean you pay more in interest, while you stay in debt longer. When you clear your balance each month, you can stay on top of your spending, while taking advantage of features such as interest free days on your purchases.

TIP 4. Avoid cash advances. Your credit card does not work in the same way as a debit card. Withdrawing money on your student credit card will mean paying more in fees and interest, with interest accruing from the day one.

Pros

  • Low or no annual fees, meaning your only potential expense is interest payments
  • Low interest rates, meaning you don’t pay as much as other credit cards
  • Low credit limits, reducing the opportunity to overspend and get into debt
  • Basic card, keeping it simple
  • Opportunity to build credit
  • Access to credit, even when you have no credit history

Cons

  • Fewer features or benefits than other more expensive cards
  • Typically no rewards program, or a less lucrative one than other cards
  • Introductory offers may entice inexperienced cardholders, who then get into trouble after the offer ends
  • Choose the right card: Compare the options using CreditCard.com.au, to find the card that best suits your needs. Keep in mind annual fees and interest, and don’t be swayed by more expensive cards offering extras – especially rewards – that you don’t need.
  • Create a budget: Look at how much you have coming in, and how much you need to spend. Then create a budget that allows you to spend within your means.
  • Set a spending limit: Once you have created a budget, you will know exactly how much you can spend each month. Set a spending limit on your credit – and don’t go over it. Some card providers allow you to set spending limits on your card to help you if your willpower is low.
  • Use your card only for the essentials: When you first start using your credit card, you may want to keep it for essentials only. This should make it easier to pay off at the end of the month.
  • Keep track of your spending: It can be all too easy to keep on spending on your card, thinking you’ll deal with the fallout later. Sometimes you don’t want to know how much you’ve spent because it’s a bit too scary to deal with. However, if you make a habit of keeping track of your card spending – either online or via the card’s app – it may help prevent you from overspending.
  • Clear your balance each month: The best way to deal with a credit card is to pay it all off each month. This can help you to keep on top of your spending, while also avoiding interest accruing on your balance.
  • Pay as you go: You don’t have to wait until your statement arrives to pay off your credit card. You can transfer money onto your card to pay down your balance whenever you like. This can be a great way to avoid spending more than you can afford to pay back.
  • Create an emergency fund: While credit cards are great for emergencies, what happens if you can’t afford to pay off that emergency purchase afterwards? Instead of relying on your card as backup – and paying too much in interest if you can’t pay it off right away – work on creating an emergency fund instead.
  • Don’t get in over your head: When you’re new to credit – or even when you’ve had a credit card for years – it can be amazingly easy to get in over your head. Avoid overspending, and create good habits to clear your balance in full each month. And, if you get into trouble, seek help straight away.

Recently Asked Questions

Something you need to know? Ask a our credit card expert a question.

Ask a Question

You will be emailed a response in typically 1 business day. By submitting this question you agreee to our privacy policy.

Ask Roland a Question

Hi, I’m the site founder and I will personally answer your question within a business day.

By submitting this question you agree to our privacy policy.

Showing one question (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Kuan Hor Kwa

Kuan Hor Kwa

4 March 2020
I am still Temporary Resident, and waiting for Permanent Approval. Whether I am available to apply any credit card for student use?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    5 March 2020
    You can only apply if you are a full time student. If you are no longer studying or have less than 9 months on your Visa. You will not be able to apply for a student credit card.
Help us improve

By submitting this feedback you agree to our privacy policy.

My credit card is not listed

By submitting this form you agree to our privacy policy.