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Best student credit cards of 2018

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The big banks like to win future customers by signing them up for a current account while they are still young, in the hope of keeping their business for life.

If you want a credit card during your studies, the easiest way is to apply for one linked to a student account. Typically, you need to be 18 or over, a UK resident, and registered on a university or college course for at least two years.

As you will have little or no credit history, you may be limited to borrowing as little as £350, or some stretch to £1,000. Another possible option is to take out one of those credit cards for bad credit, to build up a credit record.

Money is tight when you study but if you handle your plastic carefully, it can help you build up your credit rating over time. Some even throw in extra benefits, such as 0% on purchases, or cash back credit cards.


HSBC® Student Visa Credit Card

Good for: No-frills credit card with cashback

Student credit cards tend to be linked to a student bank account, and stripped down to the basics. This is the case with the HSBC Student Visa Credit Card. It has a standard representative APR of 18.9%, and a low maximum credit limit of just £500. You must have a confirmed place to study before you get it. It does offer one perk, though: cashback on your shopping at selected Visa partners.

Representative APR on purchases

18.9%

Fee

None

Maximum credit limit

Up to £500

Eligibility requirement

Over 18, hold an HSBC student bank account, and UK resident for at least three years. Must have confirmed place to study

Benefits

Cashback on shopping


TSB® Student MasterCard Credit Card

Good for: Cashback and higher credit limit

If you want cashback with your student credit card, and a higher credit limit of up to £1,000, the TSB Student MasterCard Credit Card could be for you. You have to be studying and have had a TSB Student Current Account for at least three months. The cashback is generous, worth £5 a month.

Representative APR on purchases

19.9%

Fee

None

Maximum credit limit

Between £500 and £1,000

Eligibility requirement

Age 18 or over, UK resident, at college or university with a TSB Student Current Account for at least 3 months, and regular income

Benefits

1% cashback on the first £500 of eligible spend each month if you have a TSB Classic Plus current account. Offer ends on 30 June 2018


Bank of Ireland UK® Student Credit Card

Good for: Low APR with 0% on purchases

Most student cards have few frills but Bank of Ireland UK’s Student Credit Card offers 0% on purchases for the first three months, followed by a competitive APR of 17.9%. The maximum credit limit is at the low end, just £350, but at least that stops you running up even more debt. You are not obliged to have a Bank of Ireland account, although if you don’t, you must be able to show six months of bank statements.

Representative APR on purchases

0% on purchases for first three months then 17.9%

Fee

None

Maximum credit limit

Up to £350

Eligibility requirement

18 or over and full-time student (student ID card accepted as proof). Average monthly account turnover of £100 excluding student loan or grant payments

Benefits

Cashback on shopping

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The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool's alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in HSBC Holdings.