Student Credit Cards

Compare student credit cards in Australia for paying daily essentials. Carefully weigh their advantages and disadvantages before applying.

By   |   Updated 10 Apr 2024

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Comparing student credit cards

Bankwest Breeze Mastercard

On website

Highlights

  • Benefit from 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 12 months (with a 2% BT fee, then 12.99% p.a.).
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases (returning to 12.99% p.a.).
  • Enjoy up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
  • Exclusive offer for new customers for a limited time. Additional charges, as well as terms and conditions, apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
  • Up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Cons

  • There are no rewards on this card.
  • There is a 2% BT fee.
The Low Rate Credit Card from American Express

On website

Highlights

  • Benefit from a competitive 10.99% p.a. interest rate for purchases.
  • Enjoy a perpetual $0 annual fee with card ownership.
  • Access up to 55 days interest-free.

Pros

  • Benefit from a competitive 10.99% p.a. interest rate for purchases.
  • Enjoy a perpetual $0 annual fee with card ownership.
  • Access up to 55 days interest-free.

Cons

  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Bankwest Zero Mastercard

On website

Highlights

  • Avoid annual fees for the duration of card ownership.
  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on transferred balances (with a 3% balance transfer fee). Returns to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • Offer exclusive to new customers for a limited time. Additional fees and charges, as well as terms and conditions, apply.

Pros

  • There is no annual fee for as long as you keep the card.
  • The current balance transfer offer is extremely competitive.
  • Interest on purchases is comparatively low.

Cons

  • Balance transfers incur a one-off fee.
  • You cannot earn credit card points.
ANZ Low Rate Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Select from these 2 introductory deals: 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee (then reverts to 21.24% p.a.), or receive $250 cash back upon spending $1,500 within the initial 3 months from approval. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • First-year annual fee waived ($58 subsequently).
  • Continuous low rate of 12.49% p.a. on purchases.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days interest-free on purchases by settling your account completely each month.

Pros

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers up to 28 months or earn $250 cash back.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter).
  • Take advantage of the low purchase interest rate of 12.49% p.a.
  • Add up to 3 additional cardholders at no extra cost.

Cons

  • No purchase or travel insurance included.
  • No rewards program.
St.George Vertigo Visa

On website

Apply by 31 July 2024

St.George Vertigo Visa

Highlights

  • Benefit from a 28-month 0% interest period on Balance Transfers, accompanied by a 1% balance transfer fee. Afterwards, it switches to a cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Enjoy a low variable interest rate of 13.99% p.a. on purchases.
  • The annual fee remains low at $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Westpac Low Rate Cashback Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Get up to $350 cashback when you apply online by 31 July 2024. Receive a $50 cashback monthly for spending over $1,000 in the first 7 statement periods.
  • Enjoy a low ongoing 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • Annual fee of $59 p.a. applies.

Pros

  • Get up to $350 cashback when you meet the criteria.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • $500 minimum credit limit.

Cons

  • No rewards program although there is a cashback offer.
  • No complimentary travel insurance.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

On website

Apply by 31 July 2024

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Highlights

  • Receive up to $400 cashback on your supermarket purchase or benefit from 0% interest for 28 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to a cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Enjoy a low variable interest rate of 13.99% p.a. on purchases.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Pros

  • Get 10% cashback on your supermarket shop or 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.

While there aren't any student credit cards designed specifically for students in Australia, there are various credit cards with low fees and rates—and suitable credit limits—that might appeal to students and young adults at university or TAFE.

"If you're a university or TAFE student looking to get your first credit card, look out for entry level cards that forego the rewards and bonuses of higher level cards and focus on affordability and practicality. Since students typically need to manage their finances carefully, look for low annual fees and low interest rates to save where you can. Use a credit card responsibly, build credit, and give yourself the option of applying for a better credit card later when you have the income and credit report to support it."
David Boyd
CEO at Credit Card Compare

Why credit cards are useful for Australian students

Student credit cards provide a stepping stone for young adults with lower incomes to build their credit history. Here are some key reasons ways student credit cards are useful.

  • Building credit history: By using a student credit card responsibly, students can establish a positive credit history from an early age.
  • Financial education: Credit cards offer an opportunity to learn about budgeting, managing expenses, and understanding the implications of debt.
  • Emergency fund: A credit card can provide a financial safety net in case of unexpected expenses or emergencies.
  • Convenience: Shopping online, booking travel, and handling day-to-day expenses is generally easier using a card.

How student credit cards work

A student credit card functions like a regular credit card, but generally have lower credit limits and a fee structure to match.

  • Credit limit: Student credit cards often have lower credit limits than standard credit cards to help manage spending.
  • Fees: Many student credit cards have lower fees or no annual fees to make them more accessible to students.
  • Benefits: Some student credit cards offer rewards or cashback incentives for specific categories such as groceries or textbooks.
  • Qualifications: You may need to demonstrate enrollment in a university or college to qualify.
  • Responsibility: It's essential for students to use their credit cards responsibly to avoid accumulating debt and damaging their credit scores.

Eligibility requirements for student credit cards

Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for a student credit card. These requirements may include:

  • Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years old. If you aren't old enough, don't apply.
  • Income: Students should meet the minimum income as required by the card's minimum criteria for eligibility. You may need to provide proof of income such as a bank statement.
  • Credit history: Younger students may have limited or no credit history, but applying with bad credit makes it considerably more likely to be declined.

What to consider when choosing a student credit card

As a student exploring credit card options, weigh up the key factors before applying for a card.

  • Interest rates: Compare the interest rates offered by different cards to ensure you get a competitive rate. Lower is better in case you end up carrying a balance.
  • Fees: Check for any annual fees, late payment fees, or other charges associated with the card.
  • Credit limit: Consider the credit limit provided and ensure it matches your spending requirements.
  • Rewards and benefits: It's highly unlikely for a student credit card to earn rewards points or come with travel benefits.

Help choosing a student credit card

Discover the essentials of student credit cards for a brighter future.

  • FAQs

  • Pros & cons

  • Alternatives

Should you get a student credit card?

As a student, having a credit card and using it responsibly can help build credit, which can be beneficial should you wish to apply for credit in the future.

How do you apply for a student credit card?

Applying for a student credit card is like applying for any other type of credit card. Once you've decided which to apply for, check your eligibility against the issuer's minimum criteria, check what's on your credit report, and then begin the application.

Can a foreign student apply for an Australian credit card?

Foreign students can apply for an Australian credit card, but they may need to provide additional documentation, such as a valid visa and proof of Australian residence.

Pros

Affordable maintenance

With minimal or zero annual fees, these cards are budget-friendly, especially for students managing their finances.

Lower interest rates

Compared to standard credit cards, student cards often have reduced interest rates, making any carried balance less burdensome.

Controlled spending

The lower credit limits help manage expenditure, reducing the risk of accruing unmanageable debt.

Credit building

An excellent tool for students to start building a credit history, crucial for future financial endeavours.

Cons

Limited features

Student cards typically offer fewer perks and benefits than premium credit cards, reflecting their no-frills nature.

Sparse rewards

Any rewards programs included are usually less rewarding than those tied to high-tier cards, limiting bonus opportunities.

Introductory pitfalls

Attractive initial offers may lead inexperienced users to overspend or misunderstand the long-term costs associated with the card after the promotional periods end.

Buy now, pay later

Afterpay, Zip, and similar buy now, pay later services provide access, but there are concerns that they can encourage and facilitate overspending.

YouPay and similar

YouPay makes it easy for someone else to pay instead of you, for example, your parents. It's available at a growing number of stores in Australia.