Best Student Credit Cards for First-Year Students, Ranked by

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With the first semester of 2013 beginning in just a few weeks, personal finance authority ( says now is a perfect time for first-year college students to consider a credit card. announces the best student credit cards for first-years

A student credit card with a limited credit line is really useful in case of emergencies for young consumers living by themselves for the first time.

It's hard to believe that August is already upon us. For some, the end of summer can be a drag. But for upcoming first-year college students, August marks the exciting final countdown before stepping onto campus for the very first time.

With colleges opening their doors for the first semester in a matter of weeks, - an online authority on personal finance and all topics related to credit - notes that now is the perfect time for incoming first-year students to consider opening up a student credit card.

"A student credit card with a limited credit line is really useful in case of emergencies for young consumers living by themselves for what is likely the first time," said Creditnet VP of Operations, Jason Bushey. "Obviously it's important for a student to understand how credit works before applying for a card, but a student card that provides a small credit line and helpful reminders of when a bill is due are lower risk for college students."

Creditnet notes that consumers under the age of 21 must either provide a co-signer, or show proof of sufficient income to be considered for a credit card as required by the Credit CARD Act of 2009.

For first-year students getting ready to make their mark this semester, here are Creditnet's picks for the best student credit cards for first-year college students.

1.) Discover it® for Students

This student credit card offer from Discover is Creditnet's favorite card for college students because of its flexible bill pay options and rewarding cash back program.

First, cardholders can choose their own due date and pay up to midnight (ET) online or by phone without a fee. There's also no annual fee, no overlimit fee, no pay-by-phone fee and - for students hoping to study abroad at some point during their college career - no foreign transaction fees. Discover will even waive the late late fee for a cardholder's first late payment made (it's up to $35 thereafter), and they won't raise the APR for paying late. Pretty fair, right?

Then there's the cashback program. Student cardholders earn 5 percent bonus cashback on up to $1,500 in purchases in quarterly categories that rotate throughout the year. These categories have been known to include gas, restaurants and department stores, and enrolling in the bonus cashback program is free and easy each time.

Whether you're a first-year student or a college senior, this is Creditnet's pick as the best student credit card available right now.

2.) Citi Forward® Card for College Students

This student offer from Citi works great for first-year students because it offers incentives for responsible use.

Cardholders can earn up to 1,200 bonus ThankYou® Points per year for paying on time and staying under their credit limit. (100 points per month x 12 = up to 1,200 per year.) Cardholders can also work to lower their APR by up to 2 percent total just by making a purchase, staying under the credit limit and paying on time three billing periods in a row (0.25 percent reduction each quarter, 8 times maximum, for a total of up to 2 percent).

Finally, cardholders receive 5 ThankYou® Points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on books, music and movies, and 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else. Those bonus categories are exceptional since they reward first-year students with the kinds of purchases they're most likely to make anyway, meaning first-year students can rack up some nice rewards with this student card.

3.) Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students

Finally, there's this second student credit card offer from Citi. Similar to the aforementioned Discover card, Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students offers cardholders 5 percent cash back on categories that rotate each quarter. The only knock on the rewards program is that there's a limit of $300 earned in cash back per calendar year, though given the budget of the average college student, it could be unlikely that such a cap comes into play.

There's no interest applied to purchases on this card for 7 months, and no annual fee to pay. Overall, this is another solid option for first-year students interested in earning cash back while on campus.

For more information on current student credit card offers, plus personal finance tips and advice, visit

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