Student credit cards

Students can establish credit and learn to manage debt with low-fee credit cards geared specifically toward them.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 10th September 2020

Comparing student credit cards

ANZ First for Students Credit Card

On ANZ's website

ANZ First for Students Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.24% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year, then $30 p.a..
  • An easy to manage credit limit from $500 will mean you can't build up a lot of debt.
  • Make every day a little bit easier and do your banking on the go with the ANZ App.
NAB Straight Up Credit Card

On NAB's website

NAB Straight Up Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

0% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

N/A

Highlights

  • Get the newest credit card from NAB - simple, cheap and most of all no interest charges!
  • No Use, No Pay. If you don't use your NAB Straight Up credit card during the whole statement period, the monthly fee will be reversed. No surprise charges!
  • Use your card to pay foreign currency and enjoy no foreign transaction fees!
  • Predictable fixed minimum payments based on your credit limit, giving you certainty of what to pay each month.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card

On ANZ's website

ANZ First Visa Credit Card

Balance transfer

18 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

20.24% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$30.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for the first 18 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred. Reverts to 20.24% p.a..
  • Low annual fee of $30 p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate First Mastercard

On Bendigo Bank's website

Bendigo Bank Low Rate First Mastercard

Balance transfer

6 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

11.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$29.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Low 11.99% p.a. purchase rate.
  • Exclusive for customers 18 to 25 years old.
  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months. Purchase rate of 11.99% p.a. applies thereafter.
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard

On Bankwest's website

Bankwest Breeze Mastercard

Balance transfer

9 months at 2.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

15 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$79.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases (reverts to 12.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee (reverts to 12.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • Low annual fee of $79 p.a.
  • Limited time only. Fees, T&Cs apply. New Breeze Mastercard customers only.
St.George Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 13.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 p.a annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter).
Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

On Westpac's website

Apply by 02 December 2020

Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

Balance transfer

20 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$59.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. for 20 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Plus, get $200 cashback when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days on purchases.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

On Virgin Money's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

18.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee for the life of the card.
  • Transfer your balance at 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers (reverts to 20.99% p.a.)
  • Up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

On BankSA's website

Apply by 30 September 2020

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

7 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% for 22 months on balance transfers with 1.5% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 7 months from card approval (reverts to 13.99% p.a. thereafter).
  • $0 p.a annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter).
ANZ Low Rate

On ANZ's website

ANZ Low Rate

Balance transfer

22 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers (1.5% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 20.24% p.a.
  • Low 12.49% p.a. ongoing rate on purchases.
  • No annual fee for the first year ($58 thereafter).
Bankwest Zero Mastercard

On Bankwest's website

Bankwest Zero Mastercard

Balance transfer

9 months at 2.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

17.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Pay no annual fee as long as you hold the card.
  • 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balances transferred. Reverts to 17.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Learn all about student credit cards

  • Q&As
  • Guides

What are the benefits of a student credit card?

A student credit card is a good opportunity to learn to use a credit card responsibly in a fairly low risk way - the credit limit is kept intentionally fairly low, meaning you can only overspend so much before your card maxes out. Student credit cards are also affordable - they typically have $0 or very low annual fees. It's also great for building credit history - if you pay off your debts on time, it shows future credit card companies that you can be trusted with a more powerful card because you’ve been faithful with the last one you had.

Are there drawbacks?

Unfortunately, yes. Even though the credit limits are low, any credit card can open the door to building up debt. And student cards often have high interest rates, making debt even easier to accrue. If a student doesn’t fully understand how interest works and isn’t organised enough to make their repayments punctually, they could easily get themselves in trouble.

What features should I look for?

You want a card with low or no annual fee, low interest rates and, if you have debt elsewhere, a balance transfer option. The card should also have basic security features.

How can I best manage my finances and use my student credit card?

Here are a few basic tips to keep you out of trouble:

  • Have some life goals – This is a great starting point because it will motivate you to keep out of debt more than anything else. If you want to buy a car or house one day, you’ll have the incentive to live conservatively for the sake of the greater goal. Whatever money you get, try to put a little of it aside every week toward your goal, no matter what.
  • Make a budget and stick to it – Be realistic when you budget and include recreational spending because this is normally where the money gets blown. If you know what you’ve got to spend, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Break it down into a monthly and weekly budget. Get some help from a friend or online if you’re stuck.
  • Live within your means – That’s right, everyone else might be accumulating debt, but you’ll be so much better off spending only what you have or what you know you can pay off in full at the end of the month.
  • Have an emergency fund – Most people rely on their credit card for emergencies. You’ll do yourself a favour if you set aside some money in an emergency savings account. Then, when an emergency comes (which is inevitable), you won’t have to go into debt amidst an already stressful time.
  • Pay in cash as much as you can – Paying for things in cash means you’re paying for things with your own money. It’s much easier to lose track when you pay for everything with a plastic card.
  • Use your card as little as possible – Sometimes you need a credit card for online purchasing or other needs, but because student cards don’t generally have any rewards programs, and because they have low credit limits, you’re not doing yourself any favours by using it for the sake of using it. Keep it for when you have no other option.
  • Pay off your balance in full each month – You want to build up a good credit rating and stay out of debt. Paying off your balance and covering anything you’ve spent that month will accomplish that.

What happens if I can’t make a payment?

If you don’t make your monthly repayments on a credit card, you’ll get charged interest. If you just let the debt sit there without paying it down, it will automatically grow astronomically. Additionally, if a credit provider sees that you’re not paying down your debt, they can even increase your interest rate and you’ll be in even more trouble. In addition to accumulating overwhelming debt, you will damage your credit rating. This will affect any future credit card applications and can even hinder you getting a rental property or loan of any kind, including a car or home loan. If you want to keep your options open in the future, do not go down this track. If you’re in trouble and need help, there are a wealth of resources online, in local libraries and in credit centres everywhere.

Should I go with a credit or debit card?

Debit cards function very similarly to credit cards except for one major difference. Debit cards use money you already have, credit cards use money you don’t have (and can put you into debt unless you manage your account). Unless you have to spend money you don’t have, a debit card is more than fine for pretty well anything you’d use a credit card for, including online shopping. The best part is it eliminates the risk of losing track of spending and getting into debt. If you’re worried about needing funds in an emergency, start putting aside some money each week for that very purpose now.