Here is my personal take on the Wells Fargo Student Credit Card.
The application proudly touts that students can earn 3% cash back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases. But keep reading and you will see that you only get that at the beginning…
After the first 6 months, those categories will only earn 1%, as will everything else. So basically, this is just a vanilla 1% rewards card and nothing else, since you don’t get any good benefits with it.
The rates and fees?
The interest rates ramp up after the first six months.
Wells Fargo doesn’t give a 0% intro rate. Instead, they give this:
- 5.9% to 13.9% intro APR for first 6 months
- 11.15% – 21.15% variable APR after 6 months
Of course you can avoid interest charges entirely if you pay off the full owed amount when the bill comes. But if you don’t do that, then you will get charged interest and it will go back retroactively to the date of the purchases.
There’s no annual fee for Wells Fargo’s student credit card. But then again, the same can be said about almost every college card on the market that’s issued by a major bank.
Obviously, anyone 18 or 19 years old will have little to no credit history. That’s why student credit cards set a low bar for the qualifications.
For income, if you have a co-signer (like mom or dad) then you personally don’t need to have any income. But if you want to apply on your own without a cosigner, the minimum income requirements are $3,000:
That’s slightly above average since most college credit cards I’ve reviewed have a minimum requirement of only $1,500 or $2,000. But whatever the case… even $3,000 per year is an easy level to reach!
The Wells Fargo website doesn’t spell out what you can include for “income” on the credit card application. But with most banks, students are allowed to include financial support from parents (money mom and dad give you) as well as scholarships. Crazy, huh? Though I don’t know if WF will let you count those or not.
And your credit score? There’s no officially published requirement for that. As long as you don’t have anything negative on your credit report (such as charge-offs or late payments on loans) then even a low score should be fine.
How to apply?
It’s possible to apply online if you already have an online account setup for Wells Fargo banking. If not, the application will have to be done in-person at a branch.
The one annoying thing about the process is that they ask you to send proof that you’re a college student:
This is the only student card I’ve seen that requires you to submit proof. If you put on the application that you’re a freshman at say, University of California San Diego, most credit card companies will simply take your word for it. But not WF, they are going to require proof and that only slows down the whole approval process.
Now for the #1 reason why I might recommend alternatives
This credit card isn’t bad, but it seems to be somewhat pedestrian in terms of rewards. In terms of an overall banking relationship…
I understand it can be convenient having your savings, checking, and credit card(s) all from the same institution but in this day and age it all depends on if there is a value to the relationship in terms of getting discounts or value for having multiple account relationships. Most of the large banks offer an array of financial services, including credit cards. Just do your homework before deciding to put all your eggs in one basket.
As for student credit cards, my current favorite of 2016 is the Discover it for students because it’s easy to get and gives 5% cash back on rotating categories when you signup. You can read my full review of it here.
If you don’t like rotating categories, keep in mind that Discover recently started offering another student card (the Discover it chrome for Students) that gives 2 percent cash back year round on gas and restaurants (for up to $1,000 in spending each quarter). Currently, both cards are available, so pick the one that works best for your spending patterns.
Updated February 15, 2016