Before giving a recommendation, I would actually recommend that you take a good look at your credit report first (you can get a free one at Annual Credit Report
for example) and make sure that it's clean of inconsistencies and to see if there's anything negative posted on it. Provided that everything is good, here is what I would recommend:For Ease of Use and Greatest Acceptability with Decent Rewards:
- Citibank Dividend Platinum Select
for College Students - (why: decent rewards program overall even though it has rotating categories, decent APR - even if it's high-ish at first - CAN be lowered if you show good credit usage habits and card loyalty, it is a VISA or a Mastercard which means it is widely accepted, and because it is a student card, the chances of a new credit user being approved is higher)
- Journey Student Rewards
from Capitol One - (why: okay rewards program, additional incentive for maintaining good credit, widely accepted VISA, is a student card so new credit users will be approved more easily, BUT has a higher APR) For Rewards Specifically on Gas (and Eating Out) but May Not Be As Accepted:Discover for College Students
- (why: it gives you cashback, it has a decent APR (which can be lowered if you show good credit habits and card loyalty, and because it is a student card the chances of a new credit user getting approved is higher)
Let me explain my choices a little more clearly (though obviously, it's entirely up to you to do as you please and pick and choose as you please and everyone's going to have their own opinions and recommendations!).
As someone new to credit, as tempting as it may be to aim high and apply for something with better rewards or better terms, it is BEST in my opinion to aim for something that is more within reach.
Being reasonable about your first credit card or two is important because the LAST thing you want is to have a series of credit inquiries on your credit report and without any approvals.
Bearing this in mind, I recommended all student-oriented cards.
Student-oriented cards are aimed at new credit users who are usually beginning on their credit journey and are also usually college students like yourself. These companies know that students will be starting out with okay or fair to good credit and won't be expecting your credit to be excellent. They also tend to be more willing to 'help' you if you have questions or concerns.
Also, the student cards - provided you do well with them - CAN usually be converted to the 'non student/regular' version when the time comes and so if you can get a decent card NOW as a student card, you might be able to still find use for it later on when it's time for the card to convert.