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Being a student is an exciting time in many ways. Moving away from home, meeting new lifelong friends, and spreading your wings as an adult as you take control of your own finances. Applying for your first credit card is a key step that many students look forward to.
American Express currently doesn’t offer any credit cards designed especially for students. This is because most students don’t have a credit history and Amex required a good to excellent credit score for it’s cards.
However, if you are a graduate who has a few years of card ownership under their belt, or can be added as an authorized user, there are some American Express cards which can offer you some great benefits including cashback and travel rewards.
Below we will talk you through how to improve credit scores to qualify for an American Express credit card issuer options and some of the best cards to consider when you do apply.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
Best for Travel
How to Build Up Your Credit History for an American Express Credit Card
To build up a good to excellent credit score, you need to focus on ensuring you don’t fall into debt, pay off all credit as soon as possible, and making sure you spend responsibly.
Building up a good card, using your cards and solid financial planning are all important if you are going to be financially secure in the future. Here are some tips to help you work towards a healthy credit score which rates as good to excellent.
Plan How You Will Build Your Credit Score
You need to develop a healthy attitude to using your credit card from the start. Many a student has made the mistake of overspending and falling into debt when they suddenly find they have a card in their wallet.
But if you are going to build up a healthy credit score on your current card, (or as an authorized user) you need to make sure to use your cards wisely.
Falling into debt or making lay payments won’t help you to start building up your credit history. Instead, you will only be hampering your future self when you need to apply for loans, mortgages, favorable interest, and premium cards.
So, although the most effective way to build your credit score is through credit card use, you need to make sure to plan your finances properly and ensure that you can pay back every cent you spend each month.
Apply for a Secured Card to Build Up Your Credit Score
One way for those with no credit history or a poor credit score to improve their status is to apply for a secured card. With these cards, you’ll need to deposit a guarantee against your spending on the card. This initial payment will be used to cover costs you can’t pay, but you need to avoid this if at all possible if you are looking to build up your score.
Pay Off All Your Debt As Soon As Possible
If you currently have loans or debts, then steady repayment is essential. If you have a government student loan, you should research to see if you can arrange for lower monthly payments, or a lower interest rates by transferring to a private lender.
Before taking action on this you should make to check current loan market conditions, and the interest rates of your loan. If the Federal Funds rate is falling, then interest rates will tend to lower as well. Make sure to do your research, checks and only take this step if it makes financial sense for you.
Gaining control over your finances and implementing sound planning from the get-go is the only way to build up a healthy credit score, there are no cheats or hacks which will get you there quicker.
Top 3 American Express Credit Cards to Consider
American Express® Gold Card
- $250 Annual Fee
- Earn 60,000 bonus points when your spend $4,000 within the first 6 months of opening the account.
- 4x Amex Membership Reward Points per dollar spent on US restaurants, delivery, and takeout.
- 4x rewards on each dollar you spend at US Supermarkets (for up to $25,000 per annum, and then 1x points afterward.)
- 3x Amex points on flights booked with your card either on AmexTravel or with airlines directly.
The American Express® Gold Card gives you a great opportunity to build up rewards points on your groceries and dining while you are away from home. And you can also access up to $120 statement credit for GrubHub, GoldBelly, Cheesecake Factory, and Uber Cash!
The generous points program also makes it an excellent choice as a primary card as all of your daily food purchases will be rewarded whether you are buying groceries from a supermarket or dining out.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card
- $0 Annual Fee
- 0 intro APR for the first 15 months of opening the account (18.74% to 29.74% afterwards).
- $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 within the first 6 months as a cardholder.
- 3% cashback on spending at US Supermarkets (for up to $6,000 annually, then 1x afterward.)
- 3% cashback rewards on online US retail purchases up to a value of $6,000 each year (1x points after.)
- 1% cashback on all other eligible purchases with your card.
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card is a great option for beginners who want simple and streamlined cash back credit cards. The cash back categories are general enough to reward everyday spending and you don’t have to worry about paying a costly annual fee.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
- No Annual Fee
- 0% APR for first 15 months and then variable 17.74 to 28.74% (with rates and fees.)
- 10,000 Amex points after you spend $2,000 within the first 6 months of owning your card.
- 2x points for each dollar spent at US supermarkets (for up to $6,000 each year.)
- 1x rewards points on all other eligible purchases.
This is another great low-intensity Amex card to consider for those applying for their first American Express Credit Card. As the title suggests, this is a simple and uncomplicated way to be start earning rewards for your everyday spending on food and other essentials.
Takeaway - Top American Express Credit Cards for Students: Build Your Credit and Reap Rewards
Although Amex doesn’t offer credit cards for students, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on the idea of owning an Amex. If you plan carefully, spend responsibly, and take steps to improve your credit score, you could soon be successfully applying for one of the American Express cards we have detailed above.
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