Graduate credit cards

Graduate credit cards: What are the best options?

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Taking the leap into the real world after graduating can be a daunting step, but there’s no need to rush into any financial decision.

Group of young adults sitting

Ready to compare?

The best card for you depends on your personal circumstances. 

If you’ve just got your first job and want a credit card that will earn you cashback, or a balance transfer card or a 0% purchases credit card, you can compare the best deals on the market before deciding which to apply for. 

If you’re unsure which type of credit card is most suited to your needs, our quick and easy to use credit card decision tree will help you make the right decision

Most banks offer graduate accounts to people who are leaving university and who held student accounts with them - but few if any come with special credit cards attached.

However, it’s important to be aware that if you don’t have a history of borrowing responsibly (in other words, a good credit history), or if you don’t have a permanent job yet, you might not be accepted for a market-leading credit card.

Finding it hard to get credit?

If your credit card application has been rejected, one of the reasons could be a lack of evidence that shows you can borrow money and repay it in full, on time. 

Banks, building societies and credit card companies want to see that you can be trusted with credit before they offer you more - but how can you prove you can handle credit responsibly when nobody seems to want to lend to you? 

One answer might be to try a credit builder card. These cards come with high APRs that make them unsuitable for long-term borrowing - you should always pay off what you spend in full every month in order to avoid paying interest - but over time could help you demonstrate sensible borrowing behaviour. This could help you to access cheaper credit in future. 

Are there specific credit cards for graduates? 

Most banks offer graduate accounts to people who are leaving university and who held student accounts with them - but few, if any, come with special credit cards attached.

Rather, it’s likely that you’ll find your graduate account comes with an interest-free or low interest overdraft deal, which is designed to help you to clear outstanding student debt (not your student loan, though) within a certain period of time.

The idea is, you switch your overdraft from your student account to a graduate account, then take advantage of the longer low or zero interest period in which to clear the debt.

If you’re keen to build up a strong credit history that will help you to get approved for a loan, credit card or mortgage in years to come, paying back your overdraft should be a top priority. 

If you don’t clear it while it’s interest-free, your student debt will cost you more in the long run - and by paying it back in a structured way now, you can clearly demonstrate that you are financially responsible: a key thing lenders will look for when you want to borrow later. 

Where to next? 

How to get accepted for a credit card

The best credit building credit cards

What are the costs of a credit card?

Credit card options for students

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