There are a few reasons why you may have been denied for a student credit card. Maybe you have terrible credit from not paying your bills, maybe you’ve filed for bankruptcy. But the most common explanation is that you don’t have enough credit history. And why should you? You’re in college, you’ve never had a credit card before, and you need to start somewhere, right?
The explanation is pretty simple though. Without credit history, most credit card companies don’t trust you. It’s unfair, but it’s how the system works. Usually, a computer algorithm is denying your application and not a real person, so don’t take it too personally.
For this reason alone, getting a credit card while you’re in college can be a huge headache. Most credit cards are created for those who already have credit history - like if you’re applying for your second or third card. If you’re applying for a credit card for the first time, you have a much higher chance of getting denied.
Applying for a student credit card is like applying for an entry level job that requires you to have 5 years of experience. You need a credit score to get a credit card and you need a credit card to get a credit score. But you already spend money on a daily basis, so shouldn’t you be able to build credit too? That’s how we feel at Fizz, even if most student credit cards don’t see it that way.
What can I do?
Getting rejected for your first credit card is never fun, but you have a few options if it does happen to you.
Wait, and then apply again next semester. There’s always a chance you’ll get approved the second, third of fourth time around. Waiting sucks, but so does having no credit score.
Apply for a secured card. Secured credit cards require you to deposit a chunk of cash and then lock that cash away for months or years on end. But not being able to use your money while on a tight college budget is less than ideal.
Try again with a different credit card. There are plenty of student credit cards out there, so you can always try your hand at a different one. Or you could get a Fizz card - we don’t check your credit at all.
Get a co-signer. A co-signer is someone over 21 years of age who agrees to be legally responsible for your credit card bill in case you don’t pay it off. Even getting approved with a co-signer can be a headache.
Get a Fizz card. Fizz is the easiest way to build credit - especially if you’ve been denied for a student credit card. No credit checks, no fees, no headaches.
Of these options, getting a Fizz card stands out above the rest. Fizz is the only way to build credit in college with no drawbacks. No fees, no interest, no locking up your money, no credit check, no waiting. What’s not to love?
Some common myths
Getting denied for a student credit card isn’t rare, so don’t worry if it happens to you. The best thing you can do if you’ve gotten denied is to get a Fizz card, but first let’s walk through a couple important things you should know.
You’ve probably heard people talk about how they don’t need to worry about building credit or that they’re already building credit because they have a card through their parents. Don’t fall into this trap. If someone is an authorized user on their parents’ credit card account, they’re not building credit in the same robust way that you will with your own line of credit.
It’s incredibly common for someone who’s been an authorized user for years to be rejected for their own credit card due to a lack of credit history. That’s because when you’re an authorized user, your data is reported to the credit bureaus as exactly that - an authorized user. And that doesn’t tend to convey that you yourself are responsible with money.
Another myth is that getting denied for a credit card is a huge blow to your credit score. It’s true that hard pulls (which happen when you apply for a new line of credit) can move your score by 5 or so points, but if you’re getting flat out denied for a student credit card, a hard pull isn’t going to change much. The real issue is just that you don’t have enough (or any) credit history. In fact, if you don’t have a credit profile at all and you try applying for a credit card, the hard pull often won’t end up on your report at all. So don’t worry too much about rejections.
Fizz to the rescue!
Getting rejected for a student credit card or multiple student credit cards can feel pretty crappy. When all you want to do is build your credit score, there should be options that don’t make you jump through hoops.
That’s exactly why we created Fizz. Fizz is a new kind of card that helps students build credit and earn cash back, no matter their background. Unlike regular student credit cards and secured cards, we don’t check your credit beforehand, so we won’t reject you for not having credit history.
With Fizz, you can get started building credit in 3 minutes - no fees, no security deposits, no cosigners, no waiting around. We also offer resources and financial literacy content on our website, on our app, and on social media. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Fizz today and you can start building your credit right away!
Sam is a Kenyon College alum and is head of content at Fizz. He's been a go to personal finance resource among his peers since getting his first credit card during his sophomore year of college. He hails from Washington, DC, loves all things aviation, and currently lives in Los Angeles.