Best Credit Cards In Germany For Students

Andreia Ferreira
by Andreia Ferreira
Updated on

For students just starting their own financial journey in Germany, having a credit card can provide financial flexibility and freedom.

However, it can be very challenging for students to find a credit card that fits their needs, doesn’t require extra spending, and for which they can quickly be approved.

In this article, we will compare a few free credit cards that can be good options for students.

We will compare features, fees, benefits, and the pros and cons of each of them to help you find the best credit card in Germany for students.

Comparison Table

Payback Amex Card

Advanzia Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold

Awa7 Visa Credit Card

Barclays Visa Card

Type of credit card

Charge

Revolving

Revolving

Revolving

Annual fee

€0

€0

€0

€0

Free cash withdrawal 

No

4%, at least €5

Free

(But an annual interest rate of 24.69% is applied from the first day of withdrawal until it’s settled. Eg. If you withdraw 100€ and pay it back a month later, there’s an added ~€2 to pay)

Free

Free

Foreign transaction fee

2%

Free

(But there's a Mastercard network fee added)*

Free

Free

Annual interest rate

5% on top of the base interest rate**

24.69%

21.49%

23.13%

Direct debit as a repayment option

Yes

Yes

Yes

Credit score check

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Travel Insurance

Yes

Optional for an extra fee

Discounts/Cashback

5% discount on travel bookings from selected partners

5% cashback on rental cars and travel bookings

Payments give you points that can be exchanged for rewards

5% discount on travel bookings from selected partners

Replacement card

Free

€9

€9

€15

Banking app

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Google & Apple pay

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

English website & support

* It includes a percentage markup on top of the rate established by the European Central Bank. You can check the rate difference here.

** The European Central Bank sets the base interest rate and can it change. As of October 2023, it is 4.5%. 

Which Is The Best Credit Card In Germany For Students?

Quick Summary

This card is overall the best student card, being free of any fees (annual fee, foreign currency, and cash withdrawal fees), and providing interesting bonuses for students. You also don’t need a regular income to be approved.

This American Express card has a strong focus on cash-back bonuses and you can earn points that can be exchanged for rewards, making it our pick for the best reward program.

The inclusion of travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees make the Advanzia card our top pick for traveling.

Both of these cards don’t charge any fees for foreign transactions, making them our top picks in this category.

Both of these cards are known to have an easy application process, and you can get accepted even without a long credit history or regular income.  

Understanding Credit Cards For Students In Germany

For young students who are still building their financial stability, the idea of having a credit card  (not to be confused with a debit card) may be associated with risk or debt.

However, if you are responsible, having a German credit card can be very useful and even help you get a good credit score long-term. In fact, student-friendly credit cards will usually have no extra costs and can even help you save money. 

What’s The Difference Between Your Typical Credit Card And A Student-Friendly Credit Card?

Student-friendly credit cards are free credit cards. While your regular credit card typically has an annual fee, credit cards tailored for students tend to be permanently free of monthly or annual fees. 

Considering the fact that students have tighter budgets, credit cards for students have lower fees. This means that you usually don’t have to pay any extra fees to withdraw money or to pay abroad.

However, you are still subjected to paying interest charges if you don’t pay the full amount each month.

Student credit cards usually have lower credit limits. This is because students usually have lower incomes and don’t have a long credit history, which puts them at higher credit risk. 

Credit cards for students usually also come with attractive benefits and rewards programs, and the approval process may be easier. 

Can An International Student Get A Credit Card In Germany?

It is possible for international students to get credit cards in Germany.

However, it can be more of a challenge, as you may need to have a stable income and a good credit score. You also need to be over 18 and have a German bank account.

Since many students don’t have a regular income or a long credit history in Germany, they are definitely more limited in their choices.

But it’s not impossible for international students to get their card in Germany as there are options available. 

Best Credit Cards In Germany For Students 2024

Let’s take a look now at four free credit cards suitable for students in Germany.

1. PAYBACK American Express

PAYBACK American Express card is a free credit card with no annual fee which can be interesting to students, especially because of their extra bonuses.

PAYBACK American Express

payback karte 1

Annual Fee

€0.00

Eff. Interest Rate

0%

Welcome bonus

Up to 4,000 extra points

Apply today

On American Express Website

Card SystemAmerican Express
Card TypeCharge
Annual Fee€0
Effective Interest RateNo interest (Payment made in full each month)
Domestic payments€0
Payments abroad 2% fee
Domestic cash withdrawals4% fee, at least €5
Foreign cash withdrawals4% fee, at least €5
Limits for cash withdrawals in Germany and abroad€750
Credit Card limitVariable, depends on creditworthiness
Repayment through direct debitYes
Credit score checkYes
Replacement CardFree
Banking appYes
Apple & Google payYes
English website & supportNo

No annual fee.

You can earn points and exchange them for rewards.

Payments are free of charge in the eurozone.

2,000 points bonus for new clients.

No annual interest rates.

2% fee on foreign currencies.

4% fee on all withdrawals.

Not all stores accept American Express.

No travel insurance.

  • Up to 4,000 bonus points for new customers.
  • Extended 90-day exchange policy for online and offline purchases (a maximum of €300 per item and €1,200 per year can be refunded).
  • Payback points can be exchanged for award miles on the flyer program Miles & More.

Their PAYBACK program gives you 1 point every time you make a payment of 3€. You can exchange these points for rewards like online shopping vouchers, travel rewards, donations, etc. 

However, every student should know that this card has a 2% foreign currency fee. Also, no free cash withdrawals. There’s a 4% fee.

This makes the PAYBACK Amex card less attractive compared to other options out there, especially if you want to travel with it. 

2. Advanzia Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold

Advanzia Mastercard Gold can be an attractive card for students due to having zero fees when it comes to payments, withdrawals, and foreign currency transactions. 

Advanzia Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold

mastercard gold gebuehrenfrei advanzia

Annual Fee

€0.00

Eff. Interest Rate

24.69%

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On Gebührenfrei’s Website

Card SystemMastercard
Card TypeRevolving
Annual Fee€0
Effective Interest Rate24.69%
Domestic payments€0
Payments abroad €0
Domestic cash withdrawal24.69% debit interest
Foreign cash withdrawal24.69% debit interest
Limits for cash withdrawals in Germany and abroadUp to €1,000 Daily
Credit card limitUp to €23,000
Repayment through direct debitNo
Credit score checkYes
Replacement CardFree
Banking appYes
Google & Apple payYes
English website & supportNo

No annual fee.

7-week interest-free payment period.

No foreign currency costs.

Travel insurance included.

Cashback benefits.

Apple & Google Pay are available.

High interest rate of 24.69%, including to withdraw cash.

Direct debit is not available.

  • Travel insurance if you pay at least 50% of the travel booking with this card.
  • 5% cashback on rental cars and travel bookings.

Other cool advantages for students include travel insurance and a 5% cashback on rental cars and travel bookings.

However, one of the drawbacks is the fact that they apply an interest rate of 24.69% a year from the moment you withdraw money until you settle the balance. For example, if you withdraw 100€ and pay it back a month later, there’s around €2.85 to pay extra. 

Students also have to be extra careful about paying their balance in full in due time, so they don’t pay the high-interest charge of 24.69% p.a. It has to be done manually.

Fortunately, they offer a 7-week period free of interest. 

3. Awa7 Visa Credit Card

Awa7 Visa credit card, a product of Hanseatic Bank, is a completely free credit card with no monthly or annual fee and has become popular among German credit cards.

Students who choose this credit card will appreciate not having to pay withdrawal fees or foreign transaction fees.

3. Awa7 Visa

download

Annual Fee

€0.00

Eff. Interest Rate

21.49%

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On awa7’s Website

Card SystemVisa
Card TypeRevolving
Annual Fee€0
Effective Interest Rate21.49%
Domestic payments€0
Payments abroad €0
Domestic cash withdrawal€0
Foreign cash withdrawal€0
Limits for cash withdrawals in Germany and abroad€500 Daily
Credit card limitUp to 2,500€ (It may go up depending on individual credit factors)
Repayment through direct debitYes
Credit score checkYes
Replacement Card€9
Banking appYes
Google & Apple payYes
English website & supportNo

No annual or monthly fee.

Free cash withdrawal.

No foreign currency fees.

A tree is planted for every 100€ used on the card.

5% discount on travel bookings.

Access to exclusive voucher portal.

Students can apply even without regular income.

Partial repayment is the default setting (Can be changed on the app).

Limited initial credit line up to €2,500.

Insurance only as an add-on with extra cost.

  • A tree is planted for every 100€ used on the card.
  • Access to the bank’s voucher portal, where you can get vouchers for stores and get discounts.
  • 5% on travel bookings from selected partners.
  • Insurance options are available at an additional cost.

Among credit cards in Germany, awa7 Visa has the particularity of being environmentally conscious. This is because for every 100€ you spend, awa7 promises to plant a tree. The other benefit is the 5% discount for travel bookings via the bank’s travel portal.

Awa7 Visa doesn’t include any insurance, but you can add several types of protection for an extra fee if you wish. You can check the options here.  

Important

Students should be aware that although the partial payment option is free of charge in the first three months, it’s not recommended to keep it.

This is because you will be subjected to high interest fees after those 3 months. Make sure you change the payment option in the app so you pay your monthly bill in full and avoid interest charges. 

4. Barclays Visa Card

One of the most popular credit cards in Germany, the Barclays Visa credit card is well regarded among students for its fee-free nature. It offers no fees for payments abroad and free cash withdrawals apply to amounts from 50€. The maximum credit limit is 10,000€. 

Barclays Visa

images 1

Annual Fee

€0.00

Eff. Interest Rate

23.74%

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On Barclays’ Website

Card SystemVisa
Card TypeRevolving
Annual Fee€0
Effective Interest Rate23.74%
Domestic payments€0
Payments abroad €0
Domestic cash withdrawals€0 (Above €50)
Foreign cash withdrawals€0 (Above €50)
Limits for cash withdrawals in Germany and abroadUp to €500 Daily
Credit Card limitUp to €10,000
Direct debit paybackYes
Credit score checkYes
Replacement Card€15
Banking appYes
Google & Apple payYes
English website & supportNo

Permanent €0 annual card fee.

Worldwide payment & withdrawing cash free of charge.

Flexible repayment (interest-free for up to 2 months).

0% installment purchases for 3 months up to €500.

Credit card limits up to €10,000.

Apple & Google Pay are available.

Free withdrawals only from 50€.

There’s a default setting for partial repayment (but it’s possible to change it).

No traveling insurance is included.

  • 3 free partner cards for family and friends.
  • 5% discount on travel packages from selected partners.
  • 500€ emergency cash in case your credit card gets lost or stolen.

Barclays gives you an interest-free period of up to 2 months to pay off your credit card transactions. And it also gives you an interest-free 3-month loan for individual purchases up to €500. 

Students opting for this credit card have to be careful with the default setting of partial repayment, as high interest rates will apply. However, you have the flexibility to pay in full each month, which is recommended.

Things To Keep In Mind While Choosing A Student Credit Card In Germany

There are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing a student credit card.  

  • Associated fees: as a student, you should choose a credit card that has the least amount of fees possible. There are free options you can choose without annual or monthly fees.  Look for withdrawal fees, foreign currency fees, and any other hidden costs.    
  • Interest rates: most credit cards are subjected to interest rates that quickly accumulate if you don’t repay your balance in full within the interest-free period. Be careful with partial repayment options. 
  • Cashback and rewards programs: for a student, it’s always attractive to have a card with extra rewards. There are free cards that offer discounts or cashback rewards for travel bookings, rental cars, stores, etc. Make sure you look at the programs they offer, because it can help you save money.
  • Flexible repayment plans: having the possibility to pay when you want and as much as you want can be appealing for students. There are free cards that offer flexible repayment plans, allowing you to pay either in full each month or in installments over a period of time. Be aware that payments in installments are subject to potentially high interest charges. 
  • Credit limits: a credit limit is the maximum amount you can borrow from the bank. There are also limits on daily and weekly withdrawals. For student credit cards, these limits are usually tighter.
  • Extra benefits: some free cards offer you benefits such as travel insurance, vouchers, cash bonuses for new clients, etc. Be on the lookout for these. 
  • Customer Support: look for providers of credit cards that offer good 24-hour support, user-friendly mobile apps, and English-speaking support.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For Getting A Student Credit Card In Germany?

The criteria will depend on the bank. Typically, some or all of these criteria may apply:

  • Being of legal age (over 18)
  • Having a regular income
  • Having a German bank account
  • Having a valid residence permit
  • Having a German phone number

FAQs

As far as we know, there is no statistical evidence about which credit cards have the highest approval rates in Germany.

Based on research and eligibility criteria, cards such as awa7 visa, and Advanzia Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold appear to have good approval rates. 

The best free credit cards for students will depend on each person’s preferences and needs.

Overall, we recommend the awa7 visa and Barclays Visa.

Yes, as long as you use it with responsibility and pay all your bills on time. Building a good credit record can take some time.

Conclusion

Students can benefit from having a free credit card that allows them financial freedom and flexibility.

The best student-friendly credit cards have no associated fees related to withdrawals or foreign currencies. Extra perks, such as rewards programs are also always a plus.

By comparing several options, students can find the best card for their specific needs. Hopefully, this article helped you get some insights and ideas. And don’t forget: stay financially responsible!  

Andreia Ferreira
Andreia Ferreira
Andreia is our main writer/researcher here at TwoExpats. She does extensive research on the various products we review as well as writing compelling content that is easy to digest by our readers.

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