Should I Put Student Or Employed On Credit Card Application?

By Bruce Boswell •  Updated: 12/14/21 •  6 min read
Filed under: Credit Cards

Getting a credit card can be difficult, especially if you’ve never had credit before. When applying for a credit card, there are certain criteria that you have to meet before the lender will consider your application. 

If you’re a student who has a job to fit alongside your studies and you’re considering applying for a credit card – you may be confused as to what your employment status would be classed as. 

Should I Put Student Or Employed On Credit Card Application

Are you employed? Technically yes. Are you a student? Technically yes. 

So, what do you put on the application? You don’t wanna lie about it and you’re wondering if there is a more advantageous answer to give. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got a handy guide below that will explain everything and hopefully point you in the right direction with your speculative credit card application. 

So, let’s get started. Should you put ‘student’ or ‘employed’ on your credit card application?

Why Does It Even Matter?

When lenders are reviewing an application for a credit card, they look at a load of different criteria. Employment status is a really important part of this. Of course, unemployed people – who may still qualify for certain credit cards (usually with unfavorable interest rates) are far less likely to be accepted when compared with employed people. 

It’s all about risk. A lender has to consider the risk of lending significant sums of money – an unemployed person is unlikely to be in receipt of a regular source of income and therefore is less likely to repay what they owe. This doesn’t mean to say an employed person isn’t a risk, but that is why there is a whole host of criteria. 

A student lands in a strange position. You’ve got to provide income on your application, so what exactly counts as income? Is a student a risk? 

Students And Credit Cards 

If you’re considering whether to put employed or student on a credit card application, the assumption is that you’re employed whilst at college. Luckily – there are student credit cards (18+) that you can apply for. 

You’re actually better off listing yourself as a student on most credit card applications, as the standard of eligibility is slightly lowered, for things such as annual income.

However, you will still need to enter all of your income onto your application – and as always, the more you’re earning (and not spending!) the better for your application. 

What Income Should I Include On A Student Application?

Pretty much all of your income should be declared on a credit card application, but here are the main ones you should remember: 


Regular income from work is the best and simplest form of income for lenders to assess. It’s easy to prove with documentation (or even a call to your employer) and this is always asked for in an application.

It doesn’t matter if it is part-time, casual, an internship or full-time (with part time studies), income from any employment needs to be on the application. This also includes income from a work-study program.

Money From Friends/Family 

This can be quite complex. If you’re under 21, you can only declare the income given from family or friends if it is deposited into your account on a regular basis. If you’re 21 or over, you can declare income from parents, family or friends if they pay for (e.g. bills) but it does not need to go into your bank account. 

Financial Aid

Financial aid refers to money received from things like scholarships, grants or bursaries. It’s a difficult one to assess. It can be confusing if you should include this because it will depend on the credit card you’re applying for.

Some will allow you to list financial aid as an income whereas some will only let you include it, if it is being used for living costs such as housing or bills. It’s best to check with the credit card company or financial advisor before filling out the application. 

Student Loan 

This is another contentious one which will vary from lender to lender. Most credit card companies won’t allow you to use student loans as income because technically it’s a debt – therefore you’re not really earning it.

Paying off debt with another debt is a risky business and it’s best not to start with that habit anyway. Having said that though, if your loan isn’t being used for tuition or living expenses, some credit card companies may allow you to list the excess funds as an income.

Again, it’s best to check before you complete an application here. 

How Much Income Do I Need To Qualify For A Student Credit Card?

Subjectivity is once again in play here. There’s no hard and fast rule for income as such for student applications, but you could assume that most require around the minimum of $100 to meet the minimum credit card limit. Of course, it will be better if your income is higher! 

What If I’m Rejected?

Rejection from a credit card application can be a real blow and sometimes it can affect your credit score, so think carefully before applying for a credit card. There are things you can do though. 

A co-signatory application (sometimes known as a guarantor) can be of great advantage for people trying to get on the credit ladder. Be aware though that if you miss your payment or fail to pay – the lender will take action against your co-signature.

First they will request payment from them and if they cannot get it, further action against them may be taken. So, think carefully before doing this. 

Failing this, you could request to be an authorized user of someone else’s credit card. This will give you the credit score boost and potentially allow you future credit card or loan applications with a better chance.

However, if you’re poorly managing their finances – you could plunge any user of the credit card into debt and result in a poor credit score. 

Bruce BoswellBruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell enjoys researching and writing about all things related to investing and saving money. Whenever he has a chance, Bruce loves travelling all around the world with his wife and trying new foods.