Credit cards can help graduates build a positive credit rating if they simply make the monthly payments on time to keep their account in good standing. Their credit rating will influence future mortgage and car loan interest rates in addition to insurance premium payments, says CardHub.

According to the credit card comparison Web site, recent college graduates will likely get the best deal by using a still-active university e-mail address to qualify for a student credit card. Issuers tend to offer students better terms than their credit experience would warrant in light of their heightened earning potential. Within the student card segment, recent graduates should only consider offers that do not charge annual fees, as they will enable low-cost credit building. Rewards and low interest rates are of secondary importance.

CardHub compared approval requirements, rates, rewards and fees from more that 1,000 different offers to determine the best credit cards for college graduates looking to start building their credit history.

The top three are:

BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students: $100 cash bonus if you spend at least $500 during the first 90 days; 3 percent cash back on gas and 2 percent on groceries (on the first $1,500 spent in those categories each quarter); 1 percent on everything else; no annual fee.

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: 1 percent cash back across all purchases; 25 percent cash back bonus when you pay your bill on time; no annual fee.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards for Students Credit Card: 0 percent on purchases for 15 months; no annual fee.