Chase Freedom Student Credit Card: Creating Credit for Students

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Student Credit Cards offer reduced rewards in exchange for assuming the risk of cardholders with short credit histories. The Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card is one of a handful of credit cards designed specifically for students. You must therefore be enrolled in a college, university, vocational school or trade school to qualify.

Although Chase is generally one of the most competitive credit card issuers for cash back credit cards, business credit cards and travel credit cards, its student credit card option is a little more restrictive than its competitors. Nonetheless, it offers a standard set of features: a welcome bonus, a rewards program, and no annual fee. While none of these features particularly stand out, Chase does have some credit-building features that outshine its competitors.

Note that this is also one of the few student credit cards with foreign transaction feesso it’s not a good option if you’re studying abroad or want a credit card to travel abroad.

Read more: Best debit cards for college students

In this article

Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

Introductory offer$50 bonus after the first purchase made within the first 3 months of account opening

APR16.49% variable

Intro Purchase APRN / A

Recommended credit Excellent/Good Credit

Reward rate
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases plus $20 in good reputation rewards after every account anniversary for up to 5 years

Annual fees$0

APR balance transfer16.49% variable

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign transaction fees 3% of each transaction in US dollars

APR Penalty Up to 29.99%

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases plus $20 in good reputation rewards after every account anniversary for up to 5 years

Our opinion

Rewards and Redemption

Chase Freedom Student cash back is a bit lackluster compared to other student credit cards. You’ll earn 1% on all your purchases, with no additional reward categories. Technically, cashback is earned as points, where 1 point equals 1 cent. You can redeem your points for cash, travel or gift cards.

welcome bonus

Although not all student credit cards offer a welcome bonus, the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card does. Its value – $50 after making your first purchase within three months of opening your account – is mediocre compared to other student credit card welcome bonuses, but the conditions for earning this bonus are much more flexible. . Credit cards with higher welcome bonuses often require you to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars within a set time frame to earn the bonus. With the Chase Freedom Student Card, you only have to make any purchase, even if it’s just a pack of gum.

Build your credit with this card

The Chase Freedom Student card offers good credit building support with its Good Standing reward. For each of the first five years, if your Chase account is in good standing – meaning your account remains open and not in default – you earn a $20 credit after the anniversary date your card was opened.

You will also have free access to your credit score through Chase’s Credit Journey program. More cards offer this service, but not all card providers currently do.

Usually, you can request a credit limit increase on a credit card every few months or so with responsible credit behavior (note: requesting a credit limit increase does not hurt your credit score). The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card offers this route with even more leeway. You can increase your credit limit if, within the first 10 months of becoming a cardholder, you make at least 5 monthly payments on time. To avoid credit card debt and help increase your credit scorewe recommend that you aim to do everything of your monthly payments on time and in full.

Other Cards to Consider

Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it Student Cash Back* card can earn you more rewards overall on your spending. The flat rate is 1% on all purchases, but it offers an additional rotating rewards category and a one-time welcome bonus.

The Rotating Quarterly Rewards category earns you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spend per quarter upon activation (1% thereafter). For the current quarter, which runs through September, you can earn 5% on restaurants and PayPal when you activate the category through your online account. From October to December, the rotating category includes shopping on Amazon.com and digital wallets). Then, with its Unlimited Cashback Match welcome bonus, you’ll double your cash back for your first year – although you have to wait until the end of your first year to receive it.

It is also a better option for studying abroad or for other international travel, because Discover credit cards do not charge foreign transaction fees.

For more details, see our full review of the Discover it Student cash back card.

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you like the simplicity of the Chase Freedom Student rewards structure – or if you’re intimidated by the extra legwork of Discover it Student Cash Back – the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a better fixed cashback rate on the all of your purchases.

The welcome bonus is also better for most people. For a limited time, you can earn a $100 welcome bonus if you spend $100 on the card within the first three months. It’s twice the value of the Chase Freedom Student welcome bonus, and the spending threshold to earn it is reasonable compared to traditional credit cards.

And like everything Capital One Credit Cardshe has no foreign transaction feesyou can therefore take this card with you abroad without incurring additional costs.

FAQs

How does a student credit card work?

Student credit cards generally offer those with little or no credit a way to start building credit and building a credit history. They generally come with lower credit limits than traditional credit cards and do not charge annual fees. And they often have newbie-friendly features, including overdue payment cancellation, gradually increasing the credit limit over time, and credit education resources. However, reward rates can be lower than standard travel and cash back credit cards, making student credit cards a lower risk, low reward financial tool.

How is a student credit card different from a secured credit card?

While some people choose to build credit with a secured credit card, i.e. a card on which you have secured your credit limit with a cash deposit, student credit cards work a bit. differently. Student credit cards usually don’t require cash up front, but these cards usually only offer a small line of credit, sometimes only a few hundred dollars. This way, the student can use the card to build credit without risking accumulating too much credit card debt (resulting in bad credit).

What do you need to qualify for a student credit card?

A typical non-student credit card application requires a high credit score (at least 670 for good results) and at least a few years of credit history. However, to get a student credit card, you often don’t necessarily need one or the other, although proof of financial experience and responsibility helps in getting a credit card offer. The issuer may ask you for information about any income you may have (even if it comes from family) and any checking or savings accounts you may have. You usually need to show proof of enrollment in a four-year college, community college, or other institution of higher education.

What are the characteristics of a student credit card?

In addition to looser eligibility requirements, the best student credit cards will offer some of the following features:

  • Special rules for newcomers to credit, such as low late fees and penalty-free APRs
  • Lower credit limits – usually between $500 and $2,000
  • Spend Cash Back Program
  • A “reasonable” APR – usually between 15% and 20%

Our methodology

CNET examines credit cards comprehensively comparing them across established criteria for each major category, including cash back credit cards, welcome bonus credit cards, travel rewards credit cards and transfer credit cards balance. We take into consideration the typical buying behavior of a range of consumer profiles – with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different – ​​and the designated function of a card.

*All Discover it Student Cash Back information has been independently collected by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

Editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our editors and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It was not supplied or commissioned by a third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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