Chase Freedom<sup>®</sup> Student credit card
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Chase Freedom<sup>®</sup> Student credit card
On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Review: Is It a Good Starter Card?

Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Review: Is It a Good Starter Card?

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a decent card for students who want to build credit and get rewarded for spending.

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Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Quick facts

More details

Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: 660-720
  • Sign-up bonus: $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earning rate: Earn 1% cash back on all purchases plus $20 Good Standing Rewards after each account anniversary for up to 5 years
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit line increase: Automatic credit line increase after making five on-time minimum payments with the first 10 months from card opening
  • Credit score access: Check your credit score anytime through Credit Journey

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: 660-720
  • Sign-up bonus: $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earning rate: Earn 1% cash back on all purchases plus $20 Good Standing Rewards after each account anniversary for up to 5 years
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit line increase: Automatic credit line increase after making five on-time minimum payments with the first 10 months from card opening
  • Credit score access: Check your credit score anytime through Credit Journey

More details

  • $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • $20 Good Standing Rewards after each account anniversary for up to 5 years
  • Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening when meeting credit criteria
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Free credit score with Chase Credit Journey

Rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: N/A
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.24% Variable
  • Intro BT APR: N/A
  • Regular BT APR: 15.24% Variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee
  • Bonus offer
  • Simple rewards structure
  • Automatic credit line increase
  • Free credit score access
  • Low APR
  • Metal credit card

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • No bonus spending categories
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Chase Freedom® Student credit card review: Build credit and earn cash back rewards

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a good entry into the world of credit building and earning rewards. For college students, a student credit card can be a route to building credit history and learning how to be a responsible borrower. Student cards don't come with the luxury perks of a top-tier rewards credit card but offer simpler benefits that make sense for someone with little to no credit.

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card offers features that are ideal for fledgling cardholders. Its simple cash back rewards structure rewards every card purchase. The card also features a lower APR than many student credit cards, making it a safer choice if you accidentally rack up a higher balance than you can pay off at the end of the billing cycle. It also rewards responsible usage with an automatic credit limit increase just by paying your bills on time.

What credit score do you need for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card?

One of the main benefits of the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is that you don't need a substantial credit history with a high credit score to qualify. Since the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a starter credit card geared toward students, you'll need only a FICO credit score of 660 or higher. Your application is subject to a credit inquiry.

Chase will also verify your status as a student. They may ask you to provide additional information, like a driver's license or Social Security card, to verify your identity and academic status.

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$50 bonus offer

New cardholders have an opportunity to earn a quick bonus just for using your Chase Freedom® Student credit card. You'll earn $50 Bonus after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.

The bonus itself isn't impressive. Other student cards, like the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students, offer much higher bonuses. However, unlike other cards, the only spending requirement with the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is to use the card once. You can earn the bonus after any purchase, from textbooks or rent to lunch on campus or a cup of coffee. That's a great deal, considering the low earning bar.

$20 good standing rewards

It's rare to find a credit card that offers two bonuses. The Chase Freedom® Student credit card comes with an annual bonus for responsible cardholders. As long as your account is in good standing, you'll earn 2,000 bonus points, which you can redeem for $20 each anniversary year for the first five years of card ownership. To be in good standing, you must have an open account that isn't in default.

1% cash back on all purchases

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card earns Earn 1% cash back on all purchases plus $20 Good Standing Rewards after each account anniversary for up to 5 years. Its simple rewards structure means you'll earn cash back regardless of how you use the card.

You'll earn cash back for big expenses like tuition, your cell phone bill, and rent, but also other charges like gas, groceries, and your Netflix bill. Plus, cash back rewards never expire, and there's no minimum to redeem them.

The card's cash back rate is lower than you'll find with many of the best student credit cards. If most of your monthly expenses fall into a few specific categories, you could potentially earn more cash back rewards with another credit card with higher rates for popular bonus categories.

Redeeming rewards

As mentioned above, you can redeem your cash back rewards at any time with the Chase Freedom® Student credit card. You can spend them as you earn them or save them up for a bigger redemption.

Cardholders have a few options for redeeming their cash back rewards:

  • Statement credits
  • Electronic deposit to an eligible savings or checking account
  • Gift cards
  • Travel
  • Pay with Points

Points are worth $0.01 when redeemed for cash, gift cards, or travel. These are typically your best option for getting the most out of your cash back rewards. Point values vary for other redemptions.

The Pay with Points option is only available through select retailers and services online.

If you have another eligible Chase credit card with access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, you can pool your points together on the other card account.

What is Chase Ultimate Rewards®?

Chase Ultimate Rewards® is Chase's popular credit card rewards program. The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is part of the program, giving students access to one of the most versatile rewards programs on the planet. Only a few Chase credit cards come with access to the program. The amount of Ultimate Rewards redemption options available is impressive for any rewards program.

As you build your credit with the Chase Freedom® Student credit card, you may eventually qualify for better travel rewards cards in the Ultimate Rewards program family.

With cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, points are worth even more when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards program. The rewards program also allows you to transfer your points to any of its host of airline and hotel transfer partners, giving you even more flexibility.

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Credit limit increase

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card comes with another useful feature for first-time cardholders: automatic credit limit increases. To receive an automatic limit increase, you must make five on-time minimum monthly payments within the first 10 months of account opening.

Only one payment per billing cycle counts towards the total, and having a late payment during that time disqualifies you from earning the limit increase.

If this is your first credit card, you may not know that credit cards come with assigned spending limits. Depending on your credit, you could end up with an initial credit limit anywhere from $500 to $5,000. Regardless of the credit limit you're assigned, Chase gives you a chance to boost this amount.

A higher credit line can potentially benefit new cardholders trying to improve their credit scores. Credit utilization is a major factor in credit scoring. Having a higher credit limit can help keep your credit utilization ratio low.

Other Chase Freedom student credit card benefits

Besides the bonuses and perks listed above, the Chase Freedom® Student credit card comes with other valuable protections and benefits not to overlook. These benefits are pretty standard on higher-tier rewards credit cards but not always available on student credit cards.

All of your card purchases are protected for up to 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 total per account.

For any card purchase that comes with an eligible U.S. manufacturer's warranty of three years or less, Chase extends warranty coverage an additional year.

If you book a trip using your card, you are eligible for reimbursement on prepaid non-refundable airfare. Reimbursements are up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 total per trip. Coverage is available if your trip was canceled or shortened due to sickness, severe weather, or other eligible scenarios.

How does the Chase Freedom® Student credit card compare to other cards?

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card offers several exciting benefits, but it may not be the best card for every student. Here's a look at how it compares to other popular credit cards.

0
Discover it<sup>®</sup> Student Cash Back
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Editor's Rating?
N/A
Annual Fee
$0
See terms
$0
$0
More card details
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Not available on ValuePenguin
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Not available on ValuePenguin

Chase Freedom® Student credit card vs. Discover it® Student Cash Back

Verdict: Earn higher cash back rates in popular spending categories

Discover it® Student Cash Back is a better option if your monthly budget includes popular spending categories like Amazon purchases, groceries, fuel and dining. The card earns high rates in quarterly rotating categories that you activate, but you'll still earn cash back on all other purchases too. Plus, Discover matches all of the cash back earned at the end of your first year. So, if your spending habits net you $200 in cash back, you'll end up with $400 cash back.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: See terms
  • Credit score required: Fair/Limited
  • APR: See terms
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically

Chase Freedom® Student credit card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: Great for balance transfers and financing large purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited® could be the right card for you if you have existing credit card debt collecting high interest charges. The card comes with a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months (followed by an APR of 15.24% - 23.99% Variable). You can transfer over your balance or fund large purchases and pay them off over time without worrying about additional fees.

The card also features a larger sign-up bonus and higher cash back rates in several popular spending categories than Chase's student card. Plus, you'll still enjoy many of the same perks like free credit score access, purchase and extended warranty protection, and trip cancellation/interruption coverage.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit score required: Excellent/Good
  • APR: 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 15.24% - 23.99% Variable
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Chase Freedom® Student credit card vs. Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Verdict: Higher cash back rate with on-time payments and no fees on international purchases

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is a better option for students studying abroad or traveling internationally. The card carries no foreign transaction fee, unlike the Chase Freedom® Student credit card.

Capital One's student card also offers a cash back bump with on-time payments. If you love streaming services, the card also features a $60 streaming subscription credit. Like the Chase card, Journey Student Rewards from Capital One carries $0 annual fee and comes with free credit score access. Cardholders can also receive automatic credit line reviews in as little as six months.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit score required: Average/Fair/Limited
  • APR: 26.99% (Variable)
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)

Should you apply for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card?

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a solid option for any student looking for a starter credit card or interested in building credit. While you're rewarded for card purchases with the Chase card, you can probably maximize your rewards earning better with other top student credit cards.

If you lack the credit history to qualify for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card, you can also look at other starter credit cards which may have less stringent underwriting requirements. There are also credit cards for people with no credit history that provide a gateway to credit building, often without requiring a credit inquiry.

The information related to Discover it® Student Cash Back and Journey Student Rewards from Capital One has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

On Chase's Secure Website