Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card Review: A Student Card With Real Rewards

CREDIT SCORE REQUIREMENTS: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit. ?
  • Good/
  • Excellent
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850
Our Bottom Line:

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card can help students begin to build a strong credit profile while earning a $50 Bonus for signing up and making one purchase during the first three months.  There’s no annual fee to own.

Intro APR Purchases N/A
Intro Term Purchases 0
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A
Intro Term Balance Transfers 0
Regular APR 17.24% Variable
Annual Fee $0
  • $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
Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

As a student, getting by means maximizing all of the financial tools at your disposal. We’ve all been there! After all, making ends meet with expensive books and late-night study snacks isn’t an easy task. 

Although some shy away from credit cards as a terrible financial choice, the reality is that the right credit card combined with responsible management can provide a small amount of relief to your tight budget. 

That’s why the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a financial tool that every college student should consider. You’ll find that the cash back rewards and the bonuses that come with this card are likely a smart choice for your budget. 

Here’s what you need to know about the Chase Freedom® Student credit card before applying. 

Key Facts

  • Best for – College students with a minimal or no credit history will find the most value in this card.  
  • Welcome bonus – New members will receive a $50 bonus after making a purchase within the first three months of opening the account.
  • Cash back – 1% on all purchases.
  • Regular APR – 17.24% Variable.
  • Annual fee – $0.
  • Any other unique features – $20 rewards each year on your card’s anniversary for keeping your account in good standing for the first 5 years.

In-Depth Analysis of the Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Want to know the nitty-gritty details of this credit card? Here’s everything you want to know. 

Bonuses

The welcome bonus is not the most lucrative on the market, but the requirements for snagging it are very minimal. You’ll only need to make a purchase within the first three months of opening your account. Yes, any purchase will allow you to qualify for this account bonus. So if you are planning to use the card at all, then you’ll score the bonus. 

Beyond the welcome bonus, the Chase Freedom® Student credit card also offers an annual bonus of $20 for the first five years. In order to tap into this reward, you’ll need to keep your account in good standing along the way (so make sure to pay your bill every month!). 

Rewards

Bonuses are great, but ongoing rewards make a card more valuable. And the Chase Freedom® Student credit card doesn’t disappoint. 

You’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. There’s no need to worry about the types of purchase; everything qualifies for this cash back perk. 

APR

The standard interest rate for new purchases is 17.24% Variable. Any ongoing balance transfers are also tied to the standard interest rate of 17.24% Variable. However, there is the possibility of a penalty APR of Up to 29.99% and a cash advance APR of 27.24% Variable.

If you are able to make on-time monthly payments, then these APRs shouldn’t worry you too much.

Annual Fee

Are you worried about an annual fee? Amazingly, this rewards-rich card doesn’t come with an annual fee to contend with. 

Read more: Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards – Don’t Pay A Dime To Get Another Credit Card

Fees (Other than Annual Fees)

Although the Chase Freedom® Student credit card doesn’t come with an annual fee, there are still some fees to keep in mind. 

The foreign transaction fee of 3% could be an issue if you plan to study abroad or take a summer off to travel. If you are considering balance transfers, you’ll run into a fee equal to $5 or 5% of the amount of the transfer. 

Finally, there is a cash advance fee of either $10 or 5% of the transaction amount. Make sure these fees won’t affect your budget too much. 

Other Unique Benefits

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card doesn’t stop with a great bonus and ongoing cash back. You’ll also enjoy other benefits, including:

  • Credit limit increase. You will earn a credit limit increase after five months of on-time payments within ten months of opening the account. 
  • Free credit score. Check-in with your credit score for free at any time. 
  • Fraud alerts. Chase will reach out if you have any unusual account activity. 
  • Contactless payment. You can pay without swiping your card. Simply tap. 
  • Purchase protection. Your new purchases are covered against damage or theft for 120 days, for up to $500 per claim.
  • Zero liability protection. If a fraudster goes on a shopping spree with your credit card, you won’t be held accountable. 
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Book a trip with your credit card but have to cancel? Chase will reimburse you for up to $1,500 per person ($6,000 per trip) for pre-paid and non-refundable passenger fares in many situations. 

How Much Can You Earn with the Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Want to work with the Chase Freedom® Student credit card? Here’s how much you can earn. 

The Budget Spender – $1,000/Month

 Earnings after one yearEarnings in the next five years
Total spending$12,000$12,000
Cash rewards earnings$120$120
Sign-up bonus or good standing annual bonus$50$20
Total earnings$170$140

If you spend $1,000 per month, then you’ll earn $170 in the first year. Plus, $140 for the next five years if you keep your account in good standing. 

The Premium Spender – $2,000/Month

 Earnings after one yearEarnings in the next five years
Total spending$24,000$24,000
Cash rewards earnings$240$240
Sign-up bonus or good standing annual bonus$50$20
Total earnings$290$260

You’ll earn more if you spend more. With a $2,000 monthly credit card spend, you’ll earn $290 in your first year and $260 after that. 

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Earn Cash Back — You will earn 1% cash back on all purchases without any limits.
  • Easy Sign-up Bonus — Make any purchase in the first three months and earn $50.
  • No Annual Fee — You won’t have to worry about an annual fee affecting your budget.
  • No Credit History Required — You won’t need an extensive credit history to qualify for this card.

Cons

  • Must be a Student — This card is only an option for students.
  • Higher Misc. Fees — You’ll run into foreign transaction fees and cash advance fees.

How Does the Chase Freedom® Student credit card Compare with Other Chase Credit cards?

Here’s how the Chase Freedom® Student credit card stacks up against the competition. I’ll compare the card to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®

 Chase Freedom® Student credit cardChase Freedom Flex℠Chase Freedom® Unlimited
Intro offer$50 after making a purchase within first three months$200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in first three months$200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in first three months
Ongoing annual bonuses$20 for accounts in good standing for the first five yearsN/AN/A
Cash back1% cash back on all purchases5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories; 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3% on dining and drugstores; 1% cash back on all other purchases5% on travel purchased through Chase; 3% on dining and drugstores; 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Credit levelGood to excellent, Low credit, and Building creditGood to excellentGood to excellent
APR for purchases17.24% Variable17.24% - 25.99% Variable17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee$0$0$0

You’ll notice that a major difference in these cards is the credit level required. If you are just building your credit, then the Chase Freedom® Student credit card might be the best option. 

Should You Get the Chase Freedom® Student credit card?

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a great option for students that want to build their credit history while taking advantage of a cash back credit card. Although there are credit cards with more lucrative rewards out there, the 1% cash back and regular bonuses will provide a boost to your budget. 

If you already have an excellent credit score, you might want to seek a credit card with more extensive rewards. 

Read more: Best Cash Back Credit Cards

How to Apply for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card?

The easiest way to apply for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is to dive into the online application. It should only take a few minutes to run through the application on the secure site. 

It will help to have some information handy, including your address, annual income, primary source of income, and your Social Security number. Once you fill out the information, you can provide an e-signature to submit it. 

At that point, you just have to wait for Chase to review the application and get back to you. It should take too long for this process to unfold. The last time I applied for a credit card with Chase, I was approved within a few hours. 

If approved, you’ll receive your card in the mail and you’ll be able to start using it!

Summary

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a perfect opportunity for a college student to boost their credit score. Plus, you can take advantage of cash back and bonus opportunities along the way. 

If you have the discipline to manage your credit card with on-time payments responsibly, then applying for this card should be a no-brainer. 

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About the author

Total Articles: 60
Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer covering retirement, investing, debt, savings, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. Additionally, she is the founder of Adventurous Adulting, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping readers tackle their money and take control of the adventure of life. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.