Chase Freedom® Student credit card review

Chase Freedom® Student credit card review

Published: May 11, 2020
Published: May 11, 2020
Ratings Policy
Student Rating:
3.4 rating
3.4 rating
3.4 / 5
Introductory Offer 0.0
Interest and Fees 5.0
Rewards Program 3.1
Features 3.7
Customer Experience 3.7

In a Nutshell:

The Chase Freedom Student is a great introduction to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, but its earning rate fails to impress.

APR
12.99%-21.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Annual Fee
$0

Penalty APR
None

Introductory Offer

None

 

Estimated Yearly Rewards Value ($300 monthly spend)

$59

Rewards Program

  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: $20 Good Standing Reward after each account anniversary for up to 5 years, complimentary DashPass membership for three months, free credit score

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The new Chase Freedom Student card is the bank’s first offering for college students, and it is designed to impart good credit habits and encourage financial health in young adults. New credit cardholders can use the new card to build their credit without paying an annual fee. The rewards earning scheme is not the best among student cards, but it is still a good way to bring in a little extra cash back.

Plus, the Freedom Student card is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards family and can serve as an introduction to one of the most valuable rewards programs. Freedom Student cardholders will enjoy the flexible redemption options available in the Ultimate Rewards portal and can even transfer their points to another Ultimate Rewards card if they qualify down the line.

Fair rewards rate

The Chase Freedom Student offers 1 percent cash back on every purchase, which is a pretty standard rewards rate for a basic student card. Additionally, through March of 2022, you get 5 percent back on Lyft rides.

Unfortunately, cardholders won’t have the opportunity to boost their earnings with an ongoing bonus category or redemption bonus. The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®*, for example, also offers 1 percent cash back on general purchases. Unlike the Freedom, the Journey lets cardholders earn 25 percent bonus points for paying their bill on time, boosting their overall rate to 1.25 points per dollar.

Nice sign-up bonus

One perk that comes with the Chase Freedom Student is a modest intro bonus. New cardholders can earn $50 after making their first purchase with the card in the first three months. While not the most eye-catching offer, this bonus can be a great way to get an influx of extra cash without having to reach a high spend threshold.

You can also get a complimentary subscription to DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription services that provides unlimited free deliveries on orders over $12, for three months. After that, you’re automatically enrolled in DashPass at 50 percent off for the next nine months. You must activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2021.

Annual good standing reward

Chase Freedom Student cardholders can also be rewarded for maintaining good habits, in the form of an annual good standing reward. Every account anniversary that your account is still open and in good standing (you’ve been making your minimum payments on time), you are eligible for a $20 bonus – up to the first five years of card ownership.

Ultra-flexible redemption

The Freedom Student card is marketed as earning cash back, but it earns Ultimate Rewards points – a huge benefit for students eager to get started in the rewards card space. Not only are Ultimate Rewards points some of the most valuable credit card points, but cardholders have a wide variety of redemption options.

See Related: Guide to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Freedom Student users can redeem their points for travel purchases, cash back, Apple products and more. Just keep in mind that you might not get the same value out of your points depending on how you use them.

Chase Freedom Student redemption options

Redemption option Point value (cents)
Travel redemption 1
Statement credit 1
Direct deposit 1
Gift cards 1
Apple purchases 1
Amazon.com purchases 0.8

Introduction to Chase Ultimate Rewards

Because the Freedom Student earns Ultimate Rewards points, it is a great way for new credit cardholders to try out the program. In addition to the Ultimate Rewards portal, Freedom Student users can take advantage of perks like Chase Offers to earn extra cash back on everyday spending.

See Related: Chase Ultimate Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Ultimate Rewards points

Plus, if you qualify for another Ultimate Rewards card down the line, you can transfer points you earned on the Freedom Student to another card. This means you might even be able to boost your rewards value, as some Ultimate Rewards cards offer a points boost when you redeem for travel through Ultimate Rewards.

Opportunity for credit limit increase

The Freedom Student card is designed to help students improve their financial health, and one tool to help them along the way is the opportunity for an automatic credit limit increase. As long as you make five on-time payments within 10 months of opening your account, it will be automatically reviewed for a larger credit limit. This helps boost your credit score by improving your available credit and utilization ratio.

Rates and fees

The Freedom Student card is also a bit easier on the rates and fees than other cards designed for building credit. The card’s APR is low for a student card: All users get an APR of just 14.99 percent variable.

How does the Chase Freedom Student compare to other student cards?

While the Chase Freedom Student card provides a unique opportunity for students to build their credit while earning flexible Ultimate Rewards, it does not have the best earning rate among student cards. Students who are more focused on racking in cash back might be better off with one of these popular alternatives.

Discover it Student Cash Back
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
Rewards rate

  • 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter (enrollment required)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Matches cash back at end of first year
Rewards rate

  • 1% cash back on every purchase
  • 25% bonus points when you pay on time
Rewards rate

  • 3% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for first 6 months (up to $2,500 in purchases)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
APR

12.99%-21.99% (variable)

APR

26.99% (variable)

APR

11.15%-21.15% (variable)

Introductory offer

0% APR on new purchases for first 6 months

Introductory offer

None

Introductory offer

0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 6 months

Other things to know

  • $20 statement credit each year for good grades (3.0 GPA or higher)
  • No fee for first late payment
  • Social security number alerts
Other things to know

  • Automatic credit limit increase after five months of on-time payments
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Credit tracking tools
Other things to know

  • Budget management tools
  • Cellphone insurance
  • Car rental insurance

Discover it Student Cash Back

The Discover it Student card is best suited for cardholders who don’t mind putting a bit of extra effort into their rewards program, as it requires users to enroll in quarterly bonus categories to earn a high rate of cash back. If you don’t mind keeping track of these rotating categories, then the card can have one of the most lucrative earning rates available on a student credit card. Plus, you might be eligible for a $20 statement credit any year you earn a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Capital One Journey

Like the Freedom Student, the Capital One Journey card offers 1 percent cash back on every purchase. With the Journey, however, cardholders can boost their cash back for any month to 1.25 percent when they pay their bill on time. Users also qualify for an automatic credit limit increase after five months of on-time payments. On the downside, the Journey card has a high APR – even for a student card.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

The Wells Fargo College Visa is another great choice for students who want to earn a good rewards rate, as it offers a generous bonus category in gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for the first six months. After that, users can still earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase.

Why get the Chase Freedom Student?

  • You are a student over 18 looking to start building credit and earning rewards.
  • You are interested in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and looking for a starter card.
  • You want to build positive credit habits and will take advantage of the card’s tools.

How to use the Chase Freedom Student:

  • Pay your bill on time to qualify for a credit limit increase and good standing reward.
  • Make a purchase in the first three months to earn the sign-up bonus.
  • Take advantage of Chase Offers and the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal to boost cash back earnings.

*The information for the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is no longer available through CreditCards.com.

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