Updated Sep 20, 2021 | Published Mar 08, 2021 • 8 min read
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The Chase Freedom Student is a solid offer for young students with limited or no credit history. For no annual fee, it offers 5% cash back for Lyft and 1% elsewhere, with a $20 anniversary bonus and automatic credit line increase.
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The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
Foreign Transaction Fee3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
The information related to Chase Freedom® Student credit card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
The Chase Freedom Student is made from all the things college students love: a three-month DoorDash membership, a $20 “responsible cardholder” bonus, rewards for Lyft rides, and no annual fee.
It’s a good way to get your feet wet in the world of credit cards. It’ll reward your on-time payments, so it’ll get you in the habit of responsible card use. The Freedom Student could be a good first card, but be sure to check out all of your options.
It’s important to note that only students enrolled in college, university, career, or trade school are eligible to apply for the Freedom Student card. If you get the card and graduate, you can continue to use it.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
Use it for everything: As a student, you’ll probably only have this one credit card, so use it for everything from books to beer to earn some cash back.
Practice responsible credit habits: A student credit card is a good opportunity to develop financial habits that’ll serve you well in the long run. Treat your credit card like a debit card: Commit to not spending more than you can pay off each month, and be sure to pay the full statement balance each month. This will let you avoid interest, help keep you out of credit card debt, and boost your credit scores.
Get more for being a good cardholder: You can earn an easy $20 reward every year for five years, just by paying your card on time. The reward will be issued after your cardmember anniversary, as long as your account is in good standing.
Earn a higher credit limit: Most young people with limited or no credit will get fairly small credit limits, but Chase will up your limit if you make five on-time monthly payments in your first 10 months. Since you should always pay on time, this should be a quick and easy way to get a higher limit. Each payment has to be at or above the minimum amount due, and any late payments will disqualify you.
Enroll with DoorDash for free delivery: Chase provides a free three-month DashPass subscription with this card, giving you a way to save money with $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees for orders over $12. But after those three months you’ll be automatically enrolled for the next nine months, at a 50% discount, so you may want to cancel at that point.
Keep tabs on your credit: Anyone new to credit should take a keen interest in what goes into your credit reports and what affects your credit scores. Chase’s Credit Journey tool shows you your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report, along with tips on how you can improve.
Get it for keeps: You need to be a student to apply for the Freedom Student, but don’t close the card when you finish school. Since it has no annual fee, you can keep it open indefinitely at no cost, and it can continue to help your credit by reducing your credit utilization and increasing your average age of accounts.
5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
1% cash back on all other purchases
$50 bonus after your first purchase within 3 months of account opening
Once your Lyft has dropped you off safely after a night out and your DoorDash order is on its way, you probably have some cash back rewards to redeem. You can redeem for:
Cash back deposits directly into a U.S. savings or checking account
Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
There’s no minimum amount required for redemption, so feel free to redeem whenever you like.
There’s more you can do with your cash back, once you start getting approved for more advanced credit cards.
You can move your rewards from this card to any other Chase Ultimate Rewards card. Certain cards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review)) offer bonuses for redeeming through Ultimate Rewards, and allow you to transfer points to Chase’s hotel and airline loyalty programs. Point transfers are a great way to increase the value of your points.
The Chase Freedom Student comes as a Visa Signature if your starting credit limit is $5,000 or more. Otherwise, you’ll receive a Visa Platinum. The shopping and travel protections you get may differ between card types.
$20 Good Standing Rewards: Get a $20 reward (in the form of 2,000 points) every year for five years, after each account anniversary. Your account must be in good standing (not in default) to qualify.
Three-month DoorDash membership: Enroll to get a complimentary three-month DoorDash membership (a DashPass). A DashPass provides $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders over $12. After those three months, you’ll be automatically enrolled for nine months at a 50% discount, unless you cancel.
Automatic credit line increase: Get easy access to a higher credit line by making five on-time monthly payments in your first 10 months. Payments must be at or above the minimum amount due, and any late payments will be disqualifying.
Purchase Protection: Eligible purchases are covered for accidental damage and theft for 120 days, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Extended Warranty: Get up to one extra year added to eligible manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less.
Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: If your trip is canceled or cut short for an eligible reason, like sickness or severe weather, you can be covered up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
Foreign Transaction Fee
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Returned Payment Fee
Up to 29.99%
The Bottom Line
The Chase Freedom® Student credit card offers a lot for students. It’s a good card to start building responsible habits, because it’ll reward good behavior with anniversary bonuses and an automatic credit limit increase.
Students may get a lot from the 5% cash back on Lyft rides and three-month DoorDash membership. But you can also monitor one of your credit scores to see how your credit history is shaping up.
It’s an uncomplicated card. Use it for everything to earn some rewards, and to get comfortable paying off your statement in full to avoid interest. As long as your account is in good standing, you can get quite a lot out of the Freedom Student.
How Do I Apply for the Chase Freedom Student Card?
Chase, the credit card issuer, will usually give you an answer immediately, either approved or denied. Some applicants may need to wait for a decision, and in some cases Chase will ask for more information.
What Credit Scores Do You Need to Get the Chase Freedom Student Card?
The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is designed for students who haven’t built up much credit history yet, so it’s accessible to those with limited or no credit. Having a thin credit file shouldn’t hold you back.
$200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
New Offer: Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings
Now earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.
No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.99%–23.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. Click “Apply Now” to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
It’s one of the most rewarding options for students, with some added flexibility. Pick one 3% cash back category (from purchases like gas, travel, and online shopping) to add to the static 2% and 1% rates. So the rewards go above and beyond what the Chase Freedom Student provides. But the benefits are far less impressive.
The card ditches the DoorDash membership and anniversary bonus, but it’s still a Visa Signature, so it’ll likely come with some useful shopping and travel protections, and potentially a Visa Signature concierge.
It’ll also come with an intro 0% APR offer for both purchases and balance transfers to sweeten the pot (for 15 billing cycles, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable). Most students have enough debt, and intro 0% APR offers are great ways to prevent amassing even more if you have some large expenses, like books and school supplies.
The rewards program works differently than the other cards here. Every three months you’ll have new 5% cash back categories, up to $1,500 in spending before falling to 1% (activation required). The card continues to earn 1% cash back on everything not covered by those bonus categories, meaning it has greater reward potential than the Chase Freedom Student.
And here’s a great Discover perk: For your first year you’ll get double cash back, meaning you’ll earn either 10% or 2% back for everything.
The Discover card also comes with intro 0% APR offers (for See Terms, then See Terms). 0% APR offers are great at relieving some debt-induced stress by helping you avoid interest charges on new purchases and existing balances.
Good Grades statement credit: Discover will give you a $20 statement credit for every year that you get a 3.0 GPA or higher, for up to five years.
FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can getcash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
New account alerts: Get notified ofcredit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.
Purchase APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
The travel aspect is really the only reason you’d likely pick this card over the others. You’ll earn double rewards for booking trips through the Bank of America Travel Center, and there’s no foreign transaction fee to worry about.
Other than that it’s a pretty simple card. The benefits aren’t as impressive as the Freedom Student’s, but it is a Visa Signature so you’ll likely still get some useful perks.
Because it’s issued as a Visa Signature, the BofA Travel Rewards for Students might come with a few more protections than what’s listed here. Check the Guide to Benefits that comes with the card to find out.
Free FICO Score: Check up on one of your FICO credit scores, based on your TransUnion credit report.
Visa Signature Concierge: Call 1-800-953-7392 to access your Visa Signature Concierge to get the non-emergency help you need.
Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: Gain access to room upgrades when they’re available, receive the best rate, access complimentary WiFi, and gain other amenities at 900 luxury hotels across the globe.
Fraud protection: You won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges made with your card. Contact the bank immediately if you suspect fraud.
Contactless payment: Just tap your card wherever you see the symbol, no physical contact necessary.
Overdraft protection: Link your Bank of America bank account to the card to benefit from overdraft protection.
It earns a flat 1.25% cash back for every purchase, so it’s just a little higher than what the Chase Freedom Student typically offers. However, if you find yourself using Lyft often, you could potentially earn more with the Chase card.
The benefits are decent, but you may get more out of the Chase Freedom Student perks. There is a $60 streaming credit, however, which is pretty unique for a no annual fee credit card, plus a few more travel protections.
Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
$60 streaming credit: $5 per month for 12 months on select streaming services, when you pay on time
Capital One CreditWise: The CreditWise service provides free access to one of your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, based on your TransUnion credit report. You can monitor your score over time and get alerts about any changes.
Capital One Second Look account monitoring: Keep an eye on your account with Second Look, and get access to account alerts to be notified of any activity on your account.
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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