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For students looking to build credit while earning cash back rewards, the Chase Freedom® Student credit card could be a great option. With this card, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases without having to worry about an annual fee, and you’ll also have free access to your credit score — among other credit-building perks.
However, there are comparable student credit cards on the market that offer benefits such as higher rewards rates and intro APRs, so it’s important to fully understand what you’re looking for in a student card prior to applying.
When is the Chase Freedom Student card worth it?
You’re on a credit-building journey
Is the Chase Freedom Student card worth it for you? If you’re looking to build credit as a college student, it certainly might be. Owning this card not only gets you free access to your credit score — allowing you to easily keep track of your progress — but you’ll also be rewarded for using the card responsibly. The Chase Freedom Student card offers a $20 Good Standing bonus each year on your cardmember anniversary, for up to five years in a row, which is a sweet treat simply paying your bill on time.
Most notably, the Freedom Student can also help you increase your credit limit. After making five on-time payments within 10 months, you’re eligible for a credit line increase. Note, though, it’s not guaranteed and additional criteria may need to be met.
You want to easily earn rewards
This no-annual-fee card is also worth it if, in addition to building credit, you want to earn flat-rate cash back (without having to enroll in rotating categories each month, for example). The Chase Freedom Student gets you 1 percent cash back on all purchases — and though this likely isn’t a make-or-break detail, you also get 5 percent cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025. Note, while this is a cash back card, rewards earned will show up in your account as highly lucrative Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Further, in terms of a welcome bonus, you can earn $50 in bonus cash back (equal to 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after making your first purchase within three months of account opening. Overall, earning rewards with this student card is simple and doesn’t require much effort — an attribute that’s sure to be appreciated by busy students.
You want a student card with additional benefits
Additional benefits that might make the Chase Freedom Student worth it for you include purchase protection (meaning if an item bought with your card is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchasing, you’ll receive purchase protection of up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account) and extended warranty (which adds an extra year of coverage to items you buy with the card that offer manufacturers’ warranties of three years or less). You also receive trip cancellation and interruption insurance for non-refundable travel expenses, a perk that’s not very common among student credit cards.
When is the Chase Freedom Student card not worth it?
You want to earn rewards higher than 1%
There are student cards on the market that offer higher ongoing rewards than the Chase Freedom Student — which, depending on your spending habits, could prove to be more valuable. The Discover it® Student Cash Back, for example, offers 5 percent cash back on activated rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in spending, then 1 percent) and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Even if you forget to activate a category in a particular quarter, or do minimal spending in said category, you’d still be earning 1 percent cash back — right on par with the Chase Freedom Student card.
You’re going to study abroad
If you’re looking to study abroad as a college student and are planning on making purchases with a credit card, the Chase Freedom Student might not be the best option. This card charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on every purchase made outside of the U.S. — which can really add up if it’s your main form of payment. Alternatively, the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t charge foriegn transaction fees and helps you rack up 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
You need help with an upcoming purchase
Lastly, there may be a more useful student card for you if you know you have a large upcoming purchase to make — such as a slew of school supplies. Some cards, such as the Discover it® Student chrome, offer zero-interest periods on new purchases. The Student chrome, in particular, gets you a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for six months (followed by a variable APR between 16.74 percent to 25.74 percent). This means you would have six months to pay off your purchase before that variable APR rate kicks in.
Should you get the Chase Freedom Student card?
If you’re a college student looking to build credit while earning rewards and enjoying a few additional benefits typically only offered by standard rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom Student card may make sense for you.
Further, going with the Chase Freedom Student means you’re starting your credit-building journey within the incredibly fruitful Chase Ultimate Rewards program. And if you decide to take out another Chase credit card in the future, you’ll be able to pool points earned across cards and potentially maximize their value when redeeming Chase points.
The bottom line
Overall, this student card is worth it for those who want to build their credit and earn some cash back rewards in the process. For more detailed information on all that this card has to offer, read our Chase Freedom Student credit card review — and consider browsing our list of the top student credit cards in case another option better fits your needs.