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Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Review: Cash Back With No Annual Fee

Our review of the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card looks at the cash back program, fees, and card benefits that may encourage students to build good credit.
(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Student credit cards can give you spending power and help you establish good credit. 

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card is a cash back rewards card designed for new credit users. This card offers a flat 1% cash back rewards rate on all purchases. 

If you're in college, this card can help you build credit. A strong credit score can come in handy when you're ready to get a car loan, lease an apartment or even buy a home. 

When comparing student credit cards, it's important to consider both rewards and fees. The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card is a good option if you want to avoid an annual fee.

But is it the best student credit card for you?

Take a closer look inside this Chase Freedom Student Credit Card review to help decide.

Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Qualify for an annual cash back bonus for maintaining good account standing
  • No annual fee
  • Free credit score access
  • Some student credit cards can offer a slightly higher cash back rewards rate
  • There is no introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers

Earn Unlimited Cash Back While Building Credit

Student credit cards typically have one main purpose: to help you build credit. 

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card can help with that. But you also get the benefit of being able to earn cash back. 

With this card, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. So you can get cash back on gas, dining, shopping, books -- anything you normally spend money on as a student. 

That's an advantage, since not all student credit cards offer rewards. And, you have additional chances to earn cash back. 

Annual cash back bonus

You can get an annual cash back bonus for keeping your account in good standing.

You can snag this bonus for up to the first five years of membership. 

Redeeming rewards

When you're ready to use your cash back, you can redeem rewards for:

  • Statement credit
  • Direct deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account
  • Shopping with Points Amazon
  • Gift cards to partner merchants
  • Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

This card gives you the same flexible redemption options as a regular Chase Freedom Credit Card. 

There's no minimum amount of cash back required to redeem. So you can use your cash back rewards when and how you want. 

Build good credit

On the credit-building side, the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card offers two helpful tools:

  • Free credit score access through Chase Credit Journey
  • Opportunities to earn credit limit increases

Chase Credit Journey lets you check your credit scores for free. That's handy if you want to see how your score is improving over time. 

You can also qualify for a credit limit increase after making five monthly payments on time within 10 months of account opening. 

Higher credit limits give you more purchasing power. But they can also help you build a better credit score if you're keeping your balances low.

That's because 30% of your FICO credit score is based on credit utilization.

High limits and low balances can work in your favor for creating positive credit history.

Other Card Features and Benefits

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card comes with a few other features and benefits students might find useful. 

For example, those include:

  • Zero liability protection
  • Fraud protection
  • Fraud alerts
  • Lock/unlock feature
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Those features can help with protecting your credit score and your purchases. If your card is lost or stolen, for example, Chase's zero liability protection means you won't be on the hook for any unauthorized purchases. 

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card also offers a couple of partner benefits you might appreciate. 

DashPass

First, you get three months of DashPass included. This is DoorDash's subscription service that lets you get unlimited deliveries for a $0 delivery fee. 

Once the three-month free trial ends you're automatically enrolled in DashPass for 50% for the next nine months. This is a nice benefit if you regularly spend money on food delivery. 

Lyft

Next, you can get 5% cash back on Lyft rides. This offer extends through March 2022. 

If ride-sharing fees are part of your student budget, this benefit can reward you generously on those purchases.

Fees

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card is like other student credit cards, in that there's no annual fee. 

You can transfer balances to this card or take a cash advance. But a fee does apply for those transactions. 

You'll also pay a 3% foreign transaction fee if you use the card for purchases outside the U.S.

If you don't plan to travel with the card, that's not a problem. But if you're planning a semester abroad, then the fee could make purchases more expensive. 

Also, note that late payments come with a fee. Not to mention, paying late can hurt your credit score. 

The good news is you can set up payment reminders and due date alerts so you don't miss a payment. 

Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Fees

Fee Amount
Annual Membership Fee None
Balance Transfers Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Cash Advances Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction amount, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transactions 3%
Late Payment Up to $39
Overlimit None
Returned Payment Up to $39
Returned Check None

Compared to Other Student Credit Cards

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card could be a good choice for earning cash back and building credit. 

But consider these other student credit card options as well. 

Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One

The

has a rewards program that's similar to the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card. 

You can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. But if you pay on time, you get a cash back boost to 1.25%. 

This card has no annual fee and it also has no foreign transaction fees. That could be good if you're planning to travel or study abroad. 

You also get credit monitoring access through CreditWise. But you don't get the DoorDash or Lyft benefits you would with the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card. 

Read the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Credit Card editor's review.

Citi Secured Mastercard

Secured credit cards offer another way to build credit as a student. 

With this type of card, you offer a cash deposit to the credit card company. This typically doubles as your credit limit. 

You can use the card to make purchases. As you pay back what you charge, you can build a positive credit history. 

The

helps you do that with no annual fee. A $200 minimum security deposit is required to open an account. 

This card doesn't offer a rewards program. But if you're starting from scratch with building credit, it might be easier to qualify for than a traditional student credit card. 

Read the Citi Secured Mastercard editor's review.

Deserve EDU

The Deserve EDU Card could be a good option if you're brand-new to building credit. One thing that's unique about it is that you don't need a Social Security number to apply if you're an international student. 

Aside from that, this card offers these features:

  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees or annual fee
  • Complimentary Amazon Prime Student membership for one year
  • Cellphone protection, up to $600
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits

In terms of rewards and the annual fee this card is similar to the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card. 

But instead of DoorDash and Lyft benefits, you get free Amazon Prime Student membership for one year. 

Read the Deserve EDU Student Credit Card editor's review.

What’s the Verdict? 

This Chase Freedom Student Credit Card review offers an overview of the card's best features. The card is designed for students who are ready to work on building credit while getting rewarded for their purchases

In terms of rewards, the 1% cash back you can earn is similar to what other student cards typically offer.

No annual fee is good, since that saves you money. But this card could be a mismatch if you plan to use it to make purchases outside the U.S. 

When comparing the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card to other student credit cards, it may hinge on the foreign transaction fee and the added features.

But also keep the annual percentage rate in mind. 

A higher APR could make purchases more expensive if you carry a balance from month to month. Generally, a student credit card is appropriate only if you can pay off the balance in full every month.