The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, January 29, 2023

Chase Credit Cards For Students and 7 Alternatives

Chase Credit Cards For Students

credit card advice

Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank

Eric Bank has been covering business and financial topics since 1985, specializing in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences. In addition to his work on CardRates.com, Eric has appeared regularly on Credible.com, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Get.com, Zacks, Chron and dozens of other outlets. A former software engineer, Eric holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The undergraduate years are a time of profound learning and not all of it from books. Unless things have changed radically since my school days, I don’t think you’ll run into a course called Comparative Student Credit Card Physiology or some such. 

We’re here to plug that gap in the education you are about to receive from your chosen university, community college, or trade school. In a couple thousand words, we’ll teach you which student credit cards offer the best benefits and rewards during your matriculation, starting with the excellent entry from JP Morgan Chase Bank. 

Our little tutorial is free, but the knowledge is priceless, as it may shape financial habits that influence your use of credit for the rest of your life. May all your courses serve you as well.

Chase Only Offers One Student Credit Card

A few credit card issuers, such as Discover and Capital One, offer multiple student cards, but Chase issues only one. The bank introduced the Chase Freedom® Student credit card in 2019 to compete with the other major issuers’ best student credit card offerings. 

Chase Freedom® Student credit card Review

at Chase’ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • $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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.24% Variable
$0
See website for Details*

The bank carefully calibrated the card’s costs and benefits, resulting in a Chase credit card for students that is a reasonable value worth serious consideration.

Benefits of the Chase Freedom® Student credit card

The table above summarizes the chief benefits of the Chase Freedom® Student credit card, including the signup bonus, anniversary credits, and credit limit increases. The card provides Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all eligible purchases, points you can redeem for cash (as a direct deposit or statement credit), gift cards, Apple and Amazon shopping, and bookings through Chase Travel.

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card also provides the following:

  • Reasonable costs: There’s no annual fee or charges for returned checks and over-limit spending. It does charge fees for cash advances, balance transfers, foreign transactions, and late/returned payments. You can avoid the late fee and penalty APR by paying at least the minimum amount due each month.
  • Free credit scores: Chase Credit Journey offers personalized information to help you build, monitor, and protect your credit. You can access your weekly credit score and resources such as a score simulator and a breakdown of the factors influencing your score.
  • Protections: Chase will alert you of any new card activity to help you detect potential fraud. The card provides zero liability protection against unauthorized charges and extended warranties for products from US manufacturers. It also offers purchase protection that covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft of up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. 
  • Travel insurance: The card’s trip cancellation/interruption insurance reimburses you for up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares if a carrier cancels or cuts short a trip.
  • Lock/unlock feature: You can quickly lock or unlock your credit card online or via the Chase Mobile App to immediately block new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers. Locking your card will not affect automatic payments, and Chase will not hold you responsible for unauthorized charges.
  • Triple reporting: The Chase Freedom® Student credit card reports your payments to all three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) to help you build credit as quickly as possible. 

Given its signup bonus, uncomplicated rewards, and lack of an annual fee, the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a solid choice if you want a starter credit card.

How to Qualify For the Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Chase markets its student credit card to undergraduates who are over 18 years old and enrolled at least half-time at an eligible educational institution. You can demonstrate proof of enrollment with a valid acceptance letter, transcript, or valid student ID.

The online card application requires your name, address, Social Security number, type of residence, employment status, total gross annual income, and date of birth.

You don’t need a credit score to get the card, but if you do have a score, it must be in the 660+ range to qualify. The issuer may approve your application if your credit score is slightly below this minimum, depending on other factors such as your income and age. 

You May Also Qualify For Traditional Chase Cards

Students aren’t limited to student credit cards. Although student cards offer many benefits, you may prefer a different card from Chase Bank, perhaps one with a higher credit limit. The following unsecured Chase cards are suitable candidates.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review

at Chase’ssecure website

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.24% – 27.99%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
19.24% – 27.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers great reward rates on travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Reward website. Moreover, it provides remarkable travel benefits for a no-annual-fee card, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, and auto rental collision damage waiver. 

This Visa credit card has chip and PIN capability, unlike most other offerings from JP Morgan Chase Bank. You need a good credit score to qualify for this card, meaning a 680 FICO Score will probably be high enough for most applicants. Chase Freedom Unlimited® features eligible purchase protection, zero liability protection, fraud monitoring, identity restoration services, free credit score access, and extended warranty protection.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.24% – 27.99%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
19.24% – 27.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is for students and others who have good credit. This Mastercard provides various rewards, including rotating bonus categories you must activate each quarter. 

The card provides cellphone insurance, the Shop Through Chase program, and zero liability protection against fraudulent transactions. You can redeem your points in several ways, including for cash, gift cards, travel, or to Pay with Points for participating products or services.

Alternative Student Cards From Other Banks

Perhaps you’ve decided Chase Bank isn’t your cup of tea. No worries, here are five more excellent student credit cards to consider. 

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 17.24% – 26.24% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
17.24% – 26.24% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The Discover it® Student Cash Back offers rotating cash back rewards, a first-year Cashback Match to new cardmembers, and no annual or foreign transaction fees. It doesn’t charge a late fee for your first missed payment and does not impose a penalty APR.

This cash back card gives you a free TransUnion FICO Score, online privacy protection, and the Freeze it® on/off switch to prevent new transactions if you misplace your card. You can get the card without a credit score.

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it’s misplaced, lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card pays unlimited flat-rate cash back on every purchase plus higher bonus rates on select purchases. The card never charges an annual or foreign transaction fee, but its APR is higher than Chase’s. 

You can receive preapproval without a hard credit inquiry. The card provides 24-hour travel assistance, price-drop protection, extended warranties, and travel accident insurance, among other benefits.

5. Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Student Rating

★★★★★

N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Many students welcome the dining and entertainment rewards the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card provides. It offers benefits similar to its Quicksilver sibling, including travel-related perks and a signup bonus.

You can redeem your rewards for a statement credit, check, trips through Capital One Travel, gift cards, or purchases via PayPal. CreditWise and Eno® will help monitor your credit and keep your account secure.

Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 17.24% – 26.24% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
17.24% – 26.24% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

You may prefer the Discover it® Student chrome if you’d rather not bother with quarterly activations. The card reserves its higher cash back rate on gas station and restaurant purchases, up to a combined quarterly cap. All other purchases earn 1% back.

This card’s quarterly cap and bonus rate are lower than those of its sibling, the Discover it® Cash Back. But the rewards are automatic and don’t require activation every three months. The card is a good choice if you spend significantly on dining out or filling your gas tank because those reward categories apply year-round, not just quarterly.

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.2/5.0
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it’s misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they’re approved for a Capital One credit card
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.74% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One promotes good credit habits by providing free access to your credit score, extra cash back for paying on time, and a penalty if your payment is late. You can sidestep the card’s high APR by paying your entire balance each month.

The bank automatically evaluates you for a credit line increase in as few as six months. Eno, the Capital One assistant, can help you manage your credit card and obtain virtual account numbers. This Visa card charges no annual or foreign transaction fees.

What Is a Student Credit Card?

A student credit card is very similar to any traditional credit card. You can use this kind of card to shop online, make purchases, pay bills, withdraw a cash advance, and transfer balances. 

Two substantial differences separate student credit cards from other types of cards:

  • You do not need a credit history or score to apply.
  • You must attend an undergraduate college (with at least half-time enrollment) or a trade school to qualify.

Student credit cards usually provide modest credit lines because the typical student earns limited income. Your student credit card issuer will likely consider you for credit limit increases when you pay on time and keep your unpaid balance well below the card’s spending limit.

Look for student card perks that save money and extend certain protections, such as cellphone coverage or travel insurance. Benefits may include bonus rewards for popular college student spending categories (e.g., restaurants, gas, etc.), protections of various types, and a periodic statement credit rewarding a good GPA. 

Before applying, always read the credit card disclosure document to see all the perks and costs involved, as no two cards are ever the same.

Can I Get the Chase Freedom® Student credit card With No Credit History?

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card accepts applicants with no credit history, but if you do have one, it must be good. The most significant challenge is documenting your enrollment in a qualifying educational program. 

Chase Freedom® Student credit card Review

at Chase’ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • $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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.24% Variable
$0
See website for Details*

The rules vary by issuer, but the process is usually straightforward. You may have to fax a school transcript, email a copy of your current schedule, or forward a photo of your student identification card to the credit card issuer. Once you activate the card, you may have to resubmit documentation periodically to confirm your student status.

What Happens to My Student Credit Card When I Graduate?

Generally, you cannot continue to use a student credit card after graduation. Instead, issuers such as Chase will offer you a replacement card, assuming you maintained a good payment record while in school. 

Chase will likely offer you one of its regular Freedom credit cards to replace the student card. That’s a good deal because both Chase Freedom cards offer great benefits without an annual fee.

You do not have to continue with Chase after graduation, and it makes sense to review all your options before deciding. Hopefully, you’ve built a good credit score during your undergraduate years and can qualify for the best cards bearing the Visa, American Express, Mastercard, or Discover logos. 

Moreover, you may want to own multiple cards with complementary rewards to extract the most value from all your credit card purchases. For example, you can use one card for its travel benefits and another with a high cash back rate on gasoline purchases. 

Naturally, Chase hopes to retain a sizable portion of its student card customers, but the final choice is up to you.

Can I Build Credit With the Chase Freedom® Student credit card?

Yes, almost all student card issuers report your monthly payments to the three major credit bureaus, and Chase is no exception. Its student card lets you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points as you build credit during your undergraduate years. 

Chase Credit Journey gives you free access to your weekly credit score so you can manage and protect your credit health. In addition, you can use online tools to learn how to improve your credit score.

How to Build Credit With a Credit Card Graphic

Chase reporting your account activity to the bureaus can work for or against you. Timely payments protect your score, but late payments can damage it. 

At the very least, you’ll face a late payment fee on each occasion you fail to pay on time. Worse, Chase will slap you with a penalty APR —  a steep interest rate that remains in place indefinitely — for a late or returned payment. Late payments inflict credit score damage when you miss the payment due date by 30 or more days

A single late payment can initially cause your credit score to drop by as many as 100 points and remain on your credit report for seven years. The damage to your score will lessen as time passes and you don’t make any more late payments.

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card has a 21-day interest-free grace period between the statement date (issued at the close of the monthly billing cycle) and the payment due date. You won’t accrue interest on purchases if you pay your total balance before the due date each month.

To avoid missing payments, you can set up automatic payments in your online account. Under this arrangement, Chase will transfer a specified amount (i.e., the minimum, a fixed amount, or the entire balance) from your bank account on the payment due date. Automatic payments are especially easy to set up when you already have a Chase checking or savings account.

What If Chase Rejects My Application For a Student Card?

Chase will likely accept your application for a student credit card if you satisfy all of the specified requirements described earlier. But the bank may deny your application if you can’t prove your student status, have insufficient income, or are under age 18. 

And while the Chase Freedom® Student credit card doesn’t require you to have a credit score, the bank will reject your application if you do have a score that’s not high enough.

If Chase rejects your application, you should receive an Adverse Action Notice explaining the reasons behind the decision, such as the inability to verify your identity. The notice is valuable because it reveals what problems you must address before reapplying.

If you cannot qualify for a student card because of bad credit, consider getting a secured credit card instead. A secured credit card is easy to obtain if you can afford the deposit. Once you rebuild credit on a secured card, you can reapply for a student card – you should get a better result.

Chase does not offer a secured credit card, but many excellent candidates are available, including options from Discover and Capital One. 

You Can’t Go Wrong With the Chase Freedom® Student credit card

The Chase credit cards for students include one specifically for undergraduates and eight others that are also excellent choices. They all offer good benefits, generous rewards, and low costs. If you’re heading off to college and considering your first credit card, the Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a solid choice. 

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