Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card Review
The information related to the Chase Freedom Student credit card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The Chase Freedom® Student credit card isn’t the best student credit card on the market. Its cash-back potential tops out at 1% for most purchases, it won’t accept applicants with limited or no credit, and it has a foreign transaction fee (a clear drawback for students studying abroad).
So we can’t wholeheartedly recommend Freedom Student. But this card does have some perks you might find attractive, notably an annual good-standing bonus worth up to $100 over five years and potentially generous partner benefits for DoorDash, Instacart, and Lyft users.
These perks are enough to keep Freedom Student in the running if you’re in the market for a credit card to get you through college. See for yourself how seriously you should consider applying.
What Is the Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card?
The Chase Freedom Student credit card is an entry-level cash-back credit card for college students. If you’re enrolled in a degree or certificate program and actively attending classes at least half-time, you’re probably eligible for this card.
Freedom Student earns 1% cash back on most eligible purchases. That’s less generous than other popular Freedom credit cards, including Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited. But Freedom Student can still help you build credit while you’re in school and put you in a position to qualify for a better card when you graduate.
What Sets the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Apart
The Chase Freedom Student credit card stands out from other student cards for three main reasons:
- Annual Good-Standing Bonus. This is as close to free money as it gets. Keep your account in good standing and you’ll get a $20 annual bonus for up to five consecutive years.
- Very Good Partner Benefits. If you regularly order food delivery from DoorDash and Instacart or ride with Lyft, you can reap perhaps hundreds of dollars in benefits and bonus cash back per year.
- Quick Credit Limit Increase Eligibility. You can qualify for a credit limit increase after making five on-time payments within the first 10 months of account opening. Unlike with most credit cards, these payments don’t have to be consecutive, which is good if you go some statement cycles without any purchases.
Key Features of the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card
Now that you know what sets the Freedom Student credit card apart from the competition, dive into the details of its most important features.
Earn $50 after making a purchase within the first three months of account opening. That’s it — no minimum spend requirement or other hoops to jump through.
Earning Cash-Back Rewards
All eligible purchases earn 1% cash back with one exception, explained below.
Cash back accrues as Ultimate Rewards points, which are always worth $0.01 per point for Chase Freedom Student cardholders.
There’s no limit to how much you can earn, and cash back doesn’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
Redeeming Cash-Back Rewards
Redeem your Ultimate Rewards points in any amount at the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The easiest way to redeem is for statement credits against prior purchases, but you can also redeem for bank account deposits, Amazon purchases, gift cards, eligible takeout purchases, and general merchandise.
DoorDash DashPass Benefit
Chase Freedom Student offers a year of free or discounted DoorDash memberships:
- Complimentary three months of DoorDash DashPass, whose perks include unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible DoorDash and Caviar orders
- After the complimentary three months, you’re automatically enrolled in DashPass at a 50% discount for the next nine months
- You must activate by Dec. 31, 2024, to qualify
Bonus Cash Back on Lyft Rides
The only exception to the 1% cash-back rule here is 4% bonus cash back (for a total of 5% cash back) on eligible Lyft rides through March 31, 2025. This is a nice boost for students who don’t have their own cars or who use Lyft when they don’t feel like driving.
You can also qualify for a year of free or discounted Instacart+ membership with your Chase Freedom Student card:
- Complimentary three months of Instacart+ membership, with benefits similar to DoorDash DashPass
- Automatic enrollment in an annual Instacart+ membership after that, unless and until you cancel
- You must enroll by July 31, 2024, to qualify
- Once enrolled, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits per quarter through July 31, 2024, on eligible Instacart purchases with your card
For the first five years your account is open, you’ll get a $20 bonus (or 2,000 Ultimate Rewards points) each year your account remains in good standing. Pay your bill on time, keep your account open, and you’re good.
Credit Limit Increase
Make at least five on-time payments during the first 10 months your account is open and you may qualify for a credit limit increase. The amount and timing of the limit increase may vary based on other factors, but this is a pretty generous offer. Most student and credit-building cards require five or six consecutive months of timely payments.
Freedom Student has no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
The Chase Freedom Student card requires good credit (or better). This is unusual for a student credit card. Many Freedom Student competitors accept applicants with fair credit, and some accept applicants with limited credit or no credit at all.
Advantages of the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card
The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card’s top advantages include its nonexistent annual fee, predictable rewards program, and good-standing bonus. Here’s the skinny.
- No Annual Fee. This is expected, perhaps, but still welcome. You won’t pay anything to keep this card in your wallet, even if you barely use it.
- Cash Back on All Eligible Purchases. Freedom Student earns 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. A great cash-back rate this is not, but at least it’s comprehensive and predictable.
- Bonus for Keeping Your Account in Good Standing. During your first five years as a cardholder, you’ll get a $20 bonus (2,000 points) from Chase each year your account remains open and in good standing. That’s up to $100 for doing basically nothing.
- Decent Sign-Up Bonus. Freedom Student’s sign-up bonus is solid and easy to qualify for. Probably not enough to justify the card on its own, but helpful if you’re on the fence.
- Solid Partner Benefits. Take advantage of potentially valuable perks from three popular Chase partners: DoorDash, Instacart, and Lyft. Just be sure to read the fine print and cancel your memberships after the promotional period ends if you don’t feel like the value is there.
- Clear Path to a Higher Credit Limit. You’ll qualify for a higher credit limit if you make at least five on-time payments during the first 10 months your account is open. This is a looser standard than most competing cards have — and a recognition that things don’t always go to plan.
Disadvantages of the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card
Consider these downsides before applying for the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card.
- Requires Good Credit or Better. Freedom Student requires good credit (or better), a higher bar than many popular student credit cards. If your credit score needs work or you’re new to credit, look elsewhere.
- Cash Back Mostly Capped at 1%. The adult Chase Freedom Flex credit card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases in select rotating categories. It also earns 5% cash back on eligible Chase Travel and 3% back on eligible dining (including takeout) and drugstore purchases. Freedom Student doesn’t. It earns a flat 1% cash-back rate on all eligible purchases, with the exception of Lyft purchases (5% through March 31, 2025).
- No 0% Intro APR Promotion. Unlike the adult Chase Freedom cards, Freedom Student doesn’t have a 0% APR introductory promotion for new cardholders. All the more reason to pay your bill in full each month.
- Foreign Transaction Fee. Foreign transaction fees are increasingly uncommon in the credit card world, but Freedom Student hasn’t gotten the message (not yet, at least). Study abroad students, beware.
How the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Stacks Up
See how the Chase Freedom Student Credit Card compares to another popular student card: the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card.
|Freedom Student||Quicksilver Student|
|Sign-Up Bonus||$50 after first purchase within 3 months||$50 after $100 spend within 3 months|
|1.5% Cash Back||None||All eligible purchases|
|1% Cash Back||Most eligible purchases||None|
|Uber One Membership||None||Yes, free through Nov. 14, 2024|
|Bonus Lyft Cash Back||5% through March 2025||None|
|Bonus Uber Cash Back||None||Yes, up to 10%|
Other Alternatives to Consider
If neither Freedom Student nor Quicksilver Student catch your fancy, one of these other student credit cards might do the trick. Look into them before you apply for Freedom Student — some offer better value.
Were I in the market for a new student credit card, I’d probably pass over the Chase Freedom® Student credit card in favor of one of its Capital One competitors (SavorOne Student, if I had to pick). I like cash back, and Freedom Student just isn’t generous enough on that front.
But Freedom Student has some redeeming qualities, like the annual good-standing bonus and clutch partner benefits. If you feel they outweigh drawbacks like a piddling cash-back rate and strict underwriting, Freedom Student could be your card after all.