In college, many students may feel that using a debit card is safer or easier than using a credit card. But it would be wise for students to pay attention to their credit scores early on so they can set themselves up for financial success. By starting out with credit slowly, and by learning positive financial habits along the way, students have the potential to build a strong credit history and an impressive score — which will come in handy when they apply for an apartment or a loan.

While plenty of financial products exist to help students build credit from scratch, students who already have some credit history may be wondering which credit cards are available to them. While many card issuers like Discover and Capital One offer several credit cards for students, Chase has just one dedicated student credit card. However, it has some other credit cards that would work well for students, which we’ll explore below.

Comparing the best Chase student cards

Card name Reward highlights Bankrate review score
Chase Freedom® Student credit card 3.4 / 5
Chase Freedom Rise℠ Credit Card
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
N/A
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025)
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
5 / 5
Chase Freedom Flex℠

 

  • 5% cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent) and Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 3% cash back on dining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
4.8 / 5

Top Chase student cards

  • Green circle with a checkmark inside

    Pros

    • You’ll earn a $50 welcome bonus after you make your first purchase within the first three months of account opening, a modest and accessible welcome offer for a student budget.
    • Each year your card remains in good standing, you’ll receive $20 after your account anniversary (for up to five years).
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance is not common on student cards, but this one has this rare perk.
    Red circle with an X inside

    Cons

    • Chase recommends having a good to excellent credit score when you apply for this card, so it’s not the best pick for first-time credit users.
    • Many other cards available to students offer more competitive rewards rates.
    • While you can transfer a balance to this student card, there are no intro APR offers to shield you from interest charges and the balance transfer fee is on the high end at 5 percent of the transferred balance (or min. $5, whichever is greater).

  • Green circle with a checkmark inside

    Pros

    • You can boost your approval odds by having a Chase checking account with a balance of at least $250.
    • The flat rewards rate is competitive for a starter credit card.
    • You could be eligible for a credit limit increase when you demonstrate positive credit habits for as little as six months.
    Red circle with an X inside

    Cons

    • As is common with most starter cards, the ongoing APR is steep.
    • No intro APR offers means you won’t be shielded from the card’s high APR if you need to carry a balance.
    • While some student and starter cards may skip a first late fee or penalty APR, you won’t get breaks on those penalty charges here.

  • Green circle with a checkmark inside

    Pros

    • Valuable benefits like purchase protection, trip cancellation insurance and a complimentary DashPass subscription make this card a well-rounded pick for a student crowd.
    • Skipping the annual fee lets cardholders enjoy their rewards earnings without having to compensate for the extra cost.
    • The flat-rate on this card is one of the most competitive among no-annual-fee cards and cards for students.
    Red circle with an X inside

    Cons

    • The card’s 3 percent foreign transaction fee limits this card’s potential as a cost-effective option to use while abroad.
    • You could get a sky high penalty APR for missing a payment, an added cost many student cards and credit-building cards might skip.
    • To earn the highest rate on travel purchases you must book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

  • Green circle with a checkmark inside

    Pros

    • The intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers could be ideal for paying down a balance or financing a large purchase.
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance is a coveted card perk not common on no-annual-fee cards — and this one has it.
    • The welcome offer’s reasonable required spend makes it easier to earn a windfall of early rewards.
    Red circle with an X inside

    Cons

    • Your earning potential is limited thanks to spending caps.
    • Keeping up with the enrollment into rotating bonus categories may not be easy on a student schedule.
    • Not the best companion for something like studying abroad due to its 3 percent foreign transaction fee.

How to choose a Chase credit card as a student

The best Chase credit card for students is the one that helps you reach your goals. These tips can help you figure out which option might work best for your wallet.

Read all of the terms and conditions

Each Chase card, like any credit card, comes with a unique set of terms and conditions. Look closely at details like added fees, interest rates and card perks and benefits. Aim to pick a card that fits well into your budget and your schedule and possesses the added features you want most.

Look for intro APR offers

If you have high interest debt to pay off or if you’re hoping to pay for a large purchase over time without paying interest — maybe you need to furnish your first apartment or you’re hoping to book a trip abroad next semester — you may want to look for a Chase credit card with a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers or both.

Decide on the type of rewards you want

If you want to earn rewards on your spending, see which cards offer a rewards structure that makes sense with your spending habits. If you spend a lot across a broad scope of categories, try choosing a flat-rate rewards card that will give you competitive earnings on every purchase. If you don’t mind tracking rotating categories and enrollment dates or you spend the most in a few select categories, choosing a bonus or rotating category rewards card may be what fits best.

Frequently asked questions

  • No, not every Chase card charges a foreign transaction fee. However, the Chase cards that do skip this added cost are often the issuer’s most premier travel rewards cards or co-branded travel cards.

  • The easiest Chase card to get as a student would likely be the Chase Freedom Rise Credit Card. It’s designed specifically for people just getting started with building credit, and offers competitive flat rewards and incentives for building a positive credit history.

  • Once you graduate, you don’t have to get rid of your student or starter credit card. In fact, if the card is the first line of credit you’ve opened, it’s likely better for your score to keep the account open and active to maintain the length of your credit history. You could also look to update your card to one that’s more rewarding and better suits your life beyond being a student.

The bottom line

Chase offers several credit cards that would work well for students who already have a good credit history. No-annual-fee cash back cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex are wallet staples for many consumers, so you won’t need to worry about upgrading a student card once you graduate. And for students who are already in the market for an entry-level travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred could be worth considering, if they’re open to paying an annual fee.

*The information about the Chase Freedom® Student credit card and the Chase Freedom Rise℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

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