Q: Does Chase have a student credit card? I already have my checking and savings account with them, so I’d like to keep it in the family to make things simple. On their website all of their regular cards are labeled as being for “excellent credit” and since I’m a freshman with zero history, I’m sure I will just get denied.
A: You’re right. Even if you did have some credit history, your application would almost certainly be rejected for Freedom, Slate, and Sapphire… because those are not easy to get.
Now for more bad news: Chase Bank’s student credit card was discontinued during the recession.
And don’t hold your breath waiting for it to come back, because that’s highly unlikely. They’ve changed their business focus the past few years to being now more along the lines of American Express (focusing on those with great credit and income). And by the way, American Express doesn’t have one either.
Who else should you consider?
To be honest with you, most credit cards for college students are substandard. Most have no rewards and few benefits.
An exception to the norm is the recently launched Discover it for students. It has the exact same perks as the regular “it” card but this one is easy to qualify for since it’s specifically for those in school. In contrast, the regular version is one of the hardest to qualify for, with even stricter requirements than many Chase credit cards!
Back in the day, I know Discover didn’t have the best reputation for acceptance. But now it’s official – over 90% of places in the US that take credit cards also take Discover.
Case in point – most colleges and universities even accept them for tuition payments. I checked with several major schools in my area (Los Angeles) and among the ones I checked, here’s who accepts Discover:
- UCLA – Yes
- USC – Yes (see right – they don’t even take AmEx)
- Azusa Pacific – Yes
- Cal Poly Pomona – Yes
- Cal State Long Beach – Yes
- Cal State Northridge – No (they don’t accept any credit cards)
- Pepperdine – No (they don’t accept any credit cards)
Look at that, out of all of them I checked with, if they accept credit cards then they accept Discover.
Of course there are going to be times where you will need a Visa or MasterCard. While pretty much every major store and fast food chain will accept all major cards, there are some places that will only take Visa/MasterCard. With the Chase student Visa no longer around, you’re going to have to consider a different bank.
My recommendation? The Capital One® Journey℠ Student Rewards card. As the name implies it actually gives you rewards, which is rare for a student card to do. With no annual fee and a nice selection of included benefits, it’s a good one to carry for when your “it” card isn’t accepted.
Why diversification is a good thing
Because you have your bank accounts at Chase, obviously using them for everything – including credit cards – is appealing for convenience’s sake.
But it’s important to know that part of building a healthy credit history and score is by having accounts with different lenders. Even if the Chase credit card for students was still around, you would want others, too.
If Chase ever does bring it back, I will update this review. But as of Q2 2014 there are no signs of that happening and I really don’t except to see it again given the new direction of their business. So try the application for “it” and Journey, which are the two best ones on the market right now. Good luck.
This review was written or last updated Aug 2016