Which Chase Credit Card Is Best for Building Credit? [2021]

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Chase offers some of the very best travel rewards, cash-back, and small business credit cards on the market. So it is no surprise that it is one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the U.S. But given that there are so many great Chase credit cards to choose from, you’ll usually need a strong credit score in order to be approved for one.

So, if your credit score is not as high as you would like for it to be, what options do you have when it comes to Chase credit cards? Which cards might you be able to be approved for, and which cards should you hold off on until your score has improved?

This post will answer those questions, along with providing some great tips for how you can improve your credit score.

How To Improve Your Credit Score

Low credit scores
Is your credit score not where you’d like it to be? Image Credit: TierneyMJ via Shutterstock

For starters, in order to be approved for most of the very best Chase credit cards, you likely are going to want to have a credit score of 700 or higher.  This does not mean you’re guaranteed to be approved if your score is higher than 700, or guaranteed to be denied if your score is below 700, but serves as a good benchmark for you to shoot for.

So, if your credit score is currently lower than 700, we’ll review some tips for how you can improve it.

Pay Your Bill on Time Each Month

By far the most important factor of your credit score is your payment history, accounting for 35% of your overall score. So the best way to improve your credit score is to make certain that you never miss a payment. Paying your bill on time each month is absolutely crucial to building and maintaining a high credit score.

If you have trouble remembering the exact date that your credit card bills are due, many credit issuers offer an autopay feature that effectively allows you to “set it and forget it” so that you can make sure you will never have a late payment.

Reduce Your Credit Utilization

The second-largest factor in determining your credit score is your credit utilization. Your credit utilization is calculated by diving the amount of your credit you have used in the statement period by your total credit line.

For example, if you have a credit card with a $2,000 credit limit and you charge $300 on your credit card, your credit utilization is 15%. Ideally, you will always want to keep your credit utilization figure below 30%.

Keeping your credit utilization below 30% might feel difficult if you have a credit card with a low credit limit between $500 to $1,000. But one way to counteract this is to make a payment prior to when your statement closes.

Remove Incorrect Information From Your Credit Report

Unfortunately, it is entirely possible for inaccurate information to be listed on your credit report, and oftentimes the inaccuracies can adversely impact your score. This is why it is incredibly important that you periodically check to make sure your credit report is both accurate and up to date.

To check your credit report, you can use a free service like Credit Karma. If you notice anything that seems incorrect, you’ll need to file a dispute directly with one of the 3 credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Become an Authorized User

A great and relatively easy way to help improve your credit score is by becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. When you become an authorized user, the primary account holder’s payment history and credit utilization will show up on your credit report. So if the primary account holder always makes their payments on time, and keeps their credit utilization low, this will have a positive effect on your credit score.

However, it is very important to choose someone that you trust and that you know for certain is responsible with their credit. If not, and they miss payments, carry balances, and have high utilization, then your credit score as the authorized user will be negatively impacted — even if any of those actions are through no fault of your own.

Chase Credit Cards for Building Credit

Shot of woman using her laptop for shopping online and paying with credit card while sitting in the kitchen at home
Which Chase card can you get approved for with building credit? Image Credit: Josep Suria via Shutterstock

Here is the bad news — if you currently have a “bad” credit score, which FICO categorizes as anything below a 580, you’re going to have an extremely difficult time getting approved for any Chase credit card. That is just the reality of the situation, and you’ll want to focus on building your score before applying for Chase credit cards.

That said, if your credit score is low because you are just beginning your journey with credit cards, and you’re a college student, then there is 1 Chase card that might be a good fit for you.

Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info
Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card
  • Earn $50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • $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
  • Access your free credit score at any time with Credit Journey
  • Annual Fee: $0

If you’re a student with little, low, or no credit history, the Freedom Student card is offered specifically for you. Due to it being a student card, the Freedom Student card is significantly easier to get approved for than any other Chase credit card.

Not only is it easy to get approved for, but it does not charge an annual fee and it earns rewards as well. You’ll earn 1% cash-back on all purchases you make, plus 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

The Freedom Student card even comes with some great benefits like 3 complimentary months of DoorDash DashPass, purchase protection, a credit limit increase after 5 monthly on-time payments, and a $20 good standing reward on your account anniversary each year.

Hot Tip: Unsurprisingly, only students are eligible for the Freedom Student card. This will not be a great option for those who are looking to improve their credit but are not enrolled in school.

Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit Card

Chase’s newest credit card is geared toward those looking to build their credit. Although it doesn’t feature any ability to earn Ultimate Rewards, it does come with some benefits.

The card has no annual fee but still offers rental car insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection. Most importantly, however, it gives you the opportunity to both raise your credit limit and lower your APR.

After 6 months of on-time payments you’ll get a 1-time review for a higher credit limit as long as you’ve spent $500 on your card.

Each year you’re also eligible for a 2% APR on your card as long as you’ve made on-time payments and spent at least $1000 on your card.

Other Credit Cards for Low Credit

Fortunately, all hope is not lost! While those with low credit might not have many options when it comes to Chase cards, there are many other solid credit cards out there that give you the opportunity to build your credit, while offering some great perks or return on your spend as well.

Here are a couple of our favorite options:

Petal® Visa® Credit Card

If you’re looking to build up your credit history, and earn rewards at the same time, then the Petal Visa card would be a great option.

In fact, Petal is revolutionizing the credit experience by utilizing a “Cash Score” as opposed to a traditional credit score. This is done by taking into account your income, spending, and savings history. Due to this, you could potentially qualify for a Petal Visa card, even if your credit score is low or if you’ve never had credit before.

The Petal Visa card earns cash-back on each purchase with select merchants and has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no deposit requirements. Plus you get access to Petal’s mobile app which offers a budgeting feature and a card-freezing function.

Discover it® Secured

The Discover Secured card is branded as a solution to build or rebuild your credit with responsible use. While the card does not charge an annual fee, as a secured card it does require a refundable security deposit — although you’ll get to choose the amount you deposit based on the credit limit you’re approved for.

Luckily, the Discover Secured card does allow you to earn cash-back rewards, which is not especially common with most secured credit cards. With it, you’ll earn 2% cash-back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, plus an unlimited 1% cash-back on all other purchases. Better yet, Discover will automatically match all the cash-back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Aside from rewards, the Discover Secured card allows you to view your FICO score for free each month, offers no late fee on your first late payment, and has an automatic account review starting at 8 months after your account open date to see if you can transition to an account with no security deposit.

Hot Tip: Our guide to the best credit card for low credit offers tips, resources, and card recommendations to help get you on the road to improvement.

Final Thoughts

It is no secret that many of us who are interested in travel rewards or cash-back credit cards want Chase cards in our wallet thanks to how lucrative some of its credit cards can be. But because many Chase credit cards are so compelling, the credit score you will need in order to get approved is much higher than others.

Fortunately, if you currently have a credit score that isn’t high enough to get approved for most Chase cards, there are steps you can take to help improve your score, along with other solid credit card options on the market that will allow you to earn some rewards in the meantime.

With time, if you make on-time payments each month and keep your utilization low, your score will ultimately improve to the point where you are able to get approved for the best Chase credit cards.

The information regarding the Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card, Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit Card, Petal® Visa® Credit Card, and Discover it® Secured was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently asked questions

How can I get a Chase credit card with low credit?

The unfortunate reality is that if you need to rebuild your credit, it is very unlikely that you will be approved for most Chase credit cards. If this is your case, you should focus on taking steps to help improve your credit score until your score is high enough to be approved for Chase credit cards.

What credit score do I need for a Chase credit card?

There is not a set credit score that you’ll need in order to be approved for a Chase credit card. For starters, Chase credit standards vary from card to card, so the average score for one card might be higher than another.

Additionally, your credit score is not the only factor that is considered when you apply for a card with Chase, as it also takes into account your income, years of credit history, and the amount of credit that may have been extended to you already.

With that said, if you have a credit score higher than 700, you should have better than average approval odds with most Chase credit cards.

What is the easiest Chase card to be approved for?

There is no hard and fast rule here. But generally speaking, if a card is co-branded and/or has a low annual fee, then it might be easier to get approved for.

For example, the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card is likely going to be easier to get approved for than the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. Similarly, the Disney Rewards Visa card should be easier to get approved for than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Can I apply for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card with no credit?

While you can apply for the Freedom Flex card (or any credit card for that matter) with no credit history, your odds of approval won’t be great.

If you are just starting to build your credit, and are a student, you would likely be better off applying for the Freedom Student card as it is designed specifically to help you build your credit history. You’ll even still be able to earn some rewards in the process.

Why did Chase not approve me for a credit card?

It could have been for a variety of reasons. The likeliest of which is that your credit score might not have been high enough.

Another big reason for Chase credit card denials is your number of recent accounts. Referred to as the Chase 5/24 rule, Chase has made a habit of denying applicants for its credit cards if they’ve opened 5 or more new credit card accounts within the last 24 months.

Some other potential reasons could be that Chase feels the amount of credit extended to you already is too high relative to your income, that you don’t have much credit history, or that you have negative remarks on your credit report.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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