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Chase Freedom Credit Card Review

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated May 18, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Editor’s note: The Chase Freedom® card stopped accepting new applications in September 2020. So if you aren’t currently a cardholder, but are interested in earning a generous cashback rate in a variety of spending categories, you may want to consider the recently launched Chase Freedom Flex℠.

If you’re in the market for a credit card that offers a generous amount of cash back in popular spending categories, such as gas stations and restaurants, the Chase Freedom® card has always been a solid option. 

The Chase Freedom® card offers the following rewards rate: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Chase Freedom® rewards – which will not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing – can be redeemed for statement credits, direct deposits into most U.S. checking and savings accounts, gift cards, travel and Amazon purchases.

We break down the pros and cons of the Chase Freedom® card, and show how it compares to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, which also offers cash back on every purchase.

Chase Freedom® credit card pros

Sign-up bonus. Earn a $200 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Rewards rate. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

So far, the 2020 Chase Freedom calendar has included a variety of popular spending categories, including gas stations, internet, select streaming services and grocery stores.

0% intro APR. If you want to finance a large purchase and pay it off over time, or if you’re planning to transfer debt from a high interest credit card, you can do so interest-free for more than a year with the Chase Freedom® card.

The card offers a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR, as well as a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months, then 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR.

Annual fee. The Chase Freedom® credit card comes with a $0 annual fee.

Additional Chase Freedom® credit card benefits:

  • Purchase protection. New purchases will be protected against damage or theft for 120 days – up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Extended warranty protection. Receive an additional year of coverage on eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of three years or less.
  • DoorDash benefit. Cardholders receive three free months of DashPass services, which provides free food delivery on orders from eligible restaurants. After that, you will automatically be enrolled in DashPass at 50% off for the next nine months. Activate by Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Lyft benefit. Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Chase Freedom® credit card cons

Limit on bonus earning. The Chase Freedom® card offers unlimited cash back. However, you are limited to earning the 5% cash back rate on the first $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter.

Still, if you max out the spend limit every quarter, you can earn $300 cash back on those purchases at the end of the year. Once you factor in the sign-up bonus, that amount jumps to $450 during the first year of card membership.

Balance transfer fee. While the Chase Freedom® card offers a long introductory APR on balance transfers, keep in mind that you will be charged a balance transfer fee of 3% when you transfer during the first 60 days of account opening, with a minimum of $5.

Foreign transaction fee. If you use your Chase Freedom® card to make purchases outside of the U.S., you will be subject to foreign transaction fees of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Compare it to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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(228)
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on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

If you don’t want the hassle of keeping track of rotating bonus categories and spending limits, you may want to look at a credit card that offers a flat rewards rate on every purchase, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.

The $0 annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® lets cardholders earn the following sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Chase Freedom® vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

 Chase Freedom®Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual fee$0$0
Sign-up bonusEarn a $200 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Rewards rateEarn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
Intro APR on purchases0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR0% Intro APR for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% variable APR
Intro APR on balance transfers0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months, then 14.99% to 23.74% variable APRN/A, then 14.99 - 23.74% variable
Balance transfer fee3% when you transfer during the first 60 days of account opening, with a minimum of $5, then either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greaterEither $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fees3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

The Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards are virtually identical as they offer the same introductory APRs on purchases and balance transfers, as well as the same annual fees, balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees. Where they differ the most is in their rewards rates.

But while the Chase Freedom® card gives you the opportunity to earn a generous rewards rate in popular spending categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers a slightly higher cashback rate on general purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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(228)
Apply Now

on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

That said, you can maximize your earning potential by signing up for both cards, and using the Chase Freedom® card to earn the higher cashback rate in bonus categories each quarter, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card to earn the earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® card review.

Which credit card is best for me?

If you plan to take advantage of the bonus categories and don’t mind a more complicated rewards structure, the Chase Freedom® card could be a great fit. Just know that you are required to activate the bonus categories each quarter to take advantage of the higher rewards rate.

But if you prefer a straightforward approach to earning rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card may be a better choice, thanks to its flat cashback rate.

Read: Chase Freedom® vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

If you want to get the most value from either of these cards, you may want to consider also signing up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. If you transfer your Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card and redeem those points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you will get a 25% boost in rewards value.

Similarly, if you transfer your rewards to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card and redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you will receive 50% more value from those points.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

More Info

The information related to the Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.


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